The Chicago History Museum in Lincoln Park Credit: Courtesy Chicago History Museum

Looking for a good way to close out the month? Here’s some activities coming up that will have you ending February with love and entering March with joy. 

FRI 2/25 

From 7-9 PM tonight, the HIV prevention initiative Trans Chicago will team up with Black and queer-led artist collective Da Crib to host 4 Da Culture, an open mike centering Black voices to close out Black History Month. The event is free to attend for people of color and trans people (you must be 18 years old or older). White people and cis allies are also welcome and encouraged to make a $5 donation at the door. You can expect poetry, music, and vendors, and Trans Chicago will also offer free HIV and Hepatitis C testing. 4 Da Culture is hosted at Trans Chicago’s headquarters at 2753 W. Division, and open mike sign-up is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Masks will be required. -MC

What better way to celebrate the triumphant return of the California Clipper (1002 N. California) than a listening party with neo-soul performer Kaina in honor of her new album, It Was A Home. The haunted Humboldt bar shuttered during the pandemic with high hopes to secure new management that would preserve its retro interior while evolving its legacy as home for an eclectic lineup of Chicago music and nightlife. New owners Orbit Group (of Good Measure and Segnatore fame) have made some minor cosmetic and technological upgrades while expanding into the adjacent space (formerly the coffee shop C. C. Ferns) to provide a lounge area with a DJ booth—which they describe as an homage to Danny’s Tavern. From 7-9 PM, Kaina will host the party for her upcoming sophomore release, and DJ Nosha Luv will spin music from 9 PM until 1 AM. This is a free event for those 21 and older. -MC

Court Theatre planned to mount Henrik Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea (translated by Richard Nelson) in spring of 2020, but obviously, shit happened. After another three-week Omicron delay, the show (starring Chaon Cross in the title role) opens in previews tonight under Shana Cooper’s direction. The 1888 drama shows a very Ibsenian conflict between social mores and wilder romantic impulses for Cross’s Ellida, the daughter of a lighthouse keeper who is torn between her marriage to a doctor and memories of her first love, a sailor who had to flee after murdering his captain and returns years later to reclaim her heart and hand. It runs through March 27 at Court (5535 S. Ellis) and tonight’s preview starts at 7:30 PM. Tickets cost $28.50-$66 for previews and $37.50-$84 during the regular run. For more information call 773-753-4472 or go to the theater’s website at -KR

Lovers of industrial, postpunk, and EBM should head to Smart Bar (3730 N. Clark) tonight to catch dark techno innovator Silent Servant. He’ll be joined by locals Justin Aulis Long, who provides poetic sets with a little extra bounce, and Kona FM, dark record miner who’s been showing up everywhere you want to be lately. At 10 PM, beats will start bumping loud enough to wake the dead. Tickets are $20 and $15 in advance for this 21+ event. -MC

SAT 2/26

The Black & Brown Comix Arts Festival and the Black Chicago History Forum have teamed up with the Chicago History Museum (1601 N. Clark) to put on Comic Arts Against Erasure, a maker space and day-long pop-up shop at the museum. From 11 AM-4 PM today, visitors can purchase directly from legendary Black artists Ytasha Womack, Victor Dandridge, and Turtel Onli in the museum’s Elizabeth Morse Room, as well as enjoy a variety of programming encouraging and celebrating Black contributions to the visual arts. From an 11 AM session in “Hero Portraits” with caricature artist Arthur Wright, to comic creation workshops at noon and 2:45 PM with Dandrige, this event promises to be fun for the whole family. Registration is free for up to four tickets (use the discount code BHM22). To see a complete schedule of events and reserve your spot, check out the Chicago History Museum’s website. -MC

Christmas may be the most wonderful time of year for some people, but for Chicagoans? It’s probably Music Frozen Dancing, the free outdoor event hosted by the Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western) that is always so good people show up even if it’s snowing. This year’s lineup includes the bands Stuck, Surfbort, Automatic, Pixel Grip, Sweeping Promises, and Divino Niño. As Reader associate editor Jamie Ludwig notes, this party’s damn near guaranteed to get you sweating through your coat. Music Frozen Dancing isn’t just fun and games, though; it also raises money for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, both by accepting donations at the gate and by selling raffle tickets for prizes including a “Friends of the Bottle” Gold Pass worth one year of free Empty Bottle shows, a $300 gift card to Brown Brothers Tattoo, and a $50 gift card to Pizza Friendly Pizza. Earn a free raffle ticket by RSVPing here. This is an all-ages event that runs from 1-8 PM. -MC

YouTube video
Winifred Haun & Dancers rehearse at the Unity Temple in Oak Park this year.

Right before the pandemic struck in 2020, Winifred Haun & Dancers premiered Light in Winter, a piece designed to illuminate and celebrate every corner of Frank Lloyd Wright’s landmark Unity Temple in Oak Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site), featuring music by Renèe Baker of the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project. That piece returns in two performances today at the temple (875 Lake in Oak Park), along with a new piece by Elysia Banks (founder of Banks Performance Project). Among the performers for The Light Returns are the inaugural company of the Young Dancers Project, a troupe of artists aged 10-18. A “COVID-safe” walking tour of three spaces at the temple takes audience members to view small-group performances, with the orchestra performing live. The entire audience will then gather in the spectacular sanctuary for the full reprise of the 2020 work and Banks’s new piece. The performance times are 5:30 and 8 PM; tickets are $20-$39 at All audience members five and up must present proof of vaccination and ID; masks required at all times. -KR

SUN 2/27

Filament Theatre opens its first live show in two years this weekend with Gather, a play created through workshops with over 150 young people that explored their experiences during the pandemic. The piece takes these stories of loss, disappointment, and isolation and recontextualizes them as a tale of a snowstorm that shuts down a town. A chef finds that there’s no one to cook for, a librarian discovers all the books have turned blank, and a postal worker has no mail to deliver. Two adventurers decide to find each other and then bring the town back together. Filament not only creates work for young audiences; they also use teams of youth collaborators to help guide their shows from concept to final production. Gather is on view at 4041 N. Milwaukee; tickets are $45 per “cottage” (a group of five seated together) at This weekend’s performances are sold out but future shows happen Saturdays and Sundays at 11 AM and 2:30 PM through Sun 3/27. -KR

Every fourth Sunday of the month, Sandra Serrato leads Pilsen Arts and Community House’s online book club. From 3-5 PM this afternoon, the group will discuss Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez’s For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts: A Love Letter to Women of Color. Rodríguez, the founder of Latina Rebels, offers a unique perspective on imposter syndrome, colorism, and other experiences that commonly impact Black and Brown women. The book encourages a sense of pride while offering practical advice for forging sisterhood and even pursuing political organizing. Even if you haven’t read the book, there’s much to be gained from observing this discussion. To join the conversation or see upcoming book club picks, check out the group’s Facebook page and find out more about Pilsen Arts and Community House at their website, -MC

Sunday night this weekend is a good one for concerts, and here’s a few featuring acts that we’ve previously featured. Check out some local DIY rock with duo Post Office Winter, who play a show at the Beat Kitchen tonight supporting Your Arms Are My Cocoon. They’re both joined by opening acts Colleen Dow and Bleached Cross, and the entire all-ages affair starts at 6:30 PM at the Beat Kitchen (2100 W. Belmont; $12 advance tickets available here). Or at 7 PM, you can begin a proggy evening as District 97 headlines a show at Reggies Music Joint, supported by Aziola Cry and Sonus Umbra (2105 S. State, advance tickets are $12 and available for 21+ concert goers here). Finally, fans of chamber and experimental music should be aware of the last performance for this year’s Frequency Festival featuring the Chicago-based Ensemble dal Niente. The group will perform work by Murat Çolak, Liza Lim, and other composers, and the show starts at 8:30 PM. This performance is open to those 18 and up at the Constellation (3111 N. Western; advance tickets are here), but a concurrent livestream is also available to watch (donation requested) at the venue’s YouTube channel. -SCJ

MON 2/28

Monday Night Foodball tonight features a collaborative congee pop-up (Reader senior writer and MNF organizer Mike Sula talks about congee as a “warm womblike comfort of a steamy bowl”) cooked by Margaret Pak of Thattu and Jaye Fong of Maa Maa Dei. Pre-ordering is available for carry-out starting at 5 PM—or pick it up and put it directly down on the bar to accompany some special beverages from the Kedzie Inn, as bartender Jon Pokorny will be offering Indian-inspired beer from the local Azadi Brewing Company. No walk-in orders will be available for tonight’s Foodball, so plan accordingly. MNF happens on most Monday nights from 5-9 PM at 4100 N. Kedzie, and the bar is open to those 21 and up. -SCJ

Why is there so much stigma against discussing mental health in the Black community? To explore this question, Woodson Regional Library is hosting a virtual panel and discussion called Let’s Talk About It from 6-7:30 PM this evening. Speakers include Cheryl Bristor-Wilson, a clinical director of counseling services who has worked with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) trade union, licensed professional mental health counselor Danielle Portis, and Coffee, Hip-Hop, & Mental Health founder Christopher LeMark. Topics addressed will include how mental health affects the African American community, destigmatizing mental illness, when one should seek help, and how to find and choose a therapist. This event is free and open to everyone, but you must register through the library’s website at least 24 hours in advance to access the Zoom. -MC

From 6-8 PM tonight, Garfield Park’s Rite to Wellness Collaborative is hosting a virtual town hall called Building a Better Black Future. As they explain on Instagram, the event is planned as a “community conversation preceded by updates about the work of the collaborative and other activations affecting Garfield Park residents.” Register here to join the conversation on Zoom. -MC

TUE 3/1

Poet Maggie Queeney is hosting a virtual creative writing workshop through the Poetry Foundation’s Forms and Features series that combines poetry and comics. As the Foundation explains on their website, poetry comics are “a hybrid form that presents the compressed, evocative language of a poem within the illustrated sequence of a comic.” Today’s session will happen from 2-4 PM. Can’t make it? There will be another session tomorrow from 10 AM-noon as well as one on Thursday from 6-8 PM. These online workshops are open to those 18 and older and require advance registration. To reserve your spot, email with the date and time of your preferred session. -MC

Can you believe it’s Mardi Gras already? If the celebration of les bontemps and fatty foods crept up on you, fear not—there’s more than a few events tonight that will help you recreate the spirit of the bayou in your heart. On the music side, check out the early American and hot jazz-influenced brass band Rum Velvet as they offer an all-ages, early evening show at Edgewater’s Colvin House (5940 N. Sheridan). Tickets are free but pre-registration is requested for this 6:30 PM concert. And down in Hyde Park, the Promontory is getting in on the action with a 7 PM show from Tovi Khali & Pot Liquor Band, featuring fresh beignets available from the restaurant while supplies last. It’s $12 for this seated show (with room for dancing should you dare) and tickets are available for all ages. If all of this partying is liable to give you a flashback, lean into it with the Grateful Dead-inspired band Terrapin Flyer, who host a Fat Tuesday show featuring creole food and dank grooves. This one’s for those 21 and over, and starts at 8 PM at Martyrs (3855 N. Lincoln), with $15 advance tickets available. -SCJ

WED 3/2

At 5 PM tonight, registration opens for a sexy and stylish size-inclusive clothing swap organized by Lost Girls Vintage and Luvsick Plus. While the actual swap will take place Sat 3/19 from noon-4 PM at 2706 N. Sawyer, you’ll want to claim a spot ASAP. Sign up is limited to ensure there is adequate availability of all sizes. People who wear clothes sizes 00-12 should sign up through the Lost Girls website, while those strutting their stuff in sizes 14 and up should sign up through Luvsick’s website. Note that it costs $5 to get in on the action, but all proceeds benefit Care for Real, an Edgewater-based food pantry and clothing closet. -MC

The Chicago Humanities Festival hosts two comedy greats in conversation tonight, as Mr. Show and Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk talks to SNL’s Tim Meadows at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport). They’ll talk about Odenkirk’s new memoir Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama, and ticket purchase includes a copy of the book shipped directly to your mailing address. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masks will be required for entry to this 7 PM event, and more information (including ticket pricing) is available here. -SCJ

In 1739, a ballet pantomime known as Ballet des Porcelaines (or The Teapot Prince) made its debut, combining an Orientalist fairy tale about a prince seeking his lover on an island where a magician has turned the residents to porcelain with the desire of Europeans to find out the secret to creating porcelain. Though it inspired a slew of other tales of sleeping beauties, the Ballet des Porcelaines remains largely unknown. University of Chicago’s Center for East Asian Studies hosts a two-day presentation, “Reimagining the Ballet des Porcelaines: A Story of Magic, Desire, and Exotic Entanglement,” at the Logan Center (915 E. 60th), today and tomorrow at 7:30 PM. The program includes the piece itself in a new collaboration between Meredith Martin, a professor of art history at NYU, and Phil Chan, choreographer and cofounder of Final Bow for Yellowface, a grassroots organization dedicated to challenging Asian stereotypes in dance. A post-performance panel tonight, moderated by Julia Rhoads of Lucky Plush, includes Chan and Reader contributor and dancemaker Irene Hsiao. On Thursday, there’s a panel on “Porcelain, Material Culture, and Embodiment,” moderated by Wu Hung, adjunct curator of the Smart Museum (which is currently featuring the exhibit “Porcelain: Material and Storytelling,” through 3/6) and featuring Martin. All the events are free; registration at -KR

THU 3/3

YouTube video
A 2021 trailer created to celebrate Freelance Wrestling

What better way to kick off a new month than watch grown people kicking each other in the ring? The local wrestling organization Freelance Wrestling takes over the Logan Square location of Emporium Arcade and Bar tonight, featuring several bouts and a bonus food truck takeover from Birria Ta-Ta-Tacos. They’re keeping the capacity at the bar limited for this event so the lucky, vaccinated few can properly take in all of the glory that is professional wrestling without fear of being coughed on by seat neighbors. $20 advance tickets are required for entry to this 21+ event, and doors open at 7 PM. -SCJ