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The Top Five Things to Do This Week in Chicago

The Glass Menagerie, Amid Festival, Battle Royale, Kate Berlant and John Early, and Black Sabbath

THE OZZMAN COMETH Black Sabbath plays United Center Friday.   Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune

1 The Glass Menagerie

Theater Hans Fleischmann’s reimagining of Tennessee Williams’s classic left audiences slack-jawed in 2013. The character of Tom became a homeless man tormented by personal demons and mental illness. As he recounts the tragedy that befell his cripplingly introverted sister and their domineering mother, the fragile Wingfield family shatters—like glass.
1/22–3/6. $28–$36. The Hypocrites at the Den Theatre, 1329 N. Milwaukee. the-hypocrites.com

2 Amid Festival

Dance Produced by experimental company Zephyr Dance, this festival features contemporary and improvisational works from a variety of midcareer artists. Zephyr director Michelle Kranicke performs alongside an impressive lineup that includes veteran avant-garde dancer Bob Eisen, Guggenheim Fellowship–winning choreographer Bebe Miller with local voguing phenom Darrell Jones, and the world premiere of My Choreographed Body by New York choreographer Deborah Hay.
1/21–31. $10–$17 for single tickets, festival passes $25–$50. Links Hall, 3111 N. Western. linkshall.org

3 Battle Royale

Jazz The late Count Basie’s ghost band joins the Marsalis-led ensemble for a 30-plus-player tribute to the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Expect a wall of Kansas City–style swing (and some Basie deep cuts, if you’re lucky).
1/23 at 8. $40–$95. 220 S. Michigan. cso.org

4 Kate Berlant and John Early

Comedy Berlant, endorsed by The New York Times, specializes in pseudo-intellectual comedy—earning comparisons to Andy Kaufman and Tig Notaro, while her frequent collaborator John Early opts for a more flamboyant style.
1/22–23 at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. $20. Up Comedy Club, 230 W. North. upcomedyclub.com

5 Black Sabbath

Rock The godfathers of heavy metal have done a number on their brains, bodies, and personal lives in four decades of hard-rock bushwhacking but are still kicking. All the original members except drummer Bill Ward will appear (he left in 2012 due to bad health and a rift with Ozzy Osbourne), but expect this to be the last time you’ll see any semblance of the band on this side of the Atlantic.
1/22 at 7:30. $35–$575. United Center, 1901 W. Madison. ticketmaster.com

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Hans Fleischmann
Hans Fleischmann Photo: Courtesy of the Hypocrites

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals: Hans Fleischmann, whose adaptation of The Glass Menagerie starts previews this Friday at the Den Theatre.

“Since I’m directing and acting as Tom in The Glass Menagerie, this weekend is a lot of rehearsing and a lot of building. I’ll spend Friday laying the glass for the show. The set involves more than 3,000 pieces of glass. It’s this obsession that the narrator has, so I do it myself, because I know how I want it to look. I have to construct this giant set into a piece of artwork. I’ll also be building the show’s world. It takes places in an alley, but the narrator sets the stage. It’s painstaking. Then I’ll be acting in the show for previews starting Friday night. If could sleep at the Den Theatre, I would. To me, the commute on the blue line to my home at Irving and California is a waste—especially since it’s so damn cold out.

“If I get a moment to unwind, I’ll turn on some bad television. It has to be bad TV, though—something I can’t be distracted by. Right now I’m watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. I don’t necessarily consider it bad TV, but it’s dated. By now, I know the characters and have an idea of where the episode is going, so I can tune out and get things done.

“As for the rest of my weekend, my girlfriend and I just got a Bengal cat. They’re domesticated cats, but they have part Asian leopard in them, and they behave like dogs. They can swim, they’ll jump in the shower, they can go on walks. And this cat is absolutely addicted to playing fetch. The second I get home, she’s got her ball ready, and I have to play fetch with her until she’s done. It’s like a child that wants to play all the time. Sometimes I’ll throw the ball into my girlfriend’s room in hopes that she’ll have her take over. But the cat always brings it back to me.” —As told to Matt Pollock

Freebie of the Week

Unsuspending Disbelief

Art A large survey of contemporary international photography is a rare viewing opportunity, despite the medium’s ubiquity. Curated by Laura Letinsky, an artist and academic, for the University of Chicago, the exhibit of 10 photographers includes work by Yamini Nayar, Mickalene Thomas, and more.
1/22–3/13. Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th. arts.uchicago.edu

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