The Five

Don’t-miss picks for February 15 through February 21, 2017

1 Joffrey Ballet of Chicago

Dance:In the program Game Changers, the Joffrey highlights three “it” boys of ballet: Justin Peck, whose zodiac-inspired Year of the Rabbit is set to an electronic score by Sufjan Stevens; Wayne McGregor, who remounts his Royal Ballet piece Infra; and Christopher Wheeldon, whose 2007 Fool’s Paradise rounds out the edgy engagement.
2/15–26. $34–$159. Auditorium Theatre.

2 Creatives

Theater:Two novelists of the underground sub-culture canon—Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and Don De Grazia, whose book American Skin recounts Chicago’s late-’80s skinhead scene—premiere a “pop-opera” about a group of hopeful Chicago musicians. To top it off, they included songs by New Order, Iggy Pop, and Oasis.
2/16–3/5. $25–$35. Edge Theatre, 5451 North Broadway.

3 McDonald’s City-Suburban Showdown

Sports:Chicago high school basketball powers Simeon and Morgan Park head north to Arlington Heights to take on two stellar suburban programs—Evanston, led by Purdue-bound Nojel Eastern, and Lincolnshire’s Stevenson, featuring Indiana recruit Justin Smith—in a double header that should delight local prep hoops fans.
2/18, Stevenson vs. Morgan Park at 6 p.m., Evanston vs. Simeon at 8 p.m. Tickets available in advance at participating schools and at the door, $10. Robert Morris University Athletic & Convocation Center, Arlington Heights.

4 Run the Jewels

Hip-Hop:Brash, brainy, and confrontational, these two New York rappers are more vital now than ever. Emcees Killer Mike and El-P first made a splash with their 2013 debut; the 2014 follow-up was lauded as one of the best records of the year. Catch them at this intimate club gig before they undoubtedly return to the festival circuit this summer.
2/17 at 8 p.m. Sold out; see resellers. Aragon Ballroom.

5 Random Sequence

Art:Ralph Coburn was one of the first artists to let gallerists decide the arrangement in which his works were hung at shows. Here, the Boston abstractionist gets some overdue recognition for his freeform displays—which the gallery will rearrange over the course of the exhibit.
2/16–4/22. Free. Arts Club of Chicago.

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Irvine Welsh Photo: Jeffrey Delannoy

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know-locals: Scottish writer and Chicago transplant Irvine Welsh (of Trainspotting fame), whose pop-opera, Creatives, begins previews Thursday.

“I’ll probably go to the previews of Creatives on Thursday or Friday. Hopefully it’ll be in great shape. We’re really lucky that we’ve got an incredible cast and great musicians—they’ve really taken the characters up a notch. We’ve got a terrific director, Tom Mullen, who I’ve worked with before. As a writer, you have to be much more around and responsive for a stage play. Something that makes sense on the page doesn’t always make sense on the stage. The play is about cultural appropriation and it’s become so much more charged with the change in political direction in the country. It means everything is very divided; everything is contestable.

“After previews on Friday night, we’ll all probably go out for a few drinks in Andersonville. There are a couple of restaurants and bars that we go to pretty regularly up there. One of my favorite spots in Andersonville is Marty’s Martini Bar. You get these big goblets of martini.

“I want to get up early on Saturday and watch Hibernian F.C. from Edinburgh. They’re playing on Saturday in the Scottish Cup. I’m able to get the games streamed live. Occasionally I’ll go somewhere to watch games like Jack & Ginger’s or The Globe Pub—the usual suspects. But this one I’ll stream from home.

“I might take in a movie this weekend. I recently went to see I Am Not Your Negro about James Baldwin. So I might go see it again. It’s a great movie, but there’s so much in it that you have to see it again.

“I’ll probably take in a Blackhawks game as well. Ice hockey’s one of the sports that’s actually better to watch on TV. But I do like going to United Center. It’s just a great atmosphere.

“I’ll be doing quite a bit of press this week. T2: Trainspotting is coming out in the States next month. It’s been incredibly well-received. It was the third biggest 18-certificate movie ever in Britain. It comes out March 17 in the States.

“Right now I’m working on a novel, two different movies, another stage play, and also a TV show about dance music. I’m pretty busy. It’s a lot of stuff. I’ve got a couple of coffee shops that I write in regularly. One I go to is Two Hearted Queen in Lake View. Another great one is Dark Matter [Osmium Coffee Bar] on Belmont. The good thing about Chicago is you’ve got plenty of places to write.”—As told to Jamison Pfeifer

Freebie of the Week


Art:Few art forms have come to define entire civilizations as broadly as classicism. Think sculpted Greek nudes and Corinthian columns, which later fueled the Italian Renaissance and have been deployed to build empires. This surprising exhibition turns a fresh eye on the 2,000-year-old style by revealing the politics, dogma, and secrets that civilizations have hidden beneath the guise of traditional art.
2/16–6/11. Free. Smart Museum of Art.