1. Michael Palascak
Stand-up Michael Palascak finally moved out of his parents' house in the suburbs—formerly the source of much of his comedy—and all the way to Los Angeles, scoring his first Comedy Central special last year. Head out to Rosemont to find out what he jokes about these days. Zanies Rosemont. May 22, 23. 8pm. $20.
2. The Timey Wimey Fantastic Brilliant Extravaganza (Geronimo!)
Bring your sonic screwdriver to this affectionate tribute to a certain time-traveling doctor and his companions, penned by brothers Justin and McKenzie Gerber. Right Brain Project. May 24, 25 10:30pm; May 26 3pm. $15, kids 12 and under $10.
3. Improvised Star Trek
Now that you've seen Into Darkness, make the Trek to iO for a night of improvised nerdiness set in the sci-fi franchise's Next Generation era. iO Del Close Theater. May 24. Midnight. $5.
The Laugh Factory slates a new weekly night of queer and queer-friendly comics, produced and hosted by Scott Duff. The inaugural outing features Jessica Halem, Archer Coe, Joel Kim Booster, Kenny DeForest, Gwen La Roka and Marc 'DJ Moose' Moder, with proceeds benefiting the Lesbian Community Care Project. Laugh Factory. May 27. 8pm. $17.
5. Two Hour Comedy Hour
Two hours is a lot of stand-up, but the room is a charming one and the producers keep the audience involved with games. Gallery Cabaret. May 25. 7pm. Free.
After a long, long wait, the robots have returned. 2005's Human After All was the automated electronic Daft Punk album. This new record is where Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo show their human sides—their nostalgia for their childhoods.
It was a bit deflating when the songs Daft Punk sampled on its early records showed up on YouTube. Oh, these dudes are just lifting samples from some old obscure funk records. A lot of Discovery is simply a bit of a rare record playing in a loop. Huh. But it sure was awesome. Likewise, though the two Frenchmen have gone organic prog-disco, much of the joy of listening to Random Access Memories depends on how well you can suspend disbelief and ignore the liner notes. It also really helps if you were born in the early- to mid-'70s.
Read my album review of Daft Punk's fourth epic.
ART & DESIGN
Amalia Pica In her first major solo museum exhibition (co-organized by the MCA and the MIT List Visual Arts Center), the London-based Argentine artist examines communication—in particular, the act of listening—and civic participation through drawings, sculptures, installations, projections, large-scale photographic prints and live performances. Incorporating simple materials such as flags, banners, confetti and brightly colored drinking glasses, her works are not only thoughtful but beautiful to behold. Museum of Contemporary Art. 10am–8pm.
"Welcome to the Universe" The Grainger Sky Theater's second screening to be made in-house takes you a billion light years away and back to Earth, where you can zoom in on landforms rendered with NASA data that's updated weekly. Much like in the domed theater's original incarnation, a live staffer helms the daily presentations. (Screens about five times a day. Price including admission $28, kids $22.) Adler Planetarium. 9:30am-4pm.
Mayor Emanuel this morning appointed Johnson Publishing CEO Desiree Rogers chair of the board of Choose Chicago, the city-run marketing tentacle whose goal is attracting tourists and convention business.
Cue boilerplate Rahmbo endorsement: "Rogers is a world-class business executive and a truly proud Chicagoan, and her unique talents and experience are a perfect fit for this important role." Her predecessor in the volunteer post, Bruce Rauner, is mulling a run as a Republican candidate for Illinois governor.
On your commute to work this week, put down your phone for a sec (Words with Friends can wait) to witness flashes of orange and fushcia on a nearby roof—a troupe of vibrantly dressed dancers twirling in the sunshine. No, you haven't landed in a Michel Gondry film; you're seeing Wake Up! Waltz, a performance spectacle where 20-some dancers present variations on the waltz on rooftops visible from th el—from the living "green" roof of the Haas Park Field House to the top of an aromatherapy shop in South Shore. Conceived of and directed by artist Josie Davis, the series is designed to add a dose of the unexpected to the morning commute (a different kind of unexpected then, say, sitting on someone's half-eaten Big Mac or running into your ex on the Red Line).
"I think it's rare that people that people are aware of their environment," Davis says. "And it's work like this that gets people to break out of the routines that we live in and see the world in new ways."
The series started May 13 and continues through June 13, four days per week (Monday–Thursday) beginning at 9am. A schedule is posted on the Wake Up! Waltz site.
1. Navy Pier Fireworks Don't waste gas treking to Indiana or Wisconsin to buy your own (illegal) fireworks. Each Wednesday and Saturday, from Memorial Day to Labor Day (and a special show on July 4), Navy Pier makes the rockets red glare and bombs burst in air. They blowed up real good! Navy Pier. May 22; May 25, 10:15pm. Free.
2. Safety Last Dirs. Fred Newmeyer, Sam Taylor. 1923. 77mins. One of the best of Harold Lloyd's thrill-comedies, developing the precarious perch-clinging scenes in earlier shorts like "High and Dizzy" and the stunning "Never Weaken." If he steered clear of the cloying sentimentality that characterised Chaplin and Langdon, Lloyd nevertheless lacked the narrative and visual ambitions that made Keaton a truly great director/comedian. That said, the clock-hanging climax that caps this generally charming tale of a country boy out to make his fortune in the big city is a superb example of his ability to mix suspense and slapstick. Music Box. May 25. 7:30pm. $12.
3. Chance the Rapper It's inevitable and stupid that Chance the Rapper will be compared to Chief Keef. The headier and occasionally silly hip-hop of Chancellor "Chance" Bennett has nothing to do with trap. 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 was Childish Gambino, who appears on his fantastic new mixtape Acid Rap. Acid is an apt description. Both nights are sold out, but tickets can be found online. Jump on them. Metro. May 25–26, 7pm.
4. "Modernism's Messengers: The Art of Alfonso and Margaret Iannelli" Best known as a collaborator of Frank Lloyd Wright, Alfonso Iannelli (1888–1965) had a multifaceted design practice that encompassed advertisements, household products, public sculptures and more. We're glad to see him and his wife, Margaret Iannelli—an artist whose immense talents have been more neglected than her husband's—get the recognition they deserve. Chicago Cultural Center. Through Aug 17.
5. Electric Daisy Carnival David Guetta, Avicii and Tiësto are the big guns at the top of the bill. But it's not all Eurohouse and trance. There are some killer deep cuts here, too, like DJ Koze, a far more nuanced and weird technician whose latest, Amygdala, arrived as an immediate techno classic. Chicagoland Speedway. May 24–May 26, 5pm. 3-day pass $175, 3-day pass with camping $295, 3-day VIP $299, 3-day VIP with camping $419.
6. International Mr. Leather Weekend Chicago's tribute to the leather lifestyle has grown into a full-blown global event attracting leathermen and fetish enthusiasts from around the world to both compete in the International Mr. Leather contest and also to partake in a weekend of meet-and-greets, workshops, parties and so much more (just hanging around the hotel can make for a wild afternoon). The price of a weekend package is stiff (pun intended), but tickets to the Leather Market and most of the parties can be purchased individually. May 24–27. Most events take place at Chicago Marriott, 540 N Michigan Ave. Weekend packages $175–$205.
7. Blowoff Among his many non-rock pursuits, former wrestling script writer Bob Mould (Sugar, Hüsker Dü) formed DJ outfit Blowoff with Richard Morel while living in Washington, D.C.—they've issued an album and various remixes, but Blowoff is best known as the polysexual dance party they popularized in Chocolate City. There are few better ways to celebrate International Mr. Leather. Metro. May 25, 11pm. $16.
8. L.A. Rebellion: Compensation Dir. Zeinabu Irene Davis. 1999. 90mins. Inspired by a 1905 poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar, former Northwestern faculty member Davis’s film juxtaposes two separate Chicago love stories involving deaf women—one set at the turn of the century, the other in the present. The feature screens with an excerpt from Davis' forthcoming doc Spirits of Rebellion about the L.A. Rebellion filmmakers. Block Cinema, Northwestern University. May 23, 7pm.
9. JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound + Yoko and the Oh No's + The Ye Ye's Chicago's hardest-working, hardest-hustling R&B band, JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, celebrate a new album on Bloodshot, Howl. Recorded in Montreal, the platter sees the soul act impressively stretching out. "I hope we just get better, better, better," Brooks croons on "Rouse Yourself." Considering all the modern touches, they have. Lovable girl-group the Ye Ye's cover French pop of the '60s with garage vigor. Absolutely Not is the brainchild of Donnie Moore and generates infectious one-two beat punk chords. All in all, a fantastic bill of retro-minded locals. Mayne Stage. May 25, 9pm. $28.
10. Randolph Street Market Festival 2013 More than 200 vendors hawk their antique housewares, furniture, ephemera, clothing and more at this indoor-outdoor festival. Stop in for vintage clothes and jewelry, a vinyl swap meet, a fancy food market and global goods bazaar or bring your own for appraisal. Beaux Arts Plumbers Union Hall Building. May 25–26, 10am–5pm. $10, online $8.
No work on Monday! You know what that means: an extra night to party. As if things like adult responsibility ever stopped you before.
Electric Daisy Carnival David Guetta, Avicii and Tiësto are the big guns at the top of the bill. But it's not all Eurohouse and trance. There are some killer deep cuts here, too, like DJ Koze, a far more nuanced and weird technician whose latest, Amygdala, arrived as an immediate techno classic. Chicagoland Speedway. May 24–May 26 at 5pm. 3-day pass $175, 3-day pass with camping $295, 3-day VIP $299, 3-day VIP with camping $419.
John Talabot + Lemonade Barcelona's John Talabot might make music too hazy for Ibiza, but it still conjures the beach. An equatorial mugginess hangs over last year's hypnotic Fin, an album for all-night partiers to spin as they squint at the sunrise. Tropical and nostalgic are vibes far too familiar in the wake of chillwave, but Talabot still manages to come off as exotic. Wrapping his face in tin foil doesn't hurt. It goes without saying that electro-act Lemonade has its mind stuck on summer, too. Lincoln Hall. May 26 at 8pm. $20.
Kastle + XXXY Barrett Richards has dabbled in dead ends like happy hardcore and breaks. Now, as Kastle, he's mining gems of every ilk. It's what Burial might sound like if he hung out in strip clubs. Manchester's XXXY is both nostalgic for '90s divas and looking to push house into the future. Lincoln Hall. May 22 at 9pm. $20, advance $15.
Blowoff Among his many non-rock pursuits, former wrestling script writer Bob Mould (Sugar, Hüsker Dü) formed DJ outfit Blowoff with Richard Morel while living in Washington, D.C.—they've issued an album and various remixes, but Blowoff is best known as the polysexual dance party they popularized in Chocolate City. There are few better ways to celebrate International Mr. Leather Weekend. Metro. Sat 25 at 11pm. $16.
Mayhem at the Mid: Qbert + Shortkut Scratching, breakdancing, crooked baseball hats. Old school hip-hop heads, B-boys and connoisseurs of Electric Boogaloo should flock to the Mid for another edition of Mayhem at the Mid, an evening flashy turntablism and crew dance battles. What, no graffiti exhibition? San Francisco veterans and scratch icons Qbert and Shortkut cut it up on the decks. Crew registration begins at 8:30pm. R.S.V.P. at bit.ly/YkEZjf. The Mid. Fri 24 at 9pm. $10.
RECOMMENDED: 5 concerts to see this week.
Festival season officially kicks off with the first local edition of the Electric Daisy Carnival, the standard of EDM festivals in America. It's at a racetrack. (RECOMMENDED: 5 best nightlife events this week.)
Janelle Monáe and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Due to health concerns, Aretha Franklin had to pull out of the CSO's 24th annual Corporate Night. Those are big shoes (and hats) to fill. But kudos to the Chicago Symph for pulling this ace out of their maestro's sleeve. Atlanta future-soul darling Janelle Monáe steps in, hot off a monster fun. collaboration (that you can't really hear her in) and a fresh new jam with Erykah Badu, "Q.U.E.E.N." Not the Queen of Soul, no, but Symphony Center just got way hipper on the blogs. The 27-year-old's sci-fi concept album The Archandroid was dripping with cinematic strings, so this is totally going to work wonders. Symphony Center. May 20 at 7:30pm. $75–$175.
Laura Marling + Liam Hayes Here's something we keep saying each with each Laura Marling release: It's a modern classic, her best yet. The intense, radiantly lovely young English singer plays behind Once I Was an Eagle, her just-released fourth album. The 16 tracks (yeah, it's a trek) flow in one long uninterrupted strum. The Joni Mitchell, Julie London and Fairport Convention comparison are still apt, but there's more muscle flexing in this folk. I hear a lot of Pink Floyd's "Fearless" and Led Zep III. Few artists in their twenties can do so much with so little, just a guitar and air. Local baroque pop man Liam Hayes of Plush opens. Athenaeum Theatre. May 23 at 8pm. $25–$30.
JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound + Yoko and the Oh No's + The Ye Ye's Chicago's hardest-working, hardest-hustling R&B band, JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, celebrate a new album on Bloodshot, Howl. Recorded in Montreal, the platter sees the soul act impressively stretching out. "I hope we just get better, better, better," Brooks croons on "Rouse Yourself." Considering all the modern touches, they have. Lovable girl-group the Ye Ye's cover French pop of the '60s with garage vigor. Absolutely Not is the brainchild of Donnie Moore and generates infectious one-two beat punk chords. All in all, a fantastic bill of retro-minded locals. Mayne Stage. May 25 at 9pm. $28.
Chance the Rapper It's inevitable and stupid that Chance the Rapper will be compared to Chief Keef. The headier and occasionally silly hip-hop of Chancellor "Chance" Bennett has nothing to do with trap. 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 was Childish Gambino, who appears on his fantastic new mixtape Acid Rap. Acid is an apt description. Both nights are sold out, but tickets can be found online. Jump on them. Metro. May 25, May 26 at 7pm.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. + Tunde Olaniran Are you one of those people who goes to the sundae bar and puts every topping on your ice cream? Then you'll slrup up this genre-blurring pop bill. Detroit duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., now underdogs on Warner Bros., craft maximalist feel-good ditties that bring to mind a candy Passion Pit, especially the new "If You Didn't See Me (Then You Weren't on the Dancefloor)." Fellow Michigander Olaniran is a fascinating WTF three-way between TV on the Radio, Major Lazer and Antony, drop shifting from melodramatic crooning to bhangra fire spitting. Huh? Lincoln Hall. May 24 at 10pm. $15.
ART & DESIGN
"Spectator Sports" Fans' identification with athletes, the experience of watching games live, and the issues of nationality and gender are among the concerns shaping works by Jack Goldstein, Michelle Grabner and nine other artists. Museum of Contemporary Photography. 10am–5pm.
MS MR Kyrie, eleison, down the road that I must travel! Oh, not related to Mr. Mister? Still, this boy-girl duo have a good deal of '80s about them. Lizzy Plapinger floats her soul over echoing percussion and synthetic symphonies on the NYC band's debut, Secondhand Rapture. Think the Eurythmics for Florence & The Machine fans. Schubas. 8pm. $15, advance $13.
ART & DESIGN
"Color Rush: 75 Years of Color Photography in America" Ansel Adams, William Eggleston, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman and Edward Steichen are among the artists whose works trace the evolution of color photography from advertising and photojournalism to its comparatively recent validation as fine art. Milwaukee Art Museum. 10am–5pm.
The Trial Dir. Orson Welles. 1962. 120mins. The blackest of Welles' comedies, an apocalyptic version of Kafka that renders the grisly farce of K's labyrinthine entrapment in the mechanisms of guilt and responsibility as the most fragmented of expressionist films noirs. Perkins' twitchy "defendant" shifts haplessly through the discrete dark spaces of Welles' ad hoc locations (Zagreb and Paris, including the deserted Gare d'Orsay), taking no comfort from Welles' fable-spinning Advocate, before contriving the most damning of all responses to the chaos around him. The remarkable prologue was commissioned from pioneer pinscreen animators Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker. Music Box. 11:30am. $7.25.