The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, February 12, through Tuesday, February 18

1 Queenie Pie

Opera: Catch the first Chicago performance of Duke Ellington’s only opera, about a Harlem beauty queen and her upstart rival.
2/15–3/5. $35–$125. Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph.

2 Justin Timberlake

Pop: You don’t need a suit and tie to get down with JT, but it would be a shame to miss the former ’N Sync crooner performing his 2013 hit—which features an infectious sample of “Sho’ Nuff,” by the 1970s R&B act Sly, Slick & Wicked.
2/16 at 8. $50–$175. United Center, 1901 W Madison.

3 Amour

Film: Each month, the Alliance Française de Chicago asks a prominent Chicagoan to select his or her favorite French film for an intimate screening. This month, 91-year-old photojournalist Art Shay chooses Michael Haneke’s heartbreaking Amour, about a long-married couple dealing with a debilitating stroke.
2/12 at 6:30. $8. Alliance Francaise de Chicago, 810 N Dearborn.

4 Social Paper

Art: Much like quilting, making paper art can be a communal experience. More than 20 artists and organizations, including Combat Paper, a veterans’ support group that makes pulp out of uniforms, will bring out their best for this unusual group show.
2/10–4/5. Free. Center for Book and Paper Arts, 1104 S Wabash.

5 University of Chicago Folk Festival

Festivals: Free dancing and guitar lessons in the dead of winter? Yes, please. This three-day festival, put on by the good people of the U. of C. Folklore Society, features plenty of live music, too, starting with guitarist Ari Eisinger and crooners Elizabeth LaPrelle and Anna Roberst-Gevalt.
2/14–2/16. $10–$55. Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E 57th.

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Elysabeth Alfano
Elysabeth Alfano Photo: Courtesy of Elysabeth Alfano

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Elysabeth Alfano, creator and host of Fear no Art’s Dinner Party. The next Dinner Party takes place on Monday, February 17.

“Thursday night my boyfriend and I are going to Mexique for dinner. I lived in France myself, so I’m happy to try any French fusion. It’s also an unusual combination. You see French Japanese, you see French American, but you don’t really see French Mexican.

“Friday is Valentine’s Day so it’s all a surprise. As of 2 p.m. I’m not allowed to work. I have to pack two sets of clothes—one is comfortable, active on the move, the other is a dressy set of clothes—so I’m guessing dinner is involved.

“Saturday, during the day, I will be working really for Monday, for my dinner party. I invite three Chicago or national celebs—they can be artists, film directors or musicians. They don’t know each other and a celebrity chef cooks for them. That’s pretty fun in and of itself, but then the audience gets to have the same meal and tweets its questions to me and so it becomes this one big dinner party. They’re meeting their contemporaries for the first time and you see these collaborations happening as we speak and it’s really exciting. If I wasn’t working, I would probably be going to Luna Gale at Goodman Theatre. They’ve been running a lot of plays with powerhouse women directors and actresses.

“Sunday, we do a lot of home cooking, so I’ll go to Green City Market. We like to discover new areas, so we’re always telling ourselves that we should really head out to Berwyn. Wire, this concert venue, just opened in Berwyn, there’s 16th Street Theater, and my friend keeps telling me there’s good Italian food.” —As told to Tomi Obaro

Freebie of the Week

Roxane Gay

Readings: The buzzing writer, whose debut novel An Untamed State comes out in May, visits Northeastern Illinois University.
2/13 at 3. Free. Steinberg Fine Arts Center Recital Hall, Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N St. Louis.