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Five Things to Do This Week in Chicago

Wilco, Ivan the Terrible, Brian Brooks and Wendy Whelan, Ne-Hi, and Darkside V

HOMETOWN HEROES Wilco plays four shows at the Chicago Theatre this week.   Photo: Brian Nguyen/Chicago Tribune

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for February 23 through February 28, 2017

1 Wilco

Rock:Seemingly dead set on playing every major venue in the city, the local indie rockers booked multiple shows at the regal downtown theater. Expect cuts from their latest LP, Schmilco: a low-key, lyrics-driven record perfectly suited to the rapt crowd this venue draws.
2/23, 2/25–26. $50–$85. Chicago Theatre. ticketmaster.com

2 Ivan the Terrible

Classical:Two great Sergeis, the composer Prokofiev and the filmmaker Eisenstein, collaborated on a 1944 movie called Ivan the Terrible, a period piece about the notorious tsar. Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra here play Prokofiev’s score live, with vocal support from the Chicago Symphony Chorus and the Chicago Children’s Chorus, and narration from Gérard Depardieu.
2/23–25. $34–$220. Symphony Center. cso.org

3 Brian Brooks and Wendy Whelan

Dance:Brooks’s second appearance as the Harris Theater’s resident choreographer yields Some of a Thousand Words, a series of duets and solos created with ballet legend Wendy Whelan. After Whelan’s 2015 evening of contemporary duets (including one with Brooks) drew rave reviews, this one-night-only extension of her Restless Creature project is a must-see.
2/24 at 7:30 p.m. $55–$125. Harris Theater. harristheaterchicago.org

4 Ne-Hi

Rock:With its second full-length album Offers dropping this week on Grand Jury, Ne-Hi hits the Empty Bottle for a hometown show. Read more.
2/24 at 9 p.m. $12 at the door. The Empty Bottle. emptybottle.com

5 Darkside V

Craft Beer:The days are growing longer again, but there’s still plenty of darkness to be found at this beer bash: Your ticket gets you eight samples from an array of stouts, porters, black ales, and black IPAs—full pours are, of course, also available—plus a bag of tokens for the house arcade games.
2/26 at noon. $30–$40. Emporium Arcade Bar. hardcorecraftbeer.com

What I’m Doing This Weekend

James Weir Photo: Xavier Juarez

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know-locals: James Weir, bassist for Chicago four-piece Ne-Hi, who performs this Friday at the Empty Bottle.

“We’ve been rehearsing all week and waking up pretty early to get in the practice space. Playing with us on Friday, we’ve got our buddy Colin Croom from Twin Peaks. He’s playing synthesizer on the song ‘Offers.’ We’ve also got a guy Doug Malone who’s an engineer around town, and he’s going to play lap steel guitar. We want to bring in the people who recorded with us but who we can’t take on tour.

“On Friday, we’re working with this lighting guy named Nick Ciontea. I used to work with him at the Publican. He’s done cool lighting stuff for bands like The National. We’ve got to transport ten TVs to the Empty Bottle. He’s going to be performing with us, modulating and manipulating the TVs as we go.

“Then we’re going to roll to this record store in Wicker Park called Shuga Records. We’re doing an in-store performance there. They’ve been super supportive of us so we’re doing a quick performance to show our record. Then we’re going to roll to the Empty Bottle and maybe grab some food at Bite Cafe next door.

“We’re playing with some cool bands—Deeper and Café Racer. We’ll be drinking beers and watching those guys play. This is our first show we’ve sold out a week in advance [tickets are still available at the door]. Honestly we’re probably going to stay at the Bottle ’til 2 and then go to my apartment to throw a celebration. On Saturday, I found this spot in Chinatown that’s been my favorite place to have lunch in. It’s called Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings. Best soup dumplings in the city.

“We’re leaving for our tour on Saturday—we’re headed to Kansas City on a little Midwest jaunt for seven days. [Otherwise I’d] catch the Chicago Bulls–Cavaliers game at Cleos. That’s my go-to dive-sports bar. It’s pretty cheap and has good food. I’ll usually end the night at Danny’s in Bucktown. There’s this guy Courtland Green who DJs there on Saturdays. He’s one of the best vinyl DJs in Chicago. Sundays are usually pretty chill for me at the start. I’m hoping this weather is going to keep up. I like to shoot hoops in either Wicker Park or Humboldt Park.” —As told to Jamison Pfeifer

Freebie of the Week

The Fantasticks

Theater:There’s never an admission cost for Quest Theatre performances, making them one of the best entertainment values in the city. Here, the company takes on the musical tale of lovers from opposite sides of a fence.
2/17–3/26. Free. Quest Theatre Ensemble at Blue Theater. questensemble.org

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