Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman look at each other in the movie Casablanca.
"Do I have something on my face?" Bogart and Bergman contemplating their choices in Casablanca (1942). Credit: Courtesy the Silverman Group

Are you loving life? Or living to love? While we don’t have recommendations for romantic fireside dinners (expect perhaps, don’t wear flammable fabrics and keep your phone charged in case you need to split early), we do have a list of interesting events that you can attend with friends, family, neighbors—or just by your beautiful old self.

Simone de Beauvoir wrote that true authentic love must be “the reciprocal recognition of two freedoms,” but also Iggy Azalea asserted, “Fuck love, bring me diamonds / I’m already in love with myself.” Whichever way you go, have fun, be safe, and remember that we admire you (you’re such a good reader).

FRI 2/11 

Broken Nose Theatre kept up a digital presence during the shutdown, and now they return to live performance with the world premiere of Eric Reyes Loo’s This Is Only a Test, directed by Toma Tavares Langston. A school prepares for the worst with a series of active-shooter drills that only seem to increase the kids’ sense of vulnerability and anger in Loo’s dark satire. It’s opening in previews tonight at 7:30 PM and it runs through Sat 3/12 at the Den Theatre (1331 N. Milwaukee) in Wicker Park; tickets are pay what you can for all performances, and can be reserved at and -KR

Nearly 30 years ago, before she won the Tony Award and a MacArthur “genius grant,” Mary Zimmerman made her Goodman debut (in the now-gone studio space in the Goodman’s old home, where the modern wing of the Art Institute now stands) with The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci. Adapted and directed by Zimmerman, the show illuminated with stunning visual poetry the writings of the Italian artist and philosopher on topics covering everything from anatomy and botany, to painting and dreams. It’s back on the Goodman’s Owen stage in previews tonight, with a cast of eight playing different aspects of “Leonardo.” Tonight’s performance starts at 8 PM, and the play runs through Sun 3/20; tickets range from $15-$55 (subject to change) at -KR

YouTube video

What better way to finish off the week than a good and loud rock and Americana show at the local saloon? Tonight’s 21+ bill at Montrose Saloon (2933 W. Montrose) should do you well: Midamerican Elevator is joined by Nad Navillus, the Dry Look, and the Long Farewells. The show starts at 8 PM, and door cover will be a suggested donation of $10 (all of which goes directly to the bands). All patrons and musicians at Montrose Saloon are required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of entry. -SCJ

SAT 2/12

From 10:30 AM-1 PM, the Bryn Mawr Community Church (7000 S. Jeffery) collaborates with South Shore Works and South Shore Hospital to host South Shore Family Day. In addition to a pop-up soup kitchen and food pantry, the church will be providing free COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots. Moderna? Pfizer? J&J? First dose? Second dose? Kids? Adults? Regardless of your need or interest, they’ve got you covered—and want to offer a gift card to say, “Hey! Thanks for helping to keep your community safe!” Gift cards will be given to anyone receiving their initial Johnson & Johnson vaccine dose. This event is free to attend. -MC

Whether you’re looking for something for a sweetie or doing some much-needed retail therapy for yourself, this afternoon you’ll want to hit up Marz Community Brewing Company (3630 S. Iron). From noon-6 PM, over 25 vendors and artisans will be participating in a Valentine’s Day Market organized by Wild Life Flea. Where else can you stock up on odds and ends like spliff blends, quirky candles, and funk records while getting your aura photographed? You’re likely to leave with something cool, not just for what it is, but what it reminds you of (the fun of finding it). -MC

Celebrate dance and romance with Dance Chicago: Dances from the Heart at the Athenaeum Center for Thought and Culture (formerly the Athenaeum Theatre) tonight. Nearly a dozen Chicago troupes, including Aerial Dance Chicago, Comedy Dance Chicago, Hromovytsia Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, and the Visceral Studio Company from Visceral Dance, present a program of work combining an eclectic array of styles—all promising a touch of seasonal fire. The show begins at 8 PM on the Athenaeum mainstage (2936 N. Southport); tickets are $39 at -KR

If what you really want to find this weekend is a special someone, check out Nocturna’s Valentine’s Ball at Metro (3730 N. Clark). At this annual event, DJ Scary Lady Sarah will be dropping the darkest beats for “new loves and broken hearts” while providing a crush connection service. See someone you like? Too scared to say hi? For tonight only, Scary Lady Sarah’s got you. While the love connections are free, tickets to this soiree run $15 ($12 in advance) and are only open to those 18+. Hearts start pounding at 11:30 PM. -MC

SUN 2/13

The new year of the Tiger is upon us—the Lunar New Year started on February 1, and some of us have been reveling in the great fortune that the water tiger can bring (traditional Chinese horoscope makers say that business can be stable, and finances will flow smoothly, let us all hope!). There’s an opportunity to kick off the new year in community with others today starting at 1 PM, as the annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade kicks off then near the intersection of 24th and Wentworth. Expect dragon and lion dancers, marching bands, and more at this family-friendly outdoor event.

Torn between love and doing the right thing for the cause? Yeah, we’ve all been there, and today you can see one of the most classic and stylish versions of this story when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra hosts a screening of the 1942 film Casablanca, accompanied by conductor Richard Kaufman and the orchestra. It starts at 3 PM at Symphony Center’s Orchestra Hall (220 S. Michigan). Fun fact: Orchestra Hall was proclaimed a National Historic Landmark in 1994, so you can assure your date that hey, you know how to pick out nice places. Tickets for this screening and performance range from $69-$295 each, and are available at the CSO’s website. -SCJ

Perhaps you’re looking for a screening without the pressure of impressing your companions with class? Check out tonight’s Brews & Bad Movies session at Lincoln Lodge (2040 N. Milwaukee) as host Michael Palmenderi presents Twilight (the original 2008 film featuring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson staring at each other gape-mouthed). The evening starts with stand-up comedy (thank the gods) from comedians Sonal Aggarwal and Chris Higgins, and everything kicks off at 7:30 PM. This evening is all ages and advance tickets are available at Eventbrite. -SCJ

MON 2/14

Valentine’s Day can be an opportunity to show your heart on your sleeve. Fittingly, there are two downtown peaceful rallies planned today to raise awareness and gather support for their respective causes. From 10 AM-1 PM, American Indian Health Service of Chicago and their supporters will gather around Daley Center plaza (50 W. Washington) to help stop violence against Indigenous women. Murdered and missing Indigenous Women are statistically underreported and their cases are underinvestigated. And at noon, Chicago Area Peace Action, Codepink, and Chicago Committee Against War and Racism co-sponsor Love to Afghanistan, a peaceful action to ask the U.S. government to lift sanctions against the country. The rally for Afghanistan will happen outside of the Kluczynski Federal Building (230 S. Dearborn). -SCJ

Instead of playing games with your heart, how about playing board games with new friends? The wildly decorated and cozy new northwest side lodge of Illuminated Brew Works (6186 N. Northwest Highway) plays host tonight to the 4 Onions Gaming Society as they host an evening of brews and table games. Bring a team or show up and find new playmates. It starts at 6:30 PM, and if you ride your bike to the bar rather than drive, they’ll give you 10% off your tab. -SCJ

TUE 2/15

Write Club reading series is back this month with a live show at the Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia) featuring three bouts between six writer/combatants: Deanna Myers, Ricky Harris, Emily Rose, Adelina Feldman Schultz, John Capaul, and Adam Homer Lawson. The carnage starts at 7 PM, and advance tickets for this 21+ event are available. -SCJ

WED 2/16

Have you ever thought about how birdwatching is the perfect pandemic hobby? Really, any time is good for tuning into the details and dramas of birds’ lives, and that’s the focus of Michael Gitlin’s film The Birdpeople. In this documentary, Gitlin captures some of the myriad people and subcultures who organize around bird appreciation: from community birders to museum specimen collectors to souls in search of the lost ivory-billed woodpecker. There’s a free screening of The Birdpeople tonight at 7 PM at the Block Museum of Art (40 Arts Circle, Evanston). Advanced registration and proof of vaccination are required. -MC

There’s a full moon tonight (a snow moon!), so why not celebrate with the Pleiades Series as they present Full Moon Deep Listening led by improviser and sound artist Veronica Anne Salinas. The event begins at 8 PM at Elastic Arts (3429 W. Diversey, second floor). Salinas will be joined by musicians Erica Miller (cello), Naydja Bruton (percussion), Karla Galva (viola), and Elena Sindler (voice) for an evening of improvisation focused on consciously heightening and expanding listening through one’s body responses to audio. As Elastic’s website explains: “We’ll tune our ears with a grounding listening meditation, then move on to a somatic warm-up with slow movement, and end with sound-based group practices for collective improvisation.” Tickets are $15 and can be purchased in advance at Eventbrite. While all events at Elastic are open to all ages, you must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter and face coverings will be required. -MC

Reader senior writer Leor Galil says that DePaul alum Myquale has a “confident, sumptuously soulful sound that has a lived-in feel and a comfortable familiarity with the history of [hip-hop].” You can check Myquale out for yourself tonight at Sleeping Village (3734 W. Belmont), where he’ll perform on a bill that also includes Chicago rapper Qari and Chicago-via-Maryland R&B and soul artist Dimitri Moore. It all starts at 8:30 PM, and advance tickets for this 21+ show are available at eTix. -SCJ

THU 2/17

The thick, wet brush strokes of Sarah Bastress’s art are sure to warm you up on a chilly day. Her solo show “Mutual Admiration Society” is at Ruschman (4148 N. Elston) right now and features large scale works that revel in uncanny appetites. Its namesake is a wall-sized charcoal drawing of people who’ve created their own Garden of Earthly Delights beneath a banner that says “Mutual Admiration Society,” but much of the show is oil paintings that capture a seemingly reckless amount of human discomfort, beauty, and absurdity with surprising restraint. Each week, the gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from noon-4 PM, and the exhibition is on view until Sat 3/12. -MC

The Women’s Caucus for Art is a national member organization celebrating its fiftieth year in 2022, and local chapters are aiding in the celebration by hosting exhibitions and gatherings. You can take in one of the local exhibitions today as Stola Contemporary Art (3738 W. Irving Park) opens their doors to host an artists reception from 6-9 PM to celebrate the group exhibition “The Best of Women: 50 Years of the Women’s Caucus for Art.” The exhibition will be on view at Stola until Sun 3/13. -SCJ

A preview video created for the exhibition “The Best of Women”

During the pandemic, Collaboraction unveiled several digital programs geared toward their social change and community-building mission. Tonight, one of those shows, Crucial Connections, offers a online panel discussion and preview of the company’s upcoming in-person production scheduled for Sat 2/26 and Sun 2/27 at the DuSable Museum of African American History, Trial in the Delta: The Murder of Emmett Till. The piece is the first known dramatization of the actual transcript from the State of Mississippi vs. Milam and Bryant, the 1955 trial of the two men found not guilty of murdering Emmett Till. The panel tonight includes Marion Brooks, anchor and investigative reporter at NBC5 Chicago; Naomi Davis, the founder and president of the social enterprise and community organization Blacks in Green; and Marilyn Hite Ross, lead member of the Jason Van Dyke prosecution team and a former top supervisor at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. They join Collaboraction’s founder and artistic director Anthony Moseley, producer Carla Stillwell, and former executive director Dr. Marcus Robinson to talk about how the transcripts came to light and the legacy of the Till family, as well as what creating change means today. The panel starts at 7 PM and is free to stream, but registration is required at Tickets for Trial in the Delta: The Murder of Emmett Till are $15-$45 at -KR