Goodbye, 2009. Hello, New Year’s Eve!

Don’t-miss things to do for 12.23.09 through 01.05.10: Chicago Guide double dips! Top ways to see out 2009, plus picks for rollicking NYE concerts.

Redmoon's latest extravaganza, Spectacle '09, runs through Sunday at Belmont Harbor.
HITHER AND JENS  Jens Lekman plays the Empty Bottle Jan 1 and 2; plus, five picks for New Year’s Eve concerts below.


Chicago Guide double dips! Don’t-miss things to do for 12.23.09 through 01.05.10; plus, top picks for rollicking NYE concerts:


concerts Jens Lekman
Swedish, stylish, and mildly ironic, cult hero Lekman is like the Ikea of indie pop. His New Year’s Eve concert is sold out, but tickets are still available for his first two shows of 2010.
GO: Jan 1, 2 at 10. $20. Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western.


museums The White House: A Look Inside
A 60-by-13-foot scale replica of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue features details like ringing phones and Christmas wreaths; Obama family action figures not included. While at the MSI, take a gander at Christmas Around the World, the museum’s annual holiday forest of trees decorated by members of Chicago’s ethnic communities.
GO: Thru Feb 15. $13-$20. Museum of Science and Industry, 57th and Lake Shore.


opera The Merry Widow
Chicagoan Gary Griffin, the director of Broadway’s Tony-nominated The Color Purple, tries his hand at operetta with an upbeat romp by Franz Lehár, starring Elizabeth Futral.
GO: Thru Jan 16. $33-$207. Lyric Opera at Civic Opera House, 20 N Wacker.


concerts Roy Hargrove Quintet
The trumpeter trades his traditional Thanksgiving-week gig for a New Year’s run. Expect the same impeccable tone that fueled his recent outings backed by small combo (2008’s Earfood) and big band (2009’s Emergence) alike.
GO: Dec 29­–Jan 3. Cover varies. Jazz Showcase, 806 S Plymouth.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Kick off an adventurous 2010 with a trip to Fred Anderson’s incubator of creativity: Reedist Douglas Ewart and our 2009 pick for best vocalist, Dee Alexander, join an assembly of AACM’s finest, Jan 1 at Velvet Lounge.


parties Matzo Ball
This ain’t Grandma’s chicken soup. The 23rd annual blowout is more like JDate live, with hosts of Jewish singles and free-flowing specialty cocktails.
GO: Dec 24 at 8. $25-$95. Martini Park, 151 W Erie.


sports/rec Killerspin Spinvitational Table Tennis Challenge
Need a break from armchair quarterbacking? See top players—including a 2008 Chicago single, Biba Golic—in an all-out table tennis smackdown.
GO: Dec 26 at noon; Dec 27 at 8 a.m. Donations accepted for Best Buddies. Grand Ballroom, Navy Pier, 600 E Grand.

galleries Barbara Crane
The Chicago photographer is the subject of not one but two concurrent retrospectives and just had a new monograph of her work published by Aperture. Not bad for 81 and still shooting.
GO: Barbara Crane: Challenging Vision. Thru Jan 10. Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington. Then/Now: The Eternal Thread of the ID Aesthetic. Galvin Library, Illinois Institute of Technology, 35 W 33rd.


Our top choices for New Year’s Eve concerts (tickets still available as of presstime):


classical New Philharmonic
Count down to 2010 at the Phil’s fifth annual Viennese Pops concert. The Illinois soprano Amanda Majeski, who shone in Chicago Opera Theater’s La Clemenza di Tito earlier in 2009, joins the Champagne-capped celebration.
GO: Dec 31 at 4 and 9. $40-$65. McAninch Arts Center, College of DuPage, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn.


rock Local H
With the powerhouse drummer Brian St. Clair at his side, H’s frontman, Scott Lucas, is a pro at balancing a damn-the-world attitude with catchy melodies and hard-rock hooks.
GO: Dec 31 at 9:30. $65. Double Door, 1572 N Milwaukee.


folk Uncle Earl, The Infamous Stringdusters
It’s out with the old, in with the old-timey at this concert pairing two hot young American roots groups.
GO: Dec 31 at 7 and 10:30. $36-$40. Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N Lincoln.


jazz E. Faye Butler
We adore the five-time-Jeff-winning E. Faye Butler, whether she’s singing the heck out of Tony Kushner’s Caroline, or Change or putting her pipes to Ella. Here she cracks open the Great American Songbook for an unforgettable corker of a concert.
GO: Dec 31 at 8. $55. Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie, Skokie. 


rockabilly Bobby Bare, Jr.
Son of a rock ‘n’ roll gun, Bare keeps the legacy alive with outsize swagger and galloping hooks. Maybe you’ve seen him in a Bloodshot Records showcase. If not, here’s your chance—for cheap.
GO: Dec 31 at 9:30. $20-$25. Schubas, 3159 N Southport.

Photography: Kristin Lidell



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