Dancers from Chicago Tap Theatre during Chicago Dance Month 2021 Credit: Philamonjaro

Happy days are here again with these upcoming events and things to do in the week ahead!

FRI 5/27

This weekend the Martin (2500 W. Chicago) is hosting an exhibition by Tigray Art Collective titled “Wa’ela Exhibition.” The Tigray Art Collective is made up of artists from Tigray, a northern state in Ethiopia, making work responding to the region’s ongoing civil war and genocide. The exhibition opens at 6 PM tonight with a reception. Saturday the gallery is open for viewers from 10 AM-4 PM, followed by a film screening and community gathering starting at 6:30 PM. On Sunday, there will be a closing reception from 4-7 PM. Proceeds from the artwork provide support for Tigray residents weathering this humanitarian crisis. Proof of vaccination is required for attending any portion of this event. All events are free to attend but reservations at Eventbrite are encouraged. (MC)

Winifred Haun & Dancers and Banks Performance Project present a shared dance concert of new works, Carry Us Forward, tonight at 7 PM and tomorrow at 3 PM at Hamilton Park Cultural Center, 513 W. 72nd. Company founder Haun presents an excerpt of her piece When day comes, part 2, featuring music by composers Olivia Block and Michael Wall, performed by several members of the company. WH&D associate artistic director Summer Smith unveils a new untitled solo work for company dancer Myles Harris, and assistant choreographer Mandy Miller also presents a new piece. Banks Performance Project will present two new works, including one by company founder Elysia C. Banks. BPP is the resident dance company at Hamilton Park, and their mission is “to translate the value of concert dance through performance and access across communities to connect all of us.” Tickets for this dance concert are $20 general admission (four for $60), $15 children 6-18, and free for 5 and under; tickets available through the WH&D website. (KR)

It’s a stacked lineup tonight at Chop Shop (2033 W. North). At 10 PM, pop-infused indie postpunkers Avantist are dropping a new music video and performing. The evening starts at 7:45 PM with openers Lollygagger warming up the stage, followed by Crystal Killers and the Tomblands. Later, revel in the afterglow of it all with a post-show celebration soundtracked by the techno party crews Legion of Doom and End of Days. Starting at 10:45 PM, they’re bringing Niiigggggaaaaa, Avantist (again!), Ommen (of Pixel Grip fame), and Ppppppupppppp to the DJ decks. For $15 ($13 in advance), this dance floor is open to those 18 and over. Don’t forget your vax card. (MC)

Lots of recommended music events tonight from our music writers. Reader contributor Hannah Edgar wrote a preview this month about Chicago jazz musician Makaya McCraven’s performances at 9 PM tonight and tomorrow at Lincoln Hall (2424 N. Lincoln). Tickets are still available for both 18+ shows. Hardcore fans should check out contributor Monica Kendrick’s preview for tonight’s Racetraitor show at Cobra Lounge (235 N. Ashland); it starts at 8 PM and tickets are available to those 17+. Contributor Bill Meyer recommends the experimentation of the band Pelt, who you can catch twice this weekend: tonight as part of WNUR’s Transference Fest (7:30 PM at SPACE, 1245 Chicago, Evanston, all-ages) and tomorrow at the Hideout (9:30 PM at 1354 W. Wabansia, 21+). And contributor Luca Cimarusti wrote about the California band Deftones, who you can see tonight at Huntington Bank Pavilion along with Gojira (7 PM, all-ages, tickets here). (SCJ)  

SAT 5/28

Catching shows at the Driehaus Museum (40 E. Erie) can be tricky since it’s only open on weekends, but it’s worth making time for “Theodora Allen: Saturnine” before it closes on Sun 7/10. LA-based contemporary artist Allen makes paintings like Greek myths unfolding into the Whole Earth Catalog, fusing an archetypical sort of melancholy with the acid-stained, ephemeral “return to nature” aesthetic of 60s California. It’s just the right amount of sadness that resists cynicism while reflecting on human definitions of “natural.” The museum is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 AM-5 PM and Sundays from noon-5 PM. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, $10 for students with identification, and free for Driehaus Museum members, active military personnel with identification, and children under 12. (MC)

Once a month the Chicago Tool Library (CTL) hosts a free repair fair, and today’s is happening from 1-4 PM at the Chicago Bee branch location of the Chicago Public Library (3647 S. State). During CTL repair fairs, volunteers across disciplines perform free repairs for community members, so bring out anything in need of some minor work: bikes, appliances, clothes, and more. Wanna know about the next one? Follow the Chicago Tool Library on Instagram or check out their website. (MC)

Attention all cuties with curves: the Thick Mall is back at Sleeping Village (3734 W. Belmont). From 1-5 PM, local vendors specializing in vintage and vintage-inspired plus-size garments (including Luvsick, Thick Chick Vintage, and Baby Girl Retro) will be opening their collections to those looking for size “L” and larger. Not only is it free to browse, but there’s an instant photobooth by Marisa KM and treats from Saltorsomething. You must be 21 or older to attend. (MC)

2022 is the Year of Chicago Dance, so if you haven’t taken in anything terpsichorean so far, June is busting out all over with possibilities, courtesy of Chicago Dance Month. You can get a free sneak peek today at Navy Pier with performances from Najwa Dance Corps (dedicated to preserving dance styles and techniques from different eras reflecting the African American diaspora); Chicago Repertory Ballet, which focuses on giving fresh twists to the classic canon; Raks Inferno, a company of “firespinners, bellydancers, and object manipulators”; hip-hop and performance collective Movement Revolution Dance Crew; Chicago Tap Theatre; and contemporary company Visceral Dance. The performances kick off at 3 PM, and while limited lawn chairs are available, it’s suggested that you bring your own blanket. Chicago Dance Month, now in its tenth year,  is a project of See Chicago Dance; you can check out the website and register to find out about everything that’s happening around the city, including many performances or classes that are free or discounted. (KR)

SUN 5/29

We’re at the beginning of the prime season for outdoor street festivals, a time-honored city tradition giving us all the joy of eating food on a stick while wandering around a neighborhood and hearing bands doing their thing on a stage at the end of the block. This weekend’s Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival will honor your cravings for tribute bands and eating outdoors. It started Saturday and continues today from 11 AM-10 PM on Sheffield between Belmont and Roscoe, and entertainment tonight includes Rod Tuffcurls & the Bench Press on the main stage at 8 PM, and a diverse lineup of drag, cabaret, and reggae (Gizzae, singer Meghan Murphy, and a group of drag performers including Lucy Stoole, Thair, and Zolita) starting at 5:30 PM on the Belmont stage. A full schedule of performances and set times is available at the festival website. (SCJ)

The Chicago BIPOC Birders Network is a group of bird-identification enthusiasts that centers Black and Indigenous people of color. Today from 2-4 PM, the network hosts a free meet-up at North Park Village Nature Center (5801 N. Pulaski). Expect a leisurely and lighthearted stroll through a small portion of the preserve’s 46 acres. At the end, there will be a free catered taco buffet with both meat and vegetarian options. Space is limited, so organizers are requesting advanced reservations from people who know they will show up. If you need binoculars, note that when registering. People of color to the front on this one, please! (MC)

Experimental Sound Studio kicks off the 2022 edition of its long-running Option series today, a “music salon” dedicated to musicians exploring improvisation and experimentation with their compositions and practice. This year ESS is shifting to a format that includes monthly Option performances at various venues in Chicagoland from now until November. Many of the performances will be sited outdoors, and all will be documented with video and available for viewing after the performance at ESS’s YouTube page. This afternoon at 2 PM, you can catch sound artist, instrument maker, and experimental musician Victoria Shen as she performs under the Evicshen moniker; the show will take place in the garden at ESS’s headquarters (5925 N. Ravenswood). It’s free and open to all ages, and advance reservations are requested through Eventbrite. (SCJ)

At 7 PM, Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles (a longtime Chicago-based LGBTQ+ music organization) welcomes Pride Bands Alliance members from its family of 38 affiliates across the U.S., Australia, the UK, and Canada to perform with Lakeside Pride as part of Sweet Home Chicago. The evening features two symphonic bands, world premieres of new work by composers Christen Taylor Holmes and Evan Williams, and a performance by the evening’s emcees—RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Angeria Paris VanMicheals and Denali. General admission is $30 ($25 in advance) with the option to upgrade to a meet-and-greet package offered before the show with opportunities to take photos with Denali and Angeria. This evening is open to all ages and happens at the Auditorium Theatre (50 E. Ida B. Wells). (MC)

MON 5/30

Rolling Stone just celebrated the innovative tech used in the latest music video of local postpunk darlings Ganser. In “People Watching,” which was publicly released this week, Ganser used an LED backdrop to create a convincingly immersive video environment on a low budget. At 8:30 PM tonight, Ganser will open for A Place to Bury Strangers and Glove as part of a two-night stint at the Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western). Get tickets ($22) ASAP; night two is already sold out. You must be 21 or older with proof of vaccination. (MC)

TUE 5/31

Cinema/Chicago kicks off their free and weekly Summer Screenings program tonight at 6:30 PM at Chicago History Museum (1601 N. Clark) with a showing of A Girl Returned (L’Arminuta), a 2021 Italian mystery directed by Giuseppe Bonito. It’s free to attend but advance tickets through the festival website are recommended; limited seating might be available day-of. (SCJ) 

WED 6/1

“Only mystery allows us to live, only mystery,” said the great Andalusian poet and playwright Federico García Lorca. Murdered by the fascist Nationalist forces in Spain in 1936 and dumped into a mass grave (his remains have never been found), Lorca has been an avatar for many intersecting identities: Latine, gay, left-wing, and an advocate for emerging 20th-century avant-garde movements in Europe, including surrealism, symbolism, and futurism. Water People Theater celebrates his legacy with LORCA, Living the Experience, conceived and directed by artistic director Iraida Tapias. Combining the female protagonists of Lorca plays such as Yerma, Blood Wedding, and The House of Bernarda Alba with live music and multimedia (including a video mapping element involving flamenco), the piece reflects on the deeper meaning of the mystery of life and freedom that Lorca sought to embody. It runs tonight at 7 PM at Instituto Cervantes, 31 W. Ohio; tickets are $25-$35 through Eventbrite. (KR)

Is it too obvious to kick off Pride month at Berlin (954 W. Belmont)? If so, who cares—because it’s Legends of Drag night. At 7 PM, authors Devin Antheus and Harry James Hanson will celebrate the release of their new photo book, Legends of Drag, which profiles 81 performers across 16 cities. Then at 9 PM, Berlin programmer and absolute icon Lucy Stoole emcees for a lineup of Chicago all-stars featuring JoJo Baby, Maya Douglas, Honey West, and Sheri Payne. Chicago’s own legendary Chilli Pepper and Capucine Deveroux will tap in as hostesses followed by a massive dance party. Tickets are $15, and this event is only open to those 21 and over with proof of vaccination. (MC)

Once uPUN a time . . . no, sorry, I don’t want to PUNder to you, dear reader. Let’s save the PUNsibility until tonight at 8 PM (doors open at 7) when the Chicago Puntathlon makes its triumph-punt return, giving audience members free reign to dazzle each other and a panel of judges with their arsenal of dad and mom jokes. The competition will be hosted by local performer and teaching artist The Ricky Harris, and feature clown performance by Nikki Hartung and a special magic and pun-filled segment by Johnathan Koller. Rules and details for those who want to prepare (should I say PUN-pare? No, I should not) for competing are available at the event’s Facebook page; those who can take the heat but want to stay out of the kitchen are welcome to watch with a $15 entrance fee (advance tickets are available at Eventbrite). It’s hosted at the Call (1547 W. Bryn Mawr), and the evening is open to those 21 and up. (SCJ)

Crooner Andrew Sa has been in residency at Golden Dagger (2447 N. Halsted) in the last weeks, and tonight’s Lonesome Andrew’s Queer Revue is a fitting way to cap off the series and start out Pride month. Sa and his band will back up an array of guest vocalists covering songs from the pop and country canons as well as his own original music. Sa has asked performers Alex Grelle, Connie, Sophie Sputnik (Waltzer), Hawk Colman, and a few surprise guests to join him for this 8 PM show. It’s $15 and open to those 21+; advance tickets are available. (SCJ)

THU 6/2

It’s all about skateboarding today at the Gray Center (929 E. 60th). From morning to evening, they’ll be hosting different events—skate sessions, panel discussions, and refuel moments—that honor skating as a social and embodied art form, under the title The Useless Tool (Skate Sessions). Expect cameos from professional skateboarder and designer Alexis Sablone, author Kyle Beachy, and performance theorist Tina Post as well as representatives from organizations FroSkate and Natty Bwoy, Timothy Johnson, Sonnenzimmer (Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi), Maxwell Neely-Cohen, Kristin Ebeling, and Every house has a door (Matthew Goulish and Lin Hixson). Everyone is encouraged to bring their boards to the event, but anyone skating must sign an Acceptance of Risk Waiver on arrival. This is free and open to all ages, and food is provided at no charge throughout the day. Check out the Gray Center’s website for the complete programming schedule. (MC)

Artist Michael Rakowitz’s new exhibition “The Monument, the Monster, and the Maquette” includes new sculpture exploring relationships between monuments and statues in American public space and public discourse and struggle; with a look toward the centuries of white supremacy and settler colonialism that have informed our collective conversation about such markers of history (especially when the tellers of that history have been subjective and unreliable). You can hear more about Rakowitz’s work and research this evening as he talks with art historian Dr. Erin L. Thompson about the hidden histories of American monuments at Rhona Hoffman gallery (1711 W. Chicago). It’s free to attend and starts at 5 PM; reservations are recommended and can be made at Tock. (SCJ)

Fans of either Shang-Chi or Kim’s Convenience are in for a treat tonight as Chinese-Canadian actor and Marvel Cinematic Universe superstar Simu Liu has a public conversation with writer Joanne Lee Molinaro tonight about acting, battling stereotypes, and writing his new memoir, We Were Dreamers. The event starts at 7:30 PM at Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport) and is hosted by the Chicago Humanities Festival; tickets are sold out as of this writing but you can add your name to the waitlist to be notified if a seat becomes available. (SCJ)

Life is a cabaret, and sometimes your only option is to Carry On! Chicago singer Cindy Firing and NYC-based Josephine Sanges created this show out of their friendship, cultivated while “navigating distance, disease, and duets.” Firing has won acclaim for her tribute to the late  and legendary Barbara Cook, You & I, while Sanges’s 2020 album, Finding Beauty, honored the very-much-alive (but also legendary) Ann Hampton Callaway. The two women perform 8 PM tonight and Friday at Davenport’s, 1383 N. Milwaukee; tickets are $25 with a two-drink minimum; 21+. Reservations at (KR)