3 September arts and culture events for Chicago families

Sure, school might be back in session, but there’s absolutely no reason why summer’s whimsy and straight-up fun can’t extend all the way through September. Bedtimes might be earlier and you might need to pack a hoodie, but these three highly entertaining picks will keep your family loving the energy of the arts all month long. 

Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg 

Through Sept. 24; Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago 

While many artists—and their artwork—can be a little tricky to understand for the casual connoisseur, iconic Takashi Murakami has an instant appeal and welcoming entry point into the world of contemporary art. A striking blend of pop art and traditional Japanese painting, this highly anticipated retrospective of three decades showcases 50 works, some of which have never been seen before by the public. Fashionistas know him through his collaboration with Louis Vuitton and music aficionados recognize his pieces for Kanye West, but we’re pretty sure the takeaway for your tiny art lover will be those beaming, technicolor daisies, the likes of which grace everything from canvases to stickers. (Backpack makeover, anyone?)

Rock of Ages

Through Oct. 15; Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace

Parents: This is what we’ve trained for. If you grew up with a love of big hair and even bigger guitar solos, here’s the perfect opportunity to show your tweens and teens what real party music was all about. Nominated for five Tony Awards (and featuring 28 classic ’80s hits from the likes of Pat Benatar, Bon Jovi and Poison), the plot concerns aspiring rocker Drew and small town girl Sherri as they fight to save Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. But an equally important subplot concerns you, the audience member, knowing in your heart that you can hit those high notes in “Don’t Stop Believin” and “The Final Countdown.” 

Distant Worlds: Music from “Final Fantasy”

Sept. 16; Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago

Gamers—and the artistically inclined people who love them—unite! Just in time for the 30th anniversary of everyone’s favorite hypnotic video game, a new orchestral experience will play Chicago’s famed Symphony Center. Not only will the scores you know and love be performed, but music from the newly released “Final Fantasy XV” make this a must-attend, especially since revered “Final Fantasy” composer Nobuo Uematsu will be there, alongside a massive Distant Worlds Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. Need a little eye candy with that ear joy? Exclusive (and stunning) HD video direct from Square Enix, developers of many a heart-soaring game, will be showcased for your viewing pleasure. 

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