The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, January 6 through January 12, 2016

1 Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival

Improv Since 2002, a hodgepodge of sketch troupes from around the world descends annually upon Lake View.
1/7–17. $15 per performance. Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont.

2 Byhalia, Mississippi

Theater A black baby born to white parents sparks an exploration of race and racism in a small Southern town in Evan Linder’s (5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche) new drama.
1/8–2/14. $15–$25. Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee.

3 Buddy Guy

Blues This “Buddy Show” is one of 16 Guy will play at his namesake blues club this month (an annual tradition).
1/10 at 7:30. $55. Buddy Guy’s Legends, 700 S. Wabash.

4 Thodos Dance Chicago

Dance The modern-dance troupe presents Sono’s Journey, a toast to seminal Japanese American dancer Sono Osato. At 14, Osato auditioned for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and climbed up the dancing ranks, performing with the American Ballet Theatre and on Broadway.
1/9 at 7:30. $28–$68. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy.

5 Beth Stelling

Comedy The Chicago émigré and Annoyance Theatre alum comes homes after a marquee year that earned her a Comedy Central special, a new album, and spots on Kimmel and Last Call with Carson Daly.
1/8–10. $25. Zanies, 1548 N. Wells.

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Evan Linder
Evan Linder Photo: Ryan Bourque

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals: Evan Linder, whose new show, Byhalia, Mississippi, begins previews Friday, January 8 at the Den Theatre.

“Friday night is our first preview of Byhalia, Mississippi at 7:30 p.m. at the Den Theatre. Afterward, the cast and I will be hanging out in the upstairs bar at the Den. It’s my favorite lobby and beer bar in the city. They tell you to stay quiet during show times, but after 9:30 on a Saturday night it can get pretty loud.

“Saturday, my sister and her boyfriend get in town. We’ll probably go and grab a burger at the Monarch on North Avenue, which is right in our neighborhood. They have some amazing fried green tomato sandwiches there. My family is southern, so they’re picky about southern food. Later I’ll be having an early dinner with my parents and cousins at the Bedford. They won’t be seeing the show until its official opening Monday night, so I’m sending them to catch The HypocritesBurning Bluebeard before it closes this weekend.

“After our final preview of Byhalia on Sunday, I’m taking my sister and her boyfriend over to Emporium to resolve some lingering competitiveness from a childhood Mario Bros. marathon—that I won. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.” —As told to Matt Pollock

Freebie of the Week

Seamus O’Rourke

Art The Irish artist’s black monochrome inks on paper memorialize the artworks lost to the dustbin of history. A clever underpainting technique reveals imagery emerging from the murky black ink.
1/6–30. Free. Arc Gallery, 2156 N. Damen.