From an underground utopian dance party, to a cyberpunk rock opera, to a seven-hour Electric Slide marathon, join the MCA on September 15 and 16, 2022, for the debut of Chicago Performs: an annual celebration of performance highlighting the wealth of innovative work being made by Chicagoans today.
This two-day festival invites attendees to gather for three new performances by local artists live at the museum. Your ticket includes museum admission and access to related programs. Between performances, festival-goers can attend an engaging public conversation with the artists, stroll through the galleries (including Nick Cave: Forothermore), grab a drink and other refreshments at the MCA’s Marisol Restaurant & Bar, and then celebrate with the artists in a happy hour and concluding dance party.
With performances that span across genres and mediums, Chicago Performs supports artists who are entering a new phase of their practice—whether stepping onto a larger stage for the first time, exploring new directions, or expanding the scale of their projects—and offers the public an unprecedented chance to witness the city’s groundbreaking performance artists in action
Chicago Performs is organized by Tara Aisha Willis, Curator, with Laura Paige Kyber, Curatorial Assistant.
Thursday, September 15
2–3 pm | Performance: Erin Kilmurray, the Function (matinee performance) | Edlis Neeson Theater
A feminist, utopian dance party first developed in Chicago’s underground performance scene, Erin Kilmurray’s the Function explores agency, authorship, grief, and pleasure.
4–6 pm | Opening Day Cocktail Hour | Marisol Restaurant & Bar
Join artists and curators for a drink at the Marisol Restaurant & Bar counter.
6–7 pm | Talk: Joy as a Question: Chicago Performs artists in conversation with Tempestt Hazel | MCA Commons
The artists of Chicago Performs discuss their creative processes, the themes in their work, and what it’s like to make their lives as artists in the city of Chicago.
7:30–8:30 pm | Performance: Erin Kilmurray, the Function (evening performance) | Edlis Neeson Theater
A feminist, utopian dance party first developed in Chicago’s underground performance scene, Erin Kilmurray’s the Function explores agency, authorship, grief, and pleasure. Captioning, ASL, and AD are provided for the evening performance.
10 am–5 pm | Performance: Bimbola Akinbola, You Gotta Know It: a durational moving meditation on (Black) collectivity, labor, and joy | MCA Commons
Join Bimbola Akinbola as she leads a seven-hour Electric Slide marathon in this meditation on Black collectivity and the work and joy of being in community.
7:30–8:30 pm | Performance: Derek Lee McPhatter, Water Riot in Beta | Edlis Neeson Theater
A cyber rock opera following water rights activists as they seek hope despite ecological crisis and resurgent fascism, Derek Lee McPhatter’s epic work draws on Black voices in punk and electronic music. Captioning and ASL are provided for this performance.
8:30–11 pm | Chicago Performs After Party | MCA Commons
Join for a celebration and dance party featuring DJ Sadie Woods + Friends.