The Five

Don’t-miss picks for February 8 through February 14, 2017

1 University of Chicago Folk Festival

Theater:Set aside any preconceived notions of stuffy folk fests: This lively event celebrates the spectrum of traditional music with two nights of folk, bluegrass, roots music, and zydeco. If Friday night’s bill inspires you, head back Saturday morning for a series of workshops.
2/10–11. $10–$30. Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th St.

2 Chicago Auto Show

Convention:The nation’s largest auto show returns for its 109th year, with more than a million square feet of flashy auto displays. Expect manufacturers to trot out some cutting-edge concepts alongside the more polished vehicle premieres. Bring along the kids for family-friendly entertainment on February 20.
2/11–20. $7–$13. McCormick Place, 2301 S. King.

3 Uncle Vanya

Theater:See Chekhov filtered through the lens of Pulitzer-winning playwright Annie Baker (The Flick, Circle Mirror Transformation). Robert Falls directs the tale of depressives slouching toward oblivion on an isolated rural estate.
2/11–3/12. $10–$42. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn.

4 The Orchid Show

Garden:In the dreariest month of the year, the Botanic Garden’s massive orchid display is truly a sight for sore eyes. See (and smell) more than 10,000 of the delicate flowers in bloom, and take home a mini orchid from the weekend marketplace.
2/11–3/26. $8–$12. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook, Glencoe.

5 Common Time

Art:Choreographer Merce Cunningham kept fabulous friends through the 1960s, including Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg, who turned paintings into set designs for Cunningham’s ballets. This massive retrospective honors the man who captivated audiences with his random dance technique, in which a computer algorithm dictates dancers’ movements.
2/11–4/30. $7–$12. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E. Chicago.

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Edra Soto
Edra Soto Photo: Dan Hojnacki

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know-locals: Humboldt Park artist Edra Soto, whose solo exhibition, Graft, opens this Friday at Sector 2337.

“Mostly what I’m doing is working on my show. My mind is split into so many parts right now. The exhibition is called Graft, and what I do is an architectural intervention—symbolically transplanting rejas [Spanish for “railing” or “bars”] onto the façade of the gallery. Inside are two imitations of Puerto Rican bus stops. At the same time, there’s an exhibition by Daniel Giles. My installation’s going to be in front and his installation is going to be in the back. But they’re happening at the same time. The reception goes from 6 to 9 p.m.

“There’s an exhibition that I want to see called Witness at the MCA that finishes February 12. It’s curated by Karsten Lund, who is currently a curator at the Renaissance Society. Also, there’s an exhibition at the DePaul Art Museum called Four Saints in Three Acts. It’s a group show. Rodrigo Lara Zendejas is one of the artists.

“I have never been to this gallery called Rootwork and I would love to check it out. It’s in Pilsen. It was founded by Tracie Hall, who used to work for the Chicago Cultural Center. I met her when I was curating an exhibition there. I still haven’t gone to her gallery, so I would love to go check it out.

“There’s also an exhibition at the Renaissance Society on Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. It’s one of my favorite places to go. I’d love to go. The artist is Robert Grosvenor.

“There’s another exhibition I still haven’t seen called Chicago on My Mind at the Arts Incubator that’s curated by La Keisha Leek and Sadie Woods. It’s an exhibition of work by Chicago collectors. And next Thursday, February 16, there’s an event about the exhibition called Table Talk from 12 to 1 p.m. at Currency Exchange Café. It’s also hosted by Sadie Woods and La Keisha Leek.

“I think one of my favorite places in Chicago—and everybody knows this about me—is El Taco Veloz, a restaurant with karaoke. I’ve been going there for a few years. It’s amazing. My husband and I love to go to karaoke. I have experienced so many beautiful moments there, so many incredible singers that made me cry.” —As told to Jamison Pfeifer

Freebie of the Week


Art:Emerging Humboldt Park artist Edra Soto brings a little piece of her native Puerto Rico here by re-creating the island’s decorative fences and bus shelters. Soto’s interactive objects (you can sit in the bus shelter and read an artist-made newspaper) probe the legacies of colonialism and modernism between the United States and its territories.
2/10–4/2. Free. Sector 2337, 2337 N. Milwaukee.