We’re a week away from Inauguration Day, and if you’re not celebrating, at least you’re not alone. Most of the inauguration-related events crossing our desks from Chicago’s creative community in recent days have been framed in terms of protest or resistance, or at the very least promise to funnel funds to the likes of Planned Parenthood or the ACLU. Here’s a selection of some of the marches, protests, performances and talks where you can take solace or take part.
Stand Up! Fight Back! Trap Door Theatre hosts a staged reading inspired by Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, featuring Chicago actors reading a selection of activist texts from the last two-plus centuries of American political protest. Donations will be collected for Chicago’s Heartland Alliance. (Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W Cortland St. January 15 at 8pm. Free. Call 773-384-0494 for reservations.)
Women’s March Button-Making Party On MLK Day, Busy Beaver hosts an all-ages button-decorating party ahead of the post-inauguration Women’s March events on January 21. Materials and snacks will be provided free of charge. (Busy Beaver Button Company, 3407 W Armitage Ave. January 16, 3pm–8pm. Free. See Facebook event page for more info.)
The Ghostlight Project Spearheaded by theatermakers nationwide, the Ghostlight Project invites people to gather outside participating theaters at 5:30pm on inauguration eve in every time zone “to create a ‘light’ for dark times ahead” and pledge to stand for values of inclusion. Participating venues in the Chicago area include Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Victory Gardens Theater, Goodman Theatre, Northlight Theatre and more. (Various locations. January 19 at 5:30pm. Free. See website for more info.)
The Anti-Inauguration: An Emergency Cabaret Cynthia Bond and High Concept Labs assembled artists including Derek McPhatter, Alexa Græ and the Laboratory for the Development of Substitute Materials for this event that’s part variety show, part protest prep. (Mana Contemporary Chicago, 2233 S Throop St. January 20 at 7:30pm. $10. See website for more info.)
What a Joke: A National Comedy Fest Supporting the ACLU Chicago is one of 20 cities nationwide hosting inauguration weekend comedy shows to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union. The lineup at the Hideout, produced by Liz Maupin and Meredith Kachel, is scheduled to include Kristen Toomey, Brandi Denise, Matty Ryan, Calvin Evans, Sammy Arechar and more. (Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia Ave. January 20 at 9pm. $20. See event listing for more info.)
The Election Monologues Storytellers from Chicago’s live-lit scene relate personal accounts of how the election has impacted them in one of 13 such events in cities around the country. (Catalyst Ranch, 656 W Randolph St, Suite 3W. January 20 at 7:30pm. $10 suggested donation. See website for more info.)
Women’s March on Chicago The Chicago edition of the national network of marches kicks off from Grant Park at 10am the morning after the inauguration. (Grant Park, Petrillo Music Shell, 235 S Columbus Dr. January 21 at 10am. Free. See website for more info.)
Ja Ja Ja: Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund Benefit Standup Show Chicago Underground Comedy produces this night of Latinx comics to benefit MALDEF. Scheduled to appear are Gwen La Roka, Sammy Arechar, Jasbir Singh Vazquez, Audrey Jonas, Oscar Carvajal and Stephanie Weber. (East Room, 2354 N Milwaukee Ave. January 25 at 8pm. $10. See event listing for more info.)
The Conversation: Art and Resistance The first installment of “The Conversation,” Women and Children First’s new series of literary discussions, features author Aleksandar Hemon, artist Monica Trinidad, poet Roger Reeves, writer Eula Biss and Free Street Theater artistic director Coya Paz in a public conversation on art and activism. (Women and Children First, 5233 N Clark St. January 26 at 7:30pm. Free. See Facebook event page for more info.)
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