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Ten Things to Do This Week in Chicago

Photos by Laurie Simmons, Engineering Fest, Typeforce, and more.

Laurie Simmons, Brothers/Horizon, 1979.   Photo: © Laurie Simmons, courtesy of the artist and Salon 94.

The Ten

Don’t-miss picks for February 21 through February 27, 2019

1 Steven Isserlis and Robert Levin

Classical:Beethoven completism exists: You see pianists undertaking all the sonatas over a career, or orchestras doing all nine symphonies in a season or two. Cellist Isserlis and pianist Levin run a lesser-traveled Beethovenian gamut across two concerts, playing all five cello sonatas, three sets of variations, and one arrangement, which constitute all the composer’s works for cello and piano.
2/21–22. $10–$38 per concert. Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago. chicagopresents.uchicago.edu

2 Mozart Requiem

Classical:The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s music director, Riccardo Muti, leads the orchestra in his second requiem of the season (after Verdi in the fall) to commemorate the centenary of the World War Ⅰ armistice. Also on the program is the war-inspired Symphony No. 9 by Schuman — that’s William Schuman (with one n), not Robert Schumann.
2/21–23. $68–298. Symphony Center. cso.org

3 Beirut, Helado Negro

Rock:Since its debut in 2006, Beirut’s orchestral indie rock has conveyed a feeling of wide-eyed worldliness: Balkan folk, trips to Oaxaca, postcards from Italy, visits to Coney Island. But opener Helado Negro might be the highlight here. The long-running project of Ecuadorian American artist Roberto Carlos Lange deals in dreamy, politically charged synth-pop (Dev Hynes’s Blood Orange is probably the closest comparison) that’s often sung in Spanish.
2/22 at 7:30 p.m. $42. Riviera Theatre. ticketfly.com

4 Typeforce X

Art:In honor of its 10th anniversary, the annual showcase of type-based art and design exhibits brand-new work from nearly two dozen local artists who contributed to earlier iterations of the event. From illustration to sculpture to augmented reality, the wide range of mediums makes for plenty of Instagrammable moments — such as Jenna Blazevich’s stained-glass piece and Andy Gregg’s wall-length installation of old televisions displaying pixelated animation. Stop by the bar and order the special-edition Typeforce X beer brewed by Marz.
FREE 2/22–3/8. Co-Prosperity Sphere. coprosperity.org

5 Same Planet Performance Project

Dance:A quirky mixed-rep program includes revivals of Netta Yerushalmy’s The Force Backwards and Four, a little gem by Links Hall cofounder Bob Eisen that premiered last October. In a new duet called Moonface, artistic director Joanna Read explores a paradox of relationships: How can codependency and individuality truly coexist?
2/22–24. $15–$23. Dovetail Studios. same-planet.org

6 Engineering Fest

Architecture:STEM education meets Chicago pride in the best possible way at the Chicago Architecture Center’s annual crash course in engineering. This year’s theme focuses on the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, and kids can re-create the opulence of the White City be pressure-testing Ferris wheels or presiding over their reconstructed designs of the Midway Plaisance in Jackson Park.
2/23–24. Free–$6. Chicago Architecture Center. architecture.org

7 The Whole World a Bauhaus

Art:A century ago, the German art and design movement called Bauhaus heralded a modern style: slick lines and colorful geometry celebrating new industrial materials like fiberglass. What started as a small German school became a global phenomenon as proponents fled Hitler’s rise and landed in Chicago, cementing the aesthetic’s legacy among America’s elite. This exhibit celebrates the centennial with works by its major artists, including Josef Albers, Wassily Kandinsky, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.
2/23–4/20. Free–$12. Elmhurst Art Museum. elmhurstartmuseum.org

8 Laurie Simmons: Big Camera/Little Camera

Art:These days, this New York–based photographer may be best known as Lena Dunham’s mother, but back in the ’80s she spearheaded a group of conceptual artists (Cindy Sherman among them) known as the Pictures Generation, which tackled the overtly masculine norms of advertising and cinema. Now 69, Simmons gets a major career retrospective focusing on her dollhouse scenes, where she arranges miniatures to tell difficult stories about marriage and sexuality.
2/23–5/5. Free–$15. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. mcachicago.org

9 MNEK

Pop:Uzo Emenike, who goes by a phonetic stage name, has written hits for Beyoncé, BTS, and Dua Lipa, and now the underrated British singer-songwriter is overdue for his own turn in the spotlight. A true student of pop music history, he draws inspiration from ’90s R&B retrofuturism, Max Martin bubblegum, and UK garage. He’s also responsible for the best B-52s-referencing remix of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” you’ll ever hear in your life. Google it.
2/25 at 7:30 p.m. $17–$19. Lincoln Hall. lh-st.com

10 Robin Deacon: Vinyl Equations

Performance Art:Perhaps the biggest draw at the In>Time festival is British-born Deacon, the current chair of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s performance department, who juxtaposes unlikely combinations of LPs (such as Isaac Hayes alongside Richard Nixon) and intermixes them with spoken word and dance.
2/27–28. $10–$40. Links Hall. eventbrite.com

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