Jazz musician Branford Marsalis

Hi. This is my brother Marsalis and my other brother Marsalis: In the wake of Wynton’s February gig, two more members of America’s foremost jazz clan swing through town—Jason on March 1 and Branford (right) on March 25.


March 1
The drum kit and the vibraphone may come from the same branch on the musical tree, but not every percussionist possesses the acute attention to nuance and melody needed for keyboard instruments. The youngest Marsalis brother, however, is more than just a drummer. Here he plays a double bill with Eighth Blackbird and Pacifica Quartet. At 7:30, $10–$25. Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph. harristheaterchicago.org.

March 25
Keep those Marsalis Family punch cards handy: Just weeks after Jason plays the Harris, and a month or so following Wynton’s gig with his big band on this very stage, eldest musical son Branford leads his remarkably long-running and virtually telepathic quartet in a double bill with the trumpeter, film composer, and fellow New Orleans native Blanchard. At 8, $25–$85. Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan. cso.org.


Photograph: Palma Kolansky



No guts, no glory: Abbey Theatre of Ireland’s hyper-violent play won raves at the 2008 Edinburgh Festival Fringe—and is about as far as you can get from clover-hugging leprechauns this St. Pat’s.


March 2–6 Angels, demons, serial killers, sex, and more staggeringly vivid and hyperviolent imagery than an NC-17 surround-sound film fest: So it goes in this Irish import of interlocking monologues written with the slash-and-burn poetry of a top-tier rapper and the howling insistence of Allen Ginsberg. $10–$35. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago. mcachicago.org.


Photograph: Courtesy of Abbey Theatre


DJ Gregg Gillis as Girl Talk

If he hadn’t already, surely opera genius Peter Sellars would snag a MacArthur nod for his world-premiere take on Handel’s Hercules at Lyric (March 4–21). Instead, may we suggest DJ Gregg Gillis, who, as Girl Talk, performs the miraculous: getting hipsters to dance (March 4–5)?


March 4–21 Sellars, one of opera’s most inventive directors, transports the 18th century score to the present day, with our war hero returning home from Iraq. The bass-baritone Eric Owens and the mezzo-soprano Alice Coote star. $33–$217. Civic Opera House, Madison and Wacker. lyricopera.org.

March 4–5 Girl Talk turns the whole of pop history into ecstatic dance music, setting snippets of songs by everyone from the Ramones to Jay-Z to propulsive beats. At 7, $30. 2135 N Milwaukee. congresschicago.com.


Photograph: Dove Shore


Author Irvine Welsh

The Trainspotting author—who, in a fabulous plot twist, moved to Chicago and met his wife after headlining Columbia College’s Story Week a few years back—returns to the lit fest.


March 13–18 The school’s annual tribute to the short story includes a talk with homegirl Audrey Niffenegger and others (March 15 at 6) and the Literary Rock & Roll Bash, with Welsh reading and DJ’ing at Metro (March 16 at 6). Free. Schedule, locations: colum.edu/storyweek.


Photograph: Steve Double


The latest in the blockbuster Body Worlds franchise makes its U.S. premiere at the MSI with a look at some of the oldest people on earth. You may feel like one of them by the time the exhibition line finally starts moving.


March 18–September 5 The latest in the exhibit’s franchise—a 14,000-square-foot look at the human life cycle from embryo to elderhood, thanks to 200-plus bodies preserved via the process of plastination—opens at the MSI. Highlights include a display on Claude Monet and Edgar Degas, both of whom suffered from eye conditions, and another on regions of the world where people live the longest. $18–$27 includes general admission (advance ticketing recommended; kids under 13 must be accompanied by an adult). See website for special hours. Through 3/17: Museum open daily 9:30–4. 3/18–4/24: Open daily 9:30–5:30. Free (kids under 3) to $15. 57th and Lake Shore. msichicago.org.