Barbara Burdick and Fiona the rabbit Credit: Oriane Playner

Looking for some action? We can’t promise that, but we do think you’ll have a great time at the following events! Reader, read on.

FRI 4/15 

Barbara Burdick opened Cuddle Bunny in Lakeview (2901 N. Clark) in June of 2020, inspired by the animal cafes of Japan. At the shop, visitors can enjoy hanging out with domesticated rabbits while attending activities like yoga, Pilates, and crafting events. Cuddle Bunny also offers boarding care for rabbits and a small retail space that offers supplies for at-home rabbit care. Between the pandemic and the challenges that any business faces in its first few years, Burdick hasn’t had the ability to expand the business, but she’s now hoping for community support to start doing bunny grooming—something that no other pet groomer in town specifically offers. Cuddle Bunny applied for a microloan through Kiva (which distributes loans that have community member’s financial backing) and they’re hosting a Loan Party tonight to explain the process to their patrons. Stop by at 7 PM tonight to enjoy free munchies, see the bunnies, and chip in (advance registration requested). And if you’re looking for a family activity on Sunday, the Easter Bunny will be visiting the shop: see their website for details. (SCJ)

Lifeline Theatre in Rogers Park finally returns to live productions with Middle Passage, which was onstage over two years ago when COVID-19 shut it down. Adapted by Lifeline artistic director Ilesa Duncan (who also directs this show) and David Barr III from Charles Johnson’s 1990 National Book Award-winning novel, this is the third time the play has been done; Pegasus Theatre Chicago, where Duncan is executive producing director, first presented it under the title Rutherford’s Travels in 2016, before Lifeline picked it up and went back to the original title. Rutherford Calhoun (Ajax Dontavius, assuming the role from 2020’s Michael Morrow), newly freed from being enslaved, goes from Illinois to New Orleans. His desire to escape both his debts and a governess, Isadora, set on making an honest man of him, places him aboard The Republic (symbolism ahoy!)—a slave ship headed to Africa. I wrote of the 2020 staging, “A mix of the historic and the swashbuckling with a scosh of magical realism, this production captures what is most arresting about Johnson’s original story.” Lifeline is one of the gems of the neighborhood arts scene in Rogers Park, and it’s good to have them back. Middle Passage opens in previews tonight at 7:30 PM and runs through Sun 6/5 at Lifeline, 6912 N. Glenwood; tickets are $20-$45 at lifelinetheatre.com. (KR)

MPAACT, which has been producing new plays from Black artists since 1991, also returns to live performance tonight at 8 PM with the first preview of Tina Fakhrid-Deen’s Pulled Punches, which was in the works for a spring 2020 opening pre-pandemic. Directed by Lauren Wells-Mann, Fakhrid-Deen’s story provides a twist on Amiri Baraka’s classic 1964 drama Dutchman (written when Baraka was still going by LeRoi Jones), in which a young white woman on a subway train taunts and attempts to seduce a young Black man. In Fakhrid-Deen’s contemporary take, which also weaves in Egyptian mythology, Isis, a young Black woman on a Metra train, finds herself on the receiving end of comments and escalating microaggressions from a seemingly liberal white male professor. It runs at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, through Sun 5/29; tickets are $20-$40 at greenhousetheater.org. (KR)

SAT 4/16

The Chicago-based art duo Industry of the Ordinary (artist, curator, and educator Adam Brooks with artist and educator Mathew Wilson) has been making work both together and with outside collaborators for almost 20 years. Today, the public has the chance to see their collaborative and curatorial powers in action as they present “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow and Tomorrow,” an exhibition at the Design Museum of Chicago (72 E. Randolph) that features 100 of their fellow Chicago artists reflecting upon the tumultuous events of the past few years. Each artist (including Tony Fitzpatrick, Riva Lehrer, and Cristal Sabbagh, among others) was given a text to respond to, and the results are on view today from 10 AM-5 PM. (SCJ)

Last month, Reader senior writer Leor Galil wrote about Englewood rapper CantBuyDeem’s latest mixtape, CDs, DVDs, Loose Squares, on which CantBuyDeem has “strung together a handful of … loosies into a new self-release … in homage to the hustlers who’ll sell you anything you need, illicit or otherwise.” Experience this musician tonight at Cole’s (2338 N. Milwaukee), where he’ll be joined by Curtis Foster and GQ the Fool for the return of the underground hip-hop party Money Can’t Buy You. This show starts at 9 PM. It’s $12 to attend and open to those 21 and up. (MC)

Tonight at Elastic Arts (3429 W. Diversey, second floor),  more sights and sounds are transmitting from the underground. Heavensware is described by its organizers as a “live audio-visual experience” that’s “celebrating the diversity of machines used to produce and perform electronic music.” Five DJs (Hazard Trax, Kira600, K-Oz, Sard, and VenoSci) pair the hyper-digitized soundscapes of midwestern video game and internet addicts with the video art and chaos of Taylor Dye and Oracle. Things start bumping at 9 PM for those 21 and over. It’s $10 before midnight and $15 afterward, with advance tickets available here. Note that this event is definitely BYOV (“bring your own vax card”) but also BYOB (if you’re into that sort of thing). (MC)

SUN 4/17

Printmaking is truly the people’s art, as it’s often an important part of the visual landscape of community organizers and activists. Today at the Pilsen Arts and Community House (1637 W. 18th), you can meet printmakers from Chicago, Mexico, Texas, and other places as they participate in Print Pop Up, a special event featuring work on display by the Justseeds artist cooperative, Carlos Barberena, CHema Skandal!, and others. You can pop in anytime from 11 AM-6 PM to check it all out. (SCJ) 

Mandala South Asian Performing Arts, one of the foremost incubators of work from dancers, musicians, storytellers, and educators working with contemporary and classic forms from the South Asia diaspora, presents the Mandala Arts Choreographer Showcase today, featuring work by Mandala South Asian Performing Arts associate artistic director Ashwaty Chennat and resident artist Shalaka Kulkarni. The showcase takes place at the Chicago History Museum (1601 N. Clark). Reader contributor Irene Hsiao wrote recently, “Through works such as Kulkarni’s Nyra’s Dreams, which uses dance, humor, and interactive technology to tell the story of a postmodern Indian goddess in the year 2085, the company incubates and honors the ongoing evolution of South Asian and South Asian American dance.” This event kicks off at 3 PM, and advance tickets are $25 each at mandalaarts.org. (KR)

The revered Uptown Poetry Slam makes a mid-afternoon return today to the Green Mill (4802 N. Broadway). Founder and longtime host Marc Kelly Smith welcomes featured poet Gary Glazner, who organized the first National Poetry Slam event in San Francisco in 1990. Glazner started the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, a not-for-profit organization that seeks to improve the quality of life of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia through poetry. You can see Glazner and other poets perform today starting at 3 PM. There’s a $7 cover charge at the door and the Green Mill is open to those 21 and over only. (SCJ)

MON 4/18

Yes, it’s still National Poetry Month, and the Chicago Public Library’s YouMedia program is hosting a great activity for teens and tweens: Blackout Poetry. Using discarded books and magazines, participants will learn to make a poem by blacking out words in an existing text to reveal new meanings. This in-person workshop is offered five times (today through Fri 4/22), and interested teens can drop in anytime from noon-4 PM to participate. It all takes place at the Clearing library branch (6423 W. 63rd Pl.), and while registration is not required for this free activity, all visitors to Chicago Public Library branches who are over the age of two are required to wear masks. If you don’t have a mask, the library will provide you with a free one. (MC)

One of the sure signs of lockdown was no sign of speaker, writer, and actor Henry Rollins on tour—anywhere (unsettling, really). Fear not, because even though we’re all still working out the kinks of the variants, America’s favorite go-to guy for weighing in on punk-related documentaries is back in town and ready to regale with more tales from his travels all around the world. He plays a two-night stint at Thalia Hall (1807 S. Allport) this week (yesterday and tonight, both starting at 8 PM) and both shows are open to those 17 and over. Seating will be provided (for everyone, but to the delight of those of us who are closer to Rollins’s age than 17). Full disclosure: this writer counts Mr. Rollins as one of their celebrity crushes (no worries, sir, I have no energy to stalk) so their recommendation may be biased by fond memories of purchasing 2.13.61 publications at ye olde Wax Trax Records back in the day (ah, memories). (SCJ) 

TUE 4/19

Tonight is Legion of Doom, the all-Black electronic music night at the Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western) founded by DJs Fuj, Niiiiggggaaaaa, and our latest “Chicagoan of Note,” Miss Twink USA. Put on your dancing shoes as Dutchesz Gemini introduces the experimental sound stylings of Zolita, Sulfurrrrrrr, Ty Jones, and Rika B. If you’re 21 or over, you can join the fun at 10 PM. Note there’s a $10 cover, and proof of vaccination is required. (MC)

WED 4/20

Dude. It’s 4/20. And if that’s a meaningful sentence to you (or even if you have no idea what we’re talking about), you’ll want to check out the first annual High Holiday 4/20 Market, organized by Heavy Ritual Smithing (a Chicago-based jewelry designer and silversmith) and hosted by Sideshow Gallery in Bucktown (2219 N. Western). It’s a market of local makers (plus all of the regular wares that Sideshow offers) including Heavy Ritual, Wild Witch Preserves, Crybaby Sweets, Twilight Haze Floral, and Ransack Leather. Expect jewelry, unique locally-made food items, edibles, flowers, and more items befitting the “high” holiday occasion. The event starts at 4:20 PM (natch), and you’re free to browse until 9 PM. (SCJ)

See Chicago Dance continues its online Screendance Club tonight at 5 PM with Steel Standing, created by Fritzlyn Hector (a Brooklyn native of African Haitian descent whose credits include Stomp and Forces of Nature Dance Theatre) and produced by Dance Africa 2021 and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The piece, which won the 2021 Bessie Award for outstanding visual design, juxtaposes dancers in vivid red against the dull gray background of a warehouse setting. The “radically casual watch party” also includes a discussion between Hector and Chicago native Princess Mhoon, who runs the Princess Mhoon Dance Institute in Washington, D.C., and Maryland and currently serves as strategic program manager for the Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project. Screendance Club is free, but registration is required at seechicagodance.com. CART captioning will be provided for this event. If you need a different accessible accommodation to enjoy this program, or if you have any questions about accommodations, please email surinder@seechicagodance.com or call 312-846-6357. (KR)

Who is she? Why is she so mysterious? Yes, I am talking about the moon—that tide-controlling sky orb subject to all matter of howls from creatures of the night (wolves, rock ’n’ rollers, etc). Adler Planetarium (1300 S. DuSable Lake Shore Dr.) also wants you to Imagine the Moon. Their latest sky show takes 30 minutes to use the science of the moon (e.g., how the moon marks time and what informs its color, shape, and texture) to describe its cultural significance. Blood moon, blue moon, a moon made of cheese—why are these images meaningful to us? Find out by seeing Imagine the Moon today, either at 6 or 8:15 PM. Admission ($28 for those 12 and up, $17 for ages 3-11) includes seeing the show as well as exploring the museum. Can’t make it? The show has an open run, with a schedule that’s updated weekly. Check out the Planetarium’s website to find a time that works for you. (MC)

THU 4/21

So you drive a car, but you don’t really know how it all works. Then you bring it to a mechanic, who can tell you have not a clue—and subsequently you’re out hundreds of dollars for repairs that you could have done yourself. Sound familiar? If you’re handy and willing, but just need someone to show you the ropes, look into the classes and workshops offered by Bridgeport’s Gearhead Workspace (840 W. 35th St.), a fully-equipped garage that offers training classes both for car enthusiasts and people who just want to learn more about their vehicles. Tonight they offer “Learn to Change Your Disc Brakes,” a task that seems like it might be too much for the average driver to accomplish, but with some training—you might be a gearhead too! This $35 workshop starts at 6:30 PM, and advance tickets are required