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The Five Best Things to Do in Chicago This Week

Jake Shimabukuro, Spektral Quartet, Chicago Winter Bike Swap, Mothers and Sons, and Return of the Exquisite Corpse

MOTHER LODE Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons is having its inaugural regional run at Northlight Theatre.   Photo: Michael Brosilow

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, January 27 through February 2, 2016

1 Jake Shimabukuro

World Music More or less the Eddie Van Halen of ukulele, this Hawaiian virtuoso hit it big in 2006 when his rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” became one of YouTube’s first viral videos. He’s since upped the rock-star lifestyle with a litany of awards and collaborations with the likes of Ziggy Marley and Béla Fleck.
2/1–2/2. $45–$55. City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph. citywinery.com

2 Spektral Quartet

Classical The group unveils its fourth full-length album, Serious Business. The record fuses classical music and comedy, including Josef Haydn’s string quartet “The Joke” and new commissions from New York oboist Sky Macklay and local composers Dave Reminick and Chris Fisher-Lochhead.
1/29 at 8. $20. Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse. spektralquartet.com

3 Chicago Winter Bike Swap

Sports and Rec Join Chicago’s cycling community to find bargains on a variety of new and used bicycles as well as other items to meet every cyclist’s needs.
1/31 at 9:30 a.m. $5. Harper College, 1200 W. Algonquin, Palatine. chicagowinterbikeswap.com

4 Mothers and Sons

Theater The inaugural regional run of a work by playwright Terrence McNally (Master Class, Kiss of the Spider Woman) is always reason for anticipation. With director Steve Scott at the helm, doubly so. Scott takes on the story of a mother who lost a son to AIDS and meets up with her son’s former partner years afterward.
Through 2/27. $25–$79. Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie, Skokie. northlight.org

5 Return of the Exquisite Corpse

Art To celebrate Printworks gallery’s 35th anniversary, the founders have invited 105 artists to create 35 corpse drawings in the spirit of a great surrealist game, whereby a body’s head, torso, and feet are each drawn by a different person, creating artfully monstrous beings out of chance partnerships.
Through 2/13. Free. 311 W. Superior. printworkschicago.com

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Clara Lyon
Clara Lyon Photo: Drew Reynolds

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals: Clara Lyon of Spektral Quartet, who sends off its new album, Serious Business, with shows at Mayne Stage (Friday) and the Logan Center (Sunday) this weekend.

“Friday night is our album release show at Mayne Stage. We’ll perform excerpts of pieces premiered in Chicago over the past year, including two pieces by Chicago-based composers Dave Reminick and Chris Fisher-Lochhead. Then I’ll probably grab a drink with the band. We’ll either hunker down at the bar at Mayne Stage or head over to Uncommon Ground in Edgewater—they have great cocktails.

“Saturday, I’m starting my day with a little teaching. Spektral Quartet has a residency at University of Chicago, so we all teach privately down there, coaching musicians. Then Saturday night I’ll go to Constellation to see Vicky Chow, who’s a New York–based pianist. She plays with the new-music group Bang on a Can, and she’s playing some awesome new music Friday. She’s phenomenal. Then I’m sure I’ll be hanging at Constellation for a while—they have a nice bar. The venue is kind of a linchpin for the new music community. It just has a good vibe. Good people tend to come to shows there.

“Sunday, Spektral Quartet is doing a South Side repeat show for the album release at University of Chicago. It’s at the Logan Center penthouse at 3 p.m. Food-wise, I might grab a brunch at Big Jones in Andersonville—I live in Edgewater—and I’m sure I’ll try to make it to Thai Spice for dinner.” —As told to Matt Pollock

Freebie of the Week

MoCP at 40

Art Chicago’s only museum dedicated to contemporary photography celebrates 40 years of free exhibits with a choice selection of its greatest hits and treasures, including Diane Arbus and Andy Warhol.
Through 4/10, opening reception 1/28 at 5. 600 S. Michigan. mocp.org

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