LOVE AND HAPPINESS Black Ensemble Theater members—including, from left,
Rick Stone and Melanie McCullough—channel soul greats for a concert of love songs
Don’t-miss picks for Wed 2.8.12 through Tue 2.14.12:
museums Laura Letinsky
ALSO THIS WEEK: From our present vantage point post-age-of-excess, post-second-wave-feminism, and post-dawn-of-the-AIDS-crisis, MCA’s This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s—opening 2/11 and running through 6/3—aims to make sense of both what we lived through and the art interpreting it, with works by the Guerrilla Girls, Jeff Koons, and others.
WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND
E. Faye Butler
Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: E. Faye Butler, one of Chicago’s stars of musical theatre, recently returned from a sabbatical to Washington D.C. where she played Aunt Eller in the Arena Stage production of Oklahoma. This Monday (2/13), Butler takes a break from Black Pearl Sings!, a play punctuated by a cappella at Skokie’s Northlight Theatre, to serenade the crowd at Jay Pritzker Pavilion with a pre-V-Day concert of romantic classics.
This weekend I’m doing shows in Skokie, and before I head that way from Chatham, where I live, I usually grab a Caramel Apple Spice at Starbucks. Then after the shows, because I’m close by, I’ll go to Old Orchard to see what kind of money I can spend—I always stop by Nordstrom to look at shoes. Or I might go to Cheesecake Factory or Maggiano’s for dinner.
I haven’t been home in a while, so it’ll be fun to be back in downtown Chicago for my performance at Pritzker Pavilion. I like people watching. I grew up here, and a lot of childhood memories come back to me when I’m taking the train downtown. I’m looking forward to hanging out in the new Walgreens [on State Street]. It reminds me of the old Woolworths. You can have lunch, get your nails done—you can do anything you want.
My husband is going to be with me before my Valentine’s concert. We’ll exchange gifts and spend the day together getting ready for the show. When I’m working near Millennium Park, I like to go play with the faces on Crown Fountain. It makes me laugh. I also love watching the ice skaters at [McCormick Tribune Ice Rink], but I can’t skate because it’s a liability for performers.
The show’s in the Cabaret with a View series, and I just love seeing the Chicago skyline as a backdrop. Looking at downtown Chicago when night comes—it’s so beautiful to me. I’ve been a lot of places in this world, but I still love seeing the Chicago skyline.
—As told to Lena Singer
FREEBIES OF THE WEEK
installations Luminous Field
Chicago-based video artists Luftwerk gussy up The Bean with an interactive, digital checkerboard of candy-colored light. The work sets a shimmering, fleeting stage for concerts, site-specific performances, and a host of kid-friendly activities.
GO: 2/10–20. Millennium Park. Michigan and Washington. explorechicago.org/winter
Photography: (Stone, MCCULLOUGH) Danny Nicholas; (BUTLER) COURTESY of E. Faye Butler