From mind-expanding festivals to world premiere theater, dance, and film, these are the nine must-do events this season in Chicago.
Danish Dance Theatre’s chicly dystopian Black Diamond is primed to be one of the highlights of the new cultural season.
Falling leaves aren’t the only stunners this time of year. With the kickoff of a new cultural season, the city is exploding with eye-opening events from the stage to the street—and these are the nine that in-the-know locals will be queueing up for.
Director Mary Zimmerman— renowned for whipping up visually inventive theater productions like the Tony-winning Metamorphoses—takes on the ultimate ode to New York, Leonard Bernstein’s Wonderful Town (through October 16).
Striking an entirely different note is The Ear Taxi Festival (October 5–10), a city-wide celebration of contemporary music. “When I came up with the name, I had the image of a composer’s head—imagine the famous bust of Beethoven—with a line of 10 taxi cabs driving out of each ear,” shares the fest’s founder, Grammy-winning Augusta Read Thomas. “ETF will take you on many aural taxi rides, each one played by a huge array of world-class musicians.”
Although there may be a nip in the air, you won’t want to miss The Halloween Gathering Festival (October 22) which kicks off with a slew of doings in Millennium and Grant parks—from stilt walking to Windy City Soul spinning records for the “All Souls Train”—and finishes with a parade on Columbus Avenue. Dance options this fall are all over the map.
The Harris Theater presents Black Diamond (October 21–22), a chicly-styled dystopian vision from Danish Dance Theatre, while the Joffrey Ballet performs Krzysztof Pastor’s politically charged rendering of Romeo and Juliet (October 13–23), inspired by a 1993 Sarajevo sniper shooting of two lovers—one Christian, one Muslim.
The Elmhurst Art Museum, which celebrated Playboy style this summer, continues to showcase the unexpected with Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art (through November 27) which explores, says executive director Jenny Gibbs, “serious issues such as masculinity, death, materialism and politics, contrasting the weightiness of the content with the lightness of the medium.”
For something a little more concrete (pun intended), Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago (October 15–16) offers a citywide peek behind closed doors at often off-limits spaces like private clubs, residences, and sanctuaries.
And if you’re itching to brain up, give Chicago Ideas Week a go (October 17–23). This think-fest brings in speakers from all over the world to ponder a range of topics, from creativity to curing cancer