Free things to do in Chicago | Feb 25–Mar 3
There are plenty of opportunities to have some fun this week, completely free. A lot of art exhibits around town are worth seeing, and you can get inspired for the future at Mess Hall before it closes its doors at the end of March.
"Climate of Uncertainty"
11am–5pm, DePaul Art Museum
The photos and videos that dominate this exhibition elicit a voyeuristic guilt: Though they document the ruinous effects of human activities on the natural environment, works including Terry Evans’s photos of a melting glacier and Sonja Hinrichsen’s video installation about the Three Gorges Dam are achingly beautiful. Through Mar 24.
Ex Cops + Henry Wagons + Panoramic & True
9:30pm, Empty Bottle
Brooklyn electro-poppers Ex Cops hit the Bottle, toasting a new album, True Hallucinations. Twangy Australian singer-songwriter Henry Wagons tapped the Kills' Alison Mosshart for his latest, Expecting Company? Panoramic & True opens with its melodic, modestly orchestrated indie-rock.
"As You Are: A Decade of You Are Beautiful."
9am–5pm, Green Exchange
Matthew Hoffman—who started You Are Beautiful with 100 stickers in 2002—curates this retrospective of the public-art project, which includes contributions from Kate Bingaman Burt, Camp Firebelly, Geoff McFetridge and Rick Valicenti.
"Neat: The Art of the Whiskey Vessel."
10am–7:30pm, Lillstreet Art Center
Fifteen artists from across the U.S. present ceramic liquor flasks, cups, bottles and jugs made using a variety of methods in this convivial show curated by local artist Doug Jeppesen.
10am–6pm, Gallery 400
This group exhibition tackles a heady theme—artists’ usage of processes akin to the scientific method—through unstuffy, engaging works like the edible Jessica Hyatt’s Signature Dessert. Other highlights, such as Jorinde Voigt’s drawings and Steve Roden’s 16mm film striations (2011). demonstrate that artists’ observations are profoundly informed by the personal. Through Mar 9.—Laura Pearson
An Evening of Experimental Music and Sound Art
9pm, The Burlington
UIC's Gallery 400 cohosts performances by artists Steve Roden (who's featured in its exhibition "Observer Effect"), Neil Jendon and John Kannenberg.
"Observer Effect" Artists' Discussion
6pm, Gallery 400
Julia Fish, Jessica Hyatt, Steffani Jemison and Steve Roden speak about their work.
Coal Country and Beyond
6pm–8pm, DePaul Art Museum
In conjunction with "Climate of Uncertainty," Chicago photographer Daniel Shea speaks about his documentation of the coal industry in southeastern Ohio at this panel discussion about coal and global warming.
"Our Collective Future."
7pm, Mess Hall
As Mess Hall closes its doors, keyholders present materials from its archives alongside community members' memories of the ten-year-old space and their thoughts about what could take its place. Through Mar 29.
4:30pm, Gage Gallery at Roosevelt University
As part of the Gage Gallery Reading Series, Gay shares selections of her fiction and nonfiction. She's the coeditor of PANK and author of Ayiti, a book about the Haitian diaspora experience.
15th Annual Worldwide Toast to Harry Caray
5:30pm, Harry Caray's Tavern, Navy Pier
Join "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan and Dutchie (widow of Caray) in raising a glass to honor the late legendary Cubs broadcaster. This coming Mar 1 would've been his 99th birthday.
Chicago Writers Conference Reading
6:30pm, Open Books
Tonight's evening of readings—the first in a quarterly series by the CWC—is hosted by Hugo and Nebula Award–nominated author William Shunn. Local authors share science fiction, fantasy and horror.
Creative Chicago Expo
10am–4pm, Chicago Cultural Center
Over the next couple of days, 140 visionaries will set up shop in the Cultural Center. Artists can polish their craft with assistance from 32 workshops that focus on everything from growth funding to developing an effective brand to determining how to price your art.
Sports Night: Rus Bradburd, Ted Cox and Mike Lenehan
7pm, The Book Cellar
Game on! The three Chicago writers share their new sports books.
7pm, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni. 1966. 111mins. In the late Antonioni's supreme masterpiece, a shutterbug (David Hemmings) only gradually realizes that he may have witnessed a murder. While the swinging-'60s London party scenes are terribly dated, the examination of photography as a flawed window into the world's hidden truths is timeless.
Artists Carrie Gundersdorf and Eric Lebofsky cocurate works on paper by Leslie Baum, Elijah Burgher, Lilli Carré, Richard Rezac and others. A zine accompanies the exhibition, which extends to neighboring gallery Julius Caesar, also located at 3311 West Carroll Avenue.
"Vlatka Horvat: Door to Door Installation."
Horvat's site-specific work reinstalls the doors of 6018NORTH, compelling viewers to consider how physical spaces and borders regulate access and lead people to interact in certain ways.
The Material Production of Cultural Space
2–5pm, Mess Hall
As Mess Hall prepares to close its doors, guest speakers offer inspiration for the future by explaining how they created other non-commercial community institutions in Chicago.
7–10pm, The Franklin
Maria Gaspar's installation remembering Chicago's 1871 Great Fire and the 1968 riots that occurred in Garfield Park complements Andy Hall's sculptures, which experiment with space and materials. By appointment through Mar 31.
Mixing up a little modern day Bad Brains and an added world music sensibility, the Eternals are a refreshing reggae-fied change of pace from the in-yer-face indie scene. Band member and DJ Wayne Montana takes over this modern Asian-themed and always-packed-with-beautiful-people haunt on Milwaukee for early evening dubby jams to get your Saturday off on the right track.
Neighborhoods of the World: Celebrate Mexico
Noon–5pm, Navy Pier
Tipping its hat to Pilsen and Little Village, the fest highlights traditional music and dance with presentations from Mariachi Perla de Mexico, Club Purhecheri Kungorhekua, Back of the Yards Ballet Folkloric, Latino Arts Strings Program, Tamborazo La Noria de Zacatecas and Federación Mexicana de Charrería.
3pm, Heartland Cafe
Let the March Madness begin! Lenehan reads from his new book about a legendary, championship-winning basketball team. Ramblers: Loyola Chicago 1963—The Team that Changed the Color of College Basketball