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The Top Ten Things to Do in Chicago This Week

Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, Ping Pong Ball, Verdi Requiem, Ross from Friends, and more

Nnamdi Ogbonnaya   Photo: Sam Johnson/enteractive.me

The Ten

Don’t-miss picks for November 8 through November 14, 2018

1 Ping Pong Ball

Charity:Table tennis professionals battle local celebrities and athletes — including this year’s honorary event cochairs, former Bears cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman and his wife, Jackie to raise money for Jackson Chance Foundation, an organization that helps local families with children in neonatal intensive care units with the cost of their hospital parking. Attendees can sign up for other games like “prosecco pong,” bid on silent auction items, and enjoy food and cocktails throughout the night.
11/8 at 5:30 p.m. $50–$300. St. Jane Chicago. jacksonchance.org

2 Verdi Requiem

Classical:Riccardo Muti led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus to a Grammy Award for their 2010 recording of the Requiem of Muti’s beloved Giuseppe Verdi. The only difference here, other than eight years, is the vocal soloists quartet, with the superstar tenor Piotr Beczala and the gripping soprano Vittoria Yeo heading to that famous high B-flat in her CSO debut.
11/8–10. $53–$136. Symphony Center. cso.org

3 Nnamdi Ogbonnaya

Hip-Hop:The word “unclassifiable” gets tossed around a lot in music criticism, typically as an overly generous description of artists. Not so for Ogbonnaya, a genuine genre agnostic who gleefully leaps from hip-hop to prog rock to gospel to synthesized noise — sometimes in the course of a single song. After a set at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, it’s only a matter of time before the local chameleon vaults to the national stage — and starts selling out larger venues — so catch him now performing in the Empty Bottle’s intimate confines.
11/9 at 9 p.m. $12. Empty Bottle. eventbrite.com

4 Rightlynd

Theater:Theater types have pretty much run out of superlatives when describing Chicago playwright Ike Holter. Rightlynd is the fifth installment of a seven-play series that takes audiences to the beleaguered fictional 51st Ward and plunges them into the world of an alderman hell-bent on saving the neighborhood from gentrification.
11/9–12/23. $20–$61. Victory Gardens Theater. victorygardens.org

5 Ross from Friends

Electronic:Felix Clary Weatherall, who performs under the moniker Ross from Friends, describes his project as what happens when “a ’90s sitcom character undertakes a new role as an electronic music producer.” His highly intellectualized, kind of nerdy, yet fun dance tracks do channel the classic sitcom character, but he breaks away from some of the silliness of the late-night experiments of bedroom producers for something slicker and weirder.
11/10 at 9 p.m. $18. Sleeping Village. sleeping-village.com

6 War and the Human Heart

Classical:The World War I centennials draw to a close as Rembrandt Chamber Musicians commemorates Armistice Day, allying with vocal soloists and choruses from Valparaiso University for a program of music, film, and narration about the experience of war. Conscripted composers include Beethoven, Schumann, and WWI contemporaries Richard Strauss, Gustav Holst, and Perry Grainger.
11/10 at 7:30 p.m. $10–$38. St. James Cathedral. rembrandtchamberplayers.org

7 Iolanta

Opera:Chicago Opera Theater has nestled into a niche as the city’s second-biggest opera company by programming lesser-known classics and recent American works, opting for the former with its season opener, Tchaikovsky’s shortish Iolanta, in its fully staged Chicago premiere. The production also marks the conducting debut of COT’s new music director, Lidiya Yankovskaya,the only female music director of a top 40 (by budget) American opera company.
11/10–18. $45–$145. Studebaker Theater. chicagooperatheater.org

8 Roger Brown: La Conchita

Art:Brown, whose mosaic murals can still be spotted around Chicago, was the city’s most famous Imagist painter from the 1970s until his death in 1997, and he’s still prized among top collectors. Known to ravage yard sales, swap meets, and even the Maxwell Street Market, he incorporated his curious finds as found objects alongside his canvases in his later years, blurring the line between sculpture and painting, as seen in this rare exhibit of his final work.
FREE 11/10-12/9. Kavi Gupta. kavigupta.com

9 Stephen Eichhorn

Art:Collages of cats wearing plants and cacti on their heads have taken on a cult status: Chalk it up to the popularity of internet cat memes. This artist prods the cultural boundaries of cuteness with a second edition of his book Cats & Plants — the first one sold out — and his new collage-based artworks in this solo show.
FREE 11/13–12/8. Carrie Secrist Gallery. secristgallery.com

10 Miss Saigon

Theater:A virginal Vietnamese girl martyrs herself when the GI she loves won’t divorce his American wife for her. Emily Bautista (who plays the doomed Kim) brought thousands to their feet in August with her unforgettable Millennium Park concert rendition of “I’d Give My Life for You.” Another plus: Chicago’s Christine Bunuan plays the titular character, aka Gigi Van Tranh.
11/3–12/8. $35–$110. Cadillac Palace Theatre. broadwayinchicago.com

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