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The Five Best Things to Do in Chicago This Week

Joffrey Ballet, Van Gogh’s Bedrooms, Louder Than a Bomb, Ronnie Baker Brooks, and Marnie & Phil: A Circus Love Letter

BEDSIDE MANNER Van Gogh’s famed bedrooms take up residence at the Art Institute starting this week.   Photo: Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago, Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, February 10 through February 16, 2016

1 Joffrey Ballet

Dance Per tradition, the Joffrey dedicates its February program to contemporary works. Under the title Bold Moves, this season’s mix includes a world premiere from former Scottish Ballet director Ashley Page and Yuri Possokhov’s stunning Japanese-inspired RAkU.
2/10–2/21. $32–$155. Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress. auditoriumtheatre.org

2 Van Gogh’s Bedrooms

Art One of the most famous scenes in art history depicts where Van Gogh rested his weary head after long days of painting in the South of France. The exhibit focuses on life in and around the famed Yellow House, where Van Gogh worked out some of his best images and lived with pal Gauguin.
2/14–5/10. $24–$30. Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan. artic.edu

3 Louder Than a Bomb

Poetry Billed as the largest youth poetry slam festival in the world, this month-long event pits high school poetry teams against each other.
2/13–3/19. Various prices and locations. youngchicagoauthors.org

4 Ronnie Baker Brooks

Blues This Chicago blues guitarist (and son of elder bluesman Lonnie Brooks) was reared on Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, and B.B. King. Brooks’s style skews a bit noisier (more Hendrix than Hooker), but the blues-in-blood influence is hard to miss.
2/13 at 8. $15. SPACE, 1245 Chicago, Evanston. ticketweb.com

5 Marnie & Phil: A Circus Love Letter

Theater Playwright Chris Mathews directs the tale of two young performers who meet at circus school and somersault through fame, fortune, and heartache to find each other again in midlife. Top artists from the House Theatre, Lookingglass, and the Actors Gymnasium provide high-flying circus stunts and original music.
2/13–3/20. $15–$50. Actors Gymnasium, 927 Noyes, Evanston. actorsgymnasium.org

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Ashley Wheater
Ashley Wheater Photo: Cheryl Mann

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals: Joffrey Ballet artistic director Ashley Wheater, who mounts Bold Moves this evening through February 21.

“Because we’re in performances, our weekends are fairly blocked out—but on a typical Friday night, I’d look for something at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. There’s always something amazing there. It’s also nice to end the week with a drink. I particularly like Maude’s Liquor Bar on Randolph. On this particular Friday, I’ll try to have dinner before our show at 7:30. My go-to place is the Gage. Since we have a lot of people in town working with the ballet, we’ll probably go for a drink at Seven Lions near the JW Marriot, where we put up our guests.

“On Saturday morning we have a meeting, then we might go over to the Art Institute and grab lunch at their café, which is really good. It has a great view over Millennium Park. In between our matinee and evening show, we’ll find a restaurant for dinner. There’s a really good, fun tapas place in the Blackstone Hotel called Mercat a la Planxa. They have fantastic food.

“Our day on Sunday starts early, around 11—we have a matinee at 2. Sunday night, our thing to do is have people over for dinner at our place in Wicker Park. My husband and I love to cook, and love having people over. We’ll probably make a cassoulet—a nice, hearty French stew for winter—and obviously lots of wine. Another dish we might make is grilled chicken with mushrooms and bacon with roasted root vegetables and green salad. I might also make a Meyer lemon cake. We have a place in California with a lemon tree, and we keep shipping boxes of lemons from there to Chicago.” —As told to Matt Pollock

Freebie of the Week

Lunar New Year Parade

Parades Celebrate the Year of the Monkey with marching bands, lion dancers, and a 90-foot dragon.
2/14 at 1. Free. 24th and Wentworth. ccc-foundation.org

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