1. Gold Panda
Gold Panda's debut LP, Lucky Shiner, was released in 2010. And as one might expect from any electronic producer and sampling savant, Panda (real name: Derwin!) has already moved on with a series of EPs, a DJ Kicks comp, remixes and the like. His latest short play for Ghostly, Trust, offers the same hypnotic melange of phonogram crackles, rooftop rain, opium-den chimes and subterranean bass. The Mid. Fri at 10pm. $10.
2. Richard 23 and Patrick Codenys of Front 242
Get bodied by some vicious vintage techno. Twenty years after playing the Lollapalooza main stage, Belgian industrial pioneers Front 242 send two of their knob-twiddlers over to show the kids how it's done. Smart Bar. Fri at 10pm. $15, before midnight $12, advance $10.
On his recently released third album, Treat Me Right, Manchester's Trus'me moves beyond the dusty disco samples of his earlier work for a harder techno sound that manages to maintain the nocturnal soul vibe. The Prime Numbers label owner hits Chicago for an underground gig. Visit Spy Bar on Facebook or Resident Advisor for tickets. TBA. Sat at 11pm. $10.
4. Kill Paris
Yes, there is variety to American dubstep. And, yes, we'll even endorse it. OWSLA records' Kill Paris blends booming electro and the label's trademark drops with funky slap-bass. Tons of slap-bass. Smart Bar. Thu at 10pm. $12, before midnight $10, advance $8.
5. Mercury Soul @ Metro
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra's cutting-edge hybrid of classical, multimedia and electronica carries on at the rock club. DJ Masonic (a.k.a. CSO Mead composer in residence Mason Bates), Searchl1te, director/designer Anne Patterson and conductor Benjamin Shwartz share the stage with members of the CSO. Put some brains in your bounce. Metro. Fri at 9pm. $20.
ART & DESIGN
"The Artist and the Poet." "Picasso and Chicago"—and Picasso's love of poetry—inspire this survey of 20th-century works on paper in which artists including Henri Matisse, Ellsworth Kelly and David Hockney respond to Stéphane Mallarmé, Wallace Stevens and other poets. Art Institute of Chicago. 10:30am–5pm.
La Dolce Vita This new weekly explores the cool corners of '60s European hip, not the cliché version from the last decade. Los Inmortales de Chicago (featuring Frank Orral as Dandy Jack and Gilles Aniorte) will play live and Joe Bryl, Clark Quente and Orral will spin jazz, jive, bossa, rhumba and more. La Sirena Clandestina. 9pm.
The Armando Diaz Experience In this culty iO staple, a person starts the show with a monologue inspired by an audience suggestion, then the city's top improvisers create scenes around it. Simply put, this is iO doing what it does best. iO Del Close Theater. 8:30pm. $12.
GAY & LESBIAN
Salonathon Jane Beachy invites the city's strangest and queerest performers and provocateurs to take over West Town. Folks like Big Dipper, Jyldo, DAAN and Trandroid have so far kept this party weird and wonderful. Beauty Bar. 9pm.
Bill Callahan Ask a contemporary songwriter about who their favorite working songwriters are, odds are good that Bill Callahan will be on their list. The indie vet, who formerly performed as Smog, plays typically lovely, unsettling and subtly funny tunes in the rare verdant setting of Horticulture Hall. Garfield Park Conservatory. 7pm. $25.
Cinco de Mayo Festival Go loco during this fete commemorating the Mexican army's victory at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Celebrate Mexican culture and check out the live music, crafts and Mexican eats. 26th St and Kostner Ave. 2pm–11pm.
ART & DESIGN
"Commonwealth: New Work by Neal Vandenbergh and Latham Zearfoss." Two Chicago-based artists consider power as an invisible force in our lives. Zearfoss creates an imaginary poll asking residents of a Midwestern town to assess their power to affect change, both publicly and personally. Vandenbergh incorporates materials of authoritative control—i.e., yellow construction-grade paint and reflective vinyl—into his large-scale monochromatic panels. Roxaboxen Exhibitions.
GAY & LESBIAN
MadonnaRama It's a huge lovefest set to the music and videos of Madonna that somehow manages the hysteria of a live show. And if you think there's a gayer night on the town somewhere else, newsflash: There isn't. Berlin. 9pm. $5.
Har Mar Superstar Ron Jeremy look-alike Sean Tillmann, a.k.a. Har Mar Superstar, is branded as a joke funk man, but his latest album, Bye Bye 17, is a honest soul record with vintage touches. Released on Julian Casablancas's Cult Record, the album features Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti. He may have his tongue permanently in cheek, but the vocal pipes underneath are on point. Empty Bottle. 8:30pm. $12, advance $10.
Chicago Flea MKT Peruse 50 Midwest artisans' wares, from jewlery to vintage dresses to sweets (such as marshmallows at 240sweet, pictured), on the 40,000-square-foot playground of Wicker Park's A.N. Pritzker Elementary School. Fuel up with fare from food trucks such as the Slide Ride and 5411 Empanadas. A.N. Pritzker Elementary School. 10am-5pm.
Global Cannabis March With legislators in Springfield making moves toward okaying marijuana for prescriptive medical use, NORML Illinois is looking to ride the momentum of trailblazing pot legalization in Colorado and Washington state. Don your favorite legalize-it attire (your alien-smoking-a-joint hoodie?) to hear speakers including Illinois NORML director Dan Linn, Reader sleuth Mick Dumke, the Heartland Alliance's James Kowalsky and Northwestern Students for Sensible Drug Policy co-prez Frances Fu. Daley Plaza. Noon–Sat 3pm.
The Wake of Fallon McPhael Via poetry, music and burlesque dance, the life of a fictional poet (Fallon McPhael) is celebrated. Mourners include Kathleen Rooney, Fred Sasaki, Larry Sawyer, Lina Vitkauskas and others. Charnel House. 7pm. $5.
GAY & LESBIAN
Chances Dances It's a night of out-of-the-way gay as queers of all stripes storm the Hideout for sweaty and ecstatic good times. Hideout. 11:30pm. $5.
Tom Odell Like Jack Bugg, Tom Odell is a precocious Brit throwback, barely above drinking age and nostalgically looking back to the golden era of the '60s—Dylan, Buckley, Beatles. He's signed to Columbia, who did pretty dang well with Adele, you know. Schubas. 10pm. $15, advance $12.
Completeness Itamar Moses’s academic romcom deftly blends relationships with research. Elliott (Matt Holzfeind) and Molly (Kristina Valada-Viars) are graduate students at the same college. When the two meet-cute in a campus computer lab, Elliott offers to build Molly an algorithm to help refine her data for a research project. Jeremy Wechsler’s smart, handsome staging, with a sleek set by Joe Schermoly and video design by Michael Stanfill, rides the line between sensual and cerebral. The charismatic Holzfeind and Valada-Viars parlay higher math and genome mapping into persuasive pillow talk, demonstrating proficiency in yet another scientific discipline: chemistry. Theater Wit. 8pm. $18–$36.
When Andrea Pitzer first read Nabokov as a college student, she wasn't an immediate fan. "I didn't mind violence, or sex, or protagonists who were not nice—I didn't even need them to reform," she writes in the introduction to her first book, The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov. "But I wanted the events and the people in his books to matter."
Nabokov escaped Bolshevik Russia, Nazi Germany (with his Jewish wife and son) and then Occupied France. He witnessed unimaginable violence and tragedy in his lifetime (1899–1977). Even while he's praised for being a brilliant prose stylist, he's criticized for his indifference to these political atrocities.
But what if the Lolita author folded hidden layers of meaning into his books—stories that "have something profound to teach us about being human and our very way of interacting with art"? That's what Pitzer finds in The Secret History, drawing on information from court cases, FBI files, Red Cross records and other forgotten or newly declassified documents. I recently spoke with the D.C.-based writer about her revelatory new book.
You talk about being drawn to Nabokov's writing when you were 18. Did you have the sense, even then, that there was more to his books than gorgeous sentences?
When I first encountered his work when I was young, it was, Wow, this guy really knows how to write, but he's freaking me out. I really identified with Lolita the character, but what happened to her seemed so horrific that, while I appreciated the skill that went into [the novel], I didn't want to immerse myself too fully in it. The second time, I thought, This language is really so incredible. Let me give it more of a chance. As I read more and more, I sensed there was more to his books, but it was a really long time before I went back to find out what that was.
First Fridays For the most part, these millennials are social enough. The complimentary Wolfgang Puck appetizers are plentiful and not half-bad. Same goes for the music, solidifying this ongoing monthly art party as a must-do. Museum of Contemporary Art. 6pm–10pm. $18, advance $14, MCA members $10
Andrea Pitzer Pitzer reads from and signs copies of her book, The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov, which takes a close look at the life and work of the enigmatic Russian author. The Book Cellar. 7pm. Free.
Oh Land + High Highs Oh Land has been likened to Björk, Florence and the Machine, Kylie Minogue and Portishead. In truth, the Dane's none of the above, but those names give you a sense of her stylistic tics, as well as her massive potential. Lincoln Hall. 7pm. $15.
Fashion 2013 Fashion Design students from the School of the Art Institute Chicago show off all they learned in class with a runway show featuring 300 garments. Seniors show five complete looks, juniors show three, and sophomores present one avant-garde look—all on a long runway inside a 15,000-square-foot tent on Millennium Park's Chase Promenade. The 9am show ($40) is a dress rehearsal; the noon and 3pm shows ($75) are the real deal. Get tickets at saicfashion.org or at the door. Millennium Park Chase Promenade North. 9am, noon, 3pm. $40–$75.
The Magic Parlour Illusionist Dennis Watkins dips into his trunk of wondrous effects, including a "Card Stab" involving a human-sized balloon. Palmer House Hilton. 7:30, 9:30pm. $75.
"Model Studies" | Graham Foundation
Thomas Demand curated and contributes new pieces to this exhibition about experimental forms of representation, which includes works by fellow German artist Thomas Scheibitz, the late Fernand Léger and Francis Bruguière, and 1920s students at the Soviet Union's Vkhutemas architecture school. Through June 1.
"Kate Levant: Inhuman Indifference" | moniquemeloche
Levant, whose work appeared in the 2012 Whitney Biennial, experiments with traditionally feminine objects such as hosiery and earrings. In the gallery's "on the wall" storefront-window project space, Sanford Biggers's site-specific installation Argo engages the Underground Railroad's use of quilts. Through June 8.
"For and Against Modern Art: The Armory Show + 100" | DePaul Art Museum
The 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art (a.k.a. the Armory Show) attracted a record 189,000 visitors when it stopped in Chicago. Reuniting prints, drawings and paintings that future heavyweights such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso presented there, "For and Against Modern Art" delves into the controversies ignited by these avant-garde works. Through June 16.
"FRAGMENT: Sampling the Modern" and "Cody Hudson: Flip Your Wig." | Elmhurst Art Museum
Recently appointed Chief Curator Staci Boris continues to steer the Elmhurst Art Museum in exciting directions—this time, with a group exhibition that showcases local emerging and mid-career artists. Leslie Baum, Diana Guerrero-Maciá, Jessica Labatte and Adam Scott sample elements of visual culture (ads, symbols, urban debris, art history) in bold, color-saturated works that reflect both 20th-century abstract modernism and contemporary culture. Meanwhile, Cody Hudson fills the EAM's Hostetler Gallery with large-scale sculptures from scrap wood and metal. Opens May 3.
Big Boi represented the A (that's the ATL, a.k.a. Phatlanta, a.k.a. Hotlanta, a.k.a. Atlanta) at Park West on Wednesday, May 1. Though he did salute Chicago by wearing some crispy Air Jordan IVs in Bulls red and black. Supported by the fantastic Killer Mike, the (please don't make us say "former") Outkast man ripped through hits and cuts from his most recent LP, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors.
At Time Out, we consider every month National Burger Month, hence we weren't about to argue with the Marketing "Department," when "they" informed us that May is actually National Burger Month. Since Googling (or, now that we use Microsoft Outlook, should I say, "Bing-ing"?) "Who decided May is National Burger Month" only led to a bunch of Internet astroturf, we're just going to have to recommend you read the awesome burger issue we put out during the unofficial burger month of March. Check out our picks for the best restaurant burgers in Chicago, discover the fries you need to eat with them, learn how to DIY the perfect burger, and join in our debate between new-school and old-school burger joints.
We're done with Chief Keef now, right? Okay, good. Let's move on.
It's inevitable and stupid that Chance the Rapper will be compared to Chief Keef. Yes, both are from the South Side, but their differences run far deeper than one being from Englewood, the other from Chatham. The headier and occassionally silly hip-hop of Chancelor "Chance" Bennett has nothing to do with trap, the machine-like, trigger-obsessed trunk rumble of Keef, Lil Durk, Lil Reese, et al. Because of geography, Kanye comparisons are common, too, but that's not exactly right, either. Well, Chance perhaps calls to mind College Dropout, when Kayne was nerdier and hungry.
No, the first rapper that came to mind when hearing Chance, one of our most anticipated acts of Lollapalooza, was Childish Gambino, who appears on the fantastic new mixtape Acid Rap. The 20-year-old rhymes in a voice that is loose and nasally. Sometimes, he naturally slips into a patois, like an unexpectedly wanted hybrid of Humpty and Horance Andy. Acid is an apt description. We're flashing back to the playful, sample-happy, soulful golden era of De La Soul, Leaders of the New School, the Pharcyde and other psychedelic early-'90s troupes.