Breaking New Ground: Harold Washington and the 1983 Election. Panelists—historian Timuel D. Black Jr., former Ald. Helen Shiller and UIC political science professor Dick Simpson—discuss their direct involvement in the election of Chicago’s first black mayor, Harold Washington. Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington, who was appointed the mayor’s deputy press secretary in 1985, moderates. This conversation coincides with the anniversary of the history-making April 12, 1983, mayoral election. Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S State St (312-747-4050, chicagopubliclibrary.org). 6–7pm.
Former Saturday Night Live star Julia Sweeney—best-remembered for her androgynous character, Pat—recently wrote a book of essays on parenthood, If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother. Whether discussing adopting a baby from China or her disdain for large strollers, Sweeney is candid, insightful and LOL funny. She reads at the Book Stall (811 Elm St, 847-446-8880, thebookstall.com). 7pm. Free.
Leave Her to Heaven. Dir. John M. Stahl. 1945. 110mins. In Stahl's Technicolor noir, Gene Tierney's pathologically possessive wife goes to murderous lengths to keep her husband (Cornel Wilde) to herself. Doc Films, University of Chicago (1212 E 59th St, 773-702-8574, docfilms.uchicago.edu). 7pm.
FOOD & DRINK
Tavern on Rush turns 15 today, dude! Do you know what that means? That means if you can remember when the place opened, you’re way, waaaay too old to hang out here. Drink your denial away with celebratory $15 bottles of wine. 1031 N Rush St (312-664-9600). 11am–2am.
GAY & LESBIAN
L'imitation of Life. Camp authorities Hell in a Handbag Productions present this spoof of the 1959 Lana Turner melodrama Imitation of Life. We can't wait to see Ed Jones improve on yet another grande Hollywood dame with his indelible impersonations that border on channeling. Mary's Attic (5400 N Clark St, 773-784-6969, hamburgermaryschicago.com). $15–25, VIP $35–100.
Soft Opening + Onyx System Ashville, North Carolina, heavy-psych act Soft Opening rattles Ukie Village vinyl vendor Permanent Records behind the group's 2011 self-titled alum. The band hits the Burlington at 9pm after this show. (1914 W Chicago Ave, 773-278-1744, permanentrecordschicago.com). 6pm. Free.
SHOPPING & STYLE
Today marks the beginning of Spa Week, that glorious seven- day period when you can find spa treatments at deep discounts. You can find the full range of deals at spaweek.com, but here’s one that caught our eye: Kiva Day Spa is offering the YON-KA Plaisir D’ Aromes facial, an aromatic treatment that features aromatherapy and relaxing oils, for $50. The 50-minute service is usually $90. The deal is good through Sun 21. Kiva, 196 E Pearson St (312-840-8120, kivakiva.com). Thu 18, Fri 19, 9am–8pm; Sat 20, 9am–7pm; Sun 21, 10am–6pm.
1. Alicia Keys + Miguel
United Center; Thu 18
Miguel made a histrionic mess of his "How Many Drinks" on SNL on Saturday (honestly, it's an actual song with, like, structure and melody and everything in recorded life), but we're still jazzed to see him tackle material from his lovely Kaleidoscope Dream—and continue to fuel the Kaleidoscope Dream vs. channel ORANGE debates. You know Keys is always going to bring it. By "it" we means: flawless pipes, piano pounding, tight pants.
The Mid; Thu 18
Dubstep, eedie-em, thick-hop, wobble, ooomph, purple, bass—slap whatever goofy genre tag you want on AraabMUZIK's head-bobbing, gut-rumbling tunes. All you need to know is that his MPC skills are heavy and thrilling.
Various venues; Thu 18–Sun 21
Yes, the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival is primarily loaded with rock flicks—check out its excellent run of Stones docs—but there are killer live performances, too, including appearances by Van Dyke Parks, the Funky Meters, Lydia Loveless and more. Visit its website for the full slate.
4. Resonate 8.0
Metro and Smart Bar; Sat 20
This rare "entire Metro building" event sounds like something out of a '90s cyberpunk novel: techno, burlesque, acrobats, fire, multimedia. Essentially, it's an indoor Burning Man.
Bottom Lounge; Sun 21
These Norwegian bubblegum metalheads bring out the 15-year-old in me. There's no better sales pitch than this amazingly rad video for "Braune Brenn." Devil-horn fingers incarnate. Rock & roll, pure and simple.
"How do you tell a story about the best storyteller you've ever met?" Richard Roeper asked regarding Roger Ebert during a packed public memorial last night for the beloved film critic who died April 4 at age 70 after a long battle with cancer. The Sun-Times columnist's question was answered emphatically over two and a half hours as Ebert's family, friends, and film industry admirers stood on the Chicago Theatre stage to fondly remember a prolific newspaperman, a champion of independent artists and marginalized voices, and a humanitarian who saw the best in people—and made others recognize their own virtues. For his part, Roeper called the the Pulitzer Prize winner "our George Bailey," saying Ebert's "was truly a wonderful life."
Titled "A Celebration of Life: With Love From Chaz," the event had as its first and final speaker Ebert's widow, who for years was never far from her husband's side, whether during hospital stays or at Lake Street Screening Room. "Roger, this is your happening and it's freaking me out," Chaz said, appropriating a line from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, the Russ Meyer–directed film for which Ebert wrote the screenplay.
A gospel choir's celebratory hymn "Lift Him Up" led into clips of Ebert and his Tribune critic frenemy Gene Siskel verbally sparring in the various iterations of their reviews show, from the shaggy early years to some hilarious '80s outtakes of the two men taking personal shots to the pair doing a "Pease Porridge Hot" routine. The series' creator-producer Thea Flam recalled schooling Ebert in writing for television. "Only once did he grumble, 'You know, Thea, I have a Pulitzer Prize.'" Her thoughts then turned to Chaz, "his guardian angel": "He had always been a great guy. She enabled him to become a great man."
Siskel's widow Marlene Iglitzen noted that films used to screen for critics at the Chicago Theatre. A small elevator would take the journalists to one of the upper floors of the building, and she said Gene and Roger made sure they never had to ride together. Inside the theater, Iglitzen recalled, "they sat as far away as possible" from each other. Despite the good-natured rivalry, "Gene was thrilled for Roger to have an epic romance off the screen" when he met Chaz. On the last anniversary of Siskel's death, Iglitzen said Ebert wrote to her to say he had "never felt closer to a man" as he did to Siskel.
Ebert's fellow film critics heaped their praises on the master. Variety critic Scott Foundas called Ebert a "gentle giant," as opposed to the likes of Pauline Kael, who inspired in her disciples a fierce partisanship. The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy concluded his memorial tribute saying, "In film criticism for 46 years, there was Roger Ebert—and then there was the rest of us." Christie Hefner said she was mortified to recall showing Ebert film reviews she had written for her college newspaper while he was interviewing her for a story "on Hugh Hefner's daughter." She later went on to review films for the Boston Phoenix.
Joan Cusack read aloud a heartfelt letter from the Obamas. Brother John remembered a nervous first run-in with Ebert at the Carnegie Deli in New York while on the press tour for The Sure Thing. "Don't worry," Ebert whispered to the young actor. "I liked your movie." "He didn't always love your movie, but he always gave you a fair shake," John Cusack said. "His writing was often better than the writing in the film."
Several filmmakers underscored Ebert's fairness—advocating for small-budget art-house cinema alongside reviews of Hollywood blockbusters. Director Gregory Nava (El Norte) said there was a time when Ebert "was the only major critic in this country who would look at our movies," indie films telling minority stories. Michael Barker, president of Sony Pictures Classics, called Ebert "the conscience of the movie business." Filmmaker Andrew Davis—whom Ebert imagined directing "the perfect Chicago movie"—had fond remembrances of his friend, even taking the chance to read Ebert's glowing review Davis's The Fugitive.
Ebert's boozy past made a brief appearance when Old Town Ale House proprietor Bruce Elliott told a bawdy barroom tale. (Apparently, Rog had a fondness for large-breasted women.) Comedian Dick Gregory did some off-color standup before comparing Ebert to a turtle: "hard on the outside, soft in the middle and always willing to stick his neck out."
Home video clips showing Ebert doting on Chaz's grandchildren shed some light on his family life. Many of the night's remembrances, whether from critics or celebs, ended in praise of Chaz. She was commended as Ebert's true love, his selfless rock who refused to let her husband die after he was first diagnosed with cancer in 2002 and during years of treament, surgeries and the loss of his voice. During that trying time, Chaz explained, angels had whispered in her ear to assure her it wasn't Roger's time. "I knew he had much more important work ahead," she said.
In closing, Chaz took the stage with her family. Pausing a few times to compose herself—creating a charged, resonant silence in the cavernous theater—she was, as always, standing by her man.
It might not feel entirely springlike in Chicago (yet), but here are five great reasons to get out and about this weekend, Friday 12–Sunday 14:
FlySpace Dance Series
Fri and Sat 7pm; Sun 5pm; Millennium Park. $15.
Members from four female-led Chicago-area dance companies perform contemporary pieces at the Pritzker Pavilion.
Fri 7pm–10pm; Sat Noon–5pm, Saturday; Public Works Gallery. Free.
This exhibition by the always productive and innovative Chicago studio Sonnenzimmer showcases Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi's experiments with textiles.
Let Them Eat Chaos
Fri 8, 11pm; Sat 8, 11pm; Sun 7pm; The Second City Mainstage. $23–$28.
Check out the Second City's awesomely absurdist 101st Mainstage revue before it's high tourism season in Chicago and everyone and their mom is trying to get tickets. (Then again, it's always tourism season at the Second City.)
Sun 10am–4pm, River East Art Center. $10, advance $8.
Whether you're looking for specialty olive oil, handcrafted kombucha or sculptural jewelry, you'll find it at this carefully curated, über popular market devoted to food and fashion.
Pop-Up Book Fair
Sun 2–6:30pm, Empty Bottle. $5 or free with R.S.V.P.
Viva la print! More than 40 Chicago-area indie presses, publications and booksellers team up to sell their stuff, including Agate Publishing, Curbside Splendor, contratiempo, Quimby's, MAKE, Poetry and more.
Bring your passport to Let Them Eat Chaos. In the Second City's 101st Mainstage revue, an ensemble consisting of veteran performers Edgar Blackmon, Holly Laurent, Katie Rich and Steve Waltien and Mainstage newcomers Ross Bryant and Tawny Newsome leaves Chicago behind in favor of a space- and time-bending revue that loops in Vienna circa 1819, the opening of the Panama Canal, the distant future and more. If Grant Achatz attends the show, it will inspire at least a dozen new menu ideas for his restaurant Next.
Let Them Eat Chaos crackles with new ideas and spirited risks. Gone is the musical number that typically opens a Mainstage revue; left in its place is a stripped-down, improvised scene in which the ensemble takes turns playing the same character. It's a simple scene and it'd be easy to call it underwhelming were it not so true to the kinds of openings encouraged by gurus like Del Close, designed to warm up an ensemble and enhance group mind at the beginning of an improv show. The nature of the opening might even change from night to night. You may have to see this show more than once.
Lots of ideas are bandied about. We are living in a very strange time, Newsome's time-traveler proclaims in an early scene. We're also living in a busy one, as demonstrated by a woman so self-absorbed she hits major milestones in life (marriage, sex, childbirth) while so consumed by text messaging she never once looks up from her phone.
It was the scenes set in distant lands that captivated the most, including a sailor answering a siren's call, a telenovela-like exchange between a Central American poet and his illegitimate daughter, and banter between an American and Scottish soldier set against a backdrop of rubble and intermittent explosions in the European Theater of World War II. I'm not sure the Mainstage has ever strayed this far from ubiquitous mayor jokes, relationship scenes between thirtysomethings and impressions of South Siders. It was a welcome departure.
The set design makes these faraway landscapes possible. A curtain, so fiery red it will burn your retinas, is the only attention grabber on an otherwise threadbare stage. But this relatively blank canvas allows director Matt Hovde and his design team to create vivid backdrops that transport the audience from the high seas to deep space to a dream version of Chicago with the push of a button.
There are plenty of moments in which each ensemble member puts his or her best self forward, but to single out one would diminish the rest; that's not how you review an ensemble-based show. Suffice it to say I liked them most when they were given new muscles to flex. In an Act II standout, for example, a group of first graders are pressed with the challenge of drawing pictures based on an audience suggestion (in this instance, popcorn). The scene was one of the evening's biggest gut-busters thanks to the original interpretations each ensemble member produced.
There were also times when the material hewed close to formula. In a musical number, Newsome and Laurent take the NRA's grating and persistent claim that more guns are the solutions to America's problems to its logical extreme. It's joyous but also familiar territory. Ditto a number between Blackmon and Bryant that illustrates the stark differences between a black and white rapper.
If Let Them Eat Chaos falls short anywhere, it's in the lack of anarchy suggested by the revue's title. "Chaos is the nature of the universe," says a character in an early scene. That might not be what the visiting masses want to hear when they visit the Second City, but I'll take it anytime.
Pivot Arts, a recently launched organization with the mission of fostering the arts on Chicago's far North Side, will play host to a multidisciplinary arts festival to take place in a number of nontraditional venues in Uptown and Edgewater in June.
The Pivot Multi-Arts Festival will present a blend of music, dance and theater June 6–22, in such locales as Senn High School, Francesca's Bryn Mawr, the former Essanay Studios building on Argyle Street and the onetime vaudeville theater (and most recently a TCF Bank branch) at 1050 W Wilson Ave. Presenters will include the likes of Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak Dance Company, Mucca Pazza, the Neo-Futurists, Theater Oobleck and Manual Cinema. See pivotarts.org for a full schedule.
Steppenwolf Theatre Company today announced the lineup for this summer's eighth annual First Look Repertory of New Work, to be presented in its Garage theater. They include Edith Freni's family drama Buena Vista, set in an isolated Colorado cabin; Aaron Carter's The Gospel of Franklin, about a devout man who loves to witness to his factory coworkers but needs saving himself; and Janine Nabers's Annie Bosh is Missing, a portrait of a troubled young woman navigating the post-Katrina Gulf Coast in search of her estranged father.
The three plays run in rep July 29–August 25. The lineup will also include free readings of three additional works during Steppenwolf's Professionals' Weekend, August 8–11: Tempo, by Mike Batistick; Your Name Will Follow You Home, by Carlos Murillo; and Barbecue, by Robert O'Hara. Tickets go on sale Friday at 11am.
Lookingglass Theatre Company has announced plans for its 2013–14 season, beginning with a new adaptation of Marguerite Duras's The North China Lover, written and directed by Heidi Stillman (September 25–November 10).
In the winter, David Catlin will direct Rick Cummins and John Scoullar's stage version of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince (December 4–February 2). The season closes with the world premiere of Sara Gmitter's In the Garden: A Darwinian Love Story, about the romance between Charles Darwin and his future wife, Emma Wedgwood. Jessica Thebus directs (April 16–June 15).
Interrobang Theatre Project, one of Chicago's most promising young theater companies, has announced plans for its fourth season, to be presented entirely at the Athenaeum Theatre. The 2013–14 slate opens with a new production of Mark O'Rowe's Terminus, a collection of interlocking monologues that was previously seen in a 2011 performance by Dublin's Abbey Theatre at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Interrobang's production will star Christina Hall, Michaela Petro and Kevin Barry Crowley (September 12–October 6).
That's followed in the new year by The Pitchfork Disney, the surreal, dark fairy tale by Mercury Fur playwright Philip Ridley that's credited with kickstarting the "in-yer-face" era of British drama. The cast is set to include Andrew Goetten, Aislinn Kerchaer, Mark Lancaster and Josh Salt (February 6–March 2). Both Terminus and The Pitchfork Disney will be directed by Jeffry Stanton. The season closes with a new adaptation of Ibsen's A Doll's House by Chicago playwright Calamity West, directed by James Yost (May 8–June 8); casting remains to be announced.
Dear Time Out Chicago readers,
Started in 2005 as a joint enterprise with Time Out North America, we were thrilled to launch Time Out in Chicago, a hub for world-class art, a legendary home for innovative comedy and theater, and a food-lovers' destination. Over the past eight years, Time Out Chicago has developed a large, loyal audience and become a go-to destination for what to do in the Windy City, and that did not change when Time Out Chicago became a separate company in 2010. We’re delighted to let you know today that Time Out Group has acquired Time Out Chicago, making it one of the Time Out Group owned and operated cities joining New York, Los Angeles, London and Paris.
Chicagoans will soon reap the benefits of Time Out Group’s digital offerings which, in addition to an improved website, means that we’ll soon be rolling out the same mobile and iPad apps currently enjoyed by fans in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and London. Completely free, the apps will bring all of Time Out Chicago’s reviews, features, and event listings to your fingertips. There will be changes to the ways in which you get your recommendations, listings and reviews and we’ll keep you up to date with these developments as they happen.
While the media world has changed dramatically since 2005, our purpose has remained the same—to inspire Chicagoans to make the most of their city. We look forward to delivering the expert recommendations and reviews to inspire you to do more of the things you love via new and improved technology.
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