Expert Picks

What to Do in Chicago This Week: May 6-12

Beeswax Old Fashioned/Photo by Steve Ryan/Courtesy of Lyan Group

This week in Chicago, attend a chef-y pizza party, swoon over artistic love letters, sip beeswax cocktails and treat mom to a very special—and unique—Mother’s Day brunch.

Zucchine pizza by Marc Vetri/Photo by Ed Anderson/Courtesy of Vetri Cucina

May 6: Doug Benson at Zanies Chicago 
Lovable stoner comic Benson is popping into Zanies for a quick Monday night show after two shows at the club’s Rosemont location, where he’s doing stand-up at 4:20 p.m. on May 4, and a taping of his podcast, ​Doug Loves Movies, a​t 4:20 p.m. on May 5. Aside from his stand-up, Benson is known for his other podcast, ​Getting Doug With High, ​and his popular documentary, ​Super High Me. Details: May 6, 8 p.m.; $20
– Matty Ryan

May 7: Marc Vetri Brings His Pizzas to avec 
Following the crux of the James Beard Awards hoopla, swing by avec for a pizza party hosted by Philadelphia’s acclaimed chef Marc Vetri (Vetri Cucina). He’s teaming with avec’s own Perry Hendrix for a menu of specialty pizzas and other Italian dishes pulled from his book, Mastering Pizza, like a cacio e pepe pizza with pecorino and ground black pepper. Details: May 7, 6-11 p.m.; $35 (books are also for sale for $30)
– Matt Kirouac

May 7 and 8: Killed a Man (Joking)
This is a dark comedy about violence on several levels, and the ways in which femmes from different worlds have to navigate living in rape culture. I was called in to support the show as a dramaturge, and I am so excited to see what this talented cast does! It’s showing only four times in the bar at the Den Theatre in Wicker Park. Details: May 7 and May 8 at Den Theatre
– Tanuja Jagernauth

Photo courtesy of Cafe Brauer

May 9: Zombie Lyan at Blind Barber
Probably the biggest, most exciting pop-up happening in the wake of James Beard—and as the grand finale of Chicago Style cocktail conference—is this late-night cocktail party by London’s Lyan Company. The group will be slinging drinks from some of their beloved cocktail bars and previewing items from their forthcoming bar, Silver Lyan. Dubbed Zombie Lyan, the lineup for the evening includes super interesting cocktails like a Beeswax Old Fashioned; the Greener Grass Fizz made with Westward whiskey, gem lettuce, millet, lemon and absinthe; and Lada Lada, which has gin, lager “sizzurp,” smoke and elderflower. The wildest of them all is a Chicago-style hot dog in cocktail form, made with Westward whiskey, poppy seeds, tomato grenadine, celery seed soda and optional add-ons like pickles and smoke, for “char.” Details: May 9, 9 p.m.-12 a.m. at Blind Barber; no cover
– Matt Kirouac

May 10: “Take Care” at Ground Level Platform 
This group show is a love letter to love letters. Local artists present their works in textile, performance, and more to examine the power of the written word and the intimate experiences of reading, writing, and sharing. Details: May 10
– Claire Voon

May 11: Make Cupcakes with Mom at Magnolia Bakery 
Magnolia Bakery has delicious cupcakes, so why not spend an afternoon with mom learning how to make them yourselves? This special cupcake class will teach you how to make special flower cupcakes (with buttercream roses!) in a variety of colors. You’ll take home six of the cupcakes you make, along with some recipes, cupcake decorations and a starter cupcake icing kit. Details: May 11, 11 a.m.; $75
– Samantha Lande

May 11: Ballpark Brew Fest at Schaumburg Boomers Stadium 
Bigby’s Pour House has teamed up with the Schaumburg Boomers for the 7th Annual Ballpark Brew Fest. With over 100 beers from more than 50 breweries, don’t ask which of your favorite local craft brewers will be there, it’s more like who’s not gonna be there. Half Acre, Pipeworks, Maplewood, Pollyanna, 350, Lake Zurich, Wolfden, Crystal Lake, Tighthead, Revolution, Alarmist, Marz, Whiner, Hubbard’s Cave… I mean, come on, it just keeps going. Details: May 11, 2-6 p.m.; $45-75
– Jim Morris

May 12: Mother’s Day Brunch at the Lincoln Park Zoo 
Plan ahead and book your mom an extra special brunch surrounded by real animals—not just the kids. Café Brauer is doing multiple seatings for brunch, which includes a buffet and great views of the entire zoo. Details: May 12, seatings between 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; $45 for adults, $20 for kids under 12 and free for 1 and younger
– Samantha Lande

Through May 25: Othello
Mignon McPherson Stewart directs this modern take on Othello by William Shakespeare. Yasmin Mikhaiel calls it “visceral” and “devastating,” and recently wrote that this production affirmed for her that Shakespeare is still relevant. I’m in! Details: Through May 25 at Babes With Blades Theatre Company
– Tanuja Jagernauth

Photo courtesy of The Smith

Restaurant Opening of the Week: The Smith
Buzzy New York City import The Smith has officially arrived in Chicago, setting up shop in the thick of River North with a handsomely clad space and a hulking menu of contemporary American brasserie fare. The place looks primed to appease date nights and business dinners, or really just anyone hankering for a gussied up plate of mac & cheese, steak, fried chicken, etc. It’s also got an impressive cocktail program.
– Matt Kirouac