Western Promises

Five things to do this week: A midnight gig from our best new band … really dark comedy at Theater Wit … a professional dance-off, of sorts … opera genius Peter Sellars … plus two don’t-miss film freebies

Smith Westerns
WESTERNS ON WESTERN Smith Westerns play the Empty Bottle Saturday night—
or, technically speaking, Sunday morning.

THE FIVE

Don’t-miss picks for Wed 02.23.11 through Tue 03.01.11:

1

concerts Smith Westerns
The fresh-faced Chicago buzz band plays songs from its just-released sophomore album, Dye It Blonde, a beguiling work of shimmering guitar pop heavily indebted to some guy named John Lennon. (For those thinking, “Sophomore album? Aren’t these guys barely sophomores themselves?” they’re now high-school graduates, thank you very much.) If the group—our pick for 2010’s best new band—sounds too young for you, wait until you see what time they go on.
GO: 2/26 at midnight. $10–$12. Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western. emptybottle.com

2

theatre This
Jane: “Why are you sitting in the almost dark?” Alan: “It’s the human condition, Jane, in case you haven’t noticed.” If the rest of Melissa James Gibson’s play is as wickedly funny as that slice of dialogue, Theater Wit should have a hit on its hands with this darkly comedic rumination on adultery involving—hello, Virginia Woolf—one seriously ill-advised party game.
GO: Previews 2/25–27. Run continues through 3/27. All tickets $18–$35. Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont. theaterwit.org

3

dance Morris versus Moses
In one corner: Mark Morris Dance Group, the beloved New York ensemble, performing three flirty and cerebral works by the troupe’s heavyweight artistic director and choreographer, with musicians playing Beethoven, Villa-Lobos, and more alongside. In the other corner: the gifted San Francisco dance maker Robert Moses and his company, Kin, with The Cinderella Principle: Try These On, See If They Fit, a celebration of the many definitions of family based on interviews with a host of gay and lesbian couples and single moms. Who wins? Each troupe is in town for three nights, so see both and you do.
GO: Mark Morris Dance Group: 2/25­–26 at 7:30, 2/27 at 3. $45–$75. Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph. harristheaterchicago.org. Robert Moses’ Kin: 2/24–26 at 8. $26–$30. Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, 1306 S Michigan. colum.edu/dancecenter

4

concerts Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet
The drum kit and the vibraphone may come from the same branch on the musical tree, but not every percussionist possesses the acute attention to nuance and melody that keyboard instruments require. The youngest Marsalis brother, however, is more than just a drummer. Observe his dexterity in this gig, an eclectic double bill with Eighth Blackbird and Pacifica Quartet.
GO: 3/1 at 7:30. $10–$25. Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph. harristheaterchicago.org

5

classical Peter Sellars
In a week stocked with enough classical picks to fill our entire Five, we give Sellars top billing. His contemporary take on Hercules doesn’t premiere at Lyric until 3/4, but it’s already the stuff of critical whisperings, what with Handel’s war hero returning from active duty in Iraq. Get tickets now before they sell out—and while you’re at it, grab a seat for Sellars’s about-the-opera chat, an intimate window into one creative mastermind.
GO: Discovery Series with Sellars: 2/28 at 6. $16. UBS Tower Ballroom, 1 N Wacker. Hercules: 3/4–21. $33–$217. Lyric Opera at Civic Opera House, 20 N Wacker. Tickets for both: lyricopera.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: And also at Lyric: For a more literal behind-the-scenes peek, don’t miss the opera’s annual backstage tours on 2/27 and again on 3/20. More: On 2/23, the former child prodigy Leila Josefowicz
premieres a violin concerto written just for her by the CSO’s conductor of the night, Esa-Pekka Salonen, followed by wine and a Q&A; on 2/26, International Contemporary Ensemble welcomes a visit from the composer John Luther Adams, in town for his Nemmers Prize residency at Northwestern; and back on campus, the Avery Fisher Prize winner, piano master, and Grammy snatcher Yefim Bronfman plays a steal of a concert on 3/1 at NU.

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND

What I’m Doing This Weekend is taking the weekend off. Maybe you should, too.

FREEBIES OF THE WEEK

film Living for 32
This documentary about Colin Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre who was shot four times, makes its local debut at the Chicago Peace on Earth Film Festival after premiering last month at Sundance; a Q&A with director Kevin Breslin and Goddard follows the 40-minute film. Consider this a personal to-do, Mayor-elect Emanuel, as you prepare to lead our city out of its recent history of violence.
GO: Living for 32 is part of a program that runs 2/25 from 6 to 10. Doors open at 5:45; Living screens at approximately 7:15. Claudia Cassidy Theater, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington. CPFF runs 2/25–27; full schedule: peaceonearthfilmfestival.org

film Oscar Day Marathon
A second chance for procrastinating cinephiles: The Oak Park Public Library screens four of the ten Oscar best picture nominees—Winter’s Bone at 9 a.m., Toy Story 3 at 10:55 a.m., The Kids Are All Right at 12:50 p.m., and The Social Network at 2:45 p.m.—with one day to spare before winners are announced. Even the popcorn is free.
GO: 2/26, starting at 9 a.m. Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake, Oak Park. oppl.org/events

 

Photograph: Jaein Lee

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