I’d like to take a break from my regularly scheduled recommendations — which, admittedly, often focus on events that involve significant alcohol consumption — to bring you a bit of actual culture. The Joffrey Ballet debuted its romantic new show “Giselle” this week and whether or not ballet is your thing, as far as date-night activities go, this one is right out of a Nicholas Sparks novel. It’s about a lovelorn maiden who dies of heartbreak only to go around haunting the forest with a troupe of other scorned ladies killing men (I swear it gets more romantic). Then one day, the lover who broke her heart enters the woods and our fair maiden must perform the ultimate act of love to save his life (see?!). The show is only around until Oct. 29, so grab a date to the dance. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress; tickets ($34) HERE.
You’re familiar with the concept of Gay Halloween, right? Basically we — the gays — reclaimed October’s best holiday from the candy-stuffed kids and cat-eared floozies who used to call it their own. Gay Halloween is a magical night where candy is replaced with delicious cocktails and costumes are so elaborate they make Heidi Klum jealous. There’s no celebration better —or for a better cause — than Howard Brown Health’s Big Orange Ball. This Saturday, the organization is taking over Carnivale for its annual fête, featuring a special performance by the reigning queen of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Sasha Velour (pictured at top). Anything goes at this costume party, so whether you chose to be sexy, silly, spoofy or spooky, just make sure to go all out. Proceeds benefit the organization’s mission to promote the health and wellness of the LGBTQ community. Carnivale, 702 W. Fulton; tickets (starting at $150) HERE.
Host Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show” has been in town all week shooting the show live, but this Friday and Saturday he’s taking the stage solo for his stand-up act. When he’s out from behind the desk, Noah is one of the sharpest comics around, using his perspective as a South African in America to brutally critique society. For proof, just check out his specials on Netflix: “African American” and “Afraid of the Dark.” The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State; tickets ($75 and selling out fast) HERE.
Lil Uzi Vert, birth name Symere Woods, is one of the year’s breakout hip-hop stars. His jam “XO Tour Llif3” won the MTV VMA for Best Song of the Summer, and he was featured on the super viral track “Bad and Boujee.” Friday night he lights up the Aragon Ballroom for RapCaviar Live alongside Playboi Carti and DJ Drama. 1106 W. Lawrence; tickets ($94) HERE.
There’s no shortage of treats at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Spooky Pooch Parade. For two hours this Saturday, pups are finally allowed into the gardens to march in costume. It’s not all about man’s best friend though: Owners are encouraged to dress in matching costumes. At the end of the parade, awards will be given for Best Costume Overall, Best Dog/Owner Costume, Best Puppy Costume and more. There will also be nonprofits and pet supply vendors selling pooch-related merch. Watching the parade is free; all dogs must have paid registration. 1000 Lake Cook, Glencoe; tickets ($20, $25 day-of) HERE.
Zak Stemer is a former Splash editor and lifestyle expert who currently works for Henson Consulting. The Joffrey Ballet is a pro bono client of Henson.