Under the big top
With its combination of circus arts, stunning visuals and an eclectic mix of music, the mesmerizing UniverSoul Circus has been called “the coolest show on Earth.” It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind big top experience. One of the last traveling circuses, it’s filled with performers from around the globe including contortionists from Guinea, skaters from Cuba, trapeze artists from Brazil, clowns from Detroit and many more surprises. From Oct. 2-Nov. 11, Washington Park, 5531 S. Martin Luther King Dr. Tickets: $18-$50. Visit ticketmaster.com.
A unique outdoor exhibit, The Chicago Sound Show, presents site-specific works by nine Chicago artists: Olivia Block, Stephan Moore, Andy Slater, Walter Kitundu, Katherine Young, David Wallace Haskins and Sam Pluta. The new works were created for sites across the University of Chicago campus including the Swift Cloister Garden, Cobb Gate and Botany Pond. The artists use a variety of sounds, from human voices to city noise and sounds found on the university campus, to enhance each space. Experience the free exhibit from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Sept. 27-Dec. 29; begin the tour and get a map at the Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood. Visit smartmuseum.uchicago.edu.
The annual Chicago Latino Music Festival celebrates Spanish and Latin American composers via an expansive range of classical music. The opening night concert (6 p.m. Oct. 3, Instituto Cervantes, 31 W. Ohio, $20) features Daniel del Pino, one of Spain’s leading concert pianists performing works by Isaac Albeniz, Enrique Granados and Franz Liszt. Other festival highlights include the world premiere of Daniel Pesca’s “Nocturnes” performed by Zohn Collective and the ensemble Harmonia del Parnas performing works by Spanish composers of the 17th and 18th centuries. The festival runs through Nov. 21 at various city venues. For a complete schedule, visit latinomusicfest.org.
South Side cinema
The third annual Chicago South Side Film Festival opens with the documentary “House Music: The Real Story” (9 p.m. Sept. 27, Raven’s Place, 13031 Western, Blue Island, $15-$25). Directed by filmmaker and Chosen Few DJs founder Jesse Saunders, the film follows the evolution of the genre over the past 35 years. Also among the eight screenings are 1984’s “Beat Street,” a drama about New York City’s hip hop culture, and the return of Women Behind the Lens, a program of short films by directors with South Side roots. The festival runs from Sept. 27 to Oct. 6 at various South Side venues. Tickets: Free-$25. Visit southsidefilmfest.org.
Share the night
Columbia College Chicago Dance begins its new season with a collective, all-night experience featuring Emily Johnson/Catalyst’s “Then a Cunning Voice and A Night We Spend Gazing at Stars.” The multilayered, participatory work focuses attention on the space we share and on envisioning the future. Included are multiple meals, snacks, storytelling, performance and more taking place on 4,000 square feet of quilts designed by textile artist Maggie Thompson. From 5 p.m.-8 a.m. Sept. 28-29, Calumet Park, 9801 S. Avenue G. Admission is pay-what-you-can. Visit dance.colum.edu.
The Hyde Park Jazz Festival returns with a lineup featuring local, national and international jazz artists. Among the many artists performing are Orbert Davis, Amir Rlsaffar’s Ahwaal, Tia Fuller’s Diamond Cut, Maggie Brown Group, Isaiah Collier & the Chosen Few, Ari Brown Quintet and Angelo Hart Trio. From 1 p.m.-midnight Sept. 28 and 1-8 p.m. Sept. 29 on two outdoor stages at the Midway Plaisance and other locations around Hyde Park. Admission is $5 donation. Visit hydeparkjazzfestival.org.
In pursuit of love
Lyric Opera of Chicago opens its 65th season with the revival of its original production of Gioachino Rossini’s comic opera “The Barber of Seville,” in which a young woman refuses to marry her arrogant old guardian while, at the same time, the town barber assists a young count in his quest to win her over. From Sept. 28-Oct. 27, Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker. Tickets: $39-$279. Visit lyricopera.org.
The end of season festival fun
Celebrate fall and all things Bavarian at Oktoberfest Chicago, Sept. 27-29, at Lincoln, Southport and Wellington. Visit chicagoevents.com.
Find art, music and food at West Town Art Walk, Sept. 27-28, on Chicago between Milwaukee and Western. Visit westtownchicago.com.
There’s fun for all ages at the Homewood Fall Fest & Chili Cook-Off, Sept. 28, on Martin from Hickory to Ridge, Homewood. Visit homesweethomewood.com.
Art and music combine for a good time at Edgewater Arts Festival, Sept. 28-29, Broadway and Granville. Visit starevents.com.
Enjoy the Randolph Street Market’s final outdoor event of the year, Sept. 28-29, 1341 W. Randolph. Visit randolphstreetmarket.com.
Mary Houlihan is a local freelance writer.