Could this finally be the advent of summer for good? My phone is telling me that we’ll be in the high 60s all weekend, then in the 70s the next week. Feels like we’re finally heated up to the point of no return, and that means it’s time to kick your activities into full gear—we all know how energetic a Chicago summer is, and how quickly it flies by. So get outside!
Or you can do what I did and marathon Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sorry for this digression, but I have to talk about what a damn good series it is. The storytelling, the character development, the world-building—all the elements of a classic epic combine to weave a narrative full of mythology, adventure, and surprising emotional depth and darkness for an all-ages show. I’ll probably have more to say on the show at some point (still getting over the rush that comes from reaching the finale of an engrossing series), but for now, I’ll sum my thoughts up like so:
- Lots of crying
- Lots of making out
- Lots of dope action sequences
- Lots of themes of family, with the very notable exception of the show’s ultimate hero, whose family is never mentioned
It’s a real shame M. Night Shyamalan managed to mess up the live action adaptation.
Anyways, on to the best of this weekend, which includes some excellent films, great music, and a spot of tea:
THURSDAY, MAY 19th
Lorraine Hansberry Day @ Goodman Theatre, 6:00 PM
WHAT: Special events to celebrate playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s life and career.
SO WHAT: Goodman opens its new Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement with special activities honoring Hansberry, on what would have been her 83rd birthday. Her Chicago roots and history are fascinating, including her dad’s historic work on segregation in local real estate. Events include a mayoral proclamation, pre- and post-show discussions of the current production of Hansberry’s final play, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, and a showing of the 1961 film version of Raisin in the Sun.
NOW WHAT: Most events today are free (the theater performance is not), but some require reservations.
Amber Flight, Harriet and Beauty School @ Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison St., 9:00 PM
WHAT: Three bands for $3 at the iconic Wrigleyville bar.
SO WHAT: So normally Wrigleyville isn’t really the 3CR vibe, but these bands are worth it. Harriet is up-and-coming hard from Los Angeles—they’re opening for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes right now—and they’re fronted by a former erstwhile member of Dawes. Amber Flight and Beauty School are both solid local entries on the bill; the former makes peppy synth-pop with tinges of other genres, the latter trends toward the laid-back side of the garage pop spectrum.
NOW WHAT: It’s $3 total. Hard to think of a more worth-it investment. Get your tickets here.
FRIDAY, MAY 20TH
Chicago Critics Film Festival @ Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., 7:00 PM
WHAT: Some of Chicago’s top film critics come together and put on this festival every year, showcasing some of their favorite new arrivals on the movie scene. Tonight’s showing: Morris From America, starring Craig Robinson. The fest runs through the 26th.
SO WHAT: This is the only critic-run film festival in the country. Think about that. This is the only time and place where the experts pick out the lineup. Lots of love goes into this, and some of the films slated to be shown—Goat, In a Valley of Violence, Morris From America— have already received plenty of critical acclaim. And since this is a film festival, many of the people involved in the movies will be present. Notable guests include Morris From America‘s Craig Robinson (you know him from The Office and Hot Tub Time Machine), War on Everyone‘s Michael Peña, and Little Men director Ira Sachs. Check out the full schedule here.
NOW WHAT: You can get tickets to the films individually—prices range from $10 to $15, depending on time and whether a special guest will be attending—or you can buy a festival pass for $150. All those options are available to you here.
Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull @ The Artistic Home, 1376 W. Grand Ave., 8:00 PM
WHAT: Catch a preview performance of Chekhov’s classic play at The Artistic Home, a literal storefront theater. You probably wouldn’t know it’s a theater, except that I just alerted you to the fact that it is, in fact, a theater.
SO WHAT: Seeing preview performances of a show is a great way to save a little money, and with source material as good as Chekhov and the Jeff-nominated pedigree of The Artistic Home, this is sure to be some good stuff.
NOW WHAT: Tickets are $15 and are available here.
SATURDAY, MAY 21ST
City Lit’s Annual Spring Tea @ Edgewater Beach Cafe, 5545 N. Sheridan Rd., 2:00 PM
WHAT: It’s high tea and a silent auction plus some live lit at City Lit.
SO WHAT: A reading of “The Nightingale and the Rose” by Oscar Wilde.
NOW WHAT: $35 per person, two person discount $55. Discounted parking in the building. Get your tickets here.
Bob Dylan Birthday Bash and Fundraiser @ Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., 8:00 PM
WHAT: The Filament Theatre celebrates Bob Dylan’s birthday with tribute performances by local independent artists, as well as Dylan-themed trivia and birthday cake. Scrumptious!
SO WHAT: When it comes to Dylan’s music, the songs work well as covers simply because Dylan’s voice was notoriously horrible. So go listen to some great performances of some of the greatest songs ever written, folk, rock and otherwise, all while supporting the next generation of storytellers—we should mention this is a fundraiser for the Filament, a great little theater in Portage Park.
NOW WHAT: Individual tickets are $25, but you can also get a VIP table for four people for a total of $125; it comes with a swag bag and a free bottle of wine! All those tickets are available here.
SUNDAY, MAY 22ND
Mayfest @ Lakeview, 3100 N. Ashland Ave., 12:00 PM
WHAT: Lakeview’s annual summer kickoff bash returns with lots of bands, lots of beer, and hopefully lots of sunshine. It would be a real bummer if we got showers instead of flowers, although the event has a number of big top tents. The festival starts on Friday, but because there’s lots of other interesting stuff going on Friday and Saturday, you should do this on Sunday.
SO WHAT: It’s the beginning of summer, so you should be outside. This is a great excuse to do that.
NOW WHAT: General admission is $7.50 per day—grab your tickets here.