Expert Picks

What to Do in Chicago This Week: August 26–September 1

Photo courtesy of Helltrap Nightmare/Facebook

This week in Chicago, raise a glass to Midwestern wine, bid farewell to a beloved sketch comedy group, attend a classical music festival, and enjoy a free screening of a Tom Hanks classic.

Photo by Meghan Leigh Photography/Courtesy of Frontier

August 26: Tanta Turns Six 
Tanta is turning six in River North, and to celebrate, the perpetual hot spot is throwing a rooftop party with current chef Giancarlo Valera and former chef Jesus Delgado. Look for a made-to-order ceviche station, a lechon carving station, live music, and specialty cocktails featuring Santiago Queirolo Pisco, Fid Street Gin, and Pau Maui Vodka.
Details: 6–9 p.m.; $75
—Matt Kirouac

August 26: 9th Annual Shuck Off and Seafood Fest at Frontier
Let’s be honest: At this point, nine years in, Frontier’s annual Oyster Shuck Off and Seafood Fest is the bivalve equivalent of Lollapalooza. The yearly spectacle has local chefs vying for a $1,200 prize and the coveted title of “Chicago’s Fastest Oyster Shucker.” The culinary talents come from the likes of GT Fish & Oyster, Cantina Laredo, Shaw’s Crab House, and others. For attendees, in addition to shucking entertainment, there will also be a crawfish and crab boil, an oyster happy hour, and a bevy of drink specials.
Details: 5:30 p.m.; $35 (happy hour is open to the public with no cover, running noon–3 p.m.)
—Matt Kirouac

August 27: In Sound at Hyde Park Art Center 
Head to Hyde Park for a public performance by this art center’s current artists-in-residence. Nesrine Khodr and Elnaz Javani will present work that engages with the poetics in the sounds and experiences of Farsi, Arabic, and English.
—Claire Voon

Photo courtesy of Grittani Creative/Carol Fox and Associates

August 28 and 30: NEXUS Chamber Music Chicago Festival 
The intimate Guarneri Hall will host the second annual NEXUS Chamber Music Chicago Festival in late August and early September. NEXUS is a collective of acclaimed young musicians committed to sparking interest in chamber music through immersive performances, social media, live-streaming, and showcasing emerging talent. The four-concert festival includes a range of renowned classics and rarely performed pieces performed by 12 award-winning musicians. Each concert is based on a different theme, including Call of the Birds and Nocturnal Awakenings.
—Jessica Mlinaric

August 28: Introduce Your Kids to the Movie Big 
Here’s a flick the whole family will love: Big! Catch Tom Hanks in this classic while sprawling out on the lawn with a cozy blanket and some snacks at Gallagher Way.
Details: At sunset; free
—Samantha Lande

August 29: Midwest Wine Dinner at Publican Quality Meats 
Midwestern wines get their deserved time in the spotlight at this very special dinner, where six courses of food by chef de cuisine Rob Levitt are joined by regional wines from Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and, naturally, Illinois. With quality bottles coming from the likes of August Hill Winery, Mari Vineyards, and Wollersheim Winery, you might be surprised by how much you love it.
Details: 7 p.m.; $127.04
—Matt Kirouac

“My Own Private Iowa” / Courtesy of Sungjae Lee/Facebook

August 30: “My Own Private Iowa” at ACRE 
In this solo show, artist Sungjae Lee wrestles with his identity as a South Korean with family roots in Iowa City. At the heart of the performance-installation is a shrine adorned with objects that consider what it means to call a place one’s hometown.
—Claire Voon

August 31: Helltrap Nightmare at the Hideout 
Sarah Squirm and the boys (the Shrimp Boys, that is) are back at the Hideout with their hilarious fever dream of a show, this time as a sort of farewell before they move to New York City in the fall. As usual, look for off-the-wall sketches, elaborate props, and stand-up comedy from some of the most avant-garde performers from Chicago and beyond.
Details: 9:30 p.m.; $10
—Matty Ryan

August 31: Lo Rez Locals Night 
This month’s locals’ night at Lo Rez Brewing had me at honey butter fried chicken. That’s right, the North Side joint is heading down to Pilsen to serve up Daemon beer-brined fried chicken strips with Beer-BQ mustard and other goodies. Lo Rez will be releasing Pineapple Whitespace, its fruited Belgian-style Witbier. Each locals’ night helps to support a Chicago nonprofit, and this month it’s the Chicago Period Project.
Details: 4–8 p.m.

—Jim Morris

Photo by Sarah Zelman/Courtesy of Utopian Tailgate

Through September 8: You Can’t Take the Funk (A Journey Through Funk Music) 
According to Hedy Weiss, this show “will take you higher, set you on fire, and infuse you with a Superfly energy.” Can you really turn that down? The fast-paced performance guides audiences through the timeline of Chicago funk—the highs as well as the lows. Details: At Black Ensemble Theatre
—Tanuja Jagernauth

Restaurant Opening of the Week: Utopian Tailgate
The unstoppable crowd-pleasers behind the Fifty/50 Group strike again with their most boisterous effort yet. Utopian Tailgate is a 10,000-square-foot rooftop restaurant-bar above the legendary Second City comedy complex, with party-ready, tailgate-inspired food and drinks in a colorful, lively space with plenty of flat-screen TVs and patio games like bocce and mini golf.
—Matt Kirouac