Pasion Oculta (Hidden Passion) is one of the pieces from Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater that kicks off the reopening of the Auditorium Theatre. Credit: Courtesy Ensemble Español

Drag performances, classical Spanish dance, a radical book fair, b-movies, a ghostly tour of downtown, and some great cooperative community fairs and events are all on the agenda this week.

Fri 10/15: If you’ve ever wanted to attend a gayer Met Gala, check out RUFFLES: Berlin Night Club’s “safe space for queer artists to showcase their imaginative fashions” at 954 W. Belmont. From 10 PM to 2 AM, get down to the tunes of DJ Ariel Zetina while enjoying drag performances hosted by Utica Queen and Aurora Gozmic. Tickets are $18, and proof of vaccination is required. This event is 21+.

Sat 10/16: Put your winter reading list together at the Radical Used Book Fair. This is the place for affordable tomes on topics ranging from abolition to climate change. Hit up the Haymarket House (800 W. Buena Ave.) from 11 AM to 3 PM for $2 paperbacks and $4 hardcovers. All proceeds go to the Haymarket Books Not Bars Program, which you can also donate to here. Cash, card, or Venmo will be accepted. This is an outdoor event, but masks are still required. Don’t forget to bring bags!

Art crawls are the new bar crawls. Grab your mask, and join MAKE Literary Productions, Homeroom, and the Guild Literary Complex for the third annual Exquisite Crawl. From 4:30 PM to 7 PM, writers, musicians, filmmakers, and artists will be making work together, exquisite corpse-style, at various venues along Milwaukee Ave in Logan Square. Follow the fun from Café Mustache (2313 N. Milwaukee) to places such as Galerie F and Whistler.

Roller skating! DJs! Produce! Independent films! Connect South Shore, an arts festival happening on 10/16 and 10/17,  truly has something for everyone. From 11 AM to 7 PM, “explore and engage with leading-edge contemporary art and design constructed and curated by some of Chicago’s leading artists and art institutions.” Bring friends or family to join the festivities for free at 7045 S. Jeffery.

The Auditorium Theatre (50 E. Ida B. Wells) kicks off its “Made in Chicago” dance series—the first live performances in the venue since the March 2020 shutdown—with Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater. The program includes Tangos de Granada by Wendy Clinard of Clinard Dance; two world premieres—Ritmo de la Tierra (Rhythm of the Earth) and Al Golpe (both choreographed by Nino de los Reyes)—and several other pieces from the company’s flamenco-inspired repertoire. The show is at 7:30 PM, and tickets are $25 ($15 student rush tickets to full-time college students and $5 tickets to young people ages 13-19 with Urban Gateways’s Teen Arts Pass program also available).

Sun 10/17: Pilsen Open Studios will be running along 18th Street from noon to 8 PM on 10/16 and 10/17. While you’re there, be sure to catch Expand!, an art market organized by 20 artists of color and hosted at Harrison Park (1824 S. Wood). The market will be running from noon to 5 PM both days. Come for the wares of local community creatives, stay for some tarot readings and maybe even a tattoo.

October might be the best month for b-movies. If you’re hungry for a little “schlock and awe,” the Native (2417 N. Milwaukee) joins forces with B-Movie Mania, the podcast for all things on-screen camp, every Sunday for B-Movie Bingo (read: bingo and cult classics). Tonight’s selections are Don’t Panic at 7 PM followed by Troll 2 at 9 PM.

Mon 10/18: The Lincoln Lodge (2040 N. Milwaukee) bills itself as “the nation’s longest running independent comedy showcase,” and their Monday night lineup certainly wins points for eclecticism. At 6 PM, there’s the “Spanglish” open mike, in which comedians are invited to work out their routines “in English, Spanish, or both.” At 9 PM, there’s “8 Bit,” in which comedians can do whatever they want—as long as it’s just one bit, and it lasts eight minutes. Free; see website for complete calendar.

Tues 10/19: It’s Trivia Night at the Hideout, and this month includes some special questions on Reader history and the Great Chicago Fire. With the help of the Chicago History Museum and the Newberry Library, writer, teacher, and public historian Paul Durica will bring the knowledge and laughs—all to benefit a community-based mutual aid organization. Festivities begin at 6 PM and will include some surprise special guests as well as music by Mr. and Mrs. Wednesday Night. Tickets are a recommended donation of $5-$25. This event is 21+, and proof of vaccination is required. 

Wed 10/20: For a handful of nights through the end of October, Exhumus Tours is offering a haunted look at the Loop from 7 PM to 9 PM. Starting at the Congress Plaza Hotel—rumored to be Chicago’s most haunted hotel—you’ll hear the stories and see the sights of some notoriously grisly frights. Tours are free, but donations are encouraged. Advance registration is required.

Thurs 10/21: Got a need? Or maybe have more than you can use? In the spirit of “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need,” Heaven Gallery (1550 N. Milwaukee, second floor) is partnering with the Kola Nut Collaborative to host an Offers and Needs Market. From 6:30 PM to 8 PM, community members can meet to “explore and map the range of offers and needs present within their block club, neighborhood association, or community organization.” This event is free, and light refreshments will be provided.