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The Five Best Things to Do in Chicago This Week

The Merry Widow, Jim Jefferies, Home Alone, How Space Decides, Defines, and Defies Access, and Laura Stevenson

PARTY PEOPLE Catch The Merry Widow starting this weekend.   Photo: Courtesy of the Lyric Opera of Chicago

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, November 11 through November 17, 2015

1 The Merry Widow

Opera Lyric isn’t pulling any punches in the star-power department for its installment of this Franz Lehár piece. A showstopping triumvirate of none other than Renée Fleming, Nicole Cabell, and Thomas Hampson deliver Lehár’s effervescent numbers in this charming love story.
11/14–12/13. $20–$329. Civic Opera House, 20 N. Upper Wacker. lyricopera.org

2 Jim Jefferies

Comedy You may recognize this prickly, foulmouthed Australian from his breakout turn on FX’s now-canceled Legit—or from a biting bit on U.S. gun control that went viral recently.
11/13–11/14. $40. Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield. jamusa.com

3 Home Alone

Film In celebration of the Christmas classic’s 25th anniversary, catch the movie in local theaters, starting today. And read Chicago’s oral history.
11/11 and 12/1–12/3. Various places and prices. chicagomag.com/arts-culture/November-2015/Home-Alone-Screenings

4 How Space Decides, Defines, and Defies Access

Lectures In conjunction with the ongoing Chicago Architecture Biennial, check out this lunchtime panel about building accessibility featuring vice president of the National Public Housing Museum Michael Rodgers, architect Katherine Darnstadt, and Bard College arts events producer Caleb Hammons.
11/13 at 12:30. Free. Claudia Cassidy Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org/public-program

5 Laura Stevenson

Music This New York singer-songwriter has been no stranger to Chicago in recent years—she’s played Lincoln Hall, the Abbey, Riot Fest, and at least two street fests. It’s a testament to her live shows that fans keep coming back. Synth-pop rockers Matt Pond PA headline.
11/12 at 8. $16–$18. Subterranean, 2011 W. North. ticketfly.com

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Heather Gabel
Heather Gabel Photo: Courtesy of Heather Gabel

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals: Heather Gabel, lead singer in the band Hide.

“Friday, during the day I’ll be working on photographing pieces for my collage show, Silenced Prayers. It opens December 11 at Johalla Projects. Then at night, I’m going to this vintage store in Pilsen called Knee Deep. On 2nd Fridays, they have a midnight sale. There’ll be a little art show with a printmaker and a painter too.

“After that, there’s a launch party for Hvnter Gvtherer, this local jewelry maker I’ve modeled for. She’s been working on a leather collection. The party is at Cindy’s at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel and Zola Jesus is deejaying. I’ll be doing some live modeling.

“And then Saturday morning, before I head out to Cincinnati to play this little weekend festival called IronFest with my band Hide, I’m going to check out the Olivia Block sound installation at Pritzker Pavilion. It’s really cool. She recorded these metal rod wind chimes from a public art project from the ’50s. It’s up for the next two weekends.

“Sunday, I’ll go to Lula Cafe for brunch. I love Lula; it’s the best place to get breakfast in the city. Everything is so fresh and reasonably priced. Then I’ll check out this new record store near my house called 606 Records. Three new record stores have opened in Pilsen in the past year. It’s exciting. And then I’ll see the artist Paul McCarthy’s drawings at the Renaissance Society. I heard him talk on Saturday and he was great.” —As told to Tomi Obaro

Freebie of the Week

John Irving

Readings The prolific author (The Cider House Rules, The World According to Garp), surprised fans with the release of his 14th novel, Avenue of Mysteries out this month. He reads from that work here.
11/11 at 6. Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State. chipublib.org/location/harold-washington-library-center-events

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