3CR’s Guide to a Better August


Stage Left Theatre’s Drekfest @ ComedySports, 929 W. Belmont

Tuesday, August 16, at 7:30pm

Stage Left Theatre presents its annual national contest for the Worst Ten-Minute Play. CSz team members will join Stage Left company members and guest artists to stage the four finalists. Three Chicago theater critics will “rip the playwrights apart for blighting the world” and the audience will vote on the Grand Loser. Tickets are $15.


The Promise of a Rose Garden @ City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr

Opening night Saturday August 6 at 8pm

Babes With Blades Theatre Company is staging the world premiere of The Promise of a Rose Garden by Dustin Spence, directed by Elyse Dawson. The play, which runs through September 10, is the story of a band of sisters who experience modern military combat. Babes with Blades’ 2016-17 season will focus on the theme “Women on the Front Lines.” Tickets and info here.


André De Shields’ Confessions of a P.I.M.P. @ Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave.

Thursday-Saturday, August 25-27, at 8pm

De Shields’ solo performance will use song, dance and spoken word to tell the story of his adventure from inner city poverty to a 46-year career as actor, director, choreographer and educator. Confessions of a P.I.M.P. originally premiered as part of Victory Gardens’ 2015 Ignition Festival of New Plays. Tickets and info here.



Let’s PlayLive @ Chicago Theatre

Let’s Play is a collective of like-minded professional video gamers who

 have come together to play games and make you laugh. Through Youtube, the video gamers comment over gameplay, mixing the conversations of podcast with off the cuff reactions that occur during intense video game sessions. This is the third iteration of Let’s Play Live and the first in Chicago. Achievement Hunter, The Creatures,  Kinda Funny, Funhaus and special guests will be doing what they do best in front of an audience while adding in a heavy dose of improv and musical performances. It’s new media on a big stage with more spectacle than you think.


22nd Annual Black Harvest Film Festival @ Gene Siskel Film Center

Celebrating the best in contemporary independent filmmaking, exploring the stories, images, heritage, and history of the black experience in the U.S. and around the world, more than 40 filmmakers—a personal best for this event—will be in attendance for this year’s Black Harvest Film Festival. On Friday, August 5, ACTIVATE’s pre-opening street party kicks off Opening Night, followed by a celebratory screening of PURPLE RAIN. On Saturday, August 6, NBC 5 Chicago’s LeeAnn Trotter MCs “A Black Harvest Feast,” with special guests and a homecoming reunion of “Black Harvest” filmmakers past and present.  Immediately after the show, the audience is invited to a reception across the street at the Joffrey Ballet studios. Closing night features directors Frank Dawson and Abby Ginzberg with their provocative documentary AGENTS OF CHANGE, on the transformative effects of black student activism in the ’60s and ’70s, followed by the Closing Night party on September 1, sponsored by the Reva and David Logan Foundation.

See the 2016 schedule.


Noir City: Chicago 8 @ Music Box Theatre

August 19 – 25, various showtimes

Noir City: Chicago returns for the eighth year, as the Film Noir Foundation presents a festival that combines extraordinary rarities with revivals of recognized classics. Nearly all of this year’s offerings are being screened in 35mm, including several titles not available on DVD. Dovetailing off the Music Box’s recent Coen Brothers’ retrospective, one of the series highlights is a screening of Miller’s Crossing as the Opening Night film, with one of the film’s stars, Jon Polito, in attendance for a Q&A. Another highlight includes the rarely screened Los Tallos Amargos (The Bitter Stems), a Spanish-language noir from Argentina.

See the full schedule.



The Art of Illumination: Talk and Tour @ Stony Island Arts Bank

Farheem Majeed, Michal Raz-Russo, and Kate Hadley Toftness will lead a conversation about the collections at the Stony Island Arts Bank. The talk begins at 3pm on August 6. The event is free but registration is required.


MCA Talk: On Painting, Grabner + Otero @ Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Located on the 4th floor lobby of the MCA, this series invites artists and art historians to discuss contemporary art and the medium of painting. The talk is 3-4pm on August 13. 


Dissecting Signifiers @ Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art

The exhibit opens with a reception at 6pm on Friday August 12 and runs until October 2. Dissecting Signifiers investigates the signs, symbols, and icons that are present in our everyday experiences. Featuring work by Salvador Dominguez, Jason Hawk, Chris Silva and Asli Uludag. UIMA is at 2320 W. Chicago Ave. 



Grant Park Music Festival

Our classical music snob Louis chose some of the best concerts left in the remaining weeks. Tickets range between $25 to $89.

Wednesday, August 3, 6:30 pm, in Millennium Park: Piano virtuoso Stephen Hough will play Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. The program also includes MacMillan’s orchestral fantasy Britannia and Ibert’s Escales.

Friday and Saturday, August 5-6 in Millennium Park: Choral music aficionados will have an opportunity to hear Mozart’s Mass in c-minor, played by the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

Friday and Saturday, August 19-20, in Millennium Park: Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust, played by the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.


Great shows @ Lincoln Hall & Schubas

Liza Anne sings folk rock on Friday, August 5, with Less is More and Corey Kilgannon, Honne performs classic soul and synth on Monday the 8th with blues rockers JONES, rock band Psychic Temple performs on Thursday the 18th in a 4-band lineup, and local gents The North 41 play Friday the 19th, formally Walsher Clemons.


Thirsty Ears Classical Music Festival

The first ever street festival in Chicago devoted to classical music will take place on Saturday, August 13.  The festival is free though a $5 donation is suggested. There will be food trucks and beer, and activities for kids. It takes place on Wilson Avenue between Ravenswood and Hermitage 1-8pm.


JOA20 @ Elastic Arts

If you haven’t been to the fantastic exhibit celebrating Joan of Arc’s storied career, this is your last chance. The exhibit closes out on August 21, p which means there are only three more Tuesday evening presentations where you can experience all the madness of a Joan of Arc curated performance. Previous Tuesday night shows have seen JOA in full force, special guest Azita Youssefi, a Service Industry electronic performance, and a screening of Repo Man. You can read our full preview here.



Kill Your Darlings Live Lit Shows

Writers from Third Coast Review are joining talented voices in the Chicago storytelling community to perform a series of live lit and improv mash-up shows at ComedySportz theater  in Lakeview this August and September. The series includes seven themes based on each page of 3CR’s site. Improv actors perform in between and sometimes during stories. The shows begin August 3 at 7pm and continue every Wednesday evening at 7pm until the final show on September 14. Check out the Kill Your Darlings Facebook page for more info on the writers sharing each evening.


Lit Crawl Chicago

A beloved literary festival run by the Litquake foundation debuts in Chicago on August 18 in Andersonville. Women & Children First, pH Comedy Theater, Hopleaf, Simon’s and Cantina 1910 will be hosting different programs starting at 7pm. There are several events going on at once and attendees can walk between events.



Taste of Greektown

This is a free food festival in the West Loop on August 27 and 28 from 12noon to 11pm. See a full list of food vendors here.


Chicago Hot Dog Fest

Ribfest may be over but the Hot Dog Festival has yet to begin! Friday to Sunday, August 5-7, 11a.m. to 9p.m. at the south end of Lincoln Park at Clark and LaSalle Streets. Proceeds benefit the Chicago Historical Society. Food, speakers and music are on the agenda. Free admission; food tickets on sale. 




Cirque du Soleil’s new show Toruk is coming to United Center for a short run August 3-7.  Toruk is a prequel to the Avatar movie and is different from previous Cirque du Soleil shows as there is a narrator and a narrative in this show.

Tickets range from $30 to $120.


Ginza Holiday Festival

A three-day festival August 12-14 celebrates Japanese culture with music, dancing and drumming performances, as well as grilled chicken teriyaki and other food options. The festival takes place at the Midwest Buddhist Temple in Old Town at 435 W Menomonee St. Suggested donation is $7. For more info on schedule of events and vendors, visit the festival’s website.

Emma Terhaar
Emma Terhaar