jade jewelry in many colors on a table
Get crafty at one of this weekend’s many pop-up markets. Credit: wu yi/Unsplash

Looking for some things to do this weekend and beyond? We’ve got you covered, whether you’re craving theater, dinner, comedy, or . . . stripper drag clowns? Read on, readers!

Fri 11/12

Bridge Dance Festival returns to Links Hall (virtually!) tonight and tomorrow, with streamed performances beginning at 7 PM. A project of Asian Improv aRts Midwest, curated by Fujima Yoshinojo (Rika Lin), the festival invites work from “dancers who manifest a connection to their Asian heritage.” This year, performers created digital pieces reflecting on their year of pandemic. The lineup includes the Yuko Takahashi Dance Company from Sendai, Japan; Marina Fukushima from San Francisco;  Ray Nakazawa of Tsu, Japan; and Pranita Nayar and Ashwaty Chennat of Chicago. Tickets are $20 through Eventbrite.

At 7 PM, Guild Literary Complex’s reading series Exhibit B detours into avant-garde poetry with Exhibit XYZ at My Buddy’s (4416 N. Clark). Multimedia poet Robin Reid Drake curated performances by Kemi Alabi, Rexylafemme, C. Lofty Bolling, and Atena O. Danner, and while there’s a suggested donation of $10-20 to benefit the Brave Space Alliance’s food pantry, no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Proof of vaccination is required.

House Theatre of Chicago returns to live performance at 7:30 PM tonight at the Chopin (1543 W. Division) with the opening show in its 20th season: an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, The Snow Queen, written by new artistic director Lanisse Antoine Shelley and directed by Amber D. Montgomery. The show features magic designed by House ensemble member Dennis D. Watkins (of The Magic Parlour fame) and puppets designed by Jesse Mooney-Bullock. A fable about the struggle between good and evil and a return to hope amid the forces of darkness feels pretty apt right now, and it’s also a way to connect the Frozen fans in your family with another version of the Andersen story. (Though you can also catch Frozen courtesy of Broadway in Chicago starting 11/19.) The House show runs through January 2 and tickets ($20-$60) are available at the company website.

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A behind-the-scenes preview for the House Theatre’s production of The Snow Queen.

Sat 11/13

A great opportunity to stock up on winter reads! Gerber/Hart (6500 N. Clark), the library and archive of midwestern LGBTQ history and culture, hosts its annual fall book sale from 10:30 AM-2:30 PM. Come for literature to impress your crush with, stay to mine the treasure trove of movies and erotica. While items are priced individually, you can also buy things by the bag or box. (No need to bring your own bags or boxes, by the way.) See their website for a complete price breakdown.

If you want to keep the shopping vibe going, there are plenty of maker’s markets, pop-up vendors, and craft shows going on today, including a Pop-Up Market with comic books, jewelry, and other wares by local artists at Mission Control Arcade Bar (1408 W. Morse) from noon-4 PM. All ages are welcome to shop and the bar is serving pierogi (yum). 

Home store Warehouse 55 (1819 W. Grand) is joining forces with neighboring stores Redefined Decor, State Street Salvage, and Curated by SG for a holiday shopping event featuring new and vintage furniture, holiday decor, drinks, and more (10 AM-5 PM, today and tomorrow). 

Pilsen Arts and Community House (1637 W. 18th) hosts 51st Ward Books and Amigxs Mercadito Navideño, a Latinx Christmas market geared toward gifts for children. Free churros and several vendors in attendance (1-3 PM).   

The Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western) hosts the monthly Handmade Market Chicago today from noon-4:30 PM, but if you’re looking for some music, the band Squid takes the stage at 9:30 PM. Reader contributor Dave Cantor called the post-punk experimental rock musicians “architectural engineers who plot points of distinction for listeners to marvel at” in his preview. At press time, tonight’s show was sold out, but you can check the show’s Eventbrite page to see if tickets open up. Sunday’s show also starts at 9:30 PM and you can still buy tickets here.

Sun 11/14

Didn’t get enough handmade crafts or holiday shopping yesterday? Check out St. Thomas the Apostle’s Christmas Market, which started yesterday afternoon and today happens from 9 AM-3 PM. There’s toys, books, vintage treasures, and more including a raffle, and all proceeds go to the church’s building fund. It’s at 5472 S. Kimbark. And in Belmont-Cragin, there’s a Friendsgiving Pop-Up market hosted by the locally owned Conchita’s Crafty Corner and Rosy’s Chamoy Rim Paste. Expect craft and gift vendors, food from Reyes Ricos Tacos, and more at 5019 W. Belmont from 1-6 PM. 

The Athenaeum Theatre at 2936 N. Southport, long a rental home for theater and dance companies, recently announced that it’s changing its name to the Athenaeum Center for Thought and Culture, complete with a planned $4 million renovation of the ground floor theater and a mission “to invite people into encounters with beauty and to revitalize the great Catholic tradition of the arts from our location in one of Chicago’s most unique religious, artistic, and civic buildings.” (The Athenaeum is owned by next-door neighbor St. Alphonsus Church.) Meantime, they’re unveiling a new project: Dante 360, which promises a tour through The Divine Comedy using “words, music, and art,” presented in honor of the 700th year of Dante Alighieri’s death. Art historian Elizabeth Lev and early music ensemble Schola Antiqua are joined by assorted Chicago performers. It starts at 3 PM and tickets are $20-$25.

Mon 11/15

The Reader’s chef pop-up series at Irving Park’s Kedzie Inn continues tonight with a visit from northern Thai pop-up restaurant Pink Salt, which Reader senior writer Mike Sula writes about here. Pre-orders are already sold out, but walk-ins will be welcomed starting at 5 PM.  

Guitarist Marc Ribot brings his multi-style performance skills to SPACE (1245 Chicago in Evanston) tonight. He’s played no wave, free jazz, Cuban music, new weird Americana, and more with the likes of Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, and John Zorn, but for this concert he’s going solo. SPACE is an all-ages venue, and the show starts at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $20-$35 and available here.

If you’re still hesitant about live performance—or you just want to stay home on a chilly Monday night with some new audio drama—Broken Nose Theatre’s got you covered with Primer. Spenser Davis’s play, set in the same location as his award-winning 2018 live drama Plainclothes, follows what happens when the windows in a Michigan Avenue store are smashed during a looting incident. Directed by Brittney Brown and featuring some returning characters from Davis’s earlier show, the play takes a look at the consequences of prioritizing property over people. Fittingly, all tickets are pay what you can, and the recording is available for download through December 5.

Tue 11/16

Lovers of live lit will enjoy the rapturous competition of Write Club’s Angstgiving special at the Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia). During this installment of the monthly series, six writers and performers will face off using cues from the Thanksgiving season. The show starts at 7PM, and proof of vaccination is required. $15, $12 in advance, 21+. 

The Soul Avengers bring the 70s groove to FitzGerald’s tonight (6615 W. Roosevelt, Berwyn). They’ll be joined by DJ King George and also offer a special Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony for the Notations. Show kicks off at 8 PM, and tickets are still available for those 21+.

Wed 11/17

When the weather’s cold, using our bodies in unexpected ways inside can be a welcome delight. That’s what Nancy Rubins’s sculptures encourage. Fluid Spaces, now on view at Rhona Hoffman Gallery (1711 W. Chicago), combines found objects and wiring to create large scale metal works that demand investigation from multiple vantage points. Advance, retreat, look, linger—and then shift your gaze to Rubins’s multi-dimensional abstract drawings. The show will be up until December 18. Catch it any time before then Tue-Sat, from 10 AM – 5 PM.

Epiphany Center for the Arts (201 S. Ashland) hosts The Comedy Sanctuary, a rotating line-up of local stand-up, monthly on first and third Wednesdays. Tonight’s comedians include Saku Yanagawa, Winslow Dumaine, John McCombs, Scott Duff, Dane Arden, Julia Stoyanova, and Tyler Ross. It’s all hosted by Luca Ferro, and the venue also serves food and drink. Doors open at 6 PM and the show starts at 7:30 PM, $20, 21+, masks required.

The Block Museum of Art (40 Arts Circle Dr. in Evanston) hosts an evening dedicated to Canadian artist Thirza Cuthand, whose work in experimental media often takes the form of filmmaking, writing, or curating, while they explore themes of sexuality, queer identity, love, and mental illness. Cuthand will appear in person to introduce a screening of their digital video work. The program starts at 7 PM tonight, and it’s free with registration requested

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A 2015 video preview for Excursions dance party.

Thu 11/18

A Recipe For Disaster brings a dinner theater experience to Petterino’s, but with a six-course tasting and drink menu designed by Rick Bayless (along with a play offering a behind-the-scenes look at the “Contumacious Pig” fictional restaurant), this isn’t the rubber chicken dinner theater experience you might expect. Check out Reader contributor Irene Hsiao’s review here. It’s tonight at 7:30 PM, with additional showtimes Wed-Thu at 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 3:30 and 8 PM, Sun 1:30 and 6 PM, Tue 12/21 and 12/28 at 7:30 PM; all through Fri 12/31 (no shows Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day). Tickets are $90-$130 and available here

Get an audio tour of the Afro-Latino influence on house music at Excursions, a free dance party at Sleeping Village (3734 W. Belmont). DJs Cordell Johnson and James Vincent promise techno, nu-soul, jazz-funk, Afrobeats, broken beats, and more for a “deep house global soul dance adventure.” Get ready to boogie at 9 PM. This dance floor is 21+, and proof of vaccination is required. 

Last month it was vampires, this month it’s Willy Wonka’s naughtiest side. Emerging goth party planners Dark Heaven are putting on their second event: Guilty Pleasure II: Eye Candy. Get decked out in your nastiest candy-kid flare as self-described stripper drag clown Clitora Leigh hosts an evening soundtracked by Sky Jetta (tour DJ for Baby Tate), Roya, Club Drippy (synths in Pixel Grip), and Prov. Address provided with your reservation. The fun starts at 9 PM, costs $20, and is only open to those 21 and up.