This week in Chicago, enjoy two different kinds of circuses (hint: one has beer), attend an Asian-American storytelling series, tour some garage galleries, and eat brunch set to boy-band tunes.
August 21: Talk Stories: An Asian-American/Asian Diaspora Storytelling Show
Ada Cheng is a master storyteller, and she’s back again with an evening of honest, vulnerable stories by Asian-Americans. The space she creates is sacred, hilarious, and guaranteed to leave you thinking. Support this wonderful artist and this powerful series! Details: At the Chinese American Museum of Chicago
August 22: National Bao Day Is a Thing!
It seems there’s a food holiday for everything nowadays, but one that stands out is National Bao Day. As a dumpling lover, I’m here for it. And Wow Bao is celebrating accordingly by offering free lunch (up to a $10 value; let’s not go nuts) in honor of the doughy holiday. Available at all locations. Details: 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
August 23: Summer Brew Cruise With Revolution Brewing
If you’ve never experienced a cruise down the Chicago River from Navy Pier, or even if you have, it is definitely a summer must-do. And this ride is a treat for all the senses. There will be seasonal beer tastings with appetizer pairings and live music while you cruise along the Chicago River. Revolution will be there, talking about its craft and pouring some of its delightful summertime brews, like Rosa and Freedom of Speach. Details: 7–8:30 p.m.; $49
August 23: George Lopez at the Chicago Theatre
Lopez is one of the modern-day powerhouses of stand-up comedy, and he has certainly cemented his place as one of the all-time greats alongside the likes of Carlin, Pryor, and Seinfeld. Time magazine named him one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in America, and he’s earned three Grammy nominations for his comedy albums. Details: 7 p.m.; $49–$69
August 24: Garage Galleries Forest Park
Explore this suburb as locals do—in the comfort of their homes. The unique art walk takes you around residents’ garages, which transform into scrappy galleries for the day to showcase work by local artists. This year’s is the largest one yet, with 51 artists and 19 garages on the roster.
Saturdays in August: Boy Band Brunches at AceBounce
Calling all Backstreet Boys/N*Sync fans: AceBounce has a special brunch promo lined up that’s equal parts nostalgia and comfort food. The Boy Band Brunch series takes place every Saturday in August, featuring dishes like breakfast sausage casserole and loaded Cronuts alongside boy band karaoke and trivia, a DJ, ping-pong, and a Bloody Mary bar. Details: noon–3 p.m.; $49
August 24: Lagunitas Beer Circus: Chicago
Through all it’s evolution and growth, Lagunitas has remained pretty dang weird—or at least eccentric. This annual touring circus held in Chicago at Douglas Park appears to be its celebration of eccentricities in all shapes and sizes. Lots of Lagunitas brews will be flowing, as well as some yet-to-be-announced local guest taps. Entertainment? Music, burlesque, aerialists, sideshows…basically everything that an acid trip would deem overkill. Details: Noon–5 p.m.; $40
Beginning August 24: Midnight Circus in the Park
One of our favorite events of the summer and fall, this awesome circus sets up in parks across Chicago, where kids (and parents!) can cozy up under the big top and watch acrobatics, magic, and performance art. Proceeds go to help the Chicago Park District, so it’s a win-win all around. Details: Tours at parks across Chicago; $5
Through August 25: The Wizard of Oz
It’s hard not to adore the classic tale of Dorothy, her ruby slippers, and the cast of characters she meets along the way. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater retells this beloved tale with a 75-minute play that’s sure to have your kids falling in love with the soundtrack and visuals we all grew up with. Details: At the Chicago Shakespeare Theater; $38 for adults, $24 for kids 12 and under
August 25: “Curtis Anthony Bozif: Great Lakes” at Evanston Art Center
Here’s a soothing exhibition: This series of quiet blue paintings by local artist Bozif is inspired by the five North American freshwater lakes, each rendered in shades of blue that range from moody to blissful. Some are oil on canvas, while others incorporate materials like sand and iron fillings to deepen the sense of locale.
Through August 25: True West
In 1982, Steppenwolf staged Sam Shepard’s masterpiece, starring Gary Sinise and John Malkovich. Today, under the direction of Randall Arney, we see the play through the lens of lead actors Namir Smallwood and Jon Michael Hill. Two brothers at odds find themselves alone in their mother’s house with no one to talk to but each other. What will come of their time together? I can’t wait to find out. Details: At Steppenwolf Theatre