Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, February 17 through February 23, 2016
1 Frequency Festival
New Music Supplementing its ongoing new-music series, this fest features a week full of sonic experimentation by notable Chicago new-music stalwarts. Highlights include Fonema Consort (2/24 at U. of C.’s Bond Chapel), the MacArthur “genius” and flutist Claire Chase (2/27), and Ensemble Dal Niente mounting Hard Music, Hard Liquor, a concert highlighting virtuosic solo music (2/28).
2/23–28. Free–$15. Constellation, 3111 N. Western. constellation-chicago.com
2 Ambrose Akinmusire
Jazz At 33, the trumpeter has nabbed more honors than most players do in a lifetime (Thelonious Monk and Carmine Caruso competition wins, a spot on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, and innumerable plaudits from jazz critics), and his lightning-fast playing has only gotten more airtight with age. 2/20 at 8:30 and 10:00. $15–$20. Constellation, 3111 N. Western. ticketfly.com
Theater Jonathan Munby directs Shakespeare’s racially charged tragedy in which a Moor is driven to murderous paranoia by a diabolical frenemy.
2/18–4/10. $48–$88. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand. chicagoshakes.com
4 Hamburg Ballet
Dance Two years after an electrical fire forced the cancellation its performance, the German company returns to the Harris Theater for two pieces by American-born director and chief choreographer John Neumeier, including Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler, long considered one of Neumeier’s most important works.
2/23–24, 26–27. $55–$125. Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. harristheaterchicago.org
5 Buckwheat Zydeco
World Music As zydeco music’s portal to mainstream pop, Stanley Dural Jr. (stage name Buckwheat) has earned spots alongside Eric Clapton, Bono, and Questlove for his virtuosic accordion playing. Expect an even-keeled career retrospective from the Louisiana native.
2/17 at 8. $30. City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph. citywinery.com
What I’m Doing This Weekend
Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals: Shoni Currier, Director of Performing Arts at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and curator of OnEdge, which begins this Friday (details below).
“This is a crazy weekend for me. On Friday, I’m leading a tour of some indie art spaces in the city with a group of national and local curators I’m hosting. We’re going to DFBRL8R and Comfort Station, which are pretty geographically diverse, to see their current exhibitions. Then I’ll be going to see Okwui Okpokwasili in the the opening performance of OnEdge. The show is at Links Hall, who we’re partnering with for the event. Afterwards, I’m taking my group of visiting curators to dinner at Kiki’s Bistro in River North. It’s one of the best French restaurants in the city. Then, since they’re staying at the Freehand, we’ll have drinks at the Broken Shaker. It looks like a basement rec room in Michigan—all wood panels. Kind of like your parents’ basement bar.
“Saturday, I’m taking my children to their trapeze class at Circesteem, an incredible circus and youth outreach program in Uptown. My kids are five, three, and three, so the class mostly entails running around with balls—but they also run classes and offer homework help and free circus training for kids at their youth center. After that, I’ll be at the In>Time Festival Hub conversation at the Cultural Center. The festival runs the entire month of February, with all sorts of performances around the city. The one on Saturday morning is about independent curatorial practice with Ben Pryor—he runs the American Realness Festival in New York. I’m leading that talk, but it’ll be very participatory. So not like a TED Talk.
“Later that day I’m going to the Poetry Foundation for a work-in-progress showing by a company called Every House Has a Door. Their new show is called Three Matadors. It’s based on the poetry of a Jay Wright. Then I’m going to see the Forced Entertainment show at the MCA. It’s a six hour performance called Speak Bitterness; you’re allowed to come and go as you please. The company is doing a series of projects at the MCA, but this is the only day they’re doing Speak Bitterness. It’s a really rare opportunity. And, if I get a chance to eat, I’ll go over to Café des Architectes at the Sofitel.
“Sunday, I’m assuming I’ll get some body work done. After I’ve sat for 15 hours of performances, I need it. I go to Chicago Stretch Therapy for that. The guy who runs it works in fascial stretch and neurokinetic therapy. It’s good for desk monkeys like me who sit way too much of the day hunched at a computer screen. Generally on Sundays, I eat brunch at Breakroom Brewery, which just opened in my neighborhood. Then I usually take a yoga or dance class at Dovetail Studios. On Sunday nights my family usually does a kids’ movie night at home—it’s their only screen time of the week—but I’m skipping it this week to go see Pussy Riot at Thalia Hall.” —As told to Matt Pollock
Freebie of the Week
Dance One of the highlights of this festival mounted by Links Hall and DCASE is award-winning choreographer Dana Michel. She’ll perform Yellow Towel, a piece that explores black stereotypes and was heralded by The New York Times as one of the most remarkable performances at the 2014 American Realness festival.
2/19–3/4. Free. Multiple venues. cityofchicago.org/dcase