Can’t decide what to do this weekend in Chicago? Here are some suggestions for making those big plans:
WHAT: The storybook kingdom of Cinderella comes to life via Massenet’s beautifully adapted opera blending wit, sensitivity, romance and elegance, all combining for a magical tale.
WHEN: Dec. 1, 5, 8 and Jan. 11, 17, 20
WHERE: Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20 N. Wacker
COST: Tickets, $49-$299
WHAT: Navy Pier’s Festival Hall is all decked out for the season for the annual holiday extravaganza. Now in its 18th year, the family-friendly showcase features a skating rink, obstacle course, climbing walls, children’s train rides, cookie decorating, plenty of food/drink, plus photo ops with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and much more.
WHEN: Nov. 30, 2018 – Jan. 6, 2019
WHERE: Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand
COST: Tickets, $10-$20 (includes a ticket for one ride on the Centennial Wheel)
WHAT: The invaluable Kartemquin Films is revisiting one of its early documentaries, 1968’s “Inquiring Nuns.” The newly restored film directed by Gordon Quinn and Jerry Temaner, chronicles two young Roman Catholic nuns, Sister Marie Arne and Sister Mary Campion, as they traverse Chicago asking people a simple, yet complex, question: “Are you happy?” One of Kartemquin’s earliest films, it features a score by Philip Glass.
WHEN: Nov. 30-Dec. 6
WHERE: Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State
COST: Tickets, $11 (NOTE: Quinn will take part in a post-show discussion on Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 5)
‘ON BIG SHOULDERS’
WHAT: Last year, a group of Chicago musicians got together to collaborate on an album that would salute local working musicians as well as the city’s history of being a place where musicians came to make records. The final project, “On Big Shoulders,” pays tribute to artists ranging from Sam Cooke and Big Bill Broonzy to Wilco and Robbie Fulks. The players including Matt Brown, Steve Dawson, Brian Wilkie, Aaron Smith, Gerald Dowd, Keely Vazquez, Liz Chidester, Elise Bergman and more gather for a record release show at Old Town School of Folk Music.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Dec. 2
WHERE: Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln
COST: Tickets, $20.
WHAT: The Los Angles-based singer-songwriter shares her unconventional past (for a time she performed and lived on the street) in a songbook filled with blues-folk tunes that are both personal and political. Her distinct fingerpicking guitar style comes out of old-time blues, folk and country styles and adds a raw flavor to her music. Her latest album, “With the Sun,” is addictive as it melds the melancholy blues with hope and change. Also on the bill: Wonky Tonk.
WHEN: 8:30 p.m. Dec. 2
WHERE: Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western
COST: Tickets, $7-$10
WHAT: The twelve-time Grammy Award nominee (and former lead singer of The Gap Band) is touring behind his latest album, the charttopping “In It To Win It,” and his two simultaneous No. 1 singles: “I’m Blessed” (Billboard Hot Gospel Songs chart) and “Chills” (Billboard Adult R&B chart). You can also hear Wilson alongside Snoop Dogg on the latter’s “One More Day.”
Wilson also joined his “nephew” Snoop Dogg on “One More Day” from Snoop’s critically acclaimed album, “Bible of Love” which debuted #1 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Nov. 30
WHERE: United Center, 1901 W. Madison
‘COUNTRY CALENDAR SHOW’
WHAT: Celebrate Chris Ligon and Heather McAdams’ new 2019 calendar (featuring Heather’s great drawings of singers and musicians) at their annual Country Calendar Show. Performers include The Flat Five, Jodee Lewis, Phil Angotti, Dennis J. Leise and Tiny Horse, Robbie Fulks, Joshlyn Lomax and more.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Dec. 1
WHERE: FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt, Berwyn
COST: Tickets, $20
WHAT: WildClaw Theatre brings a bit of bone-chilling horror to the holidays with its annual festival of radio horror plays. The plays are “Whisper Tiger” by Tara Branham, “The Forbidden Room” by Jyreika Guest, “Migraine” by Spenser Davis, “Floris” by Jose Nateras and “Subject #9” by Elizabeth Lovelady.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Dec. 3
WHERE: Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln
COST: Tickets, $30. Visit wildclawtheate.com.
WHAT: On his irresistible holiday album, “Socks,” the rocking singer-songwriter has written or co-written 11 originals that are a welcome new addition to the holiday album lineup. Songs like “Bad Kid,” “Hey Skinny Santa” and “Ugly Sweater Blues” will make even the most dedicated Grinch break a smile. McPherson and his stellar band bring their R&B-rockabilly-jump blues and a good dose of holiday cheer to a show at Thalia Hall.
WHEN: 8:30 p.m. Nov. 30
WHERE: Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport
COST: Tickets, $20-$40
Want more things to see and do in and around Chicago? Try exploring some of the many fascinating neighborhoods that make up the Windy City. Check out The Grid, for a close-up peek at all that Chicago has to offer when it comes to dining, art, music and more.