Featured events in November 2019
Devoted to making the humanities an part of everyday life, this ambitious event brings together some of the world's best and brightest individuals for a celebration of human creativity. The theme the Chicago Humanities Festival's fall lineup is "Power," and explores the meaning of the word in various arenas, including politics, relationships and literature. Guests at this year's festival include VEEP actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, musician Patti Smith, comedian John Hodgman and author Sarah Vowell. You'll find a complete list of speakers and events on the Chicago Humanities Festival website.
Sculpture, objects and functional art (SOFA, for short) are displayed in Navy Pier’s festival hall at this annual art fair, where more than 80 dealers show off expensive works fit for office building lobbies, mansion foyers and airport terminals. Most of the items on display are for sale, but attendees are more than welcome to walk the floor and take in the sights.
More commonly known as FoBAB, the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers offers a stacked lineup of wood- and barrel-aged concoctions that are sought after by beer nerds. More than 200 craft brewers come to Chicago for the annual event, where attendees can sample stouts, sours, ciders and mead during three tasting sessions. Throughout the weekend, judges evaluate all of the beers being poured and award medals in various categories—it's like the Olympics of high-ABV brews. Make sure to take a look at the beer lineup and plan your drinking accordingly, because the most popular beers tend to disappear fairly quickly.
You haven't experienced the holidays in Chicago until you've stepped into this giant open-air market inspired by a similar seasonal tradition in Nuremberg, Germany. At Christkindlmarket, guests can shop handcrafted items like nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, beer steins and glass ornaments. When hunger strikes, nibble on potato pancakes, hot pretzels, schnitzel, döner and chocolate-covered treats. And no trip to Christkindlmarket is complete without a steaming mug of Glühwein, a traditional hot spiced wine (there's also hot cocoa for the kids). The holiday market boasts three locations in Daley Plaza, Gallagher Way and Milwaukee, but the outpost in the Loop is its most popular iteration. When the weather is decent, the market is generally packed in the evenings, so stop by in the afternoon for a more plesant (and less-crowded) shopping and/or dining experience.
Don't feel like going to the Loop for your glühwein fix? The Wrigleyville outpost of Christkindlmarket returns to Gallagher Way this year, with fewer vendors than the Daley Plaza version of the event, but just as much holiday cheer. At booths around around an ice rink, you'll find ornaments, beer steins, jewelry and clothes available for purchase, in addition to a smorgasbord of German foods, such as pretzels, sausages, döner and strudel. Naturally, you'll be able to browse the selection of goods while clutching a mug filled with a steaming beverage of your choice. Plus, unlike its counterpart in the Loop, Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville remains open through the end of the year, so you can extend the spirit of the season to the week after Christmas.
Concerts in November 2019
Drummer for the Roots, Tonight Show bandleader, author and Twitter personality Questlove returns to Chicago for a DJ set at Smartbar, but he'll only be spinning tracks by a single artist throughout the evening. Celebrating the life and work of the Purple One, Quest will turn in an all-Prince DJ set, covering a body of work that ranges from his 1978 debut For You to his final studio album, Hit n Run (we're hoping for a few tracks featuring Prince from the Minneapolis funk compilation, Purple Snow, as well). Show up early for an opening set from local DJ Shazam Bangles and get ready to party like its approximately two decades ago.
Inspired by European clubs that are open for days at a time, Metro and Smart Bar are hosting another 23-hour party that should test your endurance on the dance floor. The festivities begin at 7am on Saturday, November 2 and the music won't stop until the the club's doors close at 5am on Sunday, November 3 (thanks to the end of daylight savings time). This year's edition of the expansive party features some heavy-hitters behind the decks, including LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy (performing an extended set), Miami bass producer Danny Daze and German electro pioneer Anthony Rother. You'll also hear from Smart Bar residents like Garrett David, Justin Aulis Long, Michael Serafini, Ariel Zetina, DJ Heather and Olin. Drink plenty of coffee, wear something comfortable and prepare to party for almost an entire day!
"'Cause ain't no next life, so now I'm tryna live my best life," a clean-cut and no longer gap-toothed Danny Brown raps on his new album, U Know What I'm Sayin?, reflecting on a life well-lived. The Detroit rapper's latest is a his most straight-forward record in years, dialing back the experimental trappings of his last few releases in favor of more subdued, sample-ridden beats that accentuate his rapid-fire wordplay and adaptable flow (as well as features from the likes of Run the Jewels and JPEGMAFIA). It's a bold move for an artist who has always thrived on a sense of escentrcity, but it's further proof that Brown is a talent with clear vision. Headlining Metro, Brown is joined by blue-haired rapper Ashnikko and Detroit MC Zelooperz.
Like any other larger-than-life pop star, Lana Del Rey is ultimately a persona that has been crafted over the course of several albums—and it's a character that only continues to become more compelling. On Norman Fucking Rockell!, Del Rey oversees a collection of profane, insightful, wordplay-ridden ballads that act as sepia-tinged snapshots of life and love in 2019. Did we mention that she also turns in a breezy cover of Sublime's reggae-fusion hit "Doin' Time" for good measure? She's never as flashy as Gaga, or as woke as Beyoncé but Del Rey's tragically romantic vision of the modern world is as intoxicating—and timely—as its ever been.
Are you ready for an evening of break-up ballads, pole dancing, martial arts and eleaborate costumes? Avant-garde R&B singer FKA Twigs brings her sophomore album MAGDALENE—written in the wake of her split with Twilight star Robert Pattinson—to life with an intricate new stage show, which transforms the artist's catalog into a theatrical experience that showcases both her vocal and dancing skills. Chicagoans got a taste of FKA Twigs's artistic vision when she headlined Pitchfork Music Festival in 2016, but her latest production (which has already been staged in New York, Los Angeles and Berlin) seems to take her ethereal melodies to the next level.
Going from a grocery store bagger with a SoundCloud account to a featured artist on Cardi B's smash hit "I Like It" in just a matter of years, Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio (a.k.a. Bad Bunny) has become one of the leading voices in the burgeoning Latin trap scene. The Puerto Rican artist with a penchant for shaving intricate patterns into his buzz cut returns to Rosemont in support of his debut album, X 100pre, though he'll probably pepper his set with a few tunes from Oasis, his recent collaboration with Columbian singer J Balvin. For fans of hip-hop en español, there's no bigger show left this year. ¡Vamos!
Ramshackle rockers Twin Peaks have spent the majority of their careers (and some of the most formative years of their early adulthood) channeling classic rock influences and honing an energetic live show. On the it's latest album, Lookout Low, the group shows some signs of settling down, delivering a collection of decidedly downtempo tunes about riding ferries, weathering rough Chicago winters and chasing the natural high of new love. It's a bit lackadaisical, but it's welcome new territory for a band that's clearly looking for something more nuanced that another raucous anthem. After celebrating with in-stores at Chicago record stores earlier this year, the dudes return for a blow-out at the Riviera Theatre, joined by North Carolina rockers the Nude Party and local experimental trio Ohmme.