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Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander

3/6-3/16: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM; 3/21-4/27: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM

Madeleine George's "academic sex comedy" examining life in a small university town. $12-$36

Theater Wit (map)
1229 W. Belmont
Lakeview
phone 773-975-8150

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The National, Daughter

Wed., April 16, 7:30 p.m., Thu., April 17, 7:30 p.m. and Fri., April 18, 7:30 p.m.

Chicago Theatre (map)
175 N. State St.
Loop
phone 312-462-6300
The National, Daughter

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Sleeping Beauty

4/15-4/25: Tue-Thu 9:45 and 11 AM, Fri 10 AM, Sat 11 AM

The Chicago Kids Company presents the classic fairy tale. $14, $12 for children

Metropolis Performing Arts Centre (map)
111 W. Campbell St.
Suburbs Northwest
phone 847-577-2121

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The Way West

4/15-6/8: Tue-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 3 and 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM

Amy Morton directs a play by Mona Mansour. $20-$78

Steppenwolf Theatre (map)
1650 N. Halsted St.
Old Town
phone 312-335-1650

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Larry Reeb

4/15-4/19: Tue-Thu 8:30 PM, Fri 8:30 and 10:30 PM, Sat 7, 9, and 11:15 PM

$25 plus two-drink minimum

Zanies (map)
1548 N. Wells St.
Old Town
phone 312-337-4027

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The Nexus Project

Wed 4/16, 6 PM

Male duo the Nexus Project is back with their first collaboration since an inaugural program last November. Staged in a gallery, Michel Rodriguez Cintra and Benjamin Holliday Wardell's new dance takes its cue from the playful group exhibit that surrounds them, but where "Quasi-Choreography" features visual art transformed by the intervention of other artists, the Nexus Project draws on the audience. After starting with a ten-minute duet set to vocals by a folksy choir, the dancers check in with attendees to see how they'd like the dance to evolve, then incorporate suggestions into their choreography while everyone else takes a snack recess—food and beverages are provided. After the break, the process is repeated, so participants have two opportunities to observe the results of their participation. Continue reading >> $25

Chicago Artists Coalition (map)
217 N. Carpenter St.
West Loop/Fulton Market
phone 312-491-8887
The Nexus Project

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Riff Raff, Grandtheft

Wed., April 16, 6 p.m.

An absurdist rapper with lyrics as colorful as his clothes and his cornrows, Riff Raff won me over in 2012 with a steady stream of flashy, gonzo YouTube videos. His animated personality, inexplicably compelling non sequiturs, and mush-mouthed Houston drawl make even his least consistent tracks palatable—and his best performances shine. He owns every second of his collaboration with Chief Keef, “Cuz My Gear,” which came out a couple months before Keef signed with Interscope in 2012. Riff Raff has been pushing back the release date of his first album for Mad Decent, Neon Icon, since September of last year, as though he wants to get out of the shadow of Spring Breakers and have all the attention to himself. In Harmony Korine’s 2013 film, James Franco plays a gangsta and wannabe rapper named Alien, and he admitedly drew some inspiration for the character from Riff—who in a July interview with TMZ threatened to sue Korine and company for using his likeness (the LA Weekly couldn’t find any documents about the suit, though). It’s been more than a year since the movie’s release, and Neon Icon is finally supposed to drop late this month. The early, not-for-release version I’ve heard is so good I hope he ends up sticking with those songs. The album’s guests include Wiz Khalifa, Childish Gambino, and Mac Miller, and for what it’s worth Riff Raff outshines all those guys. He gracefully jumps from a blaring 80s beat a la Public Enemy to a chilly, minimalist ratchet track from “it” producer DJ Mustard; on a new version of the spring 2012 track “Time,” he manages to pull off a fusion of dance-pop and country, singing about his isolating ambition with disarming earnestness. And of course it wouldn’t be a Riff Raff record without seriously strange rhymes: “I don’t like to drive, Versace jeans and limousine,” he raps on “Aquaberry Dolphin.” “I could freestyle to a dolphin and a tambourine.” —Leor Galil Grandtheft opens. $18.99

Concord Music Hall (map)
2047 N. Milwaukee
Logan Square
phone 773-570-4000
Riff Raff, Grandtheft

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Speedy Ortiz, Geronimo!, Brontosaurus

Wed., April 16, 8:30 p.m.

Speedy Ortiz’s Major Arcana (Carpark) isn’t a right-away album. I found it via “No Below,” a solemn single by the Northampton foursome that’s propelled by a hypnotic ascending-and-descending guitar line that hooked me when the raw but tender vocals of front woman Sadie Dupuis came in right in step with it. It’s the album’s best track, and every time I tried to listen to the whole thing, I couldn’t help skipping forward to it. On my fourth or fifth spin, though, it hit me that Major Arcana hangs together as a whole, greater than the sum of its parts. It’s jagged and peculiar and sometimes achingly, nakedly nostalgic for the 90s (particularly in the way Dupuis seems so trepidatious about spilling her guts into the mike), and its noisy anthems sound tailor-made for the awkward kids with their heads down in the back of the class. —Kevin Warwick Geronimo! and Brontosaurus open. $10

Empty Bottle (map)
1035 N. Western Ave.
Ukrainian Village/East Village
phone 773-276-3600
Speedy Ortiz, Geronimo!, Brontosaurus

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Chicago Underground Duo

Wed., April 16, 9:30 p.m.

For nearly a decade, starting in Mandarin Movie in the mid-aughts and continuing in Starlicker and Pulsar Quartet, cornetist Rob Mazurek has heaped his bands’ palettes with sound, creating motion and phantom overtones through accretion and volume. But he’s never really applied this approach to his longest-running group, the Chicago Underground Duo, even as its timbres have grown thicker and more electronic—not until now. On the new Locus (Northern Spy), recorded by John McEntire, Mazurek and percussionist Chad Taylor push deep into the red, driving out silence and negative space with a processed thicket of sound sources—sometimes the usual cornet, drums, and synthesizers, sometimes balafon, Gameboy, and gnarled acoustic guitar (played Derek Bailey-style by Taylor, who studied the instrument before turning to drums). The title track adds little more than grimy synth smears and whooshing squelches to its huge, funky groove, but a cover of “Boss” (by Chicago jazz pianist and teacher Ken Price) retains the band’s foundational elements—a playful, Don Cherry-esque horn line, a churning synth ostinato, a swirling groove—and amps them up to rock-club volume. The album isn’t all in-your-face, though: “The Human Economy” has a narcotic ambience, and “Borrow and Burry” is a spooky, almost static electronic soundscape threaded by barbed tangles of acoustic guitar. On Locus the Chicago Underground Duo ventures into new terrain without surrendering its identity, an accomplishment all the more impressive because it comes after 17 years of exploration. —Peter Margasak $15

Hideout (map)
1354 W. Wabansia Ave.
West Town/Noble Square
phone 773-227-4433
Chicago Underground Duo

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Anna Blessing

Wed 4/16, 7 PM

Blessing signs copies of her book Locally Brewed: Portraits of Craft Breweries From America's Heartland, a survey of microbreweries in the midwest. Breweries like Two Brothers, Three Floyds, and Metropolitan will have select beers on tap.

Piece (map)
1927 W. North Ave.
Wicker Park/Bucktown
phone 773-772-4422
Anna Blessing

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Danny's Reading Series

Wed 4/16, 7:30 PM

Featured readers are Endi Bogue Hartigan and Karla Kelsey.

Danny's (map)
1951 W. Dickens
Wicker Park/Bucktown
phone 773-489-6457

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Danny's Reading Series

Wed 4/16, 7:30 PM

Endi Bogue Hartigan and Karla Kelsey are the featured readers.

Danny's (map)
1951 W. Dickens
Wicker Park/Bucktown
phone 773-489-6457

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Bill Hillmann

Wed 4/16, 6:30 PM

Hillman discusses his book The Old Neighborhood.

City Lit Books (map)
2523 N. Kedzie Blvd.
Logan Square
phone 773-235-2523

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The Jazz Record Art Collective

Wed 4/16, 8:30 PM

Chris Anderson, manager of the Green Mill Jazz Club, curates this monthly series that features notable local jazz artists. For this edition, the Blue Note Quartet performs Wayne Shorter's album Speak No Evil.

Fulton Street Collective (map)
2000 W. Fulton St., second floor
Near West Side
phone 847-686-4629

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Local Author Night

Wed 4/16, 7 PM

Poets Nicelle Davis, Richard Fox, and Angela Narciso Torres read.

Book Cellar (map)
4736 N. Lincoln Ave.
Ravenswood
phone 773-293-2665

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