Aleksandar Hemon The award-winning Chicago author reads from his fantastic new essay collection, The Book of My Lives. Women and Children First. 7:30pm. Free.
Anchee Min The author, whose New York Times best-selling memoir Red Azalea detailed her turbulent adolescence living in China during the Cultural Revolution, lectures. Loyola University. 7pm. Free.
Chicagoland Sexcon The annual sex convention hits the club with porn stars, sex-toy vendors, strippers and much more naughty stuff, plus DJs and booze—all making the usual night of clubbing look quite innocent. As a night out, it's not for those of Victorian disposition. The Castle. 9pm. Advance $25 at Chicagosexcon.com.
Joffrey Ballet: "Othello" So much more likable then the boy king from Game of Thrones, this Joffrey production is nonetheless as powerful and passionate. "Othello" is a perfect vehicle for showcasing the company's dynamo dancers. The contemporary ballet contains jealousy, betrayal, forbidden love and a propulsive score by Oscar winner Elliot B. Goldenthal. Auditorium Theatre. Wed–Fri 7:30pm; Sat 2pm, 7:30pm; Sun 2pm. Through May 5. $31–$152.
The Tomkat Project Seven actors dazzle in the roles of more than 50 characters in Brandon Ogborn's exhilarating new comedy about celebrity culture where fact and fiction blur seamlessly. The Playground Theater. 8pm. $15.
The Chicago Humanities Festival asks the deep questions we ask ourselves before we fall asleep at night, or stare out at the grandeur of Lake Michigan on a warm summer's eve, or take a toke of something greenish (legally, that is…in Colorado or Washington). Questions like: What makes us human? How do we make sense of life on this planet? Where can I get a Doritos Locos Taco, stat?
But whereas our Q's only prompt more Q's, the CHF attempts to answer them—or at least have experts present their research, experiences and creative discoveries. The fall 2013 festival—which takes place October 13 and 20 and November 1 through 10—considers "animal" from various angles. Specifically, how recent scholarship on the human-animal relationship has evolved and changed, with, as CHF artistic director Matti Bunzl notes, "unprecedented convergence in once-distant fields."
The CHF fest's real strong suit is pondering a theme across multiple disciplines—film, visual art, science, literature, etc.—and this year features more than 100 diverse events that explore what it means to be human or animal. Among the presenters are animal scientist Temple Grandin, medical scholar and surgeon Atula Gawande, novelist Sherman Alexie, primatologist Frans de Waal, New Yorker writer Susan Orlean, psychoanalytic theorist Julia Kristeva, author Justin Torres and Harvard prof/fairy tale expert Maria Tatar.
The full schedule will be announced in August, and tickets go on sale on September 3 (for CHF members) and September 16 (for the general public). Don't miss the chance to get a liberal arts education in just a couple weeks.
New theater season announcements have rolled out in the last 24 hours from three very different theater companies.
Profiles Theatre has released the slate for its 25th season at its two neighboring venues. The fall lineup includes: In God's Hat by Rhett Rossi, directed by Joe Jahraus (August 23–October 18); Neil LaBute's Wrecks—because no Profiles season would be complete at this point without a Neil LaBute play—directed by Jason Gerace (September 27–November 17); and the seasonal return of Will Kern's Hellcab (November 14–January 12).
In the new year, Profiles will mount the Chicago premiere of Gidion's Knot, for which playwright Johnna Adams was awarded the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award earlier this month at the Humana Festival of New American Plays; Jahraus will direct (January 17–March 9). Darrell W. Cox will direct Mike Bartlett's Olivier Award–winning Cock (February 14–April 6); Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's Hunter Gatherers closes the season, helmed by Rick Snyder (May 16–June 29).
Porchlight Music Theatre's 19th season, presented entirely at Stage 773, will kick off with the Chicago premiere of the musical quick-change farce Double Trouble, by Bob and Jim Walton (August 31–October 6). Next is the Fats Waller revue Ain't Misbehavin' (February 1–March 9), followed by a revival of a rather large musical for a small stage: the 1961 satire How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (April 21–June 6).
Porchlight also inaugurates a new series of concert readings focused on a single year in musical-theater history, titled "Porchlight Revisits…". This season's readings, all from 1964, include Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents's Anyone Can Whistle (September 25); Golden Boy (February 26), based on the Clifford Odets play with a score by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse; and Fade Out–Fade In, by Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Jule Styne (May 21).
Chicago Children's Theatre remains in residence at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, where it will present a remount of its inaugural production, A Year With Frog & Toad, again directed by Henry Godinez (October 9–November 24). A new R&B-flavored musical, Mr. Chickee's Funny Money, is based on the book by Christopher Paul Curtis (Bud, Not Buddy) and features a score by the father-son team of Lamont and Paris Dozier, directed by Derrick Sanders (January 21–March 2). The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia's production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar will have a return engagement, playing one weekend at Skokie's North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (April 25–26) before settling in at CCT (April 29–June 1).
Also in early 2014, Chicago Children's Theatre will launch a "Later Stages" series for older children, with programming presented by groups like Theater Un-Speak-Able and Manual Cinema, as well as Red Kite, Blue Sky, a performance created specifically for children on the autism spectrum, presented at Pritzker Pavilion's rehearsal room (dates for both to be announced).
The lyrics of Phoenix's fifth album read like a litany of luxury: "chandelier," "crystal," "Caledonian rich and young," "Scandinavian leather," "Voyageur canoes," "the bronze, the silver, the gold," "Bel Air," "cruise ship," etc. The music is equally grandiose, layered in dense vintage synthesizers that shroud each song like a thick coat of statically charged mink. There's a clever trick employed throughout, where each instrument is doubled in the left and right channels, the sonic equivalent of a higher thread count. The results are immersive, a mineral mud bath to ease into. If the preceeding Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix signaled the quartet's move into its Classical period, then Bankrupt! must be their majestic Romantic record. Their Hector Berloiz Phoenix.
"Cadaver" Film Screening and Talk Wunderkind media personality Tavi Gevinson has a moderated conversation with film director Jonah Ansell. The discussion follows the screening of their animated short film "Cadaver." Museum of Contemporary Art. 6pm. $10, MCA members $8, students $6.
5 Broken Cameras Dirs. Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi. 2011. In Hebrew and Arabic with subtitles. In this Oscar-nominated documentary, Palestinian filmmaker Burnat documents his life in the occupied territories. The results are a mixture of muckraking and home movie. Columbia College, Film Row Cinema. 6pm. Free.
Fulcrum Point New Music Project FPNMP celebrates Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano's 75th birthday with a screening and live film scoring of the 1980 sci-fi classic Altered States. The full movie plays on the big screen with a 100-person orchestra performing Corigliano's stunning original score. "Since I was a student at Juilliard in 1980 I’ve dreamt of bringing this unique blend of abstract expressionism, neo-romanticism, electronic and world music to the stage," says FPNMP founder and artistic director Stephen Burns. Stick around to meet the composer at a post-concert panel discussion. Harris Theater. 7pm. $25–$50, students $10.
Fictlicious This quarterly literary event features original flash fiction and live music. Tonight's featured guests are Kenny Black, Liam Davis, Micki LeSueur, Lara Levitan, Jenna Morgan, Scott Onak, Megan Stielstra and Summer Girlfriends. Hideout. 7pm. $7.
Suffocation + Exhumed + Jungle Rot + Rings of Saturn + Admiron Long Island death-metal pioneers Suffocation, active since the late '80s but lately doing some of the best work of their career—Pinnacle of Bedlam, the band's new mindblower, gets our highest recommendation—headline in the South Loop. Support includes California gore-grind diehards Exhumed and old-school-style death-thrashers Jungle Rot. Reggie's Rock Club. 6pm. $25. 18 and older.
Theater in Chicago is so abundant, the Joseph Jefferson Awards committee hosts two ceremonies a year. It's just revealed the list of nominees for this year's 40th annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards, set to be handed out June 3 at Park West. (The committee's official Twitter feed, @JosephJefferson, will have live updates during the ceremony for those unable to attend. This year's Equity awards ceremony will take place November 4 at Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace.)
Bohemian Theatre Ensemble, a.k.a. BoHo Theatre, leads the pack with 14 nominations, followed closely by the Hypocrites with 12. City of Dreadful Night, at the newly eligible Den Theatre, and Circle Theatre's Reefer Madness tied for the most nominations for a single production, with seven each.
The complete list of nominations follows; where possible, Time Out Chicago's original review is linked from the first mention of each production.
2. Aleksandar Hemon The award-winning Chicago author reads from his fantastic new essay collection, The Book of My Lives. Women and Children First. Wed 7:30pm. Free.
3. Joffrey Ballet: "Othello" So much more likable then the boy king from Game of Thrones, this Joffrey production is nonetheless as powerful and passionate. "Othello" is a perfect vehicle for showcasing the company's dynamo dancers. The contemporary ballet contains jealousy, betrayal, forbidden love and a propulsive score by Oscar winner Elliot B. Goldenthal. Auditorium Theatre. Wed–Fri 7:30pm; Sat 2pm, 7:30pm; Sun 2pm. Through May 5. $31–$152.
4. Ghostface Killah + Adrian Younge's Venice Dawn Wu-Tang's Iron Man has not lost an ounce of his lyrical skill-set, continually spewing poetically formless, detail-dense, quasi-fantasy tails of the urban game. His moody, chopsocky latest, Twelve Reasons to Die, is a collaboration with producer Adrian Younge, who opens the night with his '60s-inspired soul project, Venice Dawn, a cross of Italian soundtracks and French chanson—you know, the stuff of Quentin Tarantino's dreams. Abbey Pub. Fri 26. $20–$25.
5. Jacques Renault + James Curd + Studio Casual Brooklyn groove rider Jacques Renault helms the moving NYC party and record label Let's Play House. Funky Chicagoan and occasional television soundtracker James Curd released the playful "We Just Won't Stop" on DFA. Smart Bar. Fri 10pm. $12, after midnight $15, advance $10, students or with R.S.V.P. $7.
6. Chicago Anarchist Film Fest You might think it antithetical for a bunch of anarchists to organize anything, let alone a film festival, but this is the 13th go-round of the city's anarcho cinema event. The three evenings of shorts, documentaries and animations have been broken up by theme: sabotage, wild cat strikes again and nine lives. After the final screening on Sunday, the fest migrates to Township in Logan Square for (what else?) a punk-rock karaoke wrap party. Meztli Cultural Organization. Fri, Sat 7pm; Sun 4pm. $5–$10 donation.
7. Johnny Marr What took the legendary guitarist 49 years to release his debut solo album, The Messenger? Well, he's been rather busy, initially with the Smiths, of course, and more recently as a gun-for-hire in the Cribs and Modest Mouse. Alone, he has a surprisingly lovely voice and a penchant for sturdy Britpop. Naturally, his gift for arpeggiated chords and melancholic jangle remain. Any Anglophilic '90s nostalgist should drool. Metro. Thu 25. $30.
8. Chicagoland Sexcon The annual sex convention hits the club with porn stars, sex-toy vendors, strippers and much more naughty stuff, plus DJs and booze—all making the usual night of clubbing look quite innocent. As a night out, it's not for those of Victorian disposition. The Castle. Wed 9pm. Advance $25 at Chicagosexcon.com.
9. Improv Nerd Jimmy Carrane kicks off a third season of his local talk show in which he interviews local legends and gets them out of the chair for a short improv set. This season's guests include John Lutz, Edgar Blackmon, Katy Colloton, Beth Melewski and Andy St. Clair. Stage 773. Sun 4pm. $10, students $8.
10. 826CHI Promic-Con Nonprofit writing workshop 826CHI's prom fund-raiser borrows some comic-con steez, encouraging attendees to nerd out with cosplay. The theme should make for some interesting dance-floor combos. School of the Art Institute. Sat 8pm–midnight. $45, couples $75 , advance $40 per person.
Ultra Records poster child Kaskade makes a triumphant return to his hometown. He's come a long way from his days in Chicago and his time on OM, so don't expect to be massaged by deep-house groovers. Kaskade's major now, so look for a much more banging vibe. Smart Bar. Wed 24. $20.
Colombian-American house titan Morillo is best know for his work in Reel 2 Real. Don't act like you haven't shook it a little bit to his "I Like to Move It." Or at least wanted to kill yourself after hearing it on repeat at Six Flags/in Madagascar trailers. The Mid. Sat 27. $20–$30.
U.K. game-changer Pearson Sound (a.k.a. Ramadanman) fills the room with his progressively techy house-not-house and stripped-down low-end sounds, as widely heard in his high-profile remix of Radiohead's "Morning Mr Magpie." Smart Bar. Thu 25. $5–$15.
Brooklyn groove rider Jacques Renault helms the moving NYC party and record label Let's Play House. Funky Chicagoan and occasional television soundtracker James Curd released the playful "We Just Won't Stop" on DFA. Smart Bar. Fri 26. $7–$15.
5. Roger Taylor
Duran Duran drummer Taylor throws his own birthday bash with his roving party, "Do It in Heels." Spy Bar. Thu 25. $15–$17.
Beginning this week, Time Out Chicago is consolidating all of the site's blogs into a one-stop shop at #Chicago.
If you're used to coming to Unscripted for everything performance-related, from scoops on storefront theater to reviews of dance troupes and sketch groups, you'll find all of that same content alongside restaurant and bar news, the week's best nightlife events and more, all in one convenient location.
Wu-Tang's Iron Man has not lost an ounce of his lyrical skill-set, continually spewing poetically formless, detail-dense, quasi-fantasy tails of the urban game. His moody, chopsocky latest, Twelve Reasons to Die, is a collaboration with producer Adrian Younge, who opens the night with his '60s-inspired soul project, Venice Dawn, a cross of Italian soundtracks and French chanson—you know, the stuff of Quentin Tarantino's dreams. Abbey Pub. Fri 26. $20–$25.
2. Johnny Marr
What took the legendary guitarist 49 years to release his debut solo album, The Messenger? Well, he's been rather busy, initially with the Smiths, of course, and more recently as a gun-for-hire in the Cribs and Modest Mouse. Alone, he has a surprisingly lovely voice and a penchant for sturdy Britpop. Naturally, his gift for arpeggiated chords and melancholic jangle remain. Any Anglophilic '90s nostalgist should drool. Metro. Thu 25. $30.
Liverpool's lover of all things cult '60s, Clinic called its latest album Free Reign, and given its progress and evolution over the past 15 years, the description is appropriate, wavering between so many different art-rock poles the movement is practically dizzying. Lovely Canadian shoegazer duo No Joy premieres cuts from its sophomore album, Way to Pleasure. Lincoln Hall. Wed 24. $15.
To suggest that Eleventh Dream Day could have been a contender would be to discount the fact that it was among the greatest bands ever produced by this city. The group’s last album for a major label, El Moodio, was a victim of bad timing as much as anything else. Released in 1993, it should have been the record that rocketed the group to stardom, or at least elevated it to the same level of popularity enjoyed by EDD’s peer Yo La Tengo. Now the group looks to set things right, revisiting the album in full. Hideout. Tue 23. $5.
Much about Bleached feels been-there-done-that: It's a guitar/drum duo, crafting retro garage rock, consisting of blond sisters. Thus, the L.A. act calls to mind Frankie Rose, Vivian Girls, the Kills, et al. But it's debut, Ride Your Heart, is a blast. Saying its punky, '50s-ish pop is going out of style is like declaring the death of blue jeans. NYC's like-minded Hunters worked SXSW hard this year, fueled by the captivating energy of front-woman Isabel Almeida. Subterranean. Sat 27. $10.