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The Mix: Chicago Children’s Choir, South Side Film Fest and more things to do Sept. 24-30

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

Common records with the Chicago Children’s Choir.

Resilient voices

The Chicago Children’s Choir presents “Reverberation: A Celebration of Enduring Voices,” a free virtual concert of songs and stories from its singers. The song list features a varied mix from U2’s “One” and Beyonce’s “Bigger” and “The Lion King: The Gift,” to “Just a Dream,” written by 11-year-old choir member Jamion Cotton with choir alum W. Mitchell Owens. Also included is the debut of the music video for Common’s “God Is Love!,” recorded with the choir last winter. Streams at 8 p.m. Sept. 26. Visit

“No Lye: An American Beauty Story”
Block Starz Music Television

South Side cinema

The Chicago South Side Film Festival, which celebrates the work of South Side filmmakers, is rebooted as an online event Sept. 25-Oct. 4. The films include “No Lye: An American Beauty Story,” Bayer Mack’s documentary about the rise and fall of the Black-owned beauty business featuring companies with ties to the South Side, and Lora Branch’s “40th: The Story of Bishop Robert Williams and Robert Temple,” which explores the temple’s place in Chicago’s Black history including the funeral of Emmett Till. Plus there are several short film showcases and free filmmaker Q&A’s and panel discussions. Tickets: $8. Visit

Dancer Veena Puthanpurayil of “With Rumi.”
Tom Rossiter

Ruminating Rumi

In creating its newest performance piece, “With Rumi,” Mandala South Asian Performing Arts finds inspiration in the writings of Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet and Sufi mystic. The 60-minute performance combines Persian poetry, film, music, calligraphy and classical Indian Dance. Through her choreography, artistic director Pranita Nayar tells the story of two lovers unable to find “oneness” due to physical and emotional distance. An original score by Sufi composer Niloufar Nourbaksh accompanies the dance and film and is performed live by Manou Magdalena Chakravorty on cello and Farzad Amoozegar on several Persian instruments. In-person audiences will be limited; a live stream also is available. At 3 and 6 p.m. Sept. 26, Mana Contemporary Chicago, 2233 S. Throop. Tickets: $25. Visit

Angie LeBare performs at Lips Drag Palace in Chicago.
Angie LeBare performs at Lips Drag Palace in Chicago.
Lips Chicago

Diva dinner date

If your dinners have been a tad boring lately, jazz them up with a visit to Lips Drag Palace when it reopens on Sept. 24. Each Wednesday through Sunday there’s a different theme for the drag queen show ranging from Twisted Broadway to the Dragalicious Gospel Brunch. Doors open at 6 p.m., seating begins at 7 p.m. Lips is located at 2229 S. Michigan. Advance reservations suggested. For more information, visit

Haaz Sleiman (left) and Michael Cassidy in “Breaking Fast.”
Vertical Entertainment

LGBTQ+ stories on film

“Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival” celebrates its 38th season with a lineup featuring 30 features and 54 short films. Opening the festival is Mike Mosallam’s love story “Breaking Fast,” which delves into Muslim-American culture as two men strive to advance their relationship amidst differences. Among the documentaries offered is “The Capote Tapes,” a film built around never-before-seen interviews with Truman Capote’s friends. Also streamed is a series of Q&As with filmmakers and actors. Presented by Chicago Filmmakers, the festival streams Sept. 24-Oct. 4 with each film available for four days. Tickets: $12; festival passes $50-$150. Visit

A banner for sale at the circus memorabilia auction.
Potter & Potter

Auction rarities

Even if you’re not in the market to buy, it’s fun to peruse the items at Potter & Potter Auctions’ Circus and Sideshow Memorabilia Sale. In the more than 700 lots are sideshow banners, broadsides, circus- and carnival-related merchandise, unusual archives from people in the entertainment industry and a collection of Diane Arbus photographs including “Group Portrait at Hubert’s Museum” and “Albino Sword Swallower and Her Sister.” The online auction begins at 10 a.m. Sept. 26 from the company’s North Side gallery. Items are on view at

Ilana Glazer
Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

Engaging ideas

The Pygmalion Music Festival takes place every September in Champaign-Urbana, but this year, it’s a virtual affair as Pygmalion pivots to a diverse set of streamed discussions, interactions and activations to engage as many people as possible. The lineup includes Ilana Glazer (“Broad City”), NPR’s Ari Shapiro, inventor and YouTube star Simone Giertz , the cast of the film “Napoleon Dynamite,” a podcast from “Yo, Is This Racist?” featuring Tawny Newsome and Andrew Ti, authors Terrance Hayes, Bernardine Evaristo and Kaveh Akbar and much more. Among the activations are a virtual escape room, a virtual hackathon, a literary marathon and a charity poker tournament. Pygmalion is free and streams Sept. 24-26. For more information, go to

Mary Houlihan is a Chicago freelance writer.