The Mix: The Water Tower’s birthday and more things to do in Chicago Sept. 13-19

The six-week-long Destinos: Chicago International Latino Theater Festival and the Lakeview East Festival of the Arts are among more highlights in the week ahead.

SHARE The Mix: The Water Tower’s birthday and more things to do in Chicago Sept. 13-19

Chicago’s Water Tower

Rich Hein/Sun-Times

From music to theater to family fun, there’s much to see and do in the next week across the Chicago area. So make those big plans now! Here are some suggestions to help you navigate the area’s vibrant entertainment landscape:

Sesquicentennial party

What made it through the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 and will probably outlast us all? That would be the Water Tower. The Chicago landmark is the centerpiece of the Chicago Water Tower 150th Celebration on Sept. 14. The free, daylong event includes family activities, lectures, tours, theater, music, dance, circus performances and exhibitions as well as food trucks and free admission to nearby cultural institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Lookingglass Theatre, The Arts Club of Chicago, Alliance Francaise, International Museum of Surgical Science, The Newberry Library, The Driehaus Museum and Ruth Page Center for the Arts. For more information, visit

Video song cycle


From Samson Young’s “Houses of Tomorrow”

Jonathan Loïc Rogers

In “Samson Young: Silver Moon,” the artist debuts a trilogy of animated music videos that explore ideas of social progress and utopia. Loosely inspired by the idealism displayed at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, the video song-cycle examines how people adapt to societal changes that they have little control over. From Sept. 18-Dec. 29, Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood. Admission is free. Visit

Latino stories on stage


Venessa M. Diaz in “Organic Sofrito”

Claudio Moya

The six-week-long Destinos: Chicago International Latino Theater Festival showcases the Latino experience as told by Latino artists. A diverse array of performances, panels and student performances are scheduled at venues throughout the city from Sept. 19-Oct. 27. New works for the stage are presented by Chicago companies Aguijon Theatre, Repertorio Latino Theater, Teatro Vista, Urban Theater and Water People Theater as well as by artists from around the country and Latin America. Kicking off the festival are Water People’s staging of Rebeca Aleman’s “The Delicate Tears of the Waning Moon” (Sept. 19-Oct. 27, Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre, 1700 Halsted, $20-$25) and Venessa M. Diaz’s solo show “Organic Sofrito or Other Recipes for Disaster” (Sept. 19-22, Urban Theater, 2620 W. Division, $15-$25). For a complete list of performances, visit

The Maestro returns


Leif Ove Andsnes


The Chicago Symphony Orchestra season gets underway with the return of music director Ricardo Muti and two weeks’ worth of concerts Sept. 19-28. The first features works by Mendelssohn, Scriabin, Shostakovich and Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes performing Griegg’s Piano Concerto. Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. Tickets: $32-259. Visit

Jazz master class


Bassist Hans Glawischnig (from left), Luis Perdomo (piano), Miguel Zenon (sax) and Henry Cole (drums).

Noah Shaye

Saxophonist Miguel Zenon celebrates the release of his new album, “Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera,” a salute to the legendary Puerto Rican composer who influenced him since childhood. Zenon, a multiple Grammy nominee and MacArthur Fellow, has said his goal is to introduce Rivera to audiences outside his homeland. “He wasn’t just one of the guys. For me, he was beyond that,” Zenon says. “He exemplified the highest level of artistry. He was like Bird, Mozart, Einstein, Ali — he was that guy.” Zenon and his quartet — pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Henry Cole — perform Sept. 19-22 at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Court. Tickets: $25-$45. Visit

Cosmic California country


Leslie Stevens

Julia Brokaw

Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Leslie Stevens is known for her honeyed vocals that would fit nicely into the early alt-country days of Laurel Canyon. She fronted the popular Americana band Leslie Stevens and the Badgers, took a few years to focus on family and now returns with a solo album, “Sinner,” featuring bold original love songs and ballads that take her songwriting to new heights. At 8 p.m. Sept. 17, Space, 1245 Chicago, Evanston. Tickets: $10-$18. Visit

More festival fun

Gallery and business open houses, artisans, music and kid’s activities are found at the Ravenswood Art Walk, Sept. 14-15, on Ravenswood from Irving Park to Leland. Visit

Visit the South Loop for the Printers Row Art Fest, Sept.14-15, 47 W. Polk. Visit

If smoked meats and fine whiskey are your thing, head over to the Chicago Bourbon & Barbecue Festival, Sept. 14-15, Damen and Roscoe. Visit

There’s art, music, cooking demonstrations and wine tastings at Lakeview East Festival of the Arts, Sept. 14-15, on Broadway from Belmont to Hawthorne. Visit

Mary Houlihan is a local freelance writer.

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