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Your Top 5 Things to Do in Chicago This Week

This week, check out The Barber of Seville, art at 2nd Floor Rear, Epitonic Deep Freeze Festival, Branford Marsalis, and Califone

GOLDEN GUNN Hear the baritone Nathan Gunn at the Lyric Opera on Saturday.   Photo: M. Sharkey

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, January 29, through Tuesday, February 4

1 The Barber of Seville

Opera: Beefcake baritone Nathan Gunn plays Figaro in Lyric’s new production of this popular opera. Unfortunately, he will not be taking off his shirt.
2/1–2/28. $20–$229. Civic Opera House, 20 N Wacker. lyricopera.org

2 2nd Floor Rear

Art: If you’ve ever wanted to delve into the burgeoning DIY art scene of Chicago’s Northwest side, this 24-hour festival is for you. Go for the art walks, temporary exhibits, and tours. Stay for the parties.
2/1–2/2. Free. Various times and locations. 2ndfloorrear.org

3 Epitonic Deep Freeze Festival

Comedy: Catch local comic stalwarts such as Brian Babylon, Kellye Howard, and Marlena Rodriguez at music website Epitonic’s inaugural festival of indie rock and comedy.
1/31–2/2. Various times and locations. epitonic.com

4 Branford Marsalis

Jazz: Go see the eldest Marsalis whose latest album, Four MF’s Playin’ Tunes, is as carefree as its title.
1/31 at 8. $28–$88. Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan. cso.org

5 Califone

Rock: It’s the acclaimed Chicago-born quartet’s first tour since lead singer Tim Rutili went off to make a movie. They sound as good as ever.
2/1 at 9 p.m. $18. Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln. lincolnhallchicago.com

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Julie Ma
Julie Tiao Ma Photo: Courtesy of Julie Tiao Ma

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Julie Tiao Ma, board president of the Chinese Fine Arts Society.

“Friday is the first day of Chinese New Year. We’ll have some festivities at Daley Plaza—lion dances and music that are just a taste of some of the activities that are going on.

“Saturday, we’re partnering with Redmoon Theatre. They’re creating this huge spectacle with fireworks and lots of lights in the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. There’s also a parade on Argyle Street that I might check out. If I head north, I’ll visit Pagoda Red. They have some of the coolest, most authentic Chinese furniture—both antiques and really great contemporary pieces. I’ll also stop at Swirlz Cupcakes because they’re making green tea cupcakes in celebration of the New Year.

“And then on Sunday, I’ll go to the Chinatown parade. If you’re willing to brave the weather, it’s really fun, you’re with 30 to 40,000 of your closest friends. Afterwards, to warm up, I’ll probably stop by Lao Hunan. I really love their princess tofu, and they also have this dried cook shrimp that is just to die for. I’ll also go to Hyde Park and visit my dad and then try and catch the game.” —As told to Tomi Obaro

Freebie of the Week

Schubertiade 2014

Classical: Franz Schubert apparently threw great parties. In celebration of the composer’s 217th birthday, Pianforte Foundation throws this shindig, complete with drop-in concerts and pastries from Julius Meinl.
2/1. Free. PianoForte Studios. 1335 S Michigan. pianofortefoundation.org

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