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Mohr Better Blues

Our top five picks for things to do this week Big Head Todd jumps into his way-back machine … filling the mayor’s chair: a dramatic rendering … uncovering the science of sex at Schubas … the Funk It Up cast lets its hair down … and more

Todd Park Mohr strums a vintage guitar at Chicago Music Exchange in Roscoe Village
DON’T FRET Tickets remain to Blues at the Crossroads, Friday’s tribute to the late
Robert Johnson conceived by Big Head Todd’s Todd Park Mohr (above).

THE FIVE

Don’t-miss picks for Wed 02.09.11 through Tue 02.15.11:

1

concerts Blues at the Crossroads: The Robert Johnson Centennial Project
It’s a mash-up on par with Jeff Tweedy producing Mavis Staples: a project we never saw coming, but we’re sure glad it came all the same. Todd Park Mohr, of Big Head Todd and the Monsters and a part-time Northfield resident, spearheads this concert and companion album dedicated to Robert Johnson, the late Delta bluesman and cornerstone of rock who died a mysterious death in 1938 at age 27. Also on stage: David “Honeyboy” Edwards, the 95-year-old Chicago musician who was one of the last to see Johnson alive. Read our February story on Mohr and Co.’s endeavor—but first, drop everything and get yourself tickets.
GO: 2/11 at 8. $15–$80. Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan. cso.org

2

theatre Wake
Next to time spent digging out parking spots, nothing is more front-and-center in the minds of locals than the mayor’s race, which would make this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it production especially topical, even if it weren’t from Chicago’s long-ago editor Hillel Levin: Live from Berwyn, it’s a one-night-only return to the tumultuous days following the death of a fictionalized Harold Washington, as seen in this staged reading by Levin (When Corruption Was King, In with the Devil). As at all proper wakes, the bar will remain open throughout.
GO: 2/13 at 6. $18. 16th Street Theater at FitzGerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn. 16thstreettheater.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: In other all-politics-is-play-fodder news, Working begins previews 2/15 at the Broadway Playhouse. And at the Goodman: Playwright Thomas Bradshaw and director May Adrales host a talk before the 2/9 performance of Mary, about the homophobia, racism, gunfire, love, and hysteria that erupt in 1983 over a scary new disease called AIDS.

3

concerts Gang of Four
An essential post-punk Brit band, Gang’s combination of jagged guitars, punk-funk rhythms, and protest lyrics continues to work its influence on groups such as Bloc Party. Now composed of two original members—vocalist Jon King and guitarist Andy Gill—and a new rhythm section, the band is touring on the heels of its first album in five years, Content.
GO: 2/11 at 8. $28.50. Metro, 3730 N Clark. metrochicago.com

ALSO THIS WEEK: One night prior, Metro welcomes Justin Townes Earle, the more tradition-bound scion of the alt-country star Steve Earle, who draws on old-time country and folk even as he sings about life in Brooklyn.

4

classical Alon Goldstein
While we hope for his speedy recovery and send Muti our sincerest well wishes, putting all of our classical eggs in one basket might make us basket cases (visit cso.org for the latest on pinch hitters handling the maestro’s concerts). Thank goodness for the pianist Goldstein, who, at 40, is still considered a kid on the keyboard but whose delicate touch would make you swear his fingers were filled with down feathers. Here he pairs the modern sounds of György Ligeti with works by Ligeti’s inspirations: Bach, Chopin, Janácek, and Debussy.
GO: 2/12 at 7. $10–$20. Pianoforte, Fine Arts Building, 410 S Michigan, #825. pianofortefoundation.org

5

dance Duets for My Valentine
Love means never having to say you’re sorry for stepping on her toes. Ladies love dancing—and, gentlemen, if you’re not light on your own feet, the next best thing is taking her to a performance by the pros. Our pick? This showcase of sensual motion spearheaded by Chicago Dance Crash. The evening features a bouquet of local modern, ballet, and hip-hop troupes reflecting on the many facets of romance, even the broken hearts—and, we presume, the smushed toes.
GO: 2/12 at 8. $20–$25 includes an afterparty. Park West, 322 W Armitage. duetsformyvalentinechicago.com

ALSO THIS WEEK: For those whose Valentine’s wouldn’t be complete without the sultry River North Dance Chicago, the troupe returns to the Harris Theater 2/11–13 with a lineup of signature moves.

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND

U of C–educated molecular geneticist and cell biologist Stephanie Levi
Stephanie Levi

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals (a.k.a. people we like): Stephanie Levi, a U of C–educated molecular geneticist and cell biologist who will decode the science of sex for nonscience-minded schlubs like us, just in time for Valentine’s Day, at Schubas; details below.

“On Friday I’m having dinner on that delicious Middle Eastern corridor on Kedzie, at Semiramis. Saturday is going to be kind of boring, since I’ll be feverishly getting ready for Sunday: I’m going to be reading. I’m going to be reading a lot. Saturday night I’ll be having dinner with some old friends; we’re going for Korean. Sunday I’ll be spending more time assimilating data on what people’s brains do when they have an orgasm and what happens when there’s sperm competition—how that affects a woman’s pleasure. And Sunday night’s the big event.

“I’ll be taking people through a relationship, from when we first see someone we’re attracted to—that first infatuation—to falling into deep love, having sex, having an orgasm, breaking up. We’ll be talking through everything that happens: physically, biologically, chemically. We’ll talk about what your brain does when you’re watching porn—all kinds of weird, funky things. There will be lots of opportunity for discussion since this stuff is controversial, and people may disagree with the science. We’ll also be having a kiss-in, so if you come with someone or hopefully meet someone there, you can kiss and see if you feel that rush of dopamine, putting science to the test. Science doesn’t have to be hard: It’s so sexy. It interacts in so many ways with our lives.”

GO: Night Lab: The Science of Sex and Attraction. 2/13 at 7. Free. 21+. Upstairs Lounge at Schubas, 3159 N Southport. schubas.com

FREEBIES OF THE WEEK

nightlife Singles Mixer and Mix CD Swap
Sick of spending your days and nights solo, left to assemble your own mopey playlists? Make haste to Chicago Independent Radio Project’s post-Valentine’s to-do, where the price of admission is a mixtape CD—a move designed to encourage swapping (music, smooches, whatever) among attendees.
GO: 2/15 at 8. Cole’s, 2338 N Milwaukee. chicagoindieradio.org

nightlife The Retar Crew
If you loved Funk It Up About Nothin’ at Chicago Shakespeare Theater—and if you didn’t, what’s wrong with you?—don’t miss the bulk of the cast appearing in this even raunchier night of comedy and beats with a bevy of special guests. Essentially a wrap party before the crew heads out on Funk It Up’s Australian tour, the gig should provide plenty of Down Under puns.
GO: 2/13 at 9. Double Door, 1572 N Milwaukee. doubledoor.com

 

Photograph: (Mohr) Chris Strong

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