The Darker Side of Light: Arts of Privacy, 1850-1900 at the Smart Museum of Art.
Ranked from highest profile to biggest surprise
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
2/2-14 If you spent the last two-plus years faking your way through small talk about Tracy Letts’s Pulitzer winner, rectify the situation with tickets to this touring production, starring Estelle Parsons.
THE LONG RED ROAD
2/13–3/14 Create some drama this Valentine’s—in a good way. Impress your theatre-loving sweetie with seats for Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Chicago directorial debut at the Goodman.
THE DAMNATION OF FAUST
2/20–3/17 Chicago versus New York: Lyric mounts a mega Faust in the wake of the Met’s 2008 hit. Who will come out on top? Get the goods on this and other opera picks.
INTERNATIONAL KENNEL CLUB CLUSTER OF DOG SHOWS
2/27, 28 So cute we can barely stand it: This year’s roundup of prancing pooches includes a juried Puppy Spectacular.
2/12 A piano vet sits down at the bench with no set list and lets the spirit of jazz move him for two blissfully improvised hours? Sounds like a concert for the ages—and for a live album.
U. OF C. FOLK FESTIVAL
2/12-14 Much has changed since Studs Terkel emceed this fest’s inaugural concert 50 years ago, but we’re thankful CFF stays rooted in the music of yesteryear.
EYE OF THE TIGER PUB CRAWL
2/11 Happy 4708! Toast the lunar new year with a booze tour from the Chicago History Museum—but sign up ASAP. These crawls sell out fast (better yet, register now for March’s Irish-themed romp).
THE TWINS WOULD LIKE TO SAY
2/21–4/25 Psst: Dog & Pony’s highly unusual As Told by the Vivian Girls got people talking in 2008. We predict even more chatter about the theatre troupe’s new play, the story of twins who lived in tandem for 20 years.
THE DARKER SIDE OF LIGHT
2/11–6/13 Drug addiction, dead rodents, the devil: This traveling exhibition from the National Gallery of Art displays prints too dicey for polite 19th-century society.
LUCY WAINWRIGHT ROCHE
2/11 Yet another of the singing Wainwright-Roches (dad is Loudon, mom is Suzzy, half brother is Rufus) takes the stage at SPACE. We hereby put in a request for her clear-as-a-bell ballad “Chicago.”
Photograph: Eugène Carrière/Courtesy of the Smart Museum of Art