Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements: year two | Music Sidebar | Chicago Reader

Music » Music Sidebar

Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements: year two

Bobby Womack, Conor Oberst, John Cale, Jon Benjamin, El Circo Cheapo Cabaret, and more


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements debuted last year with a lineup that offered plenty of entertainment for kids of all ages, as the saying goes. The festival returns this weekend, bringing circus spectacle, comedy, and an excellent, diverse musical lineup to the Riverfront Theater. On Friday music starts at 7 PM with gothy synth-pop singer Zola Jesus, who warms up for John Cale of Velvet Underground fame (see Artist on Artist). The night ends with a 10 PM comedy showcase featuring Seaton Smith, James Fritz, and others. On Saturday at 5 PM, Chicago's El Circo Cheapo Cabaret—a world-class collective of acrobats, jugglers, puppeteers, and clowns—kicks off an evening of entertainment that also includes singer, composer, arranger, producer, and (perhaps most famously) Brian Wilson collaborator Van Dyke Parks at 7 PM, Bright Eyes front man Conor Oberst at 8 PM, and a 10 PM comedy show with Jon Benjamin, Drew Michael, and more. Sunday's festivities consist of two sets of music: one at 7 PM from Ecuadoran-­American singer-songwriter Helado Negro (see Soundboard) and another at 9 PM from soul veteran Bobby Womack (see Soundboard). The comedy shows are both free, El Circo Cheapo costs $10, and the music varies by day: $25 for Friday, $30 for Saturday or Sunday. There are no festival passes, only tickets for individual events.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →