The Flying Wallendas performing a seven person high-wire pyramid
BATES AND SWITCH Hear the CSO’s newly named composer-in-residence Mason Bates at Symphony Center—or sit in on a chat with the cult graphic novelist Neil Gaiman at C2E2.


Don’t-miss picks for Wed 04.14.10 through Tue 04.20.10:


classical Mason Bates
Hey, CSO, way to get hip: The orch’s newest composer-in-residence—who moonlights as DJ Masonic—doesn’t officially sign on until fall, but listeners can get a preview of his electroacoustic style this week when Bates mans the laptop and drumpad in the CSO’s performance of his Music from Underground Spaces, with Hubbard Street Dancers performing alongside.
GO: Apr 15-17 at 8, Apr 20 at 7:30. $18-$199. Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan.

ALSO THIS WEEK: The clarinetist Anthony McGill, a Merit School alum who performed with Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman at Obama’s inauguration, teams up with the Illinois-based Avalon String Quartet, while the ingenious Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho returns for part 2 of her Northwestern residency—a cello program that’s a real bargain at less than $10.


theatre The Farnsworth Invention
The screenwriter of A Few Good Men + the director of last year’s Timeline smash The History Boys = Must See TV. Or, at least, TV as its creation plays out in Aaron Sorkin’s much-lauded drama, here in its post-Broadway Chicago premiere.
GO: Previews Apr 14-16; $15. Regular run through June 13; $25-$35. Timeline Theatre, 615 W Wellington.

ALSO THIS WEEK: With seats for as little as $10, two productions make for steals. In The Doctor’s Dilemma, Shaw Chicago presents a staged reading of a century-old comedy as timely as last month’s legislative debates: When health care resources only go so far, who gets treatment and who is left to die? Meanwhile, the smart and funny playwright Tanya Saracho, whose Our Lady of the Underpass is onstage now in Berwyn, workshops El Nogalar: Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard transplanted to contemporary Mexico.


concerts Hot Chip
On its new album, One Life Stand, the Brit dance-music outfit Hot Chip cuts back on the tangled grooves in favor of more straightforward synth pop. The gauzy melodies make for lovely music—even if the world already has one Pet Shop Boys.
GO:  Apr 19 at 8. $29. Riviera Theatre, 4746 N Racine.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Loudon Wainwright III and Richard Thompson continue their old farts’ outlaw tour, pairing Wainwright’s slapstick-meets-poignant ditties with Thompson’s twisted Brit folk.


farrago Neil Gaiman
Speaking of twisted Brits, the king of dark-and-creepy graphic novels, whose loyal subjects range from dewy-eyed tweens to fully grown adults, makes a one-night-only appearance at the inaugural Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, aka C2E2. Other opportunities for mass adulation include visits from Chicago’s own comic prince, Chris Ware, and the illustrator extraordinaire Alex Ross.
GO: Gaiman: Apr 17 at 7. $20-$35. Arie Crown Theater. C2E2: Apr 16 from 1 to 7, Apr 17 from 10 to 7, Apr 18 from 10 to 5. $25-$30 per day; $50-$60 weekend pass. McCormick Place, 2301 S Lake Shore.


dance American Ballet Theatre
The country’s top classical-ballet ensemble makes a brief but glittering appearance with the quintessential jewel in the genre’s tiara, Swan Lake—a balletomane’s dream for those 32 enviable fouetté turns along. (The Apr 14 bill is a mixed-rep program of works by Jerome Robbins, Paul Taylor, and Twyla Tharp.)
GO: Apr 14-18; see website for times. $20-$125. Civic Opera House, 20 N Wacker.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Breath Made Visible, a new biopic on the thoroughly iconoclastic, and North Shore born and raised, choreographer Anna Halprin, makes its Chicago premiere at the Siskel.


museums Bad at Sports
Chicago’s most tech-savvy contemporary-art commentators, the podcasting bloggers collectively known as Bad at Sports, discuss the local art scene using the oldest medium around: a live, in-person chat.
GO:  Apr 20 at 6. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago.

film The Worst Years of Our Lives
What’s even more awkward and bizarre than being a teenager? This trio of 1950s and ’60s educational films, presented by Chicago Film Archives. Screenings include Social Courtesy, a 10-minute short teaching teens how to be nice, and Age of Turmoil, a reel aimed to put parents’ minds at ease about their adolescents’ obnoxious behavior. But the real kicker is the Charles Kuralt–narrated Sixteen in Webster Groves, a documentary based on a U of C study about an affluent Missouri suburb where, in the midst of the Vietnam War, the kids—devout followers of their parents’ conservative values—were too alright.
GO: Apr 14 at 7. Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington.

classical Fulcrum Point New Music Project
If you haven’t seen the new Matisse show at the Art Institute, go Thursday night, when admission is gratis, plus FPNMP plays a free program of classical works by Matisse kindred spirits Poulenc, Ibert, and Tomasi.
GO: Apr 15 at 6. Fullerton Hall, Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan.

Photography: (BATES) Todd Rosenberg