Got Melkbelly? The band plays Saturday as part of a Beverly Area Arts Alliance concert at Morgan Park Academy. Credit: Courtesy the artist

It’s Labor Day Weekend (unless you’re OG and already celebrated workers on May Day—not that you can’t honor working people every day). For the traditional end-of-summer celebration, we’ve got walking tours, markets, music, exhibits, and more.

Daily, 11 AM-4 PM: The Chicago Cultural Center has multiple exhibitions on view at the moment, which is a nice way to escape the bustle of downtown. This week is the last chance to check out “what flies but never lands?,” a group show curated by Minh Nguyen and featuring work by Ana Garcia Jacome, Cathy Hsiao, SaraNoa Mark, Jacobo Zambrano-Rangel, Huong Ngo, Max Guy, Imani Elizabeth Jackson and S*an D. Henry-Smith. The exhibition closes on Sunday, September 5. And while you’re wandering around the center, you can also check out a solo exhibition of sculpture by Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford as well as the immersive “Chicago: Where Comics Came to Life (1880-1960)” curated by artist Chris Ware and historian Tim Samuelson. Both are on view until January 2022. And don’t forget to check out Buddy, the new store in the Cultural Center featuring wares from Chicago artists and organizations.

Fri 9/3, 7:30 PM: Before there was Mean Girls, Heathers was excavating the ferocious world of high school cliques and backstabbing for Gen X. So what could be better for that twisted back-to-school energy than seeing it onstage? Surging Films and Theatrics continues its run of the live musical version (by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy) of the 1989 film that made Winona Ryder an alt-darling. It runs through 9/12 at the Edge Theatre, 5451 N. Broadway, with performances Thu-Sun and tickets starting at $40.

Sat 9/4, 11 AM: The Evanston History Center offers a lakefront walking tour ($20, EHC members $15), exploring the role of Evanston’s public parks in its development as a city. The EHC offers a variety of other civic tours, along with the “Under the Buffalo” lecture series and exhibits at the historic Dawes house throughout the year; check the website for a schedule and to make reservations.

Sat 9/4, 1 PM-7 PM: Beverly Area Arts Alliance sponsors an outdoor concert at Morgan Park Academy featuring music from local bands Melkbelly, the Flips, and the Feeders, a DJ set by Ruta Spencer, and food trucks serving craft cocktails, ice cream, and more. This free event is open to all ages and is hosted on the grounds of the school at 2153 W 111th. More information is at the Alliance’s website.

Sat 9/4, 11 AM-3 PM: Plant Chicago, the farming, community, and food-focused nonprofit based in Back of the Yards has a busy day planned, starting with its regular Saturday Farmers Market from 11 AM to 3 PM at Davis Square Park (45th and Marshfield). Local vendors include Back of the Yards Coffee, Bee-utiful Honey, Cedillo’s Fresh Produce, Soap Junkii, and the Chunky Scone. After you shop, head across the street to Plant Chicago’s headquarters (4459 S. Marshfield) where a workshop in visible mending (it’s like embroidery) is offered by donation to those who drop by between 1 and 4 PM; more information is available here. Plant Chicago also has a Plant Swap scheduled from 11 AM-3 PM; bring that fern you’re sick of and trade it in for someone else’s spider plant. Information about Plant Chicago and its activities is available at the organization’s website.  

Sat 9/4, 7:30 PM: Dreamers YOLO Studio opened at 5419 N. Lincoln in 2020, right before the world went topsy-turvy. They’re open again with the world premiere of Metadata by Chicago playwright Amy Crider. A psychologist and his new assistant study unsuspecting subjects on social media. When their boss pushes them into an assignment with political implications, things take a darker turn. It runs Thursdays through Saturdays until 9/18; tickets are $20 and must be reserved in advance at the website.

​​Sun 9/5, 8:30 PM: Drum-machine-driven duo the Austerity Program open for Ryan Patterson’s darkwave project Fotocrime at the Empty Bottle. Check out Reader contributor Luca Cimarusti’s preview here. $10, 21+.

Mon 9/6, 6 PM: Millennium Park’s Summer Music Series continues at Pritzker Pavilion with Contemporary Indigenous Voices, featuring Leonard Sumner, Lyla June, and Tall Paul in a concert celebrating different nations from the U.S. and Canada. It’s free and all ages.

Wed 9/8, 2:30 PM-7 PM: Get a tour of Bronzeville from Bronzeville Historical Society founder Sherry Williams, featuring highlights of the area’s history, culture, and arts spaces. It kicks off at 2:30 PM from the community garden at 51st and Calumet. Then stick around for Boxville’s Market Wednesdays summer series for an African-Caribbean Market featuring West African and Bahamian food, music, and dancers. Boxville is at 330 E. 51st. Both events are free to attend and more information can be found at Build Bronzeville’s website.

Thu 9/9, 8 PM: The horrible new Texas abortion laws are depressing as hell for women and people with uteruses, but if you want to get back in fighting spirit while enjoying some laughs, She the People at Second City is here to help. The all-femme, patriarchy-smashing comedy revue, which has played several engagements in Chicago, Toronto, and Washington D.C., returns for one last time at UP Comedy Club in Pipers Alley in an open run, Thu-Sun. Tickets are $39-$61 and available online.