Kayla Drescher Credit: Dana Lynn

Yeah, it’s cold, but our hearts are still warm with all the feels for these upcoming events!

FRI 1/7

Tickets are still available for tonight’s live podcast taping of Not Another D&D Podcast at the Vic (3145 N. Sheffield). In this campaign after the campaign, three unlikely adventurers try to correct all the wrongs that a previous party of legendary heroes created while they were trying to save the world. Sounds to us like just another weekend, but gamers and people who love radio plays alike should enjoy tonight’s performance, which starts at 7 PM. The show is open to all ages, and tickets are available in advance through Jam

If you’ve been feeling unstuck in time over the past couple of years, Black Button Eyes has the show for you. Tonight, the company, whose tagline is “We help magic invade reality,” opens Mary Rose, a brand-new musical based on a seldom-produced play by Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie. The title character disappears twice in her lifetime—once as a child, once as a young wife and mother—with no recollection of the lost time and without aging a day. Kerry Reid talked to the creators of the show this week; it runs at the Edge Theater through 2/12. Tonight’s performance starts at 7:30 PM, and you can purchase tickets and see more performance dates and times at Eventbrite.

Perceptions Theatre began their life in Chicago by producing virtually with the 2020 play Black Magic. Their current virtual show, A Breath for Humanity (directed and devised by Lauren Wells-Mann) runs online through 1/16 and is a poignant collage of vignettes and monologues on the accumulated stress of the pandemic, the fight against ongoing racial oppression, and the struggle to just breathe and be in the world as we are, as seen through the eyes and experiences of the six actors in the ensemble. You can watch it anytime through the theatre’s website. Tickets for viewing run on a sliding scale of $5-$55 and are available at perceptionstheatre.org.

SAT 1/8

Were you one of the lucky people who got some extra mad money last month in your holiday gifts? Bring your cash to today’s Handmade Market at the Empty Bottle (open from noon-4 PM). At most of these regular markets, more than 30 artists and vendors set up shop in the venue to offer locally-made and unique wares like jewelry, knitwear, baked goods, skincare, and more. It’s a good chance to shop while you drink beverages from Empty Bottle’s cash bar (if you time it right, you can cap off the early evening by stopping next door to pick up something from Pizza Friendly Pizza to take home). Empty Bottle is at 1035 N. Western, and while the venue is usually 21+, children will be allowed in with their parent or guardian. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masks required for all. 

The 1988 American trailer for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

Reader contributor Kathleen Sachs wrote about Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar’s “distinct style” this week in anticipation of his new film Parallel Mothers, and if your curiosity was piqued, the Gene Siskel Film Center is ready for you. They’re showing six of Almodóvar’s films over the course of January and February—think of it as “All About Almodóvar.” Today’s 1 PM screening focuses on the 1988 comedy Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, featuring the award-winning actress Carmen Maura. Go to Siskel’s website for advance tickets and information about COVID-19 safety protocols. 

In honor of everyone’s favorite late rock ’n’ roll Capricorn, Smart Bar (3730 N. Clark) hosts the Bowie Ball. Get your glitter face paint and platforms ready for a night of blissed out decadence soundtracked by Heaven Malone. Smart Bar resident Lucy Stoole is the mistress of ceremonies, while JoJo Baby, Nico, and Sally Marvel will wow dancers with a mix of drag and burlesque. This is a 21+ party and proof of vaccination is required. The fun starts at 10 PM, and tickets are $18 at the door and $13 in advance.

SUN 1/9

Want to start your Sunday with some Chicago criminals and grifters? No, we’re not suggesting bringing home hooligans on Saturday night. Rather, join writer Adam Selzer online for his presentation “Swindlers, Con Artists, and Gamblers in Chicago History” this morning through his Mysterious Chicago tour organization. Selzer will talk about several swindlers including the Chicagoan whose autobiography inspired the plot of the movie The Sting. The lecture starts at 10 AM via Facebook Live, Twitch, and YouTube, and instructions on watching through any of those websites are on the free event’s ticketing page

Thalia Hall (1807 S. Allport) will be hosting a vaccine pop-up from 11 AM-4 PM today. They’ve got you covered for COVID-19 vaccine boosters, first and second doses, and flu shots, and no RSVP is required. The Pfizer vaccine will also be available for children ages 5-11 (parent or guardian must be present). DJ Casino Boogie will be playing some relaxing music to enhance the experience while nature documentaries play on the projector. All COVID vaccines and boosters are free regardless of insurance status; flu shots are covered by most insurance policies but are $25 for those without insurance (can be paid by credit card). For more information, go to Thalia Hall’s Facebook page.

At 2 PM, there’s a children’s book signing event for Chicago author LaTasha Gaines and her new series Books & Bullies. Reading and Q&A led by Coach Jhe’, followed by an opportunity to purchase books and talk to the author. Light refreshments will be served by host Eméché Cakery & Cafe (3453 S. Prairie). More information and RSVPs to teamichooselife@gmail.com

Instead of getting those end-of-the-weekend Sunday night blues, cap off the evening with some sparkling future-minded improvised jazz from heavyweights Mars Williams, Steve Marquette, Brian Sandstrom, and Tyler Damon. The quartet is calling themselves Exit Plan, and they will perform starting at 9 PM tonight at the cozy Hungry Brain (2319 W. Belmont). Advance tickets for this 21+ show are available

MON 1/10

Today is opening day for artist Nikkole Huss’s exhibition “Land of Wonder,” hosted at the Ferguson Art Gallery at Concordia University Chicago (7400 Augusta in River Forest). Huss is a professor at the university and uses painting, fibers, photography, and installations to explore ideas of what a “natural” environment is. “Nature is fragile and vulnerable,” Huss says. “Yet, the promise of exemplifying a duality of inner strength, adaptability and resilience is possible. Amid pandemic nerves, there is comfort in the appreciation of a land of wonder and imagination.” Gallery hours are Mon-Fri from 9 AM-7 PM, and Sat-Sun from 10 AM-6 PM, through Mon 2/21. Free to visit; go to the Concordia website for more information. 

“It’s a ballll, honey!” Midwest Vogue Knights, organizers of voguing events and the kind of performative drag balls that one might know from Paris is Burning or Pose, cohosts an event tonight with Brave Space Alliance at Lakeview’s Fantasy Night Club (3641 N. Halsted). The evening is hosted by the Legendary Gorgeous Kentrele Gucci, and features performer Maya Lozano, plus competition categories like “The Look” and “Runway” plus a high-powered vogue and street dance performance. Doors open at 9 PM, and you must be 21 or older with proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter. 

TUE 1/11

The Mads are indeed back, as Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff present “A Night of Shorts 6,” an online presentation where the actor/writers riff live on a compilation of vintage bizarre films and cartoons. Beaulieu and Conniff will be available for a post-show Q&A after this livestream performance, and promise a very special guest TBA. Tickets are $10 and get you access via a private YouTube link that will be accessible at the start of the show at 8 PM. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Twin Cities food pantry Friends in Need Food Shelf. 

Need a laugh? Chicago Underground Comedy hosts a packed lineup at Beat Kitchen (2100 W. Belmont) tonight, including Ty Riggs, Sonal Aggarwal, Paul Faravhar, Paula Skaggs, Tori Kilkenny, and Geoffrey Eggleston. The show starts at 9 PM, and you can also purchase food and drink from the bar. This event is for those 21+ and advance tickets are available here.

For 35 years, Pegasus Theatre Chicago has been fostering the next generation of writers with its Young Playwrights Festival, which gives high school students around the city the chance to develop short plays with adult mentorship, and then submit them in the oldest such competition in the U.S. As they did last year, Pegasus is keeping it virtual in 2022, but what hasn’t changed is the emphasis on giving the new voices professional guidance, culminating in a fully staged production. Freelancer Kaylen Ralph talked to the trio of writers selected for this year’s installment. The festival runs through 2/6 and can be viewed for up to four days after you purchase access ($25 adults, pay-what-you can for youth) at pegasustheatrechicago.org.

WED 1/12

At 7 PM, Women and Children First hosts a free online discussion between Kim Brooks and Jessamine Chan to celebrate the launch of Chan’s novel, The School for Good Mothers. In Chan’s book, mothers are sent to a state-sponsored reform school where custody of their children depends on their “successful” graduation. Last weekend, the New York Times picked it for their book-discussion column, Group Text. Have your own thoughts? Want to learn more? Register for Women and Children First’s conversation here.

If you think being a magician is tricky, imagine doing it “backwards and in high heels” (to use a phrase often, but incorrectly, attributed to Ginger Rogers). Magician Kayla Drescher brings her show, Magic in Heels (she claims she took this title “because ‘magic in pajamas’ was already taken”) to the Chicago Magic Lounge every Wednesday night at 7 PM through Wed 3/30. Drescher is based in LA, but has been seen nationally on Penn & Teller: Fool Us and The Today Show, where David Copperfield proclaimed her “the next great magician.” She also hosts the podcast Shezam, focusing on diversity and inclusion in the magic community. Tickets for Drescher’s show are $45-$50 at chicagomagiclounge.com.

Kayla Drescher performing on Penn & Teller: Fool Us, first aired in 2017.

THU 1/13

In anticipation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Evanston History Center is hosting an online discussion with Northwestern professor Kate Masur about her new book, Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction. From noon-1 PM, Masur will go over the big-picture history of the civil rights movement, how racism manifested differently in laws in the North and South, and social justice responses to those laws. While this event is free and on Zoom, advance registration is required.

The Poetry Foundation’s Open Door reading series presents work from new and emerging poets by featuring two midwestern writers who invite two of their writing students or collaborators. Tonight’s 7 PM virtual event features writers Kofi Antwi (Tidal Wave), Jesse K. Baer (Holodeck One), Louise Akers (Alien Year), and Tariq Shah (Whiteout Conditions). Presentation is online through Zoom and registration is requested at Eventbrite, with more information at poetryfoundation.org.  

Reader Senior Writer Leor Galil writes that Chicago queer indie-rock trio Modern Nun “celebrate small, everyday divinities” on their new EP, Name. You can check them out for yourself tonight at Schubas, where they open for fellow indie-rockers Laughing Hearts and Dunedogs. This 18+ concert starts at 8 PM. Tickets are $15 at the door and $13 in advance.