September 2014 events calendar for things to do in Chicago

Plan your September in Chicago with our events calendar of the best activities, including free things to do, and picks from theater, art and music

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Chicago Gourmet, September 29, 2012

Chicago Gourmet, September 29, 2012 Photograph: Jason Little

Do you have a case of the summertime blues? Cheer up, because fall in Chicago is looking like it's going to be pretty exciting. Grab a beer stein and get into the festive spirit of the season at Berghoff Oktoberfest or Oktoberfest Chicago. Tap into your inner rock god at the opening of the Museum of Contemporary Art's "David Bowie is" exhibition. Sample dishes from the city's top chefs while gazing at the skyline at Chicago Gourmet. If you're not tired to seeing bands outdoors, you can hang out with the punks at Riot Fest or stand around in a parking lot at the Hideout Block Party.


RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2014


X

  • Price band: 3/4

The origional four members of the L.A punk band X will be coming together at the city Winery for four nights, as they do a rendition of one of their classic albums for each night. John Doe and the group will start with Los Angeles on September 2, Wild Gift on the 3rd, followed by Under the Big Black Sun. Finally, X will play their final album More Fun in the New World on Friday September 5th.

  1. City Winery 1200 W Randolph St, at Racine Ave
  2. Until Fri Sep 5
Buy tickets

Isaac's Eye

  • Price band: 3/4

Writers Theatre artistic director Michael Halberstam stages the Chicago premiere of Lucas Hnath's abstract, modern-language account of young Isaac Newton and his path to success.

  1. Books on Vernon 664 Vernon Ave
  2. Until Sun Dec 7
Buy tickets

The Hideout Block Party & Onion A.V. Fest

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The annual throwndown on the dead end of Wabansia always brings a solid mix of roots music and '90s indie nostalgia. Death Cab for Cutie, the Dismemberment Plan, the Meters, Mac DeMarco and the War on Drugs top the bill in 2014. Check out the lovely synth-pop stylings of duo Sylvan Esso, too.

  1. Hideout 1354 W Wabansia Ave, between Willow and Ada Sts
  2. Until Sat Sep 6
Buy tickets

German-American Fest

  • Free

Relive the famous Ferris Bueller scene at this parade celebrating Deutschland heritage. The street party features German food, music and dancing and the Von Steuben Parade kicks off on Saturday at 2pm.

  1. Western and Leland Aves 2312 W Leland Ave, at Western Ave
  2. Until Sun Sep 7
More info

Midnight Circus in the Parks

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Get under the big top at parks all over the city, as an eclectic ensemble of acrobats, aerialists and eccentrics perform in an intimate setting. Proceeds from these family-friendly events benefit the Chicago Park District.

  1. Welles Park 4400 N Lincoln Ave, between Montrose and Sunnyside Aves
  2. Sat Oct 4 - Sun Oct 19
Buy tickets

Bit Bash

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Step into the Threadless HQ, grab a joystick and enjoy more than 30 new indie video games at this first annual interactive arts festival. Delve into the 10-player madness of Killer Queen or strap on an Oculus Rift and experience the elephant trunk-enabled destruction of Dumpy. Arcade Brewery and Dark Matter Coffee provide refreshments, with a portion of proceeds benefitting local charity Chicago Loot Drop.

  1. Threadless HQ 1260 W Madison St
  2. Until Sat Sep 6
Buy tickets

Carrie Underwood

  • Price band: 3/4

Since winning the fourth season of American Idol in 2005, this 29-year-old Oklahoma native has become one of the biggest names in country music, thanks largely to rowdy tough-chick anthems such as “Before He Cheats." Expect to hear plenty from Underwood's recent No. 1 smash, "Blown Away".

  1. Ravinia Pavilion 418 Sheridan Rd, between Lake Cook and Green Bay Rds
  2. Until Sun Sep 7
Buy tickets

Renegade Craft Fair

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The 12th annual fair is an opportunity for serious crafters from around the country to sell their handmade arts and wares. And for serious shoppers to buy them. Workshops, local food vendors and live music invade Division Street.

  1. Division St between Damen Ave and Leavitt St Division St, between Damen Ave and Leavitt St
  2. Until Sun Sep 7
More info

Kegs for Kids

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

An annual benefit for Peirce Elementary School in Andersonville, Kegs for Kids takes over Hopleaf, putting more than 60 beers on tap for attendees to sample. When you're not drinking a brew, you can munch on food provided by local restaurants or bid on items in a massive silent auction.

  1. Hopleaf 5148 N Clark St, between Winona St and Foster Ave
  2. Sun Sep 7
Buy tickets

King Lear

  • Price band: 3/4

Larry Yando essays the title role in Chicago Shakespeare Theater artistic director Barbara Gaines's new production of Shakespeare's tragedy.

  1. Chicago Shakespeare Theater 800 E Grand Ave, at Navy Pier
  2. Until Sun Nov 9
Buy tickets

NASCAR Chase Grid Live

  • Free

Rev your engines and head to this NASCAR fan festival, where there will be food, music and activities available for speed junkies of all ages. On Thursday from 4:30–6:30pm, the festival culminates with an appearance by 16 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers.

  1. Pioneer Court 401 N Michigan Ave, between Tribune Tower and the Chicago River
  2. Until Thu Sep 11
More info

Berghoff Oktoberfest

  • Critics choice
  • Free

For three days Federal Plaza plays the role of Munich, Germany in Berghoff's version of the world's largest fair. Take in live music, German beer and Bavarian food. Prost!

  1. Federal Plaza 50 W Adams St, Clark, Dearborn
  2. Fri Sep 12
More info

Bear in Heaven

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Bear in Heaven has been quiet since its 2012 platter of airy prog-pop, I Love You, It's Cool. The Genesis of Georgia sounds even more gloriously Phil Collins-y (yes, this is a good thing) on "Time Between," the first single from Time Is Over One Day Old. Drums boom under pillowy clouds of synthesizers.

  1. Lincoln Hall 2424 N Lincoln Ave, between Fullerton Ave and Montana St
  2. Until Thu Sep 11
Buy tickets

World Music Festival

  • Free

Globe-trot through music at this citywide fest, featuring artists from around the world. For venue and show details, check out the festival's website.

  1. Chicago Cultural Center 78 E Washington St, at Michigan Ave
  2. Until Sun Sep 21
More info

Native Son

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Court Theatre and American Blues Theater present Nambi E. Kelley's new stage adaptation of Richard Wright's classic novel about poverty and oppression on the South Side of Chicago in the 1930s. Poor man Bigger Thomas begins work in a white man's home, but his repressed upbringing releases chaotic and violent behavior that determines his future.

  1. Court Theatre 5535 S Ellis Ave, between 55th and 56th Sts
  2. Until Sun Oct 19
Buy tickets

Riot Fest

  • Price band: 2/4

In a sprawling park on the city's west side, replete with circus attractions, Riot Fest prides itself on being punk. It's bookings are as diverse as "punk" is difficult to define. There's mall-punk, hardcore, emo, goth, metal, thrash, new-wave, rap, gray-haired indie and Weezer. The Cure, the Flaming Lips, Jane's Addiction, the Offspring, Slayer all top the bill in 2014. The bill, as per usual, reads like the CDs that were piled on the floor of your used Buick in high school. Does this mean you have to learn how to skate all over again? Couldn't hurt. On second thought, it totally could.

  1. Humboldt Park 1400 N Sacramento Ave, at North Ave
  2. Until Sun Sep 14
More info

Ed Sheeran

  • Price band: 3/4

The Jason Mraz of adolescent England continues his climb up Mt. Fame. After opening for Taylor Swift, he now headlines his own arena tour with his overearnest puppy dog rap-folk. Can a ginger-scented body spray be far behind? The 23-year-old is flying high off Pharrell-produced single "Sing," which explores the godforsaken scorched earth between LFO's "Summer Girls" and the Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Runnin'." Wait, tickets are how much?

  1. Allstate Arena 6920 N Mannheim Rd
  2. Until Tue Sep 16
Buy tickets

The Night Alive

  • Price band: 3/4

Henry Wishcamper directs the Chicago premiere of Conor McPherson's latest, about a down-on-his-luck Dublin guy who finds a flicker of hope in a young woman he rescues on the street. The cast includes Steppenwolf ensemble members Francis Guinan and Tim Hopper along with Helen Sadler, Dan Waller and M. Emmet Walsh.

  1. Steppenwolf Theatre Company 1650 N Halsted St, between Willow St and North Ave
  2. Until Sun Nov 16
More info

Expo Chicago

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Expo Chicago brings more than 100 galleries representing 17 countries to Navy Pier for a gigantic international art fair. Visitors will be able to take in a breathtaking selection of contemporary art, all in a space specially designed by Chicago architect Jeanne Gang.

  1. Navy Pier, Festival Hall 600 E Grand Ave, at Streeter Dr
  2. Sun Sep 21
Buy tickets

Logan Square Beer Fest

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The Logan Square Beer Fest returns for a second year, expanding to two tasting sessions in response to last year's sold out event. In addition to more than 50 different suds for sampling, attendees will be treated to live music, food from a local restaurant and a brewery swag raffle.

  1. Logan Square Auditorium 2539 N Kedzie Blvd, at Albany Ave
  2. Sat Sep 20
Buy tickets

312 Urban Block Party

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Goose Island beer throws a nice little street bash outside its West Town production facility. Dayton indie darlings the Breeders return to headline after a lengthly 20th anniversary tour for its Last Splash album. Also on tap are hoppy rock stylings of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down (8:30pm) and the Vampire Weekend Lite sounds of Cayucas (5:30pm). We're always down for more soulful psych-rock from Unknown Mortal Orchestra (7pm), too. At Pitchfork Fest, Goose Island was brewing a Sharon Van Etten beer. Here's crossing our fingers for a Kim Deal Saison.

  1. Goose Island Brewery 1800 W Fulton St, at Wood St
  2. Sat Sep 20
Buy tickets

Sam Smith

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

When Disclosure and Sam Smith collaborated to make the single "Latch", the London singer grabbed the attention of the music community. Since then Smith has release various singles and a brand new LP on Capitol Records In the Lonely Hour. Various singles off that album such "Lay Me Down" and "Money on My Mind" have made it on the U.K charts, but we're hoping that he can make a name for himself here in America. With a voice like his however, we don't think he'll need much luck doing that.

  1. Riviera Theatre 4746 N Racine Ave, at Broadway
  2. Until Mon Sep 22
Buy tickets

"David Bowie Is"

  • Critics choice

Awesome. The coolest. A god. That's our answer to what "David Bowie Is." This feverishly awaited collection, culled by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, gathers over 300 pretty things including costumes, photographs, videos, photography and other rare emphemora that demostrate the Thin White Duke's towering influence over 20th century pop culture.

  1. Museum of Contemporary Art 220 E Chicago Ave, at Mies van der Rohe Way
  2. Until Sun Jan 4
More info

Ty Segall

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Holy cow, Ty Segall went, like, months without making a new record. The new king of garage rock is making up for the slack with a double album, Manipulator. Mikal Cronin, who has become quite a power-popper of renown on his own, plays bass on this tour. If you like fuzz (and his side project Fuzz), this is the guitar man for you. Bring your hippie dad and you skater little bro. The charming surf-rock revival group La Luz opens.

  1. Thalia Hall 1807 S Allport St, at 18th St
  2. Until Tue Sep 23
Buy tickets

Tim and Eric + Dr. Steve Brule

  • Critics choice

Adult Swim stars Tim and Eric of Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job! (a.k.a. Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim) and Dr. Steve Brule of Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule (Chicago native and DePaul alum John C. Reilly) put in two nights at the Athenaeum as part of a five-week tour.

  1. Athenaeum Theatre 2936 N Southport Ave, at Oakdale Ave
  2. Until Wed Sep 24
Buy tickets

Stromae

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

If you've never heard of Stromae, that's likely going to change really soon. The electro-songsmith—real name: Paul Van Haver—specializes in soulful bangers that sound at once sophisticated and bombastic, and he's a huge star in his native Belgium. The mania seems to be spreading for the hip-hop Jacques Brel (to use a crude but apt description), judging by the high demand for this first big gig in Chicago.

  1. Metro Chicago 3730 N Clark St, between Waveland and Racine Aves
  2. Until Wed Sep 24
Buy tickets

King Crimson

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Are you ready for more guitar Frippery? One of the coolest axe players in rock history, Robert Fripp has reunited his prog pioneers, minus Adrian Belew. The latest lineup features Fripp, Chapman Stick man Tony Levin, Mel Collins, Jakko Jaksyyk and drummers Pat Mastelotto, Gavin Harrison, Bill Rieflin. People who read magazines like Modern Drummer will know who those people are. A bit surprising, considering a couple years ago Fripp said in an interview, "My life as a professional musician is a joyless exercise in futility." So, enjoy.

  1. Vic Theatre 3145 N Sheffield Ave, at Belmont Ave
  2. Until Sat Sep 27
Buy tickets

Chicago Gourmet

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The annual three-day fest kicks off Friday with its Hamburger Hop throwdown. Walk in and waddle out once you've stuffed your face at cooking demos, tasting pavilions and a wine sampling.

  1. Millennium Park 55 N Michigan Ave, at Washington St
  2. Until Sun Sep 28
Buy tickets

Oktoberfest Chicago

  • Price band: 1/4

Greet autumn with a stein full of beer in one hand and a giant pretzel in the other. The annual festival takes place outside of the St. Alphonsus Church and features plenty of brews (including a craft beer tasting session on Friday night) as well as activities and entertainment for kids and families.

  1. St. Alphonsus Church 1429 W Wellington Ave, at Southport and Lincoln Aves
  2. Until Sat Sep 27
More info

The Black Keys + Cage the Elephant

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

After the sleek, commercial sound of El Camino, the Black Keys return to a more soulful groove on the new Turn Blue. Produced again by Danger Mouse of Broken Bells, the former Ohioans float through some nifty psych on the record. Two word review: Brothers Bells. It's mellower, for certain, but lest you think that won't fare well inside a stadium, there is a fresh spritz of Pink Floyd to the affair, and they did just fine in arenas. Kentucky's Cage the Elephant opens with its modern garage-rock melange of Strokes, Pixies and Black Lips influences.

  1. United Center 1901 W Madison St, between Wood St and Damen Ave
  2. Until Sun Sep 28
Buy tickets

Hyde Park Jazz Festival

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

An impressive lineup of jazz musicians swing through Hyde Park for the annual Jazz Festival, which takes place at multiple venues throughout the neighborhood.

  1. Midway Plaisance 731 E 60th St, between Cottage Grove Ave and Stony Island Ave
  2. Until Sun Sep 28
More info

Lily Allen

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The headline-grabbing pop provocateuse tours her new album Sheezus (wince), her first record in half a decade. After starting her career with breezy ska-pop and then moving on to more electronic territory on her last record, this time Allen apparently recorded by "throwing shit in the wall and seeing if anything sticks." Tonight's your chance to find out exactly what that wall's looking like.

  1. Riviera Theatre 4746 N Racine Ave, at Broadway
  2. Tue Sep 30
Buy tickets


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