PLEASE NOTE: Events may be postponed or simply canceled. Please call ahead to make sure they are still scheduled to take place.
Sun Ra, The Substitute Words: Poetry, 1957–72
The influential jazz musician Sun Ra, who spent much of his early career (1945–61) in Chicago, is known for his theatrical melding of ancient Egyptian iconography with cosmic themes of interplanetary travel; he’s often credited as a pioneer of Afrofuturism. This new exhibition focuses on his poetry, some of which featured in his album designs and liner notes but stands on its own. It’s mounted alongside Corbett vs. Dempsey’s reprinting of four self-published volumes of poetry that Ra’s band sometimes sold at concerts. Advance reservations are required.
FREE Through Apr. 24. Corbett vs. Dempsey. Near West Side. corbettvsdempsey.com
¡Viva la Libertad! Latin America and the Age of Revolutions
Incorporating rare books, original manuscripts, and contemporaneous maps, this Newberry Library exhibit looks at declarations of independence south of the border, as colonies ruled by Spain and Portugal began efforts toward self-rule in the 1820s. It’s the first in a series of programs on independence movements in the Americas that the library has planned across the next two years.
FREE Apr. 2–July 24. Newberry Library. Near North Side. newberry.org
Expo Chicago Online
The gargantuan global art fair hopes to return to its usual September dates at Navy Pier this fall, but organizers are making up for the lost 2020 edition (which was originally rescheduled for this month) with a virtual exposition. More than 80 galleries are participating, and curator-led digital tours are available; panels, artist talks, and performances will feature the likes of Theaster Gates, Jill Magid, and Jeff Tweedy.
FREE Apr. 8–12. hook.art/expo
Poetic Strings: Crawford and Schoenberg
A 32-piece ensemble performs a pair of seminal 20th-century pieces for strings in this hourlong virtual program from the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. The opener is Ruth Crawford’s Andante, from her 1931 String Quartet; it’s followed by Arnold Schoenberg’s early tone poem Transfigured Night. The performance was filmed at Ozinga Chapel, IPO’s home venue on the campus of Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights.
Apr. 9–23. $15. ipomusic.org
With a spacious patio and outdoor stage, the venerable music bar FitzGerald’s returned to a full calendar of shows at the end of March. An early best bet for live-music-starved fans: Mekons frontman Jon Langford’s rollicking side project, the Waco Brothers. (A man of many side projects, Langford returns on April 24 as Jon Langford & 3 Blokes From Chicago.)
FREE Apr. 10. FitzGerald’s. Berwyn. 7 p.m. fitzgeraldsnightclub.com
Ryan Travis Christian: Cryin Ryan
Known for his sfumato-heavy graphite drawings, many of which place anthropomorphic figures seemingly plucked from 20th-century animation into sordid, soft-focus milieus, Ryan Travis Christian reemerges as a painter in his latest solo show. But if he’s now working with oil and canvas rather than pencil and paper, Christian’s darkly distinctive style and off-kilter eroticism remain unchanged.
FREE Apr. 16–May 29. Western Exhibitions. West Town. westernexhibitions.com
Unless you’re a practicing Buddhist or a George Saunders fan, you may not be familiar with the concept of “bardo” — in Tibetan tradition, it’s the state that comes between death and rebirth. It’s also the animating (and timely) idea behind painter and muralist Liz Flores’s virtual solo exhibition at All-Star Press, with the artist’s colorful abstract characters engaging with the moments of interruption and transition that create hiccups in our plans.
FREE Apr. 24–May 22. allstarpresschicago.com
Chicago Tribune 2020 Takeout Awards
The Tribune food and drink critics’ annual dining awards had to adapt to present-day circumstances this year, just as the entire industry the paper covers has scrambled to adjust. So when the redubbed Takeout Awards were announced last month, the Chef of the Year award was scrapped in favor of presenting a collective Person of the Year to essential hospitality workers — the servers, line cooks, operations managers and others who kept the doors (mostly) open in a time of great uncertainty. This virtual celebration features Parachute and Wherewithall co-owner and chef Beverly Kim, Mi Tocaya Antojería chef-owner Diana Dávila, and Black People Eats founder Jeremy Joyce discussing the challenges ahead.
FREE Apr. 26 at 6 p.m. chicagotribune.com/takeoutevent
Measure for Measure
In Goodman Theatre artistic director Robert Falls’s bombastic 2013 staging of Shakespeare’s anti-morality play — available to stream for a limited time — the Bard’s debauched Vienna looks and sounds like the seedy, sexy Times Square of the 1970s. Also available from Goodman’s video vault this month: 2013’s Pedro Páramo, a collaboration with Cuba’s Teatro Buendía (through April 11), and 2015’s sublime premiere of Noah Haidle’s time-bending Smokefall (April 12 to 25).
FREE Apr. 26–May 9. goodmantheatre.org
The Metamorphosis of Gabriel Villa
A former curator at the National Museum of Mexican Art, this local artist is equally well known for his own work as a painter and muralist. (He earned a small flurry of local press in 2009 when Mayor Daley’s Graffiti Blasters painted over a Bridgeport mural he’d done because the alderman didn’t care for it.) This solo show introduces Villa’s recent move into sculpture and installation work, alongside previous paintings. Advance registration is required.
FREE Apr. 26–July 17. Hyde Park Art Center. Kenwood. hydeparkart.org