Beyoncé It's the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour Starring BEYONCÉ (her caps). Hey, they don't call her a diva for her humility. United Center. Dec 13 at 8pm. $45–$250.
The Breeders The bad news is that Kim Deal has left the Pixies. The good news is that means you can catch both the Breeders and Pixies in Chicago this winter. The Dayton band will rip through Last Splash and Pod in their entireties. Metro. Dec 14 at 9pm. $28.
The Christmas Schooner A family brings the first Christmas-tree ship to Chicago in this bittersweet historical musical by John Reeger and Julie Shannon, a long-standing tradition. Read Gwen Purdom's four-star review. Mercury Theater. Dec 11 at 7:30pm; Dec 12 at 2, 7:30pm; Dec 13 at 8pm; Dec 14 at 2, 8pm; Dec 15 at 2pm. $20–$55.
Hubbard Street Dance Company: Winter Series Back by popular demand, the full-length, full-company production One Thousand Pieces, inspired by Marc Chagall’s America Windows, highlights choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo and music by Philip Glass. Harris Theater. Dec 12 at 7:30pm; Dec 13, 14 at 8pm; Dec 15 at 3pm.
Many visitors to the John Hancock Building (ourselves among them) bypass the Observatory and head to the 96th-floor Signature Lounge, which affords the same breathtaking views—80 miles into the distance, of four states—without the steep admission fee. Soon we might have a compelling reason to stop on 94, though. Crain's Chicago Business reported today that the owner of the Observatory—the Paris-based Montaparnasse Group 56, which purchased it in 2012 for $44.2 million—plans to create an extreme tourist experience called "the Tilt."
Two things we've gathered from the description: 1) It sounds like a nightmare for anyone who fears heights; 2) It makes the Ledge, the popular glass balcony extending from the Willis Tower Skydeck, sound like kiddie shit. "The Tilt" is an enclosed glass box protruding from the Observatory that would hold several thrill-seeking visitors at a time and, once they were strapped in, would tilt downward to offer a new persepective of the city.
Good job, everyone! We ate everything at Eataly last week, so the Italian megastore is closed today to restock and "preserve our standards of quality and service," DNAInfo.com reports. We paid our first (of many) visits to Eataly last week and it was packed, so it's not at all surprising to hear that more than 120,000 shoppers and 80,000 diners visited in the first week the store was open. Eataly will reopen tomorrow at 8am.
Fresh starts can be hard to come by, but when former Midlake frontman Tim Smith left the group last year, the band's remaining members were left with no choice but to begin anew. Guitarist Eric Pulido took the reigns, guiding the Texas outfit through the recording of its fourth LP, Antiphon. A departure from the Jethro Tull–indebted folk of The Courage of Others, Midlake's newest album channels the lush prog-rock of groups like Pink Floyd and Camel. The six-piece band filled the stage at Schubas on Thursday night, introducing its reconfigured lineup to a sold-out crowd. Fellow Denton resident Sarah Jaffe opened up the evening with a performance that showcased her versatile voice. Clad in a hot pink Hawaiian shirt that seemed out of place among the festive wreaths and garlands adorning the concert hall, the native Texan praised the attentive crowd while bemoaning the frigid weather. Making her way through the pulsating synth-pop of "Defense" and the confessional balladry of "Vulnerable," Jaffe's confident demeanor commanded the attention of those in attendance, even as latecomers shuffled into the venue.
The slicked-back wolfman hair. The mustache. The aviators. The aggro gum chewing. And, of course, the Bears sweater vest. The Mike Ditka costume is pretty obvious, but you have to have a certain something to pull it off. We were hoping for more contestants like this at the Mike Ditka Look-Alike Contest last night at Double Door, which raised money for the Otis Wilson Charitable Association (check out Wilson in the audience—he was a judge), but these Da Coaches are dead ringers. The winner received two tickets to tonight's Bears vs. Cowboys game at Soldier Field, when Ditka's number will be retired.
Dillon Francis + Anamanguchi Prepare to go bonkers. NYC outfit Anamanaguchi uses vintage electronics to pay tribute to bleepy, action-packed Nintendo soundtracks, creating the most perverse take on the Zelda score, ever. Moombahton pioneer Dillon Francis, like all Mad Decent bass-droppers, tries his damnedest to make white kids twerk. The bill is branded IDGAFOS (I Don't Give a Fuck or Santa). As Frosty said before playing in the sun, "YOLO!" Aragon. Dec 14 at 8pm. $27.50.
Girl Unit + Nguzunguzu Girl Unit's a Night Slug. Gross, right? Hardly. One of a number of increasingly prominent U.K. bass-music innovators, joined under the banner of the Night Slugs label, GU has a deep-seated love of American R&B and hip-hop, and it comes out in his productions, which are nonetheless decidedly from the U.K.: soulful and full of that low-end 808 whomp whomp dubstep fans crave. L.A. digi-tropical duo Nguzunguzu are hot off producing alien R&B for Kelela's wonderful Cut 4 Me.
Beyoncé It's the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour Starring BEYONCÉ (her caps). Hey, they don't call her a diva for her humility. Frankly, there's a little too much Beyoncé in our Beyoncé these days, as she enters the Santa Claus level of fame. She's shoving Pepsi in our faces, shoving her perfect life in our faces, just shoving her face in our faces. Her Beyoncé-approved face, that is—no potentially ugly photographs are allowed on the Internet. Just when we're ready to swear her off for good, we hear her voice, see her dance against a giant video screen. Of course, we still want to pay to see the circus. United Center. Dec 13 at 8pm. $45–$250.
Drake + Miguel Drake did not exactly start out as the most promising cat in the rap game. Dude was a Canadian child TV star. And yet there's something supremely disappointing about "Started from the Bottom." First, it's total bullshit. He didn't start from the bottom of anything. Second, we turned to Drake as an antidote to the big titties and Bentleys of mainstream rap. Drake's been hanging around Lil Wayne too much. Then again, every time we begin to doubt the guy, he delivers. Miguel is better on record than onstage, but this is a hell of a pairing. United Center. Dec 12 at 7pm. $59.75–$109.75.
Chicago Bears at Soldier Field Da Bears bear down to take on the competition at Soldier Field. Soldier Field. 7:40pm. $104-$420.
ART & DESIGN
"A Study in Midwestern Appropriation" Michelle Grabner, co-curator of the 2014 Whitney Biennial, organized this group show about Midwestern artists' tendency to appropriate other artists' work, often in thoughtful, self-deprecating and humorous ways (instead of just carelessly ignoring notions of copyright). The exhibition features content-borrowing work by a solid lineup of artists from Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee and Minneapolis, in the form of sculptures, drawings, text-based work, photos and more. Hyde Park Art Center. 9am–8pm.
Dose Market Each week, this market opens its doors to fulfill your unique hipster needs. Purchase vintage and contemporary apparel, gourmet foods and wellness products from trendsetting purveyors. Chop Shop. 10am–4pm. $5.
GAY & LESBIAN
Brunch Gone Wild We have to hand it to mini, it has got one of the better brunch buffets on Halsted. Nothing wrong with bottomless glasses of Champagne to celebrate the Sabbath! minibar. 11am–3pm. $20.
Tasting Table Open Market The folks behind this new market promise it’ll be like the Tasting Table site come to life. Translation: If there’s a foodie on your shopping list, this is the stop for you. In addition to gifts and small-batch products, you’ll also find demos and bites to eat from Fat Rice, Saigon Sisters, Rare Bird Preserves and more. Block 37. 11am–4pm.
Rookie Yearbook Two and Tavi Gevinson Gevinson and other Chicago-based Rookie mag contributors celebrate the release of Rookie Yearbook Two, released this fall by Drawn & Quarterly. The festivities include readings, a dance party and live music. Saki. 6pm–9pm. Free.
Rick Bayless's Tortas Frontera and Xoco have long been on our lunch short list, but lunch at Topolobampo? We're not exactly high rollers who can drop that kind of coin on lunch—nor do we have the time to linger over a decadent, fine-dining mid-day meal. But Topolo's new lunch menu changes all that. "Topolo in 60" is a three-course prix-fixe for $25 that promises to have you in and out in one hour. Choose from starters like bright ceviche, mains like Atlantic striped bass in a yellow mole you will want to lick off your plate, and desserts like a Oaxacan Chocolate Sundae.
But hands-down the best dish on Topolo's revamped lunch menu is Rick Bayless's first burger: The torta de hamburguesa may be the most delicious burger I've had since Big Jones's version, and that's really saying something. The patty is a blend of ribeye and shortrib, it's topped with chorizo and the cheddar coating the whole thing adds a deep savoriness. It's not part of the prix-fixe, and it costs $19, but it's worth every penny. And calorie.
Danielle Young, 19
Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street
Nice jacket. Thanks. One of the big recent trends I’m on has been leather sleeves being incorporated with prints or denim. I’m also big into the hologram trend—so, like, shoes that look like they’re made of mirrored glass. I bought, like, five pairs of those! They match everything because they literally reflect whatever you’re wearing.
What's your favorite thing you're wearing?
My handbag. It's Burberry and I don't see many people walking around with it.
How would you define your style?
I think my style is very wearable for Chicago. It's very Midwestern. I mostly shop downtown on Michigan Avenue.
What kind of feedback do you get about your style?
I just get compliments, you know, "Oh you have nice style," "Great style" that kind of stuff. I keep getting stopped by blogs.
What blogs have you been stopped by?
You know, I don't know. I don't understand the concept and can never figure out how to find them.
What's your favorite thing you own?
Oh, I have a lot of great coats. What do we wear mostly in Chicago? Coats. Most of my best coats are Burberry, but I might pull out the fur this weekend because it's getting cold.
Caroling at Cloud Gate Each Friday from November 29 through December 20, hover around the Bean and make a joyful noise. The weekly gathering has become holiday tradition over the last several years. Millennium Park, Michigan Ave between Monroe and Randolph Sts. 6pm.
ART & DESIGN
"CITY SELF" Juxtaposing views of Chicago—from those of alienated "outsiders" to those of more sympathetic residents—this exhibition reveals the many ways in which we can see and know a city (including the ways in which we are all outsiders). The main attraction is Chicago (2011), the tenth film in an ongoing series of city portraits by New York–based artist and filmmaker Sarah Morris. In it, she pans Chicago's iconic architecture, then zooms in to reveal a less tidied, more intimate and ultimately more authentic look at the city. Also featured are works from the MCA Collection by Chicago artists as well as non-residents. Museum of Contemporary Art. 10am–5pm.
American Theater Company has announced partial casting for the Chicago premiere of Stephen Karam's Sons of the Prophet. The widely acclaimed work about a Lebanese-American family in Pennsylvania was named best play by the New York Drama Critics' Circle and the Lucille Lortel Awards and best Off Broadway play by the Outer Critics Circle in 2012; it was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize.
The cast of American Theater Company's production, to be staged by artistic director PJ Paparelli, will include Tyler Ravelson as Joseph, Natalie West as Gloria, Will Zahrn as Bill, Greg Anderson as Timothy, Marilynn Bogetich as Mrs. McAndrew and Carin Silkitis as Dr. Manor. Actors for the roles of Charles and Vin remain to be announced.
ATC has fostered a close relationship with the 34-year-old New York–based playwright. Karam and Paparelli cowrote the play columbinus before the latter's arrival in Chicago, and debuted a revised and expanded version at American Theater Company last season; Paparelli has also twice mounted Karam's Speech & Debate, in 2008 and again earlier this year. Sons of the Prophet will run January 31–March 9; see atcweb.org for ticket information.
"Tonight, we're going to look at another side of town that maybe you're not familiar with—the unusual side of town, the unexpected, the offbeat, the unorthodox. Tonight, I'm gonna show you a part of town I like to call Wild Chicago."
Over the last two decades, has Chicago gone from wild to, well, mild?
Back in September of last year, I posed that question to Ben Hollis, a man who has spent plenty of time exploring the city's untamed fringes, and all while wearing a pith helmet and khaki safari duds. Hollis had just launched an Indiegogo page to fund The Golden Age of Wild Chicago, Volume 1, a compilation of the craziest moments from the early seasons of the WTTW show he co-created with producer John Davies and hosted for four seasons before passing the mic. The fundraiser was a success, and the episodes are now available on DVD and on demand, with Hollis splitting half the profits with Channel 11, which gave him access to the archive.
Hollis didn't hesitate to offer comment about what we both saw as a gradual standardizing of the city. "A wild Chicago still is…it's still out there. But there's a kind of homogenizing or milding of Chicago that's been happening simultaneously," Hollis said. He had been thinking about it, too—the proliferation of Walgreens and Dunkin' Donuts, the gentrifying of neighborhoods that not long ago offered more cultural variety and color, the eccentrics turning toward the Internet as an outlet for their outlandishness.
Of course it's delicious. A shoe would taste lovely if it were blanketed with truffles. But would you pay $99 for Balena's pizza, available now through whenever the truffles run out (likely early 2014), even if it's studded with 5J jamon iberico and Perigord black truffles atop a truffled mortadella and leek crema sauce, and liberally sprinkled with Alba white truffle shavings tableside? Having tried this decadent thing, and literally feeling like time had stopped as a giant umami hand slapped me in the face, I can't say I'd pay for the experience (it was free as part of a media dinner).
Look, I know truffles are expensive, and that Balena couldn't possibly be making any money on this pizza, but you'd really have to be a truffles fanatic to appreciate why this pizza is worth the cost and then some. But if you're looking to impress your date by raining dollar bills on a pizza, or you're celebrating, say, making partner in your law firm, this is a far tastier and more memorable way to part with your cash than a bottle of Dom.
Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires There's a pain and longing in certain voices that has to be earned. While it's a bummer it took sixtysomething soul belter Charles Bradley decades to release an album, his 2011 debut, No Time for Dreaming, was a stunner. Struggle, death, heartbreak are all debris and dust kicked up by his gale-force pipes. The Daptone crooner returns with an equally great R&B platter, Victim of Love. Rescheduled from May 9. Metro. 9pm. $26, advance $21.
The Interview Show Mark Bazer hosts this monthly live chat show, featuring writers, musicians, artists and other prominent Chicagoans. The evening's guests include Tavi Gevinson, editor-in-chief of Rookie magazine; Tony Magee, founder of Lagunitas Brewing Company (who will be offering free samples of Lagunitas beer); and Charles Blackstone, author of the unintentionally hilarious novel, Vintage Attraction. Hideout. 6:30pm. $8.