From ovation-worthy films to inspiringly ambitious ideas, a trio of must-catch cultural events are giving Chicagoans plenty to cheer about this season.
A scene from Steppenwolf Theatre’s Miss Julia, part of the inaugural Chicago International Latino Theater Festival.
There’s always a lot going on in this city, but right now the choices are mind-blowing. In addition to the regular roster of plays, concerts and gallery openings, October brings a feast of special events. First up is the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival (Oct. 12-26, chicagofilmfestival.com). This year’s lineup ranges from God’s Own Country (the debut feature of director Francis Lee), about the struggles of an isolated British shepherd, to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, from Oscar-winner Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) and starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell. If it’s food for thought you’re craving, slap on your thinking cap and hit up Chicago Ideas Week (Oct. 16-22, chicagoideas.com), which welcomes Whole Foods cofounder John Mackey; David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee; and Chicago-born actress/writer/ producer Lena Waithe, among others. Brand-new this year is the Chicago International Latino eater Festival, presented by the Chicago Latino eater Alliance (through Oct. 29, clata.org/festival-schedule). Says CLTA Executive Director Myrna Salazar, “We hope to not only engage Latino communities but incite cross-cultural exchange among a diverse range of communities in Chicago.” Highlights include the U.S. debut of Cuba’s Ludi Teatro, as well as the first Chicago appearances of Arte Boricua from Puerto Rico, Mexico’s Teatro Línea de Sombra and Colombia’s Vueltas Bravas Producciones.