This week in Chicago, kick summer off to an early start with a couple beer festivals and a sangria-fueled happy hour, then examine some art inspired by pop culture characters and attend an on-the-nose play about the global climate crisis.
May 30–June 2: Maifest Chicago in Lincoln Square
Lincoln Square knows how to throw a German fest, and, of course, beer is innate to such an event. This is the 20th annual Maifest in the neighborhood, where attendees gather to celebrate the arrival of summer and admire the traditional Maypole that is decorated to portray the history and crafts of the community. There’s live music each day (yes, there will be polka bands), German and American fare, and a traditional keg tapping on Friday night for the opening ceremony.
May 31 and June 1: Jonah Ray at Lincoln Lodge
Ray is perhaps best known for the popular Comedy Central show The Meltdown With Jonah and Kumail, along with his cohost, Kumail Nanjiani, but since then the comedian has certainly kept busy. He booked several late-night appearances and a Comedy Central half hour, as well as a hosting gig for Mystery Science Theater 3000. Details: May 31 and June 1, 8 p.m.; $20
May 31: “The Ins and Outs: New Figures in the Urban Landscape” at Rhona Hoffman
The superb multidisciplinary artist Derrick Adams presents a recent body of work that merges textiles and paint, each centered on a black individual. Miniature roads, complete with cars, crisscross each portrait like windowpanes, situating each figure in a surreal setting of the city.
June 1: One-on-One Happy Hour at Parlay
The cheaper the drinks, the happier the happy hour, so by that logic the new recurring promo at Joy District’s Parlay Lounge is the happiest of them all. On the first of every month through summer, the bar is offering $1 beers and glasses of rosé, red sangria, and select wines, 6–7 p.m. It’s a surefire way to put you in a summery mood on the cheap.
June 1: “What’s Up Doc” at Line Dot Editions
Local illustrator Zach Schrey takes well-known pop culture characters—think: Mickey Mouse, Bart Simpson, and SpongeBob SquarePants—and warps their features into near-grotesque personalities. You can check out his newest works, made of sanded cutouts, in this solo show.
June 1: Chicago Ale Fest
The summer edition of this biannual event takes place on “Chicago’s front lawn,” aka Butler Field in Grant Park. Remind yourself why we endure six months of frigid agony by gathering with fellow fun- and sun seekers. Hope for a sunny day to try more than 200 beers, listen to live music, sample from familiar food trucks you’ve missed out on, and just hang out in the park. Also, get your workout in by adding a yoga package to your ticket and take part in fitness and yoga classes at the event. Details: June 1, 2–7 p.m.; $49–$59
Through June 6: Ethopian America
For immigrants, making a home in a new country is always fraught. We are often haunted by our past, and we’re lucky if we can move on in spite of it, but that requires additional sacrifices that not every family unit can sustain. Ethiopian America portrays one family’s struggle to achieve the American dream despite their own haunted past and present obstacles. Definition Theatre pulls zero punches, so I expect this play to be searing, honest, and powerful. Details: Through June 6 at Victory Gardens Theater
Through June 9: The Children
Mother’s Day and Earth Day collide in this family drama that asks us all: In the face of a global climate crisis, what are we actually doing to stop it? I can’t wait to see the personal and political come head-to-head in a seaside cottage in the east of England. Details: Through June 9 at Steppenwolf Theatre
Through July 6: Watch Acrobatics at Cirque du Soleil’s Volta
Cirque du Soleil returns with its latest production, Volta, a visually striking performance of all-new acrobatics under the big top located in the south lot of Soldier Field. Be amazed by the colorful costumes and a captivating story line in true Cirque fashion.
Restaurant Opening of the Week: Maddon’s Post
Really anything Tony Mantuano (hello, Spiaggia) is involved with I can rest assured will be deeply delicious and totally destination-worthy. Which is why his new restaurant, Maddon’s Post, an Italian-Polish project he opened with Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon, offers plenty to convince me to get over my social anxiety and head to Wrigleyville by my own free will. The menu bodes very well indeed: pizza aplenty, sausages, pastas, pierogi, and most excitedly (for me, anyway), paczki for dessert!