Chicago Improv Festival (through Sunday)
The 19th annual improv fest returns with more than 170 teams representing nine countries at 21 city locations. The schedule includes Susan Messing in Messing with a Friend, Pimprov, the Improvised Sondheim Project, SAND, Scantron and scores more. Check out the schedule here. Times and prices vary.
Evanston Literary Festival (through May 14)
This celebration of Evanston’s literary community is in its second year and includes more than 50 events. Support independent bookstores, hear from local authors, attend workshops and, of course, buy plenty of books. See the schedule of events here. Times vary. Free.
CineYouth Festival (through Saturday)
Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., 8th Floor
The Chicago International Film Festival hosts an annual showcase of short films by filmmakers from around the world who are 22 years old and younger. Screenings are free and open to all ages. Check out the schedule for times. Free.
Off the Trax Music Festival (through Saturday)
Various locations throughout Edison Park
The second annual, three-day music festival features more than 30 bands at four neighborhood locations. Check out local and regional rock, country, blues and cover bands at Emerald Isle, Edison Park Inn, Firewater Saloon and Moretti’s. Headliners include Karin Elizabeth & the Remedy Band, U2 tribute band Without U2, and No-Doubt tribute band Don’t Speak. Times vary. $3-$15.
Seeds of Disunion Series: ‘Imitation of Life’
Black Cinema House, 7200 S. Kimbark Ave.
Douglas Sirk’s 1959 film, based on Fannie Hurst’s 1932 novel, adapts the story of a white mother and black mother coming together to form a makeshift family years before the civil rights movement. Film historians Jacqueline Stewart of the University of Chicago and Miriam Petty of Northwestern University host a conversation after the screening. 7-10 p.m. Free.
Apollo on Broadway (through Sunday)
The Apollo Chorus performs a special concert celebrating the songs of American musical theater, including songs from Gershwin, Rodgers and Bernstein. A second show takes place on Sunday for Mother’s Day. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Fourth Presbyterian Church (126 E. Chestnut St.); 3 p.m. Sunday, First United Church (848 Lake St., Oak Park). $10-$25.
Chicago Beer Classic
Soldier Field, 1420 Museum Campus Drive.
This sudsy affair showcases local and regional beer from Half Acre, Bucket List, Empirical and more. Tickets include 48 2-ounce beer samples, games and a chance to vote for the best beer. Food available for purchase. $65-$95. Times vary by session.
Also on tap:
Kids and Kites Festival
Cricket Hill in Lincoln Park (Montrose and Wilson avenues)
Kids can build and decorate kites before setting them sail in the wind at this 18th annual event. Don't miss a candy drop featuring a piñata-like kite. Yes – it will literally be raining sweets on this festival. Kite kits provided, while supplies last. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free.
Alton Brown: Eat Your Science
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St.
See the Food Network star and author for a night of comedy, talk show antics, music, puppets, song and fire experiments. Brown’s multimedia show combines food and science for two hours of interactive entertainment. 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. $20-$260.
Polish Constitution Day Parade
Celebrate Chicago’s Polish heritage and the Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791. The 125th annual parade has a new route this year along State Street, from Lake to Van Buren Streets. 11:30 a.m. Free.
Give Mom a call, send her a card or take her out for a walk – the weather report says a high of 68 degrees is in store, and – no rain! Short on ideas? Check out a long list of Mother’s Day events in and around the city.
Also on tap:
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
Wear your brightest pink and lace up your shoes to support breast cancer research. Participants can choose between a one-miler or 5K fun walk, or a 5K or 10K competitive timed race. There are also options for kids. 8 a.m. $15-$40.
Plants for Pollinators Garden Sale
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive
Fill your garden with plants that attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Experts are on hand to give tips on caring for your garden. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Prices vary.
Free Chicago Walking Tours (daily)
Founder Jeff Mikos spent seven months in South America taking walking tours of many cities, and now brings this recently-launched model to Chicago. The group offers architecture and history tours of Chicago’s Loop, the Chicago River, the Magnificent Mile, Millennium Park and Lincoln Park. You can reserve your spot online. Times vary. Free.
Events listed are subject to change. We recommend double-checking times and locations before you head out the door. Want to share your upcoming events with us for consideration in a future roundup? Send us an email.