Five Great Things to Do in Chicago This Week

Hit the Umbrella Music Festival, see Sparks, and catch comedian Todd Barry.

FACE OFF Deimantas Narkevicius’s The Head, one of the works featured in The Way of the Shovel: Art as Archaeology.   Photo: Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, November 6, through Tuesday, November 12

1 The Way of the Shovel: Art As Archaeology

Art: If 20 artists created a History Channel special that surveyed the early 2000s, it might look something like this hotly anticipated show featuring the work of photographers Moyra Davey and LaToya Ruby Frazier, among others.
11/9–3/9. $7–$12. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago. mcachicago.org

2 Umbrella Music Festival

Jazz: The city’s most avant-garde jazz festival includes performances from the usual locals: Mike Reed, Ken Vandermark, and Frank Rosaly, as well as former Chicagoans such as critically acclaimed organist and singer Amina Claudine Myers.
11/6–11/10. Free–$20. Times and locations: umbrellamusic.org

3 Appropriate

Theatre: Don’t miss playwright’s Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s tale of siblings squabbling over their father’s legacy.
11/8–12/8. $42–$50. Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N Lincoln. victorygardens.org

4 Sparks

Rock: The glam-rock duo pare down for an intimate set at Lincoln Hall.
11/6 at 8. $30. Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln. lincolnhallchicago.com

5 Todd Barry

Comedy: He might be the quietest comic on the circuit, but the laughs he generates are loud enough that even Louis C.K. and Conan O’ Brien are fans.
11/8–9 at 8 and 10:30. $22. Up Comedy Club, 230 W North. upcomedyclub.com

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Jim Powers
Jim Powers Photo: Courtesy of Jim Powers

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Beer Hoptacular co-founder and Minty Fresh Records owner Jim Powers. The Beer Hoptacular runs from Friday, November 8 through Saturday, November 9.

“I’ll kick off my Friday night with the Beer Hoptacular, while trying to resist the temptation to sample our wares. We’ve got members of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, Revolution, 5 Rabbit. All these guys started off by just making great beers; they had an outstanding response, so our event is a nice way to see their work.

“In between sessions, I’ll check out art works at the Lacuna Artist Loft Studio [where Beer Hoptacular is held]. It’s all of these creative people—hair stylists, artists, designers—assembled in this old warehouse with really great architecture.

“I might wrap up the night by heading over to Delilah’s and seeing what Mike Miller is up to. He’s got one of my favorite spirit beers in the city and an amazing array of bourbon.

“Saturday, I’ll probably hit up Bittersweet and grab some amazing sour cherry muffins for the family. And then I’ll be heading over to participate in the home brewing contest—that’s where we have over 20 home brewing clubs from the Chicagoland area compete. We give them all the same base ingredients to ferment and then they are allowed to add their own flavoring. After that, I’ll go to Taqueria El Milagro. They make my favorite corn tortillas in the city; they’re really fresh, kind of home made tasting home tortillas.

“Once we wrap the evening up, I’ll rush over to see Freedy Johnston at Schubas. He’s a New York-based folk singer/rock singer; his record Can You Fly is probably one of my all-time favorite albums.

“Sunday, I’m probably going on a morning run along the lake. Then I’ll replenish all those burnt calories with southern Benedict eggs at Wishbone. And then that afternoon, I’ll take the family to the MusicBox to see the documentary The Trials of Muhammad Ali. I met him once when I was a little kid at O’Hare Airport. He shook my hand and it went up to my elbow.” —As told to Tomi Obaro

Freebie of the Week

John Moulder: Soul and Spirit

Jazz: The Jazz Institute of Chicago couldn’t have found a better candidate to navigate the place where jazz and the spirit intersect than Moulder, an accomplished guitarist and Roman Catholic priest.
11/8 at 7. Free. Austin Town Hall Park, 5610 W Lake. jazzinchicago.org

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