Bang a gong, get it on, etc. (with apologies to Marc Bolan) Credit: Julio Lopez/Unsplash

Let’s get into it, revelers, there’s a lot of stuff to do both online and off in the next few days!

FRI 1/21

Fish (and visitors) are said to go bad after three days, but Fillet of Solo has been keeping it fresh for 25 years. Originally created by Sharon Evans for Live Bait Theater, the annual celebration of storytelling has been produced by Lifeline for the past several iterations. They’re going virtual for a second time this year, bringing performers and storytelling collectives from Chicago and beyond right into your home. Going online means that it’s easier to include artists from out of town, including former Neo-Futurist Ayun Halliday (creator of the award-winning zine East Village Inky), who performs Japanese Penpal. Chicagoan and iO vet Victoria Montalbano performs The Princess Strikes Back: One Woman’s Search for the Space Cowboy of her Dreams. Longtime Chicago solo mainstay Jimmy Carrane unveils a new untitled piece. Among the ten collectives showcasing their work are 80 Minutes Around the World: Immigration Stories, curated and produced by Nestor Gomez; Tellin’ Tales Theatre; and the Sweat Girls, a women’s storytelling collective cofounded by former Lifeline artistic director Dorothy Milne. The entire festival, including live Zoom panel discussions and storytelling workshops from solo luminaries such as Lily Be, is available beginning today through 2/13 at lifelinetheatre.com; tickets are name your price ($45 suggested) at lifelinetheatre.com.

Tyla Abercrumbie has been getting more national attention in recent years with her work on the Showtime series The Chi, but she’s also an emerging playwright. TimeLine Theatre had planned a 2020 production of Relentless, Abercrumbie’s drama about two Black sisters in 1919 who find out secrets about their mother as they clean out her Philadelphia home, but COVID-19 put the kibosh on that. It premieres tonight under the direction of Ron OJ Parson at Theater Wit (1229 W. Belmont), and runs through 2/26. Tickets are $25 for previews (tonight starts at 7 PM) through 1/26; regular run tickets are $42-$57 (35 percent off with student ID, $25 for U.S. military personnel, veterans, first responders, and their spouses and family) at timelinetheatre.com.

Sometimes the only solution is to get moving, and tonight’s Gyrate lineup at Bourbon on Division (2050 W. Division) will give you some sounds of the Caribbean and beyond to dance to. DJs Mamicana, Simmy, and Bozito will kick things off at 10 PM. Advance tickets are available at Eventbrite for this 21+ evening, and the venue requests proof of vaccination for entry plus the wearing of face masks unless you are actively drinking.

SAT 1/22

On the fourth Saturday of every month (today through 5/28), Red Clay Dance Company presents the Dance Pamoja! Challenge, “created for Black individuals and families who may disproportionately suffer from underlying health conditions.” (Pamoja means “together” in Swahili.) The virtual workshop, open to all, lets participants find ways to build resilience physically, mentally, and emotionally through movement. It’s from 1-2 PM, and free; registration required at redclaydance.com.

Italo disco fans: tonight you need to hit the Whistler (2421 N. Milwaukee) for Computer Love. Starting at 9 PM, DJs LeSprite, Bill Netherlands, and Marty Mars will be sharing selections from their music crates to celebrate the breadth and legacy of HiNRG dance music. When American interest in disco began to wane in the late 70s, European party scenes built on the sound by producing records primarily in Italy (which was deep in a post-WWII fascination with American pop culture) that relied less on costly high-production involving studio musicians and big-name producers, instead reveling in the creative (and cheaper!) possibilities of songs that got the dance floor bumping just using drum machines and synthesizers. While this event is free, you must be 21+ to attend, and proof of vaccination is required.

Our Gossip Wolf scribes gave a special mention to local singer-songwriter Peter Joly earlier this week, and remind us that we have an opportunity to see Peter and his group playing a free show at FitzGerald’s (6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn), starting tonight at 9 PM. The folk-rock will happen at FitzGerald’s intimate Sidebar stage, and doors open at 5 PM for 21+ patrons who would like to order dinner from Babygold Barbecue before the show. 

SUN 1/23

While it’s still up in the air as to what might happen in the next months to the Ace Hotel building at 311 N. Morgan (a commercial real estate group has bought the building and plans have not yet been announced), the regular dance nights that fans have grown to love will now have to evolve into different forms at different venues. Tonight is a final send off for the parties at Ace’s rooftop bar, Little Wild, and they’re celebrating with a full lineup of local and legendary DJs spinning from 4 PM to midnight. You’ll be able to catch tunes from DJ Mo Mami, Freddy Phatz, DJ Fire Aux, DJ Ca$h Era, Sky Jetta, David Chavez of Future Roots, Chante’, and Shon Dervis. This 21+ event has no cover, and you can find more information at Little Wild’s Instagram

In a slump? Maybe a gong bath tonight at 6 PM at the Japanese Cultural Center (1016 W. Belmont) would help. Sound baths have a long history in healing and meditation practices, where different noises–often produced from instruments such as singing bowls and chimes–“wash” over participants to help facilitate reflection and recovery. As the center points out on their website, “gongs have been used throughout history to signify awakening, arrivals, and important transitions.” Given the brash power of gongs, this is sure to be an energizing session! Registration is $30, and you’ll need to bring your own mat and pillow.

Legion of Doom is a newer recurring dance party at Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western) organized by some of the freshest talent emerging from the Black rave underground. Tonight you’ll find Mai Mai performing live, while Fuj goes b2b with Niiiggggaaaaa followed by sets by K. Oz, Miss Twink USA, and Millia. Party starts at 8:30PM and goes till the lights come on. $10, 21+.

MON 1/24

Winter is a great time to bury yourself in a good book–or even a good periodical! “Subscribe: Artists and Alternative Magazines, 1970-1995at the Art Institute (111 S. Michigan) is an exhibition celebrating the heyday of alternative culture publications such as i-D and The Face. These magazines combined the high content standards and refined taste of publications like Vogue with groundbreaking discussions emerging from places such as the Gay Liberation and Black Power movements. The museum is open today from 11 AM-5 PM, and suggested admission is $20 for Chicago residents, and $14 for seniors and students. See AIC’s website for complete ticketing information.

Monday Night Foodball is back for season two at the Kedzie Inn (4100 N. Kedzie) and tonight’s menu was created by Nemanja and Marko Milunovic (Nemanja’s ghost kitchen-based Kiosk Balkan Street Food created a craze for his Serbian-influenced cuisine). Doors are open from 5-9 PM, and while pre-ordering is encouraged (you can pay with Venmo) for both picking up or dining in, some walk-in orders may be possible (be prepared to pay with cash or Venmo at the bar).  

Want to get out a little unbridled aggression (or just drive around on ice) in Wrigleyville? Gallagher Way offers to chance to ride in Ice Bumper Cars in their outdoor rink (3637 N. Clark). It’s $15 for a 10 minute ride but show them a same-day receipt from any of their partner establishments (bars, the Cubs store, coffee) and they’ll take $5 off your bill. The bumper cars are out and available tonight through Thursday night this week from 5-9 PM, and you can check out the venue’s Facebook event for more details and dates.

TUE 1/25

Chicago’s Best Stand-Up? You can be the judge of that with the Reader‘s Best of Chicago ballot—but you can also check out five rising talents at the Laugh Factory Chicago (3175 N. Broadway) with “Fresh Faces of Chicago,” starting at 7:30 PM tonight. Tickets are $20 and a two-drink minimum purchase is required, plus proof of vaccination. Be aware that an 18 percent service fee is automatically added to all drink tabs. Those 18+ are welcome, and reservations can be made through Eventbrite.

The online-only Zine Club Chicago presents a special night hosted by Meanwhile Chicago, who will bring a unique blend of storytelling and zinemaking to tonight’s Zoom meeting. Expect special performances and zinemaking prompts alike, so you can create your own object as you watch. Zine Club requires that viewers RSVP by 9 PM the night before their events, so be sure to email them Monday and they’ll contact you with the viewing link. More information is available at the club’s Facebook event.  

WED 1/26

Tonight is the last screening in the stylish but horror filled January Giallo film series copresented by Cinematic Void and our own Music Box Theatre’s Music Box of Horrors programming. Writer Becca James tells us that it’s a celebration of “the subgenre of Italian cinema popular in the 70s and 80s, known for applying striking psychedelic cinematography and shocking graphic violence to whodunit plots.” Tonight’s 7:15 PM feature is The Perfume of the Lady in Black, a 1974 hallucinatory horror-thriller directed by Francesco Barilli. 3733 N. Southport; tickets are $12.

There’s spooky music on this trailer but no real gore, just to let you know. But be sure to clock the guy who could be Liev Schreiber’s uncle about halfway through!

Let’s sketch bunnies! Chicago’s one and only “bunny club” Cuddle Bunny (2901 N. Clark) opens its doors at 7 PM tonight for an opportunity to hang out with the bunbuns and draw your own sketches of them, under the tutelage of guest artist Madi Walsh. Tickets are required and available at Eventbrite, and all artistic skill levels are welcome.

THU 1/27

The Guild Literary Complex presents Exhibit B, an ongoing showcase of poetry, writing, music, and plays. Their mission is to “create a space that showcases work that you don’t need an MFA to feel and that leaves the audience always wanting more. We want community. We want impact.” Tonight’s lineup includes Monica Prince, Cody Lee, Kim Vodicka, and Jose Nateras, who will be reading a selection from his horror novel Testament about a Chicago hotel worker haunted by more than the ghosts of racism, capitalism, and toxic masculinity at his job. No need to venture out for this one; just grab a warm beverage and cozy up with Exhibit B’s YouTube livestream that starts at 7 PM.

Reader contributor Monica Kendrick says that Long Island progressive death-metal band Monochromatic Black’s first EP, Pneuma, is an “intense, versatile, and strikingly assured burst of brutality that hit like a progressive deathcore derecho and left me wanting more.” You can hear for yourself as Monochromatic Black comes to Cobra Lounge (235 N. Ashland) tonight to headline a sure-to-be loud show that also features Orinoco, Deaf Ear, Enox, and Lost in the Current. The concert starts at 8 PM and will be open to those 17+, and advance tickets are available

If life is feeling a bit austere (isn’t it feeling that way for everyone waiting for their four free COVID tests two years into a global pandemic?), tonight you’re invited to escape into your greediest fantasies at Primary Night Club (5 W. Division) for the first in a series of parties based on the Seven Deadly Sins. Musician, performance artist, and opulence expert Cae Monae hosts a darkly decadent evening DJed by Vorp, Prov, Flower Food, DJ Lycra, and Ariel Zetina. Come dripping in excess: jewels, lush fabrics, attitude–anything that says, “You’ve got yours, I’m ready to take mine!” This party is 21+ and costs $15 to join. Dance floor starts filling at 10 PM.