"David Bowie Is" is coming to the Museum of Contemporary Art on September 23, and nothing else happening in Chicago this fall matters. All Bowie, in all his multivarious forms, in sight, sound, theater, and dance, plus Bryan Ferry and Todd Haynes and Sandy Powell (though not, alas, the corporeal Bowie himself)—and it's coming here, and only here, so take that, New York and LA.
Except here's the problem: the MCA is letting visitors in strictly at half-hour intervals. So what are you going to do with the rest of your time? Sit around listening to Space Oddity on repeat until the first snowfall?
Nah, you've got better things to do. How about going to see the Second City Collaboration, an unexpected partnership between the comedy factory and Hubbard Street Dance? Also in the realm of oddity, John Malkovich explores his own multivarious identities with the aid of photographer Sandro Miller in a show called—what else?—"Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich." And artist Rashid Johnson puts on a play, Amiri Baraka's Dutchman, in a bathhouse.
If you're yearning for 70s glam, Michael L. Abramson's photos in "Pulse of the Night" at the Museum of Contemporary Photography will take you back to the glory days of south-side nightclubs. As for transgression: former Reader film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum is leading a lecture series called "The Unquiet American: Transgressive Comedies From the U.S." at the Gene Siskel Film Center. And Barbara Gaines directs Larry Yando beyond Thin White Dukedom as King Lear at Chicago Shakes.
But enough looking back: jazz bassist and composer Matt Ulery, playwright Lucas Hnath, and novelist Lindsay Hunter all have new work. Lena Dunham and hundreds more writers and thinkers will descend for the Humanities Festival. Comic Cameron Esposito returns from California. Gone Girl the movie is finally here.
We've created a calendar of the best ways to spend both your Bowie and non-Bowie time from now till December 1. Feel free to stretch it out by devoting a few Sundays to the Bears or enjoying the outdoors before the next polar vortex descends. "David Bowie Is" is here until January 4. —Aimee Levitt