Poetry Off the Shelf: Eduardo C. Corral, Carmen Giménez-Smith, Sheryl Luna and Deborah Paredez In a partnership with CantoMundo, a national collective for Latina/o poets, the Poetry Foundation presents a reading with three CantoMundo fellows and founder, Deborah Paredez. The Poetry Foundation. 7pm. Free.
Vanilla Ace London's mysterious Vanilla ace has been burning up Beatport charts with joyous deep house gems. The Brit is known to chop up Hall & Oates, drop in funky '80s synth lines. His Your Body EP plays like a leaner, meaner, cleaner Basement Jaxx. Primary has the pleasure of hosting his first night on U.S. shores. So say you were there first. Dmitry Lovebone, Keith Lotta and Gary Lacosta kick things off. Primary. 10pm. $10–$12.
"It's coming on Christmas / They're cutting down trees," Joni Mitchell songs on "River" (the saddest holiday song of all time). If you want to live the lyrics and chop down your own tree, we've rounded up the best places. But if you're not that ambitious or don't attach a lot of sentiment to picking out the perfect conifer, Uber, in partnership with Home Depot, is offering an alternative. Call it a sign that American society has reached max levels of laziness or call it a Christmas miracle, but you can get a real live tree delivered to your doorstep with the click of a button.
Tomorrow, December 5, between 11am and 8pm, Chicagoans can use the Uber app on an iPhone, Android or Blackberry—select the "UberTree" option—to order a Christmas tree. (New riders can use the sign-up code "UberTREE' to get them $20 off their first ride.) Provided your attempt is successful—availability is limited; demand will likely be high—you’ll have a netted Frasier fir, a tree stand and an Uber gift delivered to your front door within minutes. This will cost you $135, and you're still gonna have to haul it up any stairs. But it's a bit more legit than our usual holiday decorating, which is limited to burning an evergreen-scented candle and calling it a "tree-lighting ceremony."
The NOSH, the weekly food market that started in Wicker Park this past summer and recently moved indoors to the Sunday Logan Square Farmers Market, is popping up inside Block 37 through December 13.
The troubled shopping center, still mostly vacant four years after its opening, is holding the holiday pop-up food fest on the second floor weekdays from 10:30am–2pm, with a rotation of more than 15 daily vendors. Pecking Order, Gayle's Best Ever Grilled Cheese, Lindy's Chili, Chicago's Dog House, Passion House Coffee Roasters, the Bento Box, Dia De Los Tamales and the Meatball Project are all in attendance today—and the Salsa Truck has even managed to park its vehicle inside the mall.
Lupe Fiasco has a hot-and-cold relationship with Twitter—one of those users who opens an account, then abruptly deletes it, then opens one again and routinely threatens to delete it, like Alec Baldwin or your weird ex from college. Now the Chicago rapper is using the social media platform to write a new self-described "Afrofuturist novel," 140 characters at a time. He started unveiling chapters of Teriyaki Joe: Neo Harlem Detective on November 30 and is currently releasing chapter three. Poetry Genius breaks down the first chapter, which includes mention of grits and Sun Ra, and sentences like "That's Neo-Harlem for you. That slow burn then that inferno." and "Could really use some pussy. Real pussy not that robotic Kevlar jellyfish these ladies walking around with today."
Lupe talked about quitting music a few years ago (he retires from the industry about as often as he quits Twitter) and expressed his plans to become an author. Back then, his book-in-progress was punnily titled Reflections of a Window Washer, but now it seems he's moving in a more cyberpunk noir direction. Thus far, Teriyaki Joe is a weird but mildly entertaining sci-fi/crime page-turner—er, scroll-downer. More interesting than the snoozy single "Old School Love," at least. For more, follow @LupeFiasco. It's private, so you'll have to wait for approval to find out what happens next in Neo Harlem.
We had a hard enough time picking the best doughnuts in Chicago, let alone the entire country, but the Daily Meal picked the 25 best doughnuts across the nation and ranked them. Chicago earned four slots—No. 24 is Dinkel’s Bakery's chocolate dake doughunut, No. 16 is Dat Donuts' plain glazed, No. 13 is Do-Rite Donuts and Coffee's chocolate glazed and the No. 1 doughnut in the country is Doughnut Vault's plain glazed, which they say is "surprisingly light and fresh" with "a simple, sugary glaze."
But when we did a huge doughnut taste test in June, not only was it not one of our top doughnuts, we didn't even like it! We "loved the texture but felt the strong flavor of the glaze was a detriment to overall doughnut bliss."
Here are our 12 favorite doughnuts in Chicago:
Glazed from Dat Donut
Chocolate old-fashioned from Do-Rite Donuts
Vanilla bean glazed cinnamon crunch from Do-Rite Donuts
Chestnut glaze at Doughnut Vault
Old-fashioned from Doughnut Vault
Grape jelly-filled from Doughnut Vault
Bacon butterscotch from Endgrain
Coconut cream from Firecakes
Apple fritter from Firecakes
Peanut butter cup from Firecakes
Creme brulee from Glazed & Infused
Pistachio passionfruit from Glazed & Infused
Wonderland Express The holiday mood will fill your spirit when you visit the Botanic Garden's 10,000-square-foot model train exhibit, which runs through some 80 itty-bitty city monuments amd features a replica of the Stanley Cup. Outside, more than 750,000 twinkling lights dazzle the gardens. Chicago Botanic Garden. 10am–6pm. $10–$12, kids and seniors $8–$10, kids under 2 free.
No Tell Motel Deb hosts the weekly sex-capades of Chicago's sleaziest and sexiest performers on the main-floor stage, er, room No. 13 of No Tell Motel. Rockers from local bands are scheduled to drop in for sets alongside burlesque regulars and resident DJ Andrew Vonn. Performances take place at midnight. Debonair Social Club. 10pm.
1. No Virginia, Santa is Your Parents Give the gift of real talk with pH's truth-telling, adults-only holiday sketch show. pH Comedy Theater. December 7 at 9:30pm. $15, students $10; BYOB.
2. Hoo Ha Comedy This free weekly stand-up showcase in Wrigleyville is produced by a bevy of local funny ladies (Erin Lane, Meredith Kachel, Kristen Toomey, Reena Calm and Colleen Farrell). BEER. December 3 at 8pm. Free.
3. Improvised Friday Night Lights Clear eyes, full hearts, no script: Vets of the Improvised Shakespeare Company and Improvised Star Trek turn their attention to the unpredictable exploits of the Dillon Panthers, Coach and Mrs. Coach in this just-extended Playground hit. The Playground Theater. December 6 at 10pm. $10.
Danny's Reading Series This installment of Joel Craig's long-running poetry series features a solid lineup: Nathan Hoks (Reveilles, The Narrow Circle), Stephanie Anderson (In the Key of Those Who Can No Longer Organize Their Environments) and Roger Reeves (King Me). Danny's. Dec 4 at 7:30pm. Free.
Poetry Off the Shelf: Eduardo C. Corral, Carmen Giménez-Smith, Sheryl Luna and Deborah Paredez In a partnership with CantoMundo, a national collective for Latina/o poets, the Poetry Foundation presents a reading with three CantoMundo fellows, as well as founder Deborah Paredez. The Poetry Foundation. Dec 5 at 7pm. Free.
Ten years ago, a young A&R man, an ex–advertising exec and a crate digger formed the Numero Group. Starting in a Bucktown apartment, the three exhumed forgotten music, mostly soul, and reissued it in identically packaged compilations—to look like a library of hidden gems on your record shelf. In the decade since, after moving to a house in Little Village, Numero has earned Grammy nominations, has had its music as the crux of a Ryan Gosling romance, and has released dozens of LPs in its popular Eccentric Soul series. With the luxe book-and-records bundle Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound, the local label has perfected its niche form of documenting American subculture.
The Last Speakeasy: On The Eve of Repeal Celebrate the 80th anniversary of the repeal of the Prohibition by sipping on Templeton Rye cocktails while snacking on appetizers and desserts. Deirdre Capone, grandniece to the infamous mobster Al Capone, will also make an appearance for the occasion. Chicago History Museum. December 4 at 6:30pm. $45. 21+
80th Anniversary of Prohibition Although Prohibition ended 80 years ago, celebrate like it just happened! Nana invites you to dress in your best 1930s garb, and it'll provide passed hors d'oeuvres, live music and cocktails, of course. Call 312-929-2486 for reservations (required). Nana. December 5 at 6:30pm. $40. 21+
Ice Skating at Lincoln Park Zoo Lace up your ice skates and become part of a new winter tradition at the rink at Lincoln Park Zoo's Farm-in-the-Zoo from November 29–March 2. The Main Barn is open as a sort of concession stand. Skate rental is available for an additional $5. Lincoln Park Zoo. Noon–9pm. $5.
ART & DESIGN
"It's the Political Economy, Stupid" This traveling exhibition, co-organized by Oliver Ressler and Gregory Sholette, features contemporary photography, installation, drawing and video addressing economic and political problems that started in 2008 and have been ongoing. One video shows Chicago-born artist Dread Scott on Wall Street burning dollar bills and chanting "Money to burn, money to burn." Titled after a James Carville phrase from 1992, the group show presents artworks that effectively reflect, engage with and resist our crisis-plagued "new norm." Gallery 400. 10am–6pm.
Joffrey Ballet: The Nutcracker With designs that suggest a pop-up book come to life and choreography that honors both the narrative and Tchaikovsky's score, Robert Joffrey's 1987 Nutcracker (with contributions by Gerald Arpino) is among the country's best versions of the holiday ballet. The Chicago Sinfonietta provides live accompaniment, along with a children's choir, which performs in the lobby before curtain and during the intermission. Through Dec 28; visit joffrey.com for further details. Auditorium Theater. Dec 6–8, 12–15, 19–24, 26–28. $31–$117.
Moscow Ballet's "Great Russian Nutcracker" Nobody does it quite like the Russians. With the grandfather of all Nutcrackers, the Moscow Ballet puts its sweeping, grandiose spin on the perennially favored holiday ballet. Akoo Theatre at Rosemont. Dec 8. $30–$100.
Ten games. Just ten games into the 2013–14 NBA season and Derrick Rose was put back on a shelf. When the hometown hero comes back, he's going to be like Karl Urban in Almost Human (too early for people to get that cyborg leg reference?) and Greg Odom old. Perhaps this is commercial karma for building an entire sneaker campaign around "the Return." Well, at least we still have the Blackhawks.
10. November 18, vs. Bobcats Just 12 points, five assists. But, hey, at least we beat Jordan's cruddy team 86-81.
9. "Derrick Rose x Crusher" for Skullcandy Pretty sure they sell these headphones at Walgreen's, which does not rank high on my list of sources for high-fidelity audio. To add insult to injury, what is Rose bumping in this ubiquitous ad? Wale's "Back 2 Ballin'." Sigh.
8. November 11, vs. Cavaliers Cleveland's super guard Kyrie Irving has to dress up like an old geezer in his commercials. Our All Star actually has the knees of an elderly man. Take that!
Burning Bluebeard A few days after Christmas 1903, during a matinee performance of the extravagant holiday panto Mr. Bluebeard at the brand-new, “absolutely fireproof” Iroquois Theatre in Chicago’s Loop, 600 audience members perished in a fire. In Burning Bluebeard, an alternately wistful, sidesplitting and chill-inducing excavation first seen in a 2011 Neo-Futurists production and here remounted with the full original cast, six lightly singed members of Mr. Bluebeard’s company attempt to erase the tragedy by successfully completing the performance without going up in flames. Jay Torrence’s blazing breakdown of events cheekily blends moods and periods; under Halena Kays’s measured direction, the gags and dance numbers serve as a welcome balance to the horrific facts. Read Kris Vire's four-star review. Theater Wit. Dec 5, 6 at 7:30pm; Dec 7 at 3, 7:30pm; Dec 8 at 3pm. $18–$36.
"Carson Fisk-Vittori: Women Weed & Weather" Obvious statement: Human activities have wreaked significant havoc on the Earth's ecosystems. More and more artists, it seems, are exploring the Anthropocene—the informal term to describe our new geologic epoch in which humans have caused global and planetary change. In this exhibition, Fist-Vittori comments on the many failures of the Anthropocene by satirizing our current relationships with nature. In addition to sculptural objects and installation, the artist presents still-life photographs that resemble stock images—except they depict unlikely arrangements such as a snake in a paper towel roll and a cartoonish-looking smartphone centerpiece. Carrie Secrist Gallery. Through Jan 4.
Joffrey Ballet: The Nutcracker With designs that suggest a pop-up book come to life and choreography that honors both the narrative and Tchaikovsky's score, Robert Joffrey's 1987 Nutcracker (with contributions by Gerald Arpino) is among the country's best versions of the holiday ballet. The Chicago Sinfonietta provides live accompaniment, along with a children's choir, which performs in the lobby before curtain and during the intermission. Through Dec 28; visit joffrey.com for further details. Auditorium Theatre. Dec 6 at 7pm; Dec 7 at 2, 7pm; Dec 8 at 2pm. $31–$117.
What do you want for Christmas? Love? Family? The new iPhone 5s? We can't give you those other things, but we can give you these restaurants that will be serving up traditional and not-so-traditional Christmas Eve and Day meals.
RECOMMENDED: Christmas activities in Chicago
Christmas Day buffet (12:30–6:30pm)
PRICE: $150, kids 5–12 $55, kids 4 and under free
LOOK FORWARD TO: A seven-station worldly buffet including Asian, Mediterranean, sushi and dessert
Christmas Eve three-course dinner (5–10pm)
Christmas Day four-course prix fixe (2:30–8pm)
LOOK FORWARD TO: Soft-poached duck egg, lamb loin and sea scallops
Christmas Eve (5–10pm) and Day (3–10pm) three-course prix fixe
Just in case you didn’t overdo it on the booze front over the holiday weekend, here are your evening drinking plans: Sportsman’s Club, a forthcoming Ukrainian Village bar, is popping up tonight at Trenchermen.
The bar, the latest project from Heisler Hospitality (Trenchermen, Barrelhouse Flat), will be opening later this month, but you can preview the drinks tonight. The cocktail menu, by managing partners Wade McElroy (Trenchermen, Barrelhouse Flat) and Jeff Donahue (Aviary, Barrelhouse Flat), features stirred drinks like the Sportsman, with bourbon, amaro, tart cherry, angostura and absinthe, and a sour cocktail dubbed Grizzly King, with pisco, amaro, sherry, lemon and cinnamon-chicory. Plus, they’re bringing along the bar’s amaro machine, which will dispense blended amari on draft. And if you don’t want any of that, a shot of Old Grand Dad and a High Life is $5.
Trenchermen chef Pat Sheerin will be serving dishes made with game (a nod to the “sportsman” name).
The pop-up runs from 8–11pm and admission is free.
Poliça Fronted by Channy Moon Casselle, late of Twin Cities combo Roma di Luna, Poliça serves up smoky late-night grooves with Auto-Tuned android-lust vocals. The Bon Iver buddies deliver body-oiled trip-hop from their recent sophomore LP, Shulamith, fueled by two live drummers. Truly one of the most unique pop acts working today. Metro. Dec 5 at 9pm. $17.
Rubblebucket Free-ranging indie-dance-Afro-pop octet Rubblebucket hails from Brooklyn, and tonight plays in support of new EP, Save Charlie. The sugary junkyard disco act is criminally underrated. Probably because it is called Rubblebucket. Arcade Fire has clearly been taking notes. Lincoln Hall. Dec 7 at 9pm. $18, advance $15.
Vanilla Ace London's mysterious Vanilla Ace has been burning up Beatport charts with joyous deep house gems. The Brit is known to chop up Hall & Oates, drop in funky '80s synth lines. His Your Body EP plays like a leaner, meaner, cleaner Basement Jaxx. Primary has the pleasure of hosting his first night on U.S. shores. So say you were there first. Dmitry Lovebone, Keith Lotta and Gary Lacosta kick things off. Primary. Dec 5 at 10pm. $10–$12.
We Still Believe: Gunnar Haslam Shadowy NYC producer Gunnar Haslam operates in both static and motion. Some of his early recordings for Brooklyn label/collective L.I.E.S. sculpt with panic-attack synthesizers and industrial drum machinery. It's dark and beautiful shit, conjuring images of the tech-gothic dystopias of '80s cyberpunk novels. His more recent output, for Chicago's Argot imprint, like the ace "Bera Range," works harder to jack your body, shooting Vangelis synths over busy cyborg tribal rhythms, like if Autechre came from Brazil, not Britain. Smart Bar. Dec 7 at 10pm. $12, advance $10, with Facebook R.S.V.P. or student I.D. $7, before midnight $5.
Golf Clap These Detroit deep house newcomers keep it delicate and soulful on first single "Another Way." With a name like Golf Clap, the duo is definitely on a more sophisticated tip, with tongue certainly touching cheek. While the country club apparel might be in jest, the throwback grooves are no joke. "Another Way" adds scratches, smothered diva belting and popcorn keyboards to a tightly wound beat that happily bounces along the green. Primary. Dec 6 at 10pm. $8–$10.
Midnight Conspiracy: Rays of Ra Laser Light Show Midnight Conspiracy continues the underage-friendly raging, this time with an Egyptian-themed lasers-and-bass spectacular. LED foam sticks will be given at the door; "laser glasses" are available. Remember how people in the '70s would watch light shows in amphitheatres while listening to Pink Floyd? It's like that, minus the prog rock, plus a shit-ton of low end thunder and ecstatic dancing. Concord Music Hall. Dec 7 at 9pm. $10–$17; 18 and older.
Pete Tong + Derrick Carter Contrary to the movie title, Pete Tong is far from gone. One of the U.K.'s biggest club personalities, Tong has been broadcasting his Essential Mix on BBC 1 to thousands for more than 20 years. This guy's a legend, and he knows his stuff better than most—if you want to know what's sending dance floors into a frenzy, look no further than this guy. The Mid. Dec 6 at 10pm. $10, free with R.S.V.P. before 11pm.
Christkindlmarket Chicago Designed to mimic Germany's annual market celebration, the Loop replica returns for another year. Live entertainment, dozens of vendors selling miscellaneous handmade ornaments and classic food and drink—mulled spice wine, marzipan, schnitzel, stollen and strudel— are yours for the taking. Daley Plaza. 11am–8pm.
ART & DESIGN
"Caroline Picard: Divining Transhuman Space" Picard installed a series of colorful visual models and notes in the 9–5 office of Philip von Zweck (D Gallery) that engage with "the Anthropocene, the End Times and the limits of human imagination." You know, the usual stuff that adorns office spaces. (Hours by appointment.) D Gallery.
Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade For 36 years, Toys for Tots has collected and distributed toys for the holidays. Check the website for drop-off sites and a list of in-demand, permissible, new and unwrapped gifts. Western Avenue from 87th Street to Addison. 9:30am. New parade members $15, renewing members $10.
The Nexus Project This two-man dance performance features Benjamin Wardell and Michel Rodriquez Cintra and seeks to redefine the two-man dance performance, or at least challenge the predictable structure. "Men dancing together is usually approached from the perspective of butch-man-dance or Brokeback Mountain–style homoeroticism," Wardell says. To keep things complex and compelling—while avoiding drifting off into something inaccessible and esoteric—12 choreographers from various dance backgrounds were tapped to collaborate on new material. Reservations are encouraged. Mana Contemporary. 5pm. Pay what you can ($5 includes a glass of wine).