Five Freebies

Top events this week: concerts, dance performances, overhead ogling—all free! Plus, what Grant Park Music Festival’s Carlos Kalmar is doing on his last weekend in town

The Japanese duo Eiko & Koma
PAY DIRT The Japanese duo Eiko & Koma performs free twice this week on the
MCA’s plaza.

THE FIVE

Don’t-miss picks for Wed 08.17.11 through Tue 08.23.11:

1

dance Eiko & Koma
Think of it as the U.S. Postal Service of dance: The Caravan Project, a performance by the married and meditative Japanese duo Eiko & Koma that’s set inside a puppet theatre, will take place on the MCA’s plaza rain or shine. Also like the Postal Service: Movement … in the piece … happens … very … slowly. (For the Twitter of dance, see the fleet-footed local tap troupes BAM! and MADD Rhythms, presented as part of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s JUBA!, also at the MCA but, alas, not free.)
GO: 8/23–24 at dusk. Free. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. mcachicago.org

2

theatre Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins
To clarify: Most of the 53 back-to-back hours of programming that make up this annual theatre happening, affectionately known as Abbie Fest, aren’t free, but the kickoff—a march from Daley Plaza to the fest’s tiny home stage, located above a liquor store and kitty-corner from the gentrification-defying Hotel Chateau—sure is. Join in and help pay respects to a counterculture revolutionary or drop by for one of the wee-hours performances: A Red Orchid Theatre’s Shop Talk at 5 a.m. Saturday morning, perhaps?
GO: Abbie Fest runs 8/19–21. Gather at Daley Plaza (Washington and Dearborn) 8/19 at 2, march at 3; free. Rest of fest: $10 per day, $25 weekend pass. Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co. at Angel Island, 735 W. Sheridan. maryarrchie.com

3

classical Eighth Blackbird
Among the flock of artists signed on for Dusk Variations, the city’s summertime classical-crossover series that wraps with this concert, the local ensemble Eighth Blackbird lands near the top of the pecking order. On the bill, three pieces by Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians, Mallet Quartet, and Double Sextet—a Pulitzer-winning masterpiece written expressly for this Grammy-winning group. Our recommended beer pairing? Finch’s Golden Wing.
GO: 8/22 at 6:30. Free. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Washington. millenniumpark.org

4

farrago Chicago Air & Water Show
Whether you love it or dread it, you certainly can’t ignore it: This annual display of aeronautical—and just plain nautical—derring-do returns to the lakefront, with all of its attendant window rattling (Chicago Guide keeps earplugs handy for Friday’s annual test run) and oohing and aahing (from the much-less-curmudgeonly-than-we-are crowd). The truth? Even as we mutter “Sis-BOOM-bah humbug,” we can’t help but marvel at the amazing feats. Just go already.
GO: 8/20–21 from 10 to 3. Free. North Avenue Beach, North Avenue at the lakefront. chicagoairandwatershow.us

5

rock/pop John Hughes III
Celebrate a creative Chicago dynasty when the head of the local label Hefty Records, whose roster includes such acts as Prefuse 73 and Telefon Tel Aviv, DJs a lunchtime set as part of the Electric Picnic series in Millennium Park—just three days after his dad’s eternal classic Sixteen Candles screens on the back patio of the Chicago History Museum.
GO: Electric Picnic: 8/20 at noon. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Washington. millenniumpark.org. Sixteen Candles: 8/17 at dusk. Uihlein Plaza, Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark. chicagohistory.org

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND

Carlos Kalmar, principal conductor and artistic director of the Grant Park Music Festival
Carlos Kalmar

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Carlos Kalmar, principal conductor and artistic director of the Grant Park Music Festival, which wraps its 2011 season Saturday night with Verdi’s Requiem Mass.

“Friday is a day full of work. We have a stage rehearsal for the Verdi Requiem at 11, then the concert at 6:30 in the evening. It’s a tradition that, when you have soloists, you invite them out after the show, so afterward I’ll likely hang out with the soloists who are singing. Usually we go to a restaurant within walking distance of the Pritzker Pavilion.

“Saturday at 7:30, we have the same concert again, and then, since it’s the last day, we’ll have a big party backstage—a goodbye to everybody who worked on the festival: the chorus, the orchestra, the entire wonderful staff. We spend a lot of time together over an intensely insane ten weeks, and then it’s over, and everyone goes his own way, her own way. Of the orchestra, probably 45 or 50 percent leave Chicago after the festival is over. So this is our time to say goodbye.

“On Sunday, I’m flying out to Portland, Oregon, where one of my homes is. But Saturday I’m pretty much free during the day. I’m one of those people who are biking on the lakefront at 7:15 in the morning, and I am sure that at some point I will appear at Whole Foods. Although they don’t pay me for saying this, that’s where I shop. I live downtown, and I like to feed myself well.

“And I’ll probably go to the Magnificent Mile and Bucktown because right now I have my children here with me. Two daughters, 23 and 21. They’ve been to Chicago several times, and they love those two neighborhoods, especially Bucktown, for shopping. If we have a little time, we talked about going to the Green City Market. I was there with the kids last year and found it very attractive, very fun. But Saturday I do have to pack and get ready to go. Part of my agreement with the festival is that I move around, so you know those buildings slightly behind Randolph? I’ve stayed in each one of those.”

AND ONE EVENT WORTH PAYING FOR

rock/pop Candy Golde
A busman’s holiday for the local soul rocker Nick Tremulis, Cheap Trick’s Bun E. Carlos, Wilco’s John Stirratt, and Eleventh Dream Day’s Rick Rizzo, Candy Golde plays straight-up guitar rock with obvious relish and considerable talent.
GO: 8/19 at 9. $15–$18. FitzGerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn. fitzgeraldsnightclub.com

 

Photograph: (EIKO & KOMA) Varga Matyas

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