Don’t-miss picks for February 1 through February 7, 2018
1 Cashmere Cat
Pop:This Norwegian producer and DJ counts Malia Obama among his fans (many spotted the former first daughter at his 2016 Lollapalooza set). Born Magnus Høiberg, he made his name spinning breakbeat-heavy mixes on the mid-aughts underground circuit. Since then, he’s collaborated with the likes of Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez, and last year he released his debut, 9, to critical plaudits. Despite the mainstream success, his live show remains as rowdy as day one.
2/1 at 8 p.m. $30–$32. The Vic Theatre. ticketfly.com
2 Interactive Influence
Art:A video game festival in the galleries of the Art Institute may sound too good to be true, but this one-night event, part of the larger video game festival Bit Bash, lets visitors play games inspired by famous art movements—surrealism, impressionism, Islamic, modern—alongside masterpieces in their respective wings.
2/1 at 6 p.m. Free for Illinois residents. Art Institute of Chicago. artic.edu
3 Low Brass Concerto
Classical:Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Higdon, among the most frequently played living composers because of her perceptive ear for audience reactions, composed the Low Brass Concerto specifically for longtime fixtures in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s storied brass section. The piece—for two trombones, a bass trombone, and a tuba—gets its world premiere under the baton of the CSO’s music director, Riccardo Muti.
2/1–3. $34–$221. Symphony Center. cso.org
4 Woodstock Groundhog Days
Seasonal:Just beyond the northwest burbs lies Woodstock, a town so quaint that location scouts for Groundhog Day deemed it a suitable onscreen stand-in for Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Fittingly, Woodstock now hosts the biggest groundhog shindig this side of the Rust Belt, complete with a prognosticative varmint (Woodstock Willie, Midwestern cousin of Punxsutawney Phil) and free screenings of the classic film. Diehard fans can even book a night at the movie’s existentially horrifying bed and breakfast.
2/1–4. Free–$65. Various venues. woodstockgroundhog.org
Theater:The living legend ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov speaks the words of poet Joseph Brodsky in this one-man show. Close friends until Brodsky’s death in 1996, the pair both left the Soviet Union for the United States in the early ’70s. The critically acclaimed play, which premiered in Baryshnikov’s hometown of Riga, Latvia, in 2015, casts a poignant portrait of Brodsky’s mind. Performed in Russian with English supertitles.
2/2–4. $125–$150. Harris Theater. harristheaterchicago.org
6 Barn Dance Apocalypse
Country/Dance:Back for its lucky 13th year, this raucous night of square dance, polka, and country waltz all but guarantees a bourbon-tinged good time. Line dance newbies need not fear: The Golden Horse Ranch Band, led by third-generation “caller” Annie Coleman, will teach all the steps you need to know to bring down the barn. Western shirts and cowboy boots encouraged.
2/3 at 8:30 p.m. $18. Thalia Hall. thaliahallchicago.com
7 Elysia Crampton
Electronic:The Hideout’s Resonance Series continues to book some of the city’s most vital dance-music artists. In 2018, the unfussy venue will welcome Crampton, the progressive and occasionally jarring producer whose work focuses on queerness, Latinx culture, and South America’s indigenous Aymara people. Crampton broke out with her second LP, Elysia Crampton Presents: Demon City, but it was last year’s Spots y Escupitajo, a politically charged and daring collection of songs, that proved she was more than just a club act.
2/3 at 11:59 p.m. $12. Hideout. ticketfly.com
8 Mavis Staples
Soul:This Chicago icon made 2017 a high point, landing a cameo on British cartoon rockers Gorillaz’ long-awaited LP and releasing her own album, If All I Was Was Black. The latter, produced and written with longtime collaborator Jeff Tweedy, punctuates Staples’s decades-long campaign of civil rights activism through music. “These songs are going to change the world,” she told NPR in September. See what all the buzz is about at this intimate live set.
2/3 at 8 p.m. $40–$65. Vic Theatre. ticketfly.com
9 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Theater:Pared down to a sprightly 75 minutes, this kid-friendly take on the venerable rom-com skips right to the good part—namely, the four lovers’ rendezvous in the forest. Heavy on elves, fairies, and the buffoonish man-turned-ass Bottom, Midsummer is a gateway to Shakespeare: You may find yourself tackling King Lear next.
2/3–3/10. $22–$34. Chicago Shakespeare Theater. chicagoshakes.com
10 I Puritani
Opera:In what’s already a vocally stellar season for Lyric Opera, the company has booked two first-magnitude stars for Bellini’s bel canto opera I Puritani, a marriage-in-wartime tale set among the colonial-era Puritans. The high and clarion tenor Lawrence Brownlee plays Arturo. Albina Shagimuratova, last season’s crazy-virtuosic Lucia, sings Elvira.
2/4–28. $17–$269. Civic Opera House. lyricopera.org