The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, December 17 through December 23, 2014

1 Richard Hunt

Art: The longtime Chicago metal sculptor, famous for his monumental abstract work, gets a dossier exhibition at the MCA in conjunction with the Chicago Cultural Center’s survey exhibition that opened on December 6.
12/17–12/23. $7–$12. The Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago.

2 Sarah Ruhl

Readings: The former Chicago playwright (she now lives in Brooklyn) reads from her new, critically acclaimed collection, 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write: On Umbrellas and Sword Fights, Parades and Dogs, Fire Alarms, Children, and Theater.
12/22 at 7. Free. Women and Children First, 5233 N. Clark.

3 Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang

Jazz: Celebrate the winter solstice with these experimental musicians—a tradition spanning more than 20 years.
12/23 at 6 a.m. $23. Links Hall, 3111 N. Western.

4 The Humans

Theater: Catch the newly extended, well-reviewed play about a working-class family before it goes to New York.
Through 1/4. $43–$48. American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron.

5 Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

Classical: As with The Nutcracker earlier in the month, the CSO nods to the holiday season with this percussion fest, based on the Christmas chant. The rest of the program includes Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kije Suite, with the best-known works of lesser-known composers—Silvestre Revueltas’s Sensemayá and Witold Lutoslawski’s Concerto for Orchestra.
12/18–12/20. $29–$216. Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan.

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Michelle Areyzaga
Michelle Areyzaga Photo: Courtesy of Michelle Areyzaga

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: soprano Michelle Areyzaga. She performs at the Do-It-Yourself Messiah on Saturday, December 21 and Sunday, December 22.

“Friday evening, I’m going to see Mary Poppins at The Paramount Theatre in Aurora. Several good friends are in the orchestra pit and I’ve heard it’s supposed to be good.

“Saturday, I’m in rehearsal for the Do-It-Yourself Messiah all day. It’s a famous tradition where the audience is filled with people who come with their own Messiah scores and sing all the chorus parts. I get to be one of the soloists onstage. It’s like I’m serenaded by the audience; it’s incredibly thrilling. Then I’m going to do a quick recording session for my friend, the pianist Jamie Shaak. We’ll be recording at Pianoforte’s new space on Michigan Avenue.

“Sunday, after church and after the Messiah, I’ll go to Avec. I love the atmosphere and it’s a great place to unwind with friends.” —As told to Tomi Obaro

Freebie of the Week

Yuletide Book Thing

Books: Local indie press Curbside Book Splendor throws a holiday party, featuring readers such as Rebecca Makkai, Jac Jemc, Kathleen Rooney, and Dmitry Samarov.
12/17 at 6:30. Free. Beauty Bar, 1444 W. Chicago.