Chicago Ideas Week

Worth your time (and money): Jeanne Gang and Sandra Day O’Connor think big … Follies gets wistful … Susan Orlean waxes rhapsodic on Rin Tin Tin … plus, weekend plans from Joan of Arc’s Tim Kinsella

A scene from 'Red'
THINK ON IT Your five-day plan: Esperanza Spalding, Stephen Malkmus, and, as
part of the inaugural Chicago Ideas Week, Jeanne Gang.

THE FIVE

Don’t-miss picks for Wed 10.05.11 through Tue 10.11.11:

1

lit/lectures Chicago Ideas Week
Presided over by Brad Keywell, cofounder of Groupon, this inaugural roundup of more than 100 speakers aims to spark lightbulbs citywide. Here’s a bright idea: Get tickets now for those bold-face-names with seats still available—the architect Jeanne Gang (10/10 at 4), Mayor Emanuel (10/10 at 6), and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (10/15 at 3)—before these talks go the way of those with the Publican’s Paul Kahan and the design star Bruce Mau.
GO: 10/10–16. Most talks $15 each. Full schedule and details: chicagoideas.com

ALSO THIS WEEK: The comedian and Dolton native Jane Lynch signs copies of her new book at Women & Children First on 10/9 (see website for details), and the Booker Prize winning author of The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje, reads from his new novel, The Cat’s Table, at the Art Institute on 10/6.

2

jazz Esperanza Spalding
Rarely has so much positive ink been spilled on the future of jazz than when this dynamic bassist and singer nabbed the trophy for best new artist at last year’s Grammys. So far, her output justifies the hype.
GO: 10/7 at 8. $20–$70. Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan. cso.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: Music from another age and another genre—but with the same exuberant spirit of experimentation: International Contemporary Ensemble traces the connections between six of the most cutting-edge composers of the 20th century (John Cage, Iannis Xenakis) 10/5 at the MCA.

3

theatre Follies
It’s been forever (well, 13 years) since Stephen Sondheim’s bittersweet musical about retired showgirls graced a local stage—and that was in Oakbrook Terrace. This demanding, all-too-rarely-produced gem is packed with gorgeously wrenching songs wrapped around a story about the clash between youthful passions and adult compromises. There will be no compromise in quality, however, if Gary Griffin brings the same game as in previous Sondheim endeavors (Sunday in the Park with George, Passion). If you see one musical this season, this is it.
GO: Previews through 10/9; $44. Run continues through 11/6; $55­–$75. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier, 800 E Grand. chicagoshakes.com

4

rock/pop Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
In a week jam-packed with the return of rockers past (Wild Flag, a.k.a. two-thirds of Sleater-Kinney, playing sold-out shows 10/8–9 at the Empty Bottle; Bryan Ferry 10/11 at Civic Opera House; Social Distortion 10/6 at Congress), we give the nod to this sort-of solo project from the leader of the recently reunited Pavement. Expect skewed pop full of offhand melodies, contorted riffs, and enough digressions to rival Chicago politicians.
GO: 10/6 at 8. $22.50. Metro, 3730 N Clark (concert moved from the Vic; all tickets honored). jamusa.com

5

film Susan Orlean on Rin Tin Tin
The author, New Yorker writer, and rare real-life person portrayed by Tilda Swinton spends an evening at the Music Box talking about the subject that has occupied her past couple of years: Rin Tin Tin. Orlean reads from her new book on the 1920s canine movie star and hosts a screening of the pooch’s most famous silent film, Clash of the Wolves. A warning for soft touches: Representatives from Chicago Canine Rescue will trot out adoptable dogs in the theatre lobby.
GO: 10/8 at 5:30. $12 program only; $35 with a copy of the book; $17–$40 for a double feature with Adaptation, loosely inspired by Orlean’s The Orchid Thief, at 2. Music Box Theatre, 3733 N Southport. musicboxtheatre.com

ALSO THIS WEEK: The 47th annual Chicago International Film Festival opens with the Chicago-shot Last Rites of Joe May, with director Joe Maggio and Chicago native and star Dennis Farina in attendance, 10/6 at the Harris.

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND

Joan of Arc's Tim Kinsella
Tim Kinsella

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Tim Kinsella, front man for the local experimental band Joan of Arc and, now, author. Kinsella hosts a book-release party for his debut novel, The Karaoke Singer’s Guide to Self-Defense, 10/11 at The Hideout. Admission is $1.

“Friday I’ll be joining the Occupy Chicago protest over at Jackson and LaSalle. It seems like a nice carnival atmosphere to immerse myself in. A minor hobby of mine is thinking about slogans to put on posters for instances like this, but I’m keeping this one to myself because not everyone thinks my slogans are clever. The last protest I went to three years ago, I had a bag of posters with self-made slogans, and none of my friends offered to hold one.

“If that falls through, a buddy of mine, Matt Clark of White/Light, is playing at The Hideout. It’s his first solo performance, and I’m a fan, to say the least.

“I just finished a draft of my second novel, which I began five years ago but set aside to write The Karaoke Singer’s Guide to Self-Defense. This second novel is divided into sections narrated by Laurie Bird, the actress who committed suicide in her apartment shared with her boyfriend, Art Garfunkel. Each section reiterates the plot of one of the three movies she appeared in—a sort of fake biography of Bird, as if the events in the movies were true. The last section I wrote [is based on] Monte Hellman’s 1971 Two-Lane Blacktop, which is playing at the Music Box. I’ve seen it at least 24 times but never on the big screen. I’ll probably go to both the Saturday and Sunday screenings to take really good notes.

“Also Saturday I’d like to stop by the Rainbo Club [1150 N. Damen Ave.; 773-489-5999] to see my friend Dmitry Samarov’s paintings. He’s the author of Hack: Stories from a Chicago Cab, a book dedicated to his encounters as a cab driver [he’s also Chicagomag.com’s current writer-in-residence], and although the book has illustrations of the cab-driving scene, those at the Rainbo Club are of bookshelves.

“I’ll probably be going to these places alone, which I prefer, because then I can leave without saying goodbye. I find it so embarrassing and sentimental when people say goodbye.” —As told to Heather Youkhana

FREEBIE OF THE WEEK

galleries Hornswaggler Exhibition
For the past couple of years, the local operation Hornswaggler Arts has been setting up its bar at various art openings, crafting mouthwatering themed cocktails, then using part of the drink proceeds to purchase art from each show. For one night only, the group will exhibit its resulting collection of 40-plus works by the likes of Juan Angel Chávez, Doug Fogelson, and Pamela Fraser. The party also marks the launch of the collection’s lending library program—plus cocktails, of course.
GO: 10/7 from 6 to 10. Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S Morgan. coprosperity.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: Since the 1990s, traditional letterpress and relief printing methods have seen an enthusiastic revival among smaller presses, print shops, and artists. A new show at Columbia College’s Center for Book & Paper Arts, Wood Type, Evolved, surveys new approaches to the old technology. Go 10/6 for the curator tour. Or hear the Pulitzer winner and current U.S. poet laureate, W.S. Merwin, at the Harold Washington Library Center the same night.

 

Photography: (SPALDING) Sandrine Lee; (GANG) Chris Kitahara; (KINSELLA) Chris Strong

 

Share

Submit your comment