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Ten Things to Do: Restaurant Week, a Nina Simone Musical, and More

A City Mouse burger, to be had during Restaurant Week   Photo: Anjali Pinto/Courtesy of Chicago Restaurant Week

Don’t-miss picks for January 24 through January 30, 2019

1 Pink Boots and a Machete

Literature:For the National Geographic Live tour dedicated to inspirational women, former NFL cheerleader and current primatologist Mireya Mayor takes the stage to share stories of her discoveries (she was part of a team that found the world’s smallest primate) and relive her time as a wildlife correspondent for the National Geographic Channel.
1/24 at 7 p.m. $42–$54. Auditorium Theatre. auditoriumtheatre.org

2 The Soft Moon, Hide

Rock:The headlining act has drawn a devoted audience to its darkly sexy and sexily dark goth music, but arrive early to check out local duo Hide. Heather Gabel and Seth Sher make pummeling, warped industrial sounds fit for horror movies and destroying heavy machinery.
1/24 at 8:30 p.m. $16. Thalia Hall. eventbrite.com

3 Nina Simone: Four Women

Theater:A powerful quartet of actress-singers (Melanie Brezill, Deanna Reed-Foster, Ariel Richardson, and Sydney Charles as Simone) star in Christina Ham’s musical tribute to the four girls murdered in the 1963 bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church. Simone’s songs of protest — “Mississippi Goddam” and “Four Women,” the latter of which provides the show with its title — are threaded through Ham’s demanding script.
1/24–3/2. $31–$73. Northlight Theatre. northlight.org

4 Stateless: Views of Global Migration

Art:The United Nations estimates that more than 68 million people were displaced in 2018, worsening a global crisis of refugees seeking asylum and resettlement. This exhibition highlights the work of eight photographers who address this international concern (such as Omar Imam’s portraits of Syrian refugees playing soccer in migrant camps).
FREE 1/24–31. Museum of Contemporary Photography. mocp.org

5 Chicago Restaurant Week

Food:For the 12th year, restaurants across the city offer affordable prix fixe menus (starting at $24 per meal) for two weeks. Nearly 400 restaurants are participating in the 2019 celebration.
1/25–2/7. Various locations and prices. choosechicago.com

6 Hewitt Plays Mozart

Classical:Pianist Angela Hewitt is best known for how she plays Bach. Music of the Baroque specializes in, well, baroque music. Both travel a few steps outside of their comfort zones to perform the music of the classical era’s biggest rock star.
1/26–27. $10–$78. 1/26: Harris Theater; 1/27: North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. baroque.org

7 Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange Across Medieval Saharan Africa

Art:Mention the Middle Ages and most people think of the knights and castles of Europe, but this exhibit aims to reframe this fertile period through the countries of West Africa, where a robust culture produced exquisite gold filigree carvings, coins, tapestries, and sculptures. More than 100 artworks and artifacts from the medieval African empires of Mali, Morocco, and Nigeria have never been on display in the United States, so see them up close before the show travels to the Smithsonian.
FREE 1/26–7/21. Block Museum of Art. blockmuseum.northwestern.edu

8 Prisoner of Love

Art:At the heart of this group exhibition about contemporary life in America (mostly consisting of items from the MCA’s collection) is the Mississippi-born video artist Arthur Jafa’s 2016 seven-minute masterwork, Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death, a moving portrayal of contemporary African American life that incorporates clips from Beyoncé Knowles, Barack Obama, and Martin Luther King Jr.
1/26–10/27. $8–$15. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. mcachicago.org

9 Leif Ove Andsnes

Classical:The fastidious Norwegian pianist has appeared in Chicago in recent seasons performing chamber music, including a four-hand recital with Marc-André Hamelin two years ago. This time, it’s all Andsnes, with interesting, off-the-beaten-path Janacek and Bartok shoehorned between Schumann works.
1/27 at 3 p.m. $29–$97. Symphony Center. cso.org

10 Solidary & Solitary

Art:This expansive, groundbreaking exhibition acknowledges the many black avant-garde artists from the 1940s and onward whose work was as challenging to the status quo as more commonplace Black Power imagery. The material features paintings full of color, tension, and beauty, comparable to those by white counterparts such as Jackson Pollock.
FREE 1/29–5/19. Smart Museum of Art. smartmuseum.uchicago.edu

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