Identity City, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre Credit: Fernando Rodriguez Photography

The Reader turns 50 today, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate our golden anniversary than by checking out some of the events that give our city (and surrounding areas) a cultural glow and make us happy to be here. Cheers!

Fri 10/1: Fall is here and Pride has returned! This weekend brings us rescheduled Pride events that were originally planned for June. While the official parade remains canceled for 2021, there’s still a Chicago Pride Fest tonight through Sunday in Lakeview. Highlights include live performances from musicians Mýa (Saturday at 9 PM), Vincint (tonight at 8:45 PM), Roy Kinsey (Sunday at 7 PM), Jamila Woods (Sunday at 4 PM), drag performer Shangela (Saturday at 2:30 PM), dance music diva Crystal Waters (Sunday at 8:10 PM), DJs, vendors, food, a pet parade on Sunday, and more. A full schedule of events and more information is available at the festival’s website. A suggested donation of $15 is requested for entry. The entire affair is open to all ages and takes over the entirety of Halsted from Addison to Grace Street.

 Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre kicks off its fall concert series at Evanston’s Studio5 tonight and tomorrow night at 8 PM. The theme for the series is “America/Americans,” with a focus on new work, including Shannon Alvis’s ongoing Identity City project (now in the second year of a planned four-year journey) that explores “how gender is felt, expressed, received, challenged.” Cofounder Joe Cerqua composed the music for Alvis’s piece. Other works include Mood Swing, the company’s ongoing response to the pandemic crisis featuring multiple choreographers (including cofounder Wilfredo Rivera); Monique Haley’s Soul Remedy, featuring the music of Pharez Whitted in an exploration of the “Aesthetic of the Cool”; and Stephanie Martinez’s Shiver (also composed by Cerqua) in which three dancers embody the parts that make up one person “separating from the past and moving toward growth.” Tickets are $25-$50 (in-person tickets are limited, but a livestream is also available). Upcoming performances are also slated for Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills on 10/9 and a benefit performance at Epiphany Arts Center on 10/17.

Another exploration of America in dance, specifically the history of tap in Chicago, takes place this weekend with the Chicago Tap Summit, running through Sunday at the Harold Washington Cultural Center, courtesy of M.A.D.D. Rhythms. (Today is officially M.A.D.D. Rhythms Day in Chicago, if you didn’t know!) M.A.D.D. cofounder Bril Barrett talked to Reader contributor Irene Hsiao about the artists who influenced his career earlier this week. The lineup for the summit includes the world premiere of Hoofin’ It: The Untold Story of the Founders of Tap, a “trans-media experience” developed in association with Chicago Dancemakers Forum. See the website for a complete schedule of events.

ComedySportz Chicago gave up its longtime Belmont Avenue home during the pandemic shutdown, while continuing to maintain a vigorous schedule of virtual classes and performances. They’ve now landed at Wicker Park’s Den Theatre, and their grand reopening is tonight. The company has focused on games-based competitive improv for over 30 years, and the relocation to the Den, which has become a go-to venue for stand-up comedians, seems like a felicitous partnership. You can check out their complete schedule online

¡Pachanga! Zombie Quinceañera takes over Metro tonight at 8 PM with DJs (including DJ Sandra Treviño, who wrote about the band Dos Santos for us this week), live performances by Lester Rey and the Collaborative Institute of Cultural Arts, zombie face painting, and more. It’s open to those undead who happen to be 21 and older, and tickets are available here.

Sat 10/2: The Terrain Biennial kicks off today, with art on view at a variety of Chicago and suburban locations through Mon 11/15; check out Salem’s preview here and get a taste of the art at the biennial’s Block Party today at Anthony Overton Elementary School, which features performances by AJ McClenon, Madeleine Aguilar, DJ Papeon, and Edith Yokley from the Chicago Sinfonietta. It’s free and open to all from 1 PM-5 PM at 221 E. 49th. 

Pride South Side comes to the DuSable Museum today for an afternoon event including vendors, libations, and the sounds of DJ Zolita, DJ Dapper, and DJ Duane Powell. It’s free, but registration is requested at Eventbrite. The museum is at 740 E. 56th Place, and the event happens from 2 PM-8 PM.

Sun 10/3: Hyde Park Art Center’s Center Sundays series presents a day-long Hack-A-Thon open to all ages. Workshops will include Harvesting Roots with artist Tulika Ladsariya, who invites visitors to bring in recycled glass vessels (clean pasta jars, bottles, etc.) and create dot art mandalas on them at the center, which will be then used in a learning session about propagating plant cuttings in water to allow them to grow into new houseplants. The event runs from 1 PM to 4 PM at the center (5020 S. Cornell).

Mon 10/4: For those who still aren’t ready to venture out into crowds (or who have just rediscovered a love of audio drama during the shutdown), Broken Nose Theatre unveils an audio dramatization of their hit 2018 production, Kingdom, by the company’s resident playwright Michael Allen Harris. After the state of Florida legalizes same-sex marriage, longtime partners Arthur and Henry find themselves with differing opinions on the necessity of becoming husbands, even as their son finds himself wading into difficult waters of his own. Reader critic Justin Hayford wrote of the 2018 production: “Harris takes messy human impulses and makes them poignantly messier, in the process illuminating the societal forces that can turn human shortcomings into iconic tragedies.” This new audio version, directed by Manny Buckley, runs through 10/24 and is available on a pay-what-you-can basis.

Tue 10/5: Rent is celebrating its 25th anniversary (which adds up to 13,140,000 minutes, not counting leap years). The late Jonathan Larson’s reimagining of La bohème for the age of AIDS had its first off-Broadway preview January 25, 1996—the same day he died suddenly from an aortic dissection at age 35. It’s now doing a “farewell tour” and making a brief stop (through 10/10) at the CIBC Theatre through Broadway in Chicago. Tickets are $21-$86.

Wed 10/6: There’s two chances to hear music steeped in Haitian folklore traditions this week. Haitian dancer, actor, and musician Erol Josué performs at the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Maurer Hall tonight at 8:30 PM. It’s free and open to all, and the evening starts with Chicago-based Haitian roots band Kreyòl Roots. And if you miss tonight’s concert, Josué brings his performance We Remember Haiti to the DuSable Museum’s Roundhouse on Thu 10/7 at 7 PM. 

The Chicago Magic Lounge reopened in early August with a full lineup of magicians performing in their front bar and in their mainstage Harry Blackstone Cabaret. Kerry caught Nick Diffatte in the latter space and found his blend of self-deprecating nerd humor and sight gags a fun gloss on traditional close-up magic. Though young, Diffatte is already a Vegas vet, and he’s bringing his show, Nick Diffatte: Offbeat back to the Magic Lounge beginning tonight at 7 PM. It runs Wednesdays through 12/22 (except for 11/24); tickets are $40-$45.

Thu 10/7: Are there vampires in Chicago? The events production company Dark Heaven says yes and offers up Guilty Pleasure, an “immersive vampire event” for Dracula, Lamia, and friends tonight from 9 PM to 2 AM. The evening features an oyster bar, a curated cocktail menu “consisting of all blood types” (don’t worry, we’re thinking it’s more likely to be grape juice), a special “kinky performance” ritual, and DJs spinning house and techno. This adults-only event is hosted at a private event space in the South Loop and tickets are required; see Dark Heaven’s website for details.