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The Five Best Things to Do in Chicago This Week

Beer! And jazz and theatre and readings and stuff.

MUGS UP The Chicago Beer Festival takes place this Saturday.   Photo: Ginda Photography

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, March 19 through Tuesday, March 25

1 Katt Williams

Comedy: Once upon a time the name Katt Williams was uttered in the same breath as Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappelle. Williams has since been plagued with scandals, but his new stand-up tour “Growth Spurt” demonstrates newfound maturity.
3/21–23. $42–$58. Arie Crown Theater, 2301 S Lake Shore. ticketmaster.com

2 Bella Voce Camerata

Classical: The renowned chamber choir Bella Voce debuts its newest subgroup, which will perform David Lang’s Pulitzer-winning The Little Match Girl Passion and Dietrich Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri.
3/22 at 7:30, 3/23 at 3:30. $15–$38. Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 Division, River Forest and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 939 Hinman, Evanston. bellavoce.org

3 Chicago Beer Festival

Festivals: Union Station transforms into a beer nerd’s heaven, with 55 domestic and international companies offering spring wares for sampling.
3/22 at 1. $40. Union Station, 210 S Canal. eventbrite.com

4 The Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60

Jazz: Jazz cats, including clarinetist Anat Cohen and double bassist Larry Grenadier, celebrate the seminal festival’s 60th year with an intimate bash.
3/23 at 5 and 8 p.m. $38–$40. Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N Lincoln. oldtownschool.org

5 Saviour

Theatre: Playwright Esther Armah uncorks a powder keg of race, class, and gender issues in the tale of a liberal white community activist who files a reverse discrimination suit alleging he was passed over for promotion in favor of a black woman.
3/20–5/11. $30. ETA Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S South Chicago. facebook.com/pages/ETA-Creative-Arts-Foundation/135563829811274

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Randy Albers
Randy Albers Photo: Shane Welch

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Randy Albers, founder of Story Week and chair emeritus of the Columbia College fiction program.

“Friday is our last day of Story Week. In the morning, we are having an open mic at Columbia College. [Writers] of all genres can come read their work.

“Friday night, we have Chicago Classics. We invite various people from writing, publishing, political, and other communities around Chicago to read their favorite page from an author in the great Chicago tradition. It’s going to be a great show; it starts at 6 p.m. at the Cultural Center. We have 16 readers, including Donna Seaman from Booklis and Samantha Irby. We don’t have anything planned for afterwards, but I usually go to Billy Goat Tavern with Rick Kogan; he’s a long time patron of that place. It’s a great place for people of all sorts—tourists and otherwise.

“Saturday, I like to go hear music, either at Buddy Guy’s Legend or out in Berwyn at FitzGerald’s. I’m a longtime fan of Buddy Guy. I used to go hear him when I was a doctoral student at the University of Chicago when he owned the Checkerboard Lounge on 43rd. I went to school in New Orleans, so I like FitzGerald’s. They bring a lot of [musicians] from the South. My favorite place for brunch is Wishbone, again because of the Cajun cooking. The Red Eggs are great.

“Sunday, if I weren’t traveling to California to see my daughter, I’d be heading to a reading. I like to go to 2nd Story a lot, they started off Story Week last night. They’re doing a fantastic job. Chicago is a hotbed for people who love reading and writing. It’s so active.” —As told to Tomi Obaro

Freebie of the Week

Imaging/Imagining: The Body as Art

Art: How does modern medicine approach the classic nude? This exhibition, organized by three physicians at the University of Chicago, proposes that art can be diagnostically revealing.
3/25–6/15. Free. Smart Museum, 5550 S Greenwood. smartmuseum.uchicago.edu

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