Button Power by Christen Carter

The torpor-inducing temperatures seem to be cooling down, so it’s a good time to get out and about. Here are some mid-August events worth looking into.

Fri-Sun 8/13-8/15 (and through 8/29): High school can be fraught, as so many teen dramedies have taught us. School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play, Jocelyn Bioh’s comedy set in a girls’ boarding school in Ghana in 1986, explores cliques, colonialism, and colorism. It’s running at the Goodman in a stellar production under Lili-Anne Brown’s direction. Check out Reader theater and dance editor Kerry Reid’s review here, and get tickets ($15-$45; limited number of free tickets available for healthcare workers and arts professionals) at the Goodman website.

Sat 8/14, 8 PM (also 8/21 and 8/28): Contretemps Contemporary Ballet, a company dedicated to challenging the stereotypes of the form and creating opportunities for those historically excluded from it, kicks off their new piece, Heat Lightning, in a three-Saturday run outdoors at the Drucker Center, 1535 N. Dayton. You can read Irene Hsiao’s preview here, and order tickets ($10-$25) through the company’s website.

Sun 8/15, 3 PM: Did the Olympics inspire you to start cheering on women in sports? You can see some of the best in women’s basketball at Wintrust Arena today as the Chicago Sky meet up with the Seattle Storm to kick off the second half of the 2021 season. Masks are mandatory for entry to the game, and proof of vaccination will be requested. Tickets ($35-$200) at the Sky website

Mon 8/16, 8 PM: The free jazz ensemble Extraordinary Popular Delusions restarts their regular Monday night residency at the Beat Kitchen. Admission is free and limited to those 21 and up. Read about them here in this 2019 story by Reader critic Howard Mandel. You can find out more about the Monday shows at the Beat Kitchen website.

Tue 8/17, 7 PM: The Chicago Magic Lounge is open again for business—and their business is the best of Chicago-style close-up magic, relying on sleight-of-hand rather than flashy effects. Tuesday nights this month, Luis Carreon and Paige Thompson are featured in the Lounge’s artist-in-residence series, The Showcase ($35-$40), with other shows running every night. You can also just pop in for a few rounds of libations and tricks from your bartender in the Lounge’s front bar. Tickets and complete schedule at the website.

Wed 8/18, 7 PM: Work in Progress comedy showcase curated by comedian and actor Abby McEnany was rescheduled from last week to accommodate Mother Nature. Those who bought tickets for the show (originally scheduled for Wed 8/11) can attend tonight’s performance at Navy Pier, which will be followed by a fireworks show. Information at the Chicago Humanities Festival website

Thu 8/19, 6:30 PM: Busy Beaver Button Company owner Christen Carter will talk at a release event and book signing for her new Button Power, which follows American history through the eyes of the pinback button. The free event happens at City Lit Books in Logan Square and more information is at their website

Thu 8/19, 8 PM: The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, a group including brothers inspired by the music of Phil Cohran, play an all-ages concert at the Promontory in Hyde Park. (You can read Peter Margasak’s 2003 article about them.) Tickets ($20-$42) are available here.