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Abe and Abet

Our top five picks for things to do this week: President’s Day! Mardi Gras! Valentine’s! We’ve got you covered—except for the roses. You’ll have to swing those yourself. Inside: Lincoln comes to life on film … Philip Seymour Hoffman makes his Goodman directorial debut … Ladysmith Black Mambazo plays real world music … plus, three freebies for V-Day

Redmoon's latest extravaganza, Spectacle '09, runs through Sunday at Belmont Harbor.
PRESIDENTIAL POSTURING The new documentary Life as Lincoln premieres this week at the Siskel. 

THE FIVE

Don’t-miss picks for Wed 02.10.10 through Tue 02.16.10:

 

1

film Life As Lincoln
What better way to toast Lincoln’s 201st than at the premiere of this locally produced documentary? Life as Lincoln follows a trio of Honest Abe presenters (aka impersonators to us laypeople): an insurance salesman whose forbearer was a midwife at Lincoln’s birth, a youth-home employee who uses his alter-ego to reach out to troubled kids, and a drama professor emeritus finally fulfilling his theatrical ambitions. We tip our stovepipe to all three. Bonus: Director Caitlin Grogan holds a Q&A following each screening. See the trailer.
GO: Feb 12, 13 at 8; Feb 17 at 8:15. $7-$10. Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State. siskelfilmcenter.org

2

theatre The Long Red Road
Looking to create some drama this Valentine’s? Impress your theatre-loving sweetie with seats for Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Chicago directorial debut at the Goodman. But bring tissues: We hear it’s dark. (Learn more: Read our interview with Hoffman; hear him chat about the production).
GO: Previews Feb 13-21; $12-$34. Regular run through Mar 21; $18-$45. Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org

3

concerts Beausoleil
Garrison Keillor called them the “best Cajun band in the world”; our folk music writer Stuart Rosenberg concurs, which makes these guys our top pick for a spicy Valentine’s that should kick things up a notch. If you’re booked for V-Day, don’t miss the following night—Mardi Gras Eve—when the band plays live at Fitzgerald’s 16th Annual Jambalaya Cookoff. Can we get a “Bam!”?
GO: Feb 14 at 7; Feb 15 at 7:30. $15 per night. Fitzgerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn. fitzgeraldsnightclub.com

4

concerts Keith Jarrett
The consummate pianist and longtime Miles Davis associate sits down at the bench with no set list, nothing definite planned, and lets the spirit of jazz move him for two blissfully improvised hours. Sounds like a concert for the ages—and a live album. Hear snippets from a pair of recent gigs in Paris and London.
GO: Feb 12 at 8. $40-$95. Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan. cso.org

5

concerts Ladysmith Black Mambazo
A chance to hear some real world music in the wake of all the Vampire Weekend ruckus: It’s been more than two decades since Paul Simon brought Joseph Shabalala’s thrilling a cappella from South Africa to the world of Western pop, and the music still sends shivers.
GO: Feb 12 at 8. $34-$44. McAninch Arts Center, College of DuPage, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn. atthemac.org. (Two shows on Feb 13 at the Old Town School of Folk Music are sold out.)

ALSO THIS WEEK: Much has changed since Studs Terkel emceed the University of Chicago’s inaugural Folk Festival 50 years ago, but we’re thankful CFF stays rooted in the music of yore.

FREEBIES OF THE WEEK

dance Tango on the Pritzker Stage
We’re not saying you’re a cheap date. But if you’d like to save money and impress your Valentine with some pretty sweet VIP access, we’ve got a plan for you: Head to Millennium Park and dance the night away on the Pritzker Pavilion stage (the area will be enclosed, keeping you and your sweetie from turning into V-Day popsicles). The evening is part of the month-long festival Chicago Winter Dance (think Summerdance, except in February), featuring different dance styles each week, but Sunday’s offering—tango—seems especially well suited to the holiday.
GO: Feb 14. Dance lessons at 1 and 5; open dancing 2-4 and 6-8. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph. Full schedule: explorechicago.org

theatre Letters/X
One for the singles: The annual anti-Valentine’s cabaret series Letters/X returns with a new installment based on actual break-up letters (and texts, voicemails, and emails—you know, from the truly tacky dumpers). A bonus for those looking to toast good riddances (or shed a tear in their beers): The catharsis unfolds at one of our 100 favorite bars, as named in the February issue of Chicago magazine, on stands now.
GO: Tue, Wed, Sat through Mar 6 at 8; Feb 14 at 6. Donations accepted. Hungry Brain, 2319 W Belmont. lettersx.com

museums Bridal Party at the Field
And one for the marrieds (and once marrieds, future marrieds, and clever thrift-store shoppers): Wear a wedding dress or a tux to the Field Museum on Saturday, and you’ll get in free and gain entry to a bubbly-and-cake reception. While there, check out the Field’s two exhibitions devoted to dazzling rocks, The Nature of Diamonds and the Grainger Hall of Gems. Guys, a warning if you fall into the just-dressed-up-for-free-admission category: The Grainger features a DIY proposing station, so your partner in costume may be harboring certain expectations.
GO: Feb 13. Free admission 11-3; reception at 2:30 in Stanley Field Hall. Field Museum, 1400 S Lake Shore. fieldmuseum.org

Photography: Courtesy of Split Pillow

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