Don’t-miss picks for Thursday, March 31 through April 5, 2016
1 Chicago Human Rhythm Project
Dance The second annual Stomping Grounds festival brings together percussive dance troupes for weekly freebies throughout the city. Participants include BAM!, Ensemble Español, Mexican Folkloric Dance, Muntu Dance, Trinity Irish Dancers, and, on April 27 at the Garfield Park Conservatory, the beloved Japanese drum ensemble Tsukasa Taiko.
4/4–5/21. Various venues. chicagotap.org
2 Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Classical Susanna Mälkki’s keen, dramatic interpretations have won her fans worldwide, and her contemporary-music expertise injects energy into programming. Debussy’s modern Gigues and Bartók’s sharp-cornered Violin Concerto No. 2 fall right in her wheelhouse. Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade forms the tail of the concert.
3/31–4/2. $34–$221. Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. cso.org
3 Devening Projects + Editions
Art Christine Tarkowski’s new drizzled and poured black glass sculptures seem to pause the material in its molten state. Dangerously beautiful and fragile, the objects are brilliant little studies in pushing the boundaries of glassmaking.
4/3–5/14. Free. 3039 W. Carroll. deveningprojects.com
4 Kirk Franklin
Gospel This gospel legend has made multiple passes at young audiences recently, appearing with Chance the Rapper at Pitchfork last summer and on Kanye’s latest album, ‘The Life of Pablo.’ The move reinforces his chief knack from day one: packaging gospel for listeners new and old.
4/1 at 7:30. $30–$75. Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. ticketmaster.com
5 Harris Theater
Dance Giordano Dance Chicago premieres Sneaky Pete, a film-noir-inspired narrative by local choreographer Brock Clawson. Also running: Israeli choreographer Roni Koresh’s audience favorite Exit4 and a rare performance of Gus Giordano’s 1983 classic Sing, Sing, Sing.
4/1–2. $15–$75. Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. harristheaterchicago.org
What I’m Doing This Weekend
Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals: Katie Adams, Festivals & Events Manager of Chicago Human Rhythm Project, which mounts the Stomping Grounds Festival this Monday.
“Friday morning is the launch of Chicago Dance Month, which is an initiative to engage Chicago in dance events throughout the city. The majority of the events are free—like Stomping Grounds—or very low cost. All month there are events at the Chicago Cultural Center, the Irish-American Heritage Center, the Garfield Park Conservatory—it’s all online at seechicagodance.com. Friday, there’s a kickoff party from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Walgreens on State Street with giveaways, food and drink tastings, and performances by the top dance companies in Chicago. I’m particularly excited for Natya Dance at 1:30—they’re a really great classical Indian dance company in Chicago.
“On Friday night, I’m going to see Roosevelt University’s fantastic symphony orchestra at Orchestra Hall. I always go—I’m an alum, it’s free, and they’re always really, really good. They’re playing the Rienzi overture by Wagner, Symphony No. 1 by Sibelius, and Brahms’s Concerto for Violin and Cello, Op. 102, which is one of my favorites ever. After that, I’ll go to Exchequer for pizza and beer. You’ll usually find a lot of members of the orchestra there—so you might meet some musicians.
“On Saturday, I’m going to Butoh Now at noon at Columbia College. It’s free, but you need to register and RSVP. Butoh is a really, really cool form of contemporary dance from Japan. It’s rarely performed in Chicago, and especially not for free—so that will be exciting.
“Then, later, there’s a fundraiser party at the Globe Pub for L.I.V.E. Theater’s Fools Ball. It’s this retro-style Christmas radio show that they perform and release as a podcast each year, so this should be a taste of that—performances by local artists, some drinking and dining, old-timey radio stories, comedy, satire, and improv. It’s not necessarily Christmas-themed, but always witty and hilarious. Plus, the Globe sometimes has this Matcha IPA that I’m completely obsessed with. I can’t find it anywhere else.
“Sunday, I’m going to church. I go to Saint Andrew’s Episcopal at 48 North Hoyne Avenue in West Town. It’s really beautiful. Great music. Then, I’m going to the Constellation in the evening. It’s a really cool, hard-to-find theater under the Belmont and Western overpass, which I guess is no more. Going there is kind of like an adventure. Malcolm Goldstein, a violinist and composer, is playing. I really love participating in the [new music] scene here; it’s growing so quickly. That show’s at 8:30. Afterward, I’ll get home and rest up for Monday, when the Stomping Grounds Festival kicks off at the Chicago Cultural Center at 6:30 p.m. That performance will feature BAM!, Trinity Irish Dance Company, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theatre, Muntu Dance, and Mexican Folkloric Dance. Each ensemble will perform a duet, and then there’ll be a question and answer session. People can RSVP to all our free events here.” —As told to Matt Pollock
Freebie of the Week
Jazz Formed in 2013, this trio, led by saxophonist and composer Chris Weller, traffics in what it calls “punk jazz”—a pulsating, amped-up version of the avant-jazz driving Chicago’s new-music community.
4/4 at 9. Free. Whistler, 2421 N. Milwaukee. whistlerchicago.com