two male turkeys in a field
”What do you want to do for dinner?” “I don't know, what do you want to do for dinner?” Credit: sterlinglanier Lanier/Unsplash

It’s getting a wee bit chilly around here but here’s some things to do this week that just might warm you up.

Fri 11/19

606 Records and Cleve Carney Museum of Art (CCMA) are teaming up to celebrate Ben LaMar Gay’s new album, Open Arms to Open Us (be sure to read Reader contributor Hannah Edgar’s review here) and the album cover artist Ayanah Moor’s upcoming exhibition at CCMA, “I Wish I Could Be You More Often.” Not only will there be a DJ and mezcal cocktails (courtesy of Banhez Mezcal), but the record will be sold alongside limited-edition totes by Moor. For a chance to meet and mingle with both artists, head to 606 Records (1808 S. Allport) from 5-7 PM. 

Moonwater Dance Project wants female-identified dance artists to Take Up Space. The company, founded in 2018 by artistic director Mackenzie King, first presented this evening of new works by women choreographers in 2019. (In a Reader feature on the company in June of this year, freelancer Nora Paul wrote, “King created and maintains an all-female-identifying dance company in part to address the privileges that male-presenting dancers are accorded in the dance world, due to their rarity relative to women.”) The collaborative event returns at Fulton Street Collective (1821 W. Hubbard) at 7:30 PM; tickets are $10-$25 at Eventbrite.

Black Ensemble Theater (4450 N. Clark) also celebrates women in Ladies, Living and Loving Life, presented through the company’s Concert Cabaret series. Created by founder and CEO Jackie Taylor and longtime Black Ensemble regular Rhonda Preston, the show stars Preston and Arzula Gardner as octogenarian sisters YaYa and Raya, who each have their own nightclub (one on the south side, one on the north side) and are here to tell us all about their lives in song. Taylor directs, with musical director Robert Reddrick heading up the live band. It runs through Sun 11/21 (Fri 8 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, and Sun 3 PM), with audiences restricted to 80 patrons. Tickets ($45) are available at the BET website.

The reggaetón and dance music DJ collective Agua de Rosas includes Chicago (southwest side!) native Karennoid, a DJ, event producer, and poet. Karennoid and the rest of the collective will take turns spinning at Podlasie Club (2918 N. Central Park) starting tonight at 9 PM. They’re opening for a live performance by Muxxxe, a faceless gender chimera from Tijuana with incendiary rhymes. Grab a $10 ticket before they sell out. This venue is 21+ and cash only.

Sat 11/20

Get a jumpstart on your holiday shopping at the Millennium Park Art Market. With over 30 local artists including students from Marwen and After School Matters, you’ll find no shortage of handmade items for those with an arty or eccentric eye. Expect a cafe and pop-up programming, too, as well as a special visit from Dreezy Claus today and Sunday from 1-3 PM. Open Fri 3-8 PM, Sat noon-8 PM, and Sun noon-5 PM at Chase Promenade North (Michigan at Randolph), free Chicago-themed masks will be available while supplies last.

Strawdog Theatre welcomes back audiences with the return of their seasonal family-friendly show, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, adapted by Michael Dailey from Eric Kimmel’s children’s book, with a score by Jacob Combs. A traveling troupe of actors have to save Hanukkah by outwitting the goblins who have taken over the synagogue in a small town. It runs through 12/12, Saturdays and Sundays at 1 and 4 PM, at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge. Tickets are free, but reservations at the Strawdog website are recommended. 

Seminal blaxploitation film Sweet Sweetback’s Badassss Song is playing at the Gene Siskel (164 N. State) in 35 mm (9:30 PM Fri 11/19 and tonight). While the movie’s original X rating and proto-porno groove soundtrack reveal much about a broader cultural willingness to dismiss or commodify the artistry of Black sexual expression, Sweet Sweetback’s bold storytelling and political and visual legacy echo in the works of filmmakers such as Spike Lee and John Singleton. This film is presented as part of the Black Harvest Film Festival. For a complete list of programming, see the festival website. $12, proof of full vaccination or a negative result on a COVID PCR test required to enter.

YouTube video
Rest in Power Melvin Van Peebles.

Sun 11/21

It’s never too early for rock ’n’ roll—literally. Start ’em young and early in the morning! At 11:30 AM, the Rock and Roll Playhouse brings a kid-tailored version of David Bowie’s songbook to Thalia Hall (1807 S. Allport). Babies get in free, but it’s $15 for everyone else who can hold themselves up to rock.

Looking to pick up some vinyl? Chicago Vinyl Connection brings it’s third-ever record show to the north side today, from noon-5 PM at Emporium Logan Square (2363 N. Milwaukee). Vendors include show organizers Miyagi Records and South Rhodes Records, as well as tables from Feeltrip Records, G Musik, Third Hand Records, and more, including a “vintage loft” featuring selections from Wild Prairie and Tiny Opal Vintage. DJs will spin all afternoon and cocktails will be available for purchase by those 21 and over. Free to browse, registration requested at Eventbrite.

Reader contributor Bill Meyer says that drummer Charles Rumback’s latest album, Seven Bridges draws together all of the elements of the variety of sounds Rumback has mastered over his years of working with a variety of bands and genres. Rumback will be playing in a trio tonight alongside saxophonist Edward Wilkerson, Jr. and pianist Jim Baker as part of a showcase of talent from Astral Spirits Records, who put out the new album. It starts at 9:30 PM at Hungry Brain (2319 W. Belmont), and tickets are available here.  

Mon 11/22

It’s that time of the year when you can get lit at the zoo . . . or actually, the zoo gets lit for you! ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo features light shows and holiday-themed LED decorations around the walking paths. It’s best viewed after dark (natch) and viewable through Thu 1/2/22. Tonight and most Monday and Tuesday nights offer free entry with ticketing required, and Santa will be hanging out in the Primate House for photo ops from 4-:9:30 PM. Tickets are available here

Tue 11/23

If you’ve ever BS’d your way through an art history report, Annoyance has got a show for you! In Art by Artist, a “curator” introduces a piece currently hanging at the Art Institute. A monologist who has never seen the piece before tells its history to the audience, and an ensemble then improvises a show around the artwork and the monologue. It runs 8 PM tonight and also on Tue 11/30 at 851 W. Belmont. Tickets are $12.

Put on your shiniest black leather to submerge yourself in synth music. Starting at 8:30 PM at Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western), moody post-punkers Chicago Research will DJ to prep listeners for sets by X Harlow and local darkwave act Club Music. Headlining is Cincinnati coldwave outfit and underground darlings the Serfs. $14 ($12 with advance tickets), 21+.

Wed 11/24

Today is the last day to catch “Tran Tran: Moments in Between” at the Hyde Park Art Center (5020 S. Cornell). This show is the conclusion of Tran’s yearlong ceramics apprenticeship at the Center, where they generated work using form and material to explore these questions: “How do we differentiate the singular from the whole? Does the essence of a moment, place, object, or person lie in a physical or spiritual quality, some combination, or beyond them entirely?” The gallery is open from 10 AM-7 PM.

It’s a rumble at Wintrust tonight as All Elite Wrestling brings its Dynamite/Rampage matches to the arena (200 E. Cermak). Get ready to cheer your favorites on (and note to shrinking violets: the main camera capturing the action for AEW’s television coverage will be in section 109). Starts at 6 PM and tickets are available here.

Windy City Soul Club celebrates its 13th year of bringing rare soul grooves, R&B, and Motown sounds to Chicago with an anniversary dance party tonight at Sleeping Village (3734 W. Belmont). The music starts at 9 PM, and tickets for those 21 and over are available here

Thu 11/25

Edison Park offers their annual Turkey Trot as a way to give back to local nonprofits (proceeds this year benefit the Cradle and the national Alzheimer’s Association), but moving through the 5K (or having your kids do the shorter “gobble gallop”) might just give you the energy you need to get through another wonderful argument with your cousin about mask mandates. Kids races start at 8:30 AM, with the 5K following at 9:30 AM. It kicks off at the Edison Park Field House (6755 N. Northwest Highway) and registration information is here.

Why try to outrun the colonial stink of Thanksgiving when you could skate away from it? Yes, the Just For Fun Roller Rink (139 N. Seymour in Mundelein) is having its annual Turkey Skate. From 6-9 PM, groups of four can slink around the rink for $30—including skate rentals. Perfect for anyone taking a day trip in the northern suburbs and/or looking for a fresh holiday ritual. The skating rink is an approximate six minute walk from the Mundelein (North Central Service) Metra stop.