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The Top Five Things to Do This Week

The Chicago Latino Film Festival, Don’t Make Me Over: In Tribute To Dionne Warwick, Hedwig Dances, Mississippi Heat, and The Women of Lockerbie

HOT STUFF Mississippi Heat plays Thursday at Kingston Mines.   Photo: Bret Reinders

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Thursday, April 7 through Tuesday, April 12

1 Chicago Latino Film Festival

Dance Latin American films share the spotlight at this two-week festival. Highlights include Imprisoned and a Brazilian contemporary take on Macbeth.
4/8–21. $10–$110. AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois. chicagolatinofilmfestival.org

2 Don’t Make Me Over: In Tribute to Dionne Warwick

Theater Black Ensemble Theater founder Jackie Taylor and director Reuben Echoles toast Dionne Warwick, the hit maker who spent decades atop the charts with songs such as “Walk on By,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” and “Alfie.”
4/9–5/15. $45–$65. Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark. blackensembletheater.org

3 Hedwig Dances

Dance Artistic director Jan Bartoszek gives geometry the nod with Circling the Square, a program pairing 2013’s origami-inspired ASCENDance with Trio M, a world premiere based on the geometry of the triangle.
4/8–9. $17–$37. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. athenaeumtheatre.org

4 Mississippi Heat

Blues The Chicago six-piece has been a local and national staple for more than two decades. Though rooted in traditional blues sounds, the group continues to surprise audiences 11 albums later with off-kilter flourishes that feel more joyful than dire.
4/7 at 10:30. $12. Kingston Mines, 2548 N. Halsted. ticketweb.com

5 The Women of Lockerbie

Theater On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York exploded over Scotland, killing everyone on board. In this Deborah Brevoort drama, the victims’ families search Lockerbie’s hills for clothing, remains, and closure.
4/7–5/8. $10–$20. AstonRep at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark. astonrep.com

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Alejandro Riera
Alejandro Riera Photo: Courtesy of Alejandro Riera

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals: Alejandro Riera, Media Relations Director for the Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF), which begins this Friday and runs through April 21.

“The festival starts Friday with the opening gala. We’re kicking things off with a Mexican film called Illusions S. A., which stars Jaime Camil and Adriana Louvier. It’s sort of a romantic comedy with a twist. It’s a huge event for us, with a reception afterwards at the Embassy Suites Hotel. I’ll be at the premiere from early in the morning until midnight, setting up the press and welcoming the directors and filmmakers. I’ll also be taking interviews from some Spanish-language networks and outlets, which is always fun.

“For the rest of the fest, we have daily luncheons with the CLFF board of directors and our guests at different Latin American restaurants around the city. On Saturday, we’re going to Revolución Mexican Steakhouse in Lake View. It’s a pretty new place—I haven’t tried it yet—so I’m looking forward to that. These lunches are an opportunity for the filmmakers to meet each other and exchange stories and experiences. It’ll be very laid back.

“After lunch, I’ll be checking up on ticket sales to see if there are any films I need to push on social media. Then it’s back to the theater at around 3 p.m. for the first screenings of the day. The whole fest takes place at the AMC River East 21.

“On Sunday, we’ll have lunch at Folklore. It’s an excellent Argentinian restaurant, part of the restaurant group that owns Tango Sur on Southport, which is one of my favorites, and Barra Ñ, which is a great place to get a drink and do some people watching.

“If I weren’t so busy, I’d probably be having brunch at Cafe Too [now Inspiration Kitchens] in Uptown, where I live. It’s an Inspiration Corporation kitchen, so they train formerly homeless people and refugees in the culinary arts and get them restaurant jobs. I also love to go to La Fonda Latino Grill on Broadway for brunch. I think it’s Uptown’s best-kept secret: they have the best chilaquiles on the North Side.

“I also love to go to the Chicago History Museum, and I’m not just saying that because we’re having our closing night there. It’s such a well-organized, well-curated museum. It’s amazing to me that more tourists don’t go there.

“When CLFF isn’t eating up my weekend, I’ll try to do some stuff I normally do. I always try to wake up early and read the New York Times weekend edition with a cup of coffee—it’s hard to start my day without that. But, to be honest, even if I wasn’t tied up with the festival, I’d probably be at the theater anyway. We like to see a lot of movies, either at Century Centre or at the Gene Siskel Film Center where I do Latino community outreach.” —As told to John Hardberger

Freebie of the Week


Fire and Form: Fine Art and Ceramics From the Estate of Candice B. Groot

Art Chicago’s patron saint of contemporary ceramics passed away last year, leaving behind an Evanston mansion filled with some of the most forward-thinking art of the past 35 years. All will be displayed here before being auctioned on April 16.
4/9–15. Free. John Toomey Gallery, 818 North, Oak Park. treadwaygallery.com

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