John Conroy
OUR TOWN My Kind of Town, a play by the journalist John Conroy (pictured), is
based on Conroy’s reporting about Chicago police officer brutality. It premieres 5/11
at TimeLine Theatre.


Don’t-miss picks for Wed 5.9.12 through Tue 5.15.12:


theatre My Kind of Town
Over the past 22 years, the veteran journalist John Conroy’s reporting on torture by Chicago police officers has relentlessly revealed a culture of appalling brutality and false confessions. This week his work jumps from the page to the stage when TimeLine Theatre premieres his debut play, based on the same events.
GO: 5/11–7/29. $32–$42. TimeLine Theatre, 615 W Wellington.


galleries Manual Labor
The members of the design collective The Post Family tune in and turn off their Macs—at least temporarily. Their one-night-only gallery show celebrates graphics and objects—from steel bikes to wooden type—that were hammered, welded, molded, or otherwise crafted by hand.
GO: 5/11 at 7. Free. The Family Room, 1821 W Hubbard, #202.


rock/pop Maps & Atlases
Bummed about not getting tickets to St. Vincent’s sold-out show this Friday at the Vic? The local band Maps & Atlases—playing a concurrent set a few blocks north at the Metro—is very quirky, very arty, and also very, very good. Just saying.
GO: 5/11 at 8. $16. Metro, 3730 N Clark.

ALSO THIS WEEK: After releasing a series of records inspired by traditional tunes, Justin Townes Earle, who plays at Park West on 5/10, adds a strong dose of Memphis soul to his old-timey country and folk.


new music Ensemble Dal Niente
This Saturday, the Chicago-based new-music collective throws The Party, a performance during which audience members are invited to talk, lie down, or do (basically) whatever they want while modernist music is played around them. Sounds like a happening time.
GO: 5/12 at 6. $30–$55. Logan Square/Avondale Arts Center, 2800 N Milwaukee, 2nd floor.


dance DanceWorks Chicago/Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago
DanceWorks is a five-year-old group that’s been a petri dish for eclectic contemporary works. Muntu is Chicago’s 40-year-old repository for traditional African and Afro-Caribbean dance. The two utterly distinct—yet entirely complementary—companies team up for a double-bill dance season finale at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts.
GO: 5/11 at noon; 5/12 at 2:30 and 8. $10–$38. North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie, Skokie.


Joan Gray
Joan Gray

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Joan Gray, the former dancer and long-time president of Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, which celebrates its fortieth anniversary year with a first-time collaboration with DanceWorks Chicago. This weekend, you’ll find both dance companies—and Gray—at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie (for performance times, see above).

Friday at noon, DanceWorks Chicago and Muntu Dance Theatre will have a one-hour performance [at the North Shore Center] with an audience talk-back, which I will attend. After that, I’m having a light supper at my house in South Shore for a group of good girlfriends. We’ve known each other since high school in Hyde Park—I won’t say how old we are, but we remember the ’60s and ’70s well. After dinner, we’re going to head out to see [the producer] Steve Harvey’s new movie, Think Like A Man. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve heard wonderful things.

On Saturday afternoon, my daughter is graduating from Loyola University with a master’s degree in strategic human resources. To celebrate her, we’ll go to dinner after—possibly to Grand Lux Cafe, which is one of her favorites. Then the family will go to North Shore Center together to see Muntu and DanceWorks premiere See(in) Me, a new work by the choreographer Monique Haley. To see the two companies come together is so exciting, and I can’t wait for the premiere. Between Muntu and DanceWorks, 45 years of artistic excellence will be on the stage. It’s going to be absolutely off the chain—I guess the kids still say that.

For Mother’s Day on Sunday, my family is going to my twin sister’s house for a barbecue and potluck. I have a son and a daughter, and I’m a grandmother now. It doesn’t take much for us to get together—we don’t need a holiday. It will be my day to cool out after the hectic weekend.


jazz NextGenJazz
The recent partnership of the Jazz Institute of Chicago and the Drake Hotel—forged to promote local up-and-coming talent—is new, but the concept has been part of the JIC’s JazzCity program for years. This JIC-only installment heads to the South Side, with a triple bill featuring groups led by the guitarist Larry Brown, the saxophonist Josh Johnson, and the vibraphonist Justin Thomas (otherwise known as Justefan).
GO: 5/11 at 7. Foster Park, 1440 W 84th.