The Top 5 Things to Do This Week

On your agenda: A young John Barrymore seeks revenge in a 1951 noir … the Chicago Symphony Orchestra kicks off with Dvořák … free world music… plus, the weekend plans of the Second City comedian Steve Waltien

Danh Vo The artist’s “deconstructed” Lady Liberty, on view at the Renaissance Society starting 9/23. '
Danh Vo The artist’s “deconstructed” Lady Liberty,
on view at the Renaissance Society starting 9/23.

 

THE FIVE

Don’t-miss picks for Wed 9.19.12 through Tue 9.25.12:

 

1

art DANH VO
The Vietnamese artist fled a refugee camp in a boat built by his father. Now motivated by identity and freedom, he is “deconstructing” the Lady Liberty into copper sculptures, six of which appear in his exhibition, Uterus.
GO: 9/23 at 4; Free. Renaissance Society, 1155 E 58th. renaissancesociety.org 

2

film The big Night
After a traumatic birthday party, a young John Drew Barrymore as the angry, misguided George La Main, seeks revenge against the man who attacked his father. This noir is an infamous look (the director later fled to Europe) at the seedy underbelly of teen life in the 1950s.
GO: 9/19 at 7:30; $5. Portage Theater, 4050 N Milwaukee. portagetheater.org

3

classical CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
‘Tis the season of high culture. The CSO kicks off its season with music director Riccardo Muti at the helm. The opening program features Dvořák’s Fifth Symphony, a short nocturne by the late 19th century composer Giuseppe Martucci, and the piece Feste Romane by Martucci’s student Ottorino Respighi.
GO: 9/20, 22, 26, 28 at 8; $31—$212. Symphony Center, 220 N Michigan. cso.org

4

jazz FRED HERSCH
He’s a prolific pianist whose versatility and emotional depth grow every year. The New York-based musician recently released a double album, Alive at the Vanguard, which alludes to both the Village Vanguard—a popular New York jazz venue—and his AIDS-related coma in 2008.
GO: 9/20 at 8 and 10; $20. Jazz Showcase, 806 S Plymouth. jazzshowcase.com

5

theatre SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH
This is the director David Cromer’s take on Williams (Tennessee)—so expect matters to scorch, steam, and scintillate when a scheming gigolo and a screen siren descend on a disintegrating small southern town.
GO: 9/25–10/21; $39–$103. Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org

 

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND

Maria Pinto
Steve Waltien

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Steve Waltien, a Chicago comedian. It’s no surprise that Waltien’s plans are a tongue-in-cheek take. The satirist is a cast member in Second City’s main stage show, the Second City’s 100th review: Who Do We Think We Are?

“On Friday night, I like to go to bed super, super early—around 7:30. Given that my days are full with cultural research, I really need a good amount of sleep.

“I’ll set my alarm for 5 a.m. on Saturday morning and head to the Austrian Bakery. I’ll immediately read all of the newspapers and fill my head with political stories. I’ll also load up on heavy, sweet baked goods like éclairs and croissants, because it gives me enough sugar to get going in the morning. With that, I’ll head to the Art Institute. I love Pablo Picasso because he’s such a great native Chicago artist—he’s arguably Chicago’s most famous son. Since I’m friends with every single person that works at Alinea, I often go there for a 30-course lunch. Afterwards I plan to head to the bean in Millennium Park and look at my reflection over the course of the afternoon. Because I’m always changing, I can see those changes reflected in the sculpture.

“Sunday morning, I’ll wake up pretty early and go to the hot Chicago brunch spot, Orange. I enjoy the sushi that’s made of my favorite fish—strawberries. Like a bird watcher, I have a list of Chicago characters. I like to quietly observe all the different Chicago types. I won’t leave until I’ve seen every single one. Sometimes I have to eat two brunches to pass the time. Then, in the afternoon, I’ll try and go to the top of Hancock tower. They say it’s the city of big shoulders, so I try and count as many pairs as possible from that height. Later, I’ll get a drink at the Old Town Ale House. I go to drink and forget the inspiration of the weekend so I can clear the decks for Monday’s thoughts. And of course I’ll drink a true Chicago beer, Bud Light.”—As told to Elly Fishman

FREEBIE OF THE WEEK

world music  WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
Who needs to travel when the world comes to Chicago? In our opinion, the 13-year-old Chicago fest has become one of fall’s highlights. From Afro-Caribbean grooves to a Slavic soul party, this year’s lineup promises a wide variety of aural experiences.
GO: 9/21–9/27. Times, locations: worldmusicfestivalchicago.org

 

Photography: (Danh Vo) Courtesy of The Renaissance Society; (Steve Waltien) Courtesy of Second City

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