Larger Than Life

Our top five picks for things to do this week: Anna Nicole at the opera . . . The Frames at 20 . . . literature’s A-list sister act at DuSable . . . plus, Deb Sokolow’s weekend plans

Anna Nicole Smith and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
THE BLONDE LEADING THE BLONDE The CSO previews a movement from a new
opera devoted to Anna Nicole Smith, then turns its attention to Janet Leigh in
Psycho.

THE FIVE

Don’t-miss picks for Wed 11.17.10 through Tue 11.23.10:

1

classical Texas Tenebrae
The bombshell Anna Nicole Smith’s legacy lives on—only now it’s opera buffs, not tabloid hounds, stoking the scandal. Be there when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of the Lyric’s Sir Andrew Davis, performs this sneak-peek movement from Anna Nicole, by the former CSO composer-in-residence Mark-Anthony Turnage, debuting in full next February in London.
GO: Nov 18, 20 at 8; Nov 21 at 3; Nov 23 at 7:30. $19–$207. Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan. cso.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: Another blonde, another night with the CSO: The orchestra plays Bernard Herrmann’s score live alongside a screening of Psycho on Nov 19. Or, for a sampling of Turnage’s work, catch the local ensemble Dal Niente the same night.

2

lit/lectures Ntozake Shange and Ifa Bayeza
The authors and sisters Ntozake Shange, whose seminal play For Colored Girls . . . is now a feature film directed by Tyler Perry, and Ifa Bayeza, whose bio-drama The Ballad of Emmett Till premiered at the Goodman in 2008, host an evening of readings from their new cowritten novel, Some Sing, Some Cry, with music by a member of another notable family, Chicago’s own jazz singer Maggie Brown. In addition to a book title and a set of genes, the pair share an intimidating number of awards between them—which means, get tickets now.
GO: Nov 19 at 6. $10. DuSable Museum, 740 E 56th. dusablemuseum.org

3

concerts International Contemporary Ensemble
In 2011 this cutting-edge group will launch ICElab, an incubator for up-and-coming new-music composers. Get a preview when ICE highlights the work of Mario Diaz de León, a former punk rocker who fuses chamber music with electronica and heavy metal at a venue—the Velvet Lounge—that fuses history with the epitome of hip.
GO: Nov 19 at 9:30. $10. Velvet Lounge, 67 E Cermak. iceorg.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: Members of both the trailblazing Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and the Asian American Jazz Festival converge for a three-day blowout, the Creative Music Summit, at the MCA. Think of it as a weekend-long thanksgiving to jazz.

4

concerts The Frames
Hard to believe these Irish Indie rockers are already toasting 20 years together. Turns out frontman Glen Hansard’s side projects—the sleeper hit Once, the related duo The Swell Season—weren’t the band’s Yoko after all.
GO: Nov 23 at 8. $24. The Vic, 3145 N Sheffield. jamusa.com

5

theatre A Civil War Christmas
Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive) offers an alternative to the usual seasonal suspects with this 1860s-set story of a fugitive slave’s Christmastime flight for freedom, starring the stellar Tony nominee Felicia P. Fields (The Color Purple).
GO: Previews through Nov 19; $10–$50. Run continues through Dec 19; $10–$55. Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie, Skokie. northlight.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: When the House Theatre cracks open its version of The Nutcracker, adults will pick up on the psychological drama; kids will love the dancing toys; and everyone should leave enchanted by Kevin O’Donnell’s fantastical take on Tchaikovsky’s score.

FREEBIES OF THE WEEK

farrago McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
It’s a year of tens at Millennium Park’s ice rink: 2010 marks a decade of drawing some 100,000 skaters annually. Admission is free, and skate rental is $10—a budget-friendly fee that should inspire your best double lutz. Your score? Ten, of course.
GO: Nov 19–Mar 13, weather permitting. Mon–Thu noon–8, Fri noon–10, Sat–Sun 10–9; see website for holiday hours. Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph. millenniumpark.org

film Typeface
The 2009 documentary on Two Rivers, Wisconsin’s Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum—by the filmmaker and executive director of Chicago’s illustrious Kartemquin Films, Justine Nagan—airs on WTTW this week. If you couldn’t snag tickets to the Siskel’s sold-out screenings earlier this year, here’s your chance to see its Chicago broadcast premiere.
GO: Nov 18 at 9 on WTTW. See wttw.com for channel information.

galleries Yvonne Domenge
What artwork will be Chicago’s next Spit Bath (er, Crown Fountain) or Bean (i.e., Cloud Gate)? It might be a sculpture by Domenge, whose public art will be installed next April in Millennium Park. In the meantime, you can eyeball sketches and models at the Chicago Cultural Center; go this week, when Domenge gives a chat on her artistic output.
GO: Talk: Nov 19 at 6. Exhibition continues through Jan 2. Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington. chicagoculturalcenter.org. Domenge also gives a free talk Nov 18 at 4 at the National Museum of Mexican Art

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND

Chicago artist Deb Sokolow
Deb Sokolow

Up next in our series of plans from notable, in-the-know locals (a.k.a. people we like): Deb Sokolow, one of our favorite Chicago artists, who has a show opening this weekend at Western Exhibitions:

“Actually, I have another opening, too. It’s a crazy weekend. The other project is at Hyde Park Art Center; it’s a collaboration between me and a collector [part of HPAC’s annual Not Just Another Pretty Face, which pairs artists with patrons in an attempt to push the boundaries of traditional portraiture]. He sent me some random things in the mail—drumsticks, a Notre Dame Fighting Irish T-shirt, an I-bolt—and I had to write a mystery story based on him. The culmination of this is I made an accordion-fold book: It’s a story about him that’s completely fabricated but based on some truths. 

“And there’s Western Exhibitions. Coming off so many hours of work in the studio, I’m probably going to go to my neighborhood bar, Gold Star, on Division. My friends Susan and Ian run the bar. I’ll be there at some point over the weekend with a beer, looking for ghosts. The place is haunted. I’ve put it in some of my work. It’s got a lot of history: an old Polish dancehall, a brothel upstairs. It changes a little bit—Ian and Susan had to learn to make some new drinks for the new clientele: a shot that tastes like chocolate cake, another that tastes like an apple, and they’ve used me as a guinea pig in the past—but it’s still fantastic. I usually drink a Three Floyds Gumballhead or a vodka tonic.”

Sokolow’s solo show runs Nov 19–Dec 31, with an opening Nov 19 from 5 to 8, at Western Exhibitions

Not Just Another Pretty Face runs Nov 21–Feb 20 at Hyde Park Art Center

Read more about Sokolow in 2005 and 2007 stories on emerging local talent from Chicago’s archives

 

Photography: (SMITH) AP Photo/Reed Saxon; (CSO) Todd Rosenberg; (SOKOLOW) Lisa Predko

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