There are lots of things it’s good to have more than one of, like words to live by and gloves. But MPAACT is out to demonstrate yet again that talented artists can shine individually. The lineup for the winter edition of the company’s late-night, Afrocentric Solo Jams series goes like this:
First, a panel made up of Solo Jams artists considers “The State of the Spoken Word—Chicago and Beyond” (Wed 1/30, 7 PM, free). Next comes Eddie Jordan III, whose *ucked up . . . but Still Here (Fri 2/1) covers “first love/crushes/heartbreaks/church/family/fears/power/forbidden things” and more. The following night’s offering is A Return to Graceland (Sat 2/2), ArinMaya’s look back at her musical influences—particularly Paul Simon’s 1986 Graceland album. The second weekend begins with singer-guitarist Joshua Torrez in Joshua Torrez Live 1 Night Only (Fri 2/8), a program of original acoustic soul. Then the series transitions from a voice that everyone can hear to the one in Penelope Walker‘s head. The Penny Show! (Sat 2/9) chronicles Walker’s struggle with an internal force that won’t shut up.
Obehi Janice navigates what it means to be a Christian Nigerian-American woman with clinical depression in Fufu & Oreos (Fri 2/15), while at the other end of the affective scale, Jonathan Keaton explains “the driving forces and intricate (sometimes warped) perspectives that make him a Chicago treasure” in Citizens Ignited (Sat 2/16). Medina Perine presents a tangled narrative of folly and follicles in Hair Crownicles (Fri 2/22). And we’ve all ridden emotional roller coasters, but how many shows apart from Robert Hardaway’s Deferred Love & Nightmares Lived (Sat 2/23) promise an “emotional skydive”?
Storyteller Oba William King (Fri 3/1) mixes prose and poetry in The Djeli’s Drum. The series concludes with Ashlee Olivia’s Mama Eartha (Sat 3/2), a tribute to singer, actress, icon, and self-proclaimed sex kitten Eartha Kitt.