Credit: Viviana Rishe/Unsplash

Another slate of both online and in-person events for this weekend and beyond. For anything that makes you leave your house, please be smart and check both the weather report (hello late winter and early spring Chicago with your fickle ways!) and the venue’s safety restrictions (to mask or not to mask, tis one of the many questions). Have fun!

FRI 3/11 

There’s a mix of poetry and music tonight at Space Oddities (1007 N. California), where avant guitarist Bill MacKay joins Ganser keyboardist and co-vocalist Nadia Garofalo to celebrate the release of her poetry collection Relative Traumas. MacKay will perform some songs and poetry, and Garofalo will read excerpts from her book. This free event is open to all ages and kicks off at 7 PM. Proof of vaccination is required for entry. (MC)

As part of the Chicago Artists Performance Platform sponsored by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, four choreographers present new work in South Loop Spark Plug at the Dance Center of Columbia College (1306 S. Michigan), tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 PM. Keyierra Collins’s work focuses on “how dance and movement can be used to heal trauma, particularly the individual and collective trauma experienced by people of the African diaspora.” Orlando De León Jr. (aka Oj, aka juice) is a street-style artist and the cofounder (with Kierah King) of [un]common grounds, a dancemaking initiative focusing on artists’ connection and freestyle expression. Keisha Janae is a member of Red Clay Dance Company and the founder of Eternal Resolve, a collective of dancers working with arts educators and practitioners and using movement “to find pathways toward healing and self-realization.” And Vershawn Sanders-Ward, founder of Red Clay Dance, recently opened a new community center in Woodlawn with her company. A post-performance discussion follows tonight’s program. Tickets are $30 general ($15 industry, $10 students) at (KR)

Eclectic Full Contact Theatre kept up a healthy menu of digital theater options during the shutdown, and now they’re offering a sampler platter of new one-act plays live in their Patchwork Play Fest, continuing tonight through Sunday at the Edge Theater (5451 N. Broadway). Audience members can vote for their favorite from the nine pieces, which run three apiece on three different programs. Showtimes are Fri-Sat 7:30 PM and Sun 3 PM; you can also check the show out online if you prefer. Tickets are $25 live, $20 streaming at (KR)

SAT 3/12 

Looking for a queer-friendly hair dresser? Maybe want to update the look for a job interview or hot date? Then join barber Jai Rodriguez for Self Care Saturday. From 10 AM-2 PM, Rodriguez will offer free haircuts at Brave Space Alliance (1515 E 52nd Pl., on the third 3rd floor). Rodriguez tries to cultivate a gender-affirming and culturally-sensitive experience so everyone leaves his chair excited about their ’do. Can’t make it today? Don’t sweat it. He’ll be at BSA at the same time next Saturday 3/19. (MC)

At 7 PM tonight, Free Street Theater is holding their annual fundraiser Radical Love: Radical Survival. Community members who’ve submitted videos will face off in a lip sync battle, and whoever raises the most “tips” (donations) each round will be entered to win a prize package. There will also be performances by drag kings and queens (including Lúc Ami and Haba Nero), and audiences can bid in Free Street’s silent auction, which includes “one-of-a-kind experiences to help get you through these unprecedented times.” Purchase a ticket ($10 – $75) to receive a streaming link for this entirely online event. (MC)

It’s time to get high again! Aloft Circus Arts brings back the Sanctuary Cabaret, which shifted to virtual performances during the shutdown. The “barely legal” circus in a century-plus old church at 3324 W. Wrightwood presents the best in aerialists, jugglers, and acrobats tonight at 8:30 PM. Masks and proof of vax required. Tickets (limited number available online) start at $30 general admission and go up to $100 for two at a private table; BYOB, but “keep it under control please. No large coolers.” (KR)

SUN 3/13

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, and if you’re past the days of swilling pints of green stuff while bumping along in a party bus, you can still enjoy the libations of the green isle in a more sophisticated manner, thanks to Koval (4241 N. Ravenswood). The local distillery hosts an Irish Coffee class today at noon at their Ravenswood facility, where guests will learn about the history of the classic cocktail with the guidance of Koval’s resident mixologist, and then try their hands at three different versions. Koval will supply the liquor and bartending equipment; students will need to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination as well as stay masked when not drinking. Admission is $75 and open to those 21 and up, and tickets can be purchased at Koval’s website. (SCJ)

After bringing down the house with “I Am What I Am” from La Cage aux Folles at the 2016 Logo Trailblazer Honors for Harvey Fierstein (who wrote the book for the Tony-winning musical), RuPaul’s Drag Race vet Ginger Minj got a ton of offers to play Albin, the St. Tropez drag queen whose son brings home his fiancee and her ultra-conservative parents. Minj turned all those offers down, until she said yes to Music Theater Works. As she told Reader freelancer Catey Sullivan, “Everyone else talked about spectacle, and the dazzle, the showgirls, the sparkle. Which, obviously, is very important. But with Music Theater Works, they thought—we thought—it was about family at its heart. About creating your own family and making sure everyone in it knows they are loved.” Today’s performance is scheduled for 2 PM, and the show runs through 4/3 at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie); tickets are $19.50-$106 at (KR)

The Seraj Library Project is teaming up with St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Evanston (939 Hinman) to present an afternoon of Palestinian culture–aptly titled Palestine Day. Join them at 4 PM to experience a variety of Palestinian stories, music, and cuisine. This is a free, family-friendly event, but masks and proof and vaccination are required. More information can be found at St. Luke’s Instagram page. (MC)

MON 3/14

Chicago writer Natalie Y. Moore’s new The Billboard takes place around a fictional health clinic for Black women set in Englewood, and the clinic’s fight with an aldermanic candidate who erects a billboard that says in part “Abortion is genocide.” Haymarket Books has recently published The Billboard, and they are hosting a hybrid launch event and discussion tonight at 6:30 PM with Moore and TaRon Patton, longtime ensemble member of Congo Square Theater as well as co-founding executive director of the African American Museum of the Performing Arts. A limited number of audience members will be able to attend the discussion in person at Haymarket House (800 W. Buena), but those who can’t make it can watch a concurrent livestream. More details and tickets can be found at Haymarket’s website. (SCJ)

Monday Night Foodball this week brings the universal love language of deep-fried snacks to the table at the Kedzie Inn (4100 N. Kedzie). Kelly Ijichi of Mom’s Chicago will be collaborating with Joey Pham (aka Flavor Supreme) for a menu including chicken gyoza, BBQ eel croquettes, and more. Read all about it from Reader senior writer Mike Sula here, and be sure to bring cash or Venmo from 7-10 PM tonight (there’s no pre-orders this week: the croquettes and the rest will be first-come, first-served). (SCJ)

Chicago Magic Lounge (5050 N. Clark) invites you to kick off the work week on Monday nights with their Music & Magic series, where a variety of close-up magicians perform while a jazz combo provides a musical backdrop. The audience is seated at tables, cabaret style, and magicians come to you, letting you have a ringside seat to their sleight of hand. Tickets are $25 for this 7 PM event, and available at the venue’s website. (SCJ)

TUE 3/15

Come to the Promontory (5311 S. Lake Park West) at 7 PM to enjoy the launch of poet Harold Green’s new illustrated book, Black Roses: Odes Celebrating Powerful Black Women. He’ll be performing with his artist collective, Flowers for the Living, followed by a fireside chat and book signing. All ages are welcome, and tickets are $25. (MC)

The music-focused nonprofit Quiet Pterodactyl organized two double-LP music compilations in the last few years: Situation Chicago in 2020 and last year’s follow-up, Situation Chicago 2. Both releases were packed with a variety of recordings from Chicago-based musicians and groups, and proceeds went toward the Chicago Independent Venue League’s (CIVL) SAVE Emergency Relief Fund, set up to support musicians, music venues, and venue staff hurting financially from the shutdown and slowdown of events due to COVID-19 safety precautions. Now that more people are able to gather at concerts with a bit more certainty thanks to the vaccine and boosters, Quiet Pterodactyl is hosting Situation Chicago Live!, a two-night fundraiser at the Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western) to celebrate life and bring more support to CIVL’s mission. Both shows start at 8:30 PM and feature musicians from the Situation Chicago compilations; tonight’s program includes stalwart local garage rockers White Mystery as well as the local alt-rock of the group Miirrors. Advance tickets are available for both shows, which are open to those 21 and up. (SCJ)

At 9:30 PM, experimental Ahleuchatistas guitarist Shane Parish will be performing a solo set at Elastic Arts (3429 W. Diversey). As Reader freelancer Bill Meyer explains: “There’s no pinning down Shane Parish. On acoustic guitar, he spins webs of bright, densely packed notes; plugged in, he dips into a deep well of jagged rhythms, gnarled chords, and elongated ribbons of humming sound.” Local cellist Lia Kohl will open for him. It’s only $15 to spend the evening with these seasoned improvisers, and everyone with proof of vaccination is invited. (MC)

WED 3/16

There’s something nice about hitting a gallery during the week, don’t you think? Maybe the way it feels quiet and still while everyone else is stewing away in offices. If you have some flexibility to your day, enjoy an afternoon meditating on ideas and aesthetics at the Chicago Artists Coalition (2130 W. Fulton). The CAC has two shows at the moment: “Timely Sanctification,” which showcases three artists exploring how their family histories and spiritualities have influenced them; and “Ode to the Unclaimed Dead,” a solo show about death, memory, and mourning by interdisciplinary artist Selva Aparicio. Can’t make it on a weekday? Truth be told, neither can we. The gallery is open Wed-Fri from 11 AM-5 PM, and Sat from noon-4 PM. Both shows are on view until Thu 4/7, so find a time that works for you! (MC)

Teacher, historian, and Newberry Library exhibitions director Paul Durica has been hosting a monthly trivia event for the Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia) since the beginning of 2021. When shelter-in-place orders were still the best option, Durica did his work via Facebook Live and the Hideout’s other online streaming offerings. For the past few months, Hideout Trivia has been able to meet in person at the venue, with proceeds from each event supporting a different local mutual aid organization. Tonight’s session starts at 6 PM and honors International Women’s History Month with special guests at the helm. Archivist Janet Olson of the Frances Willard House Museum will visit and talk about museum activities between trivia rounds, and Liz Garibay from the Chicago Brewseum will offer a tribute to famous historical Chicago breweries and taverns. The event is buoyed by sweet and funny musical interludes by Mr. & Mrs. Wednesday Night (musicians Lily Emerson and Charlie Malave), and soup will be available from the Soup and Bread team. Advance tickets are required, as is proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Proceeds from the evening will support Common Pantry. (SCJ) 

THU 3/17 

Evanston Dance Ensemble turns 25 this year, and marks the occasion with Silver Lining, a four-performance presentation of some of their favorites in the company repertoire. Founded by Béa Rashid as a way to give more performance opportunities to her students at Dance Center Evanston, EDE has grown to encompass original work, including frequent collaborations with musician Steve Rashid of Evanston’s Studio5. Since 2008, they’ve also presented the annual Jump for Joy classes for students with physical and/or developmental disabilities. The anniversary performances are at the Josephine Louis Theater at Northwestern’s Wirtz Center (20 Arts Circle, Evanston); showtimes are tonight and Fri 3/18 at 7:30 PM, and Sat 3/19 at 2 and 7:30 PM. Tickets are $25 ($15 students) at 847-491-7282 or (KR)

The Neiger family of Krakow is one of only a few families that have been documented as escaping Nazi capture intact as a family unit. Their incredible story is told in the new documentary They Survived Together, directed by John Rokosny. It screens as part of the JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival spring edition, a hybrid festival that includes four in-person screenings at a variety of venues supported by weekly sets of streaming films, all through Sun 3/27. They Survived Together is on the docket for this weekend’s streaming set, which can be accessed today through Sun 3/20 via the organization’s website. It’s also showing in person on Sun 3/20 at 12:30 PM at the Music Box, along with a live Q&A featuring Rokosny, film producer Andriette Redmann, and film editor Patty Schumann. Tickets for the Music Box event are $15, while streaming passes range from $75-$180. More information is available at the festival’s website. (SCJ)

It’s the traditional day to celebrate Ireland through the myths of St. Patrick, and what better place to get the real story than the northwest side’s Irish American Heritage Center (4626 N. Knox). The organization’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities start at 1 PM today with music from Mulligan Stew, and continue until the wee hours with traditional Irish music and dance from the likes of the Shannon Rovers, the Trinity Irish Dancers, and the Dooley Brothers. A special screening of John Ford’s 1952 romantic comedy/drama The Quiet Man starts at 6:30 PM in the center’s Mayfair Theatre. Tickets for the entire day including the film are $10 and available in advance. The day is appropriate for all ages and open to all, so there’ll be no locks or bolts between us, Mary Kate, except those in your own mercenary little heart! (SCJ)