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The Mix: Tree lights at the Arboretum, Zoolights, One of a Kind virtual show and more things to do Nov. 19-25

There’s much to see and do in Chicago in the week ahead both online and in person.

Lincoln Park Zoo is again lit up for the holidays.
Christopher Bijalba

Watts at the zoo

Pandemic guidelines suggest spending time outdoors is a good thing, and what better place to spend it than at local zoos decked out for the holidays. From Nov 21-Jan. 3, Lincoln Park Zoo’s ZooLights transforms the zoo grounds into a land of twinkling lights. Tickets are required this year, and admission is $5. Additional festive activities include socially distant visits with Santa, an Enchanted Forest ($3), light maze ($3) and more. Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark;

Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum
© Michael Hudson

Winter wonderland

The Morton Arboretum’s annual Illumination, Tree Lights, is this year reimagined as a drive-through experience with new light displays, drive-up concessions and a customized music soundtrack. The 11 light displays along the 2-mile route include new features as well as returning favorites such as Symphony Woods, Woodland Wonder, and Crystal Promenade. To Jan. 3 at Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois 53, Lisle. Tickets: $29-$49, timed advance tickets required. Visit

John Doe
Jim Herrington

John Doe x 3

“Well … I’m getting close to having enough songs for a new record, and it all centers around this folk trio idea,” says singer-songwriter John Doe. He’ll show off this idea in a series of live-streamed concerts from different locations in Austin, Texas. First on Nov. 19, the John Doe Trio (Kevin Smith on string bass and Conrad Choucroun on drums) performs live from the world famous Continental Club. The set features tunes from Doe’s solo catalog plus songs from his bands The Knitters and X. The new folk trio songs are featured in a performance on Dec. 16 from Arlyn Studio. On Jan. 20, from the Cactus Café, Doe performs solo and takes requests (send Instagram requests to @theejohndoe). All shows are at 8 p.m. Tickets: $20/show; $50 all three. Visit

Ellen Burstyn
DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images

Check out Chekhov

Soon after the pandemic shut down Broadway, veteran producer Jeffrey Richards began presenting “Spotlight on Plays,” a starry series of livestream readings of plays both new and old. Next in the lineup is Neil LaBute’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” with Ellen Burstyn, Alan Cumming, Constance Wu, Samira Wiley, K. Todd Freeman, Anson Mount, Mia Katigbak and Manik Choksi; Danya Taymor directs. Proceeds benefit the Actors Fund. Streams at 7 p.m. Nov. 19, $5-$50;

Hershey Felder
Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Hershey Felder’s ‘Love Story’

Over the duration of the pandemic, pianist-actor Hershey Felder has been doing his part to help theaters and arts organizations via his “Live from Florence” series of livestreamed performances. Porchlight Music Theatre is one of the beneficiaries of the series’ next edition: Felder’s one-man show “A Paris Love Story,” in which he portrays composer Claude Debussy and shows how the composer’s music shaped a new world of sound. Livestreams at 7 p.m. Nov. 22 and on demand through Nov. 29. Tickets: $55. Visit

Jeff Koons
Chris Fanning

Fun with art

The Hyde Park Art Center’s annual fund-raising gala has a reputation as a fun art party and this year the fun is livestreamed for all to enjoy. The centerpiece of the Nov. 21 event is a conversation with artists Jeff Koons and Amanda Williams (7 p.m.). In addition there’s children’s art-making and a puppet dance party (3 p.m.), a cocktail party with DJ Sadie Woods (6:30 p.m.) and interactive artist interventions (8 p.m.), in which viewers can connect with artist’s creations. Free, contribute what you can. Visit

Karen Butler’s “Dancing the Night Away” in the Small Print Show.

Holiday shopping

Find unique artwork from more than 60 artists at the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative’s annual Small Print Show. Shop either in person or online. To Feb. 6 at 4912 N. Western, free; ... The One of a Kind Holiday Show goes online for the holiday season with its always fascinating array of gifts including jewelry, household items, food, clothes, art and other items. Plus there are virtual studio tours, demonstrations, talks and special promotions. Streams to Dec. 6, free;

Mary Houlihan is a Chicago freelance writer.