The Mix: Chicago Jazz Festival, WGCI Summer Jam and more things to do in Chicago Aug. 23-29

SHARE The Mix: Chicago Jazz Festival, WGCI Summer Jam and more things to do in Chicago Aug. 23-29

Freddy Cole

Allen Lyons

Looking for some cool things to do in the week ahead in and around Chicago? Here are some suggestions to consider:

Jazz up your week

The 50th anniversaries of two Chicago jazz institutions are celebrated at this year’s Chicago Jazz Festival. Nicole Mitchell, Rob Mazurek, Ari Brown, Jeff Parker and others offer a tribute to the Jazz Institute of Chicago, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago performs with Roscoe Mitchell, the group’s sole surviving founding member. There’s also a tribute to Nat King Cole performed by his brother Freddy Cole as well as sets with Ben Sidran, Marc Ribot, Eddie Palmieri Sextet, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Christian McBride and more. From Aug. 23-Sept. 1, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph; Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington and other venues around the city. Free. Visit

Hip-hop twist



Nikki Carrara

Anyone who saw hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris’ “Lazarus” (performed here last winter by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) knows any new work by this dance master is exciting news. His latest work-in-progress “Lifted,” a loose adaptation of “Oliver Twist,” follows a teen orphan who has been sent to live with his religious relatives. With a backdrop of gospel-infused house music, the piece is performed by Chicago dancers with vocalists from Mosaic Community Choir and St. Benedict the African Catholic Church. At 7:30 p.m. Aug. 23 and 2 p.m. Aug. 24, Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. Tickets: $10-$30. Visit


Cat art by Stephen Holman, such as “Mouse Juggler,” will be on display at Catzilla.

Cat art by Stephen Holman, such as “Mouse Juggler,” will be on display at Catzilla.

Courtesy of the artist

Labyrinth Arts Performance Collective celebrates all things feline at Catzilla 7, A Cat Fest, an event that raises awareness about cat rescue and adoption. There’s a cat-themed cabaret as well as comedy, spoken work, juggling, dance, live music and an art show and auction. Among the cat artworks are drawings by Heather McAdams, experimental photographs by Gary Justis and whimsical illustrations by Stephen Holman. At 7 p.m. Aug. 23-24, Hairpin Arts Center, 2810 N. Milwaukee. Tickets: $20. Visit

Under the little big top

Provided photo

Midnight Circus

Jeff and Julie Jenkins return with Midnight Circus in the Parks, which travels to parks across the city. The family-friendly show features aerial acrobatics, tumbling, juggling, feats of dexterity and more all presented in a heartfelt storytelling style. My Boy Elroy serves as DJ and beatboxer to create a circus soundscape. From Aug. 24-Oct. 20 at various city parks. Tickets: $5-$25. For a complete list of venues, go to

Rapping up summer


Gucci Mane performs at Lollapalooza 2018.

Kate Scott/For the Sun-Times

Rap, hip-hop and R&B take center stage at the WGCI’s Summer Jam. Featured artists are Gucci Mane, Yo Gotti, Polo G, Queen Naija, Teyana Taylor, Ann Marie, Lud Foe and Shordie Shordie. At 7 p.m. Aug. 24, Wintrust Arena, 200 E. Cermak. Tickets: $66-$122. Visit

Women bring the laughs


Patti Vasquez

Provided photo

Comedy ranging from stand up to musical improv can be found at the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival. The lineup includes comedians Patti Vasquez, Dina Nina Martinez, Anna Vocino and Loren Tarquinio of Married AF, ventriloquist Hannah Leskosky, improv groups Bosses in Bonnets and Hitch Cocktails and the variety show Super Tasty. New this year are Spanish-language sets with Argentinian comic Eliana La Casa, the sketch show “La Carne Asada #2: The Seasoning,” a telenovela from Las Tinas Improv and streetwise teaching moments from Ratas de Dos Patas. From Aug. 23-25, Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. Tickets: $15, festival passes $36-$150. Visit

Chamber music concert


Brian Hong (left) and Alexander Hersh

Lauren Desberg

Cellist Alexander Hersh and violinist Brian Hong founded NEXUS, a collective of accomplished young musicians, with a goal of bringing chamber music to new audiences in ways that eliminate the traditional formality of classical music. One way is through the NEXUS Chamber Music Chicago Festival, a four-concert program that showcases musicians from around the world performing a wide range of works in an intimate venue. At 6:30 p.m. Aug. 28, 30 and Sept. 4 at Guarneri Hall, 11 E. Adams. Tickets, $10, $40. At 6:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at Ganz Hall, Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan. Free. Visit

More festival fun

  • Greek food and culture are the highlight of Taste of Greektown, Aug. 23-25, Halsted and Van Buren. Visit
  • Enjoy a juried art fair plus music and food at Bucktown Arts Fest, Aug. 24-25, Oakley and Lyndale. Visit
  • Check out Milwaukee’s theater, art, music and dance scene at the Milwaukee Fringe Festival, Aug. 24-25, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 929 N. Water, Milwaukee. Visit
  • Find unique art at Port Clinton Art Festival, Aug. 24-25, 600 Central, Highland Park. Visit

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