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National Veterans Art Museum (map)
4041 N. Milwaukee, second floor
*REGION UNDEFINED
phone 312-326-0270
info@nvam.org

Action Comedy

Open run: Thu 8 PM

Comics are not always funny—but in those cases, they can be claimed as high art, like The Walking Dead or Neil Gaiman's Sandman. Comics—the other kind—aren't always funny either. They either curl up like dead spiders and disappear beneath a dresser forever, or they soldier on to another open mike. That quick homonym demonstration aside, here's the deal with a new stand-up comedy show happening at Challengers Comics + Conversation on the last Thursday of every month. Action Comedy is a nod to Action Comics, the series in which Superman first appeared, published by what would become DC Comics. The show's produced by a five-boy team of Kevin Brody, Mitch Kurka, Ian Abramson, Jeff Scheen, and Zach Peterson, and joins an already pretty stellar line-up of live programming at the shop. Continue reading >>

Challengers Comics + Conversation (map)
1845 N. Western Ave.
Logan Square
phone 773-278-0155

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Adult Easter Egg Hunt

Sun 4/5, 10:30 AM

Longman & Eagle demonstrates you're never too old for Easter fun. Teams of two comb Logan Square in search of eggs. Winners receive adult-friendly Easter baskets with goodies from Lula Cafe, Wolfbait & B-Girls, Saki, and more. A benefit the Boys and Girls Club, the event continues throughout the day with food, drinks, and music at Longman & Eagle. RSVP at rsvp@landandseadept.com. $5 entry fee

Longman & Eagle (map)
2657 N. Kedzie
Logan Square
phone 773-276-7110

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Amen Dunes, Weyes Blood, Xander Duell

Wed., April 1, 9 p.m.

Started in 2006 as a shambolic solo venture, Damon McMahon’s Amen Dunes eventually grew into a full band that fills out ragged almost-folk songs with lush, dreamy, atmospheric backing. On the new Cowboy Worship EP (Sacred Bones Records), McMahon pares it down like he did in the early days. A sort of rambling, loose storytelling thread runs through dark, acoustic slow burns made up of only his voice, guitar, and sparse contributions from occasional collaborators, like Harvey Milk’s Stephen Tanner and guitar mastermind Ben Greenberg (currently of Hubble and noise-rock act Uniform). The highlight of Cowboy Worship is a cover of Tim Buckley’s “Song to the Siren,” which features gut-wrenchingly raw vocals backed up by airy soundscapes and bubbly, bloopy finger tapping from Greenberg. —Luca Cimarusti $12

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Schubas (map)
3159 N. Southport Ave.
Lakeview
phone 773-525-2508
Amen Dunes, Weyes Blood,  Xander Duell

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Andrew Jackson Jihad, Smith Street Band, Jeff Rosenstock, Chumped

Fri., March 27, 6 p.m.

For the last few years, New York upstarts Chumped have been developing their sound in Brooklyn’s sprawling basement scene, and somehow, like a ragtag group of auditory alchemists, they managed to expunge the Hot Topic bombast and rock-radio flippancy of pop-punk’s aughts heyday and reinforce what made the sound so endearing in the first place. In short, the kids did their homework. On their debut LP, Teenage Retirement (Anchorless), Chumped trace pop-punk back to the early 90s, when it occasionally bumped up against indie rock—they indulge in Superchunk’s hearty guitar riffs (“Coffee”), Weezer’s trademark chord progressions (“Anywhere but Here”), and the Get Up Kids’ bittersweet melodies (“Long Division”). Lead singer Anika Pyle holds it all together with her charmingly crass vocals and emotional, self-effacing lyrics. This probably makes the band seem derivative, but Chumped ride their wave of influences towards a balanced, uncommon style. —Drew Hunt $22, $20 in advance

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Metro (map)
3730 N. Clark St.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-549-0203
Andrew Jackson Jihad, Smith Street Band, Jeff Rosenstock, Chumped

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Annoyance Film Night

First Sunday 7 PM

Proving its expertise goes beyond live theater, the Annoyance kicks off a monthly movie night featuring screenings of local independent films. Tonight's lineup includes Harry Bauer's The Video Transmissions of the Frequently Captured Buck Pirate, Robert Carnilius's Forever Diamond and McTucky Fried High, and Gerard Jamroz's experimental short We Are the Binary. $2

Annoyance Theatre (map)
851 W. Belmont
Lakeview
phone 773-697-9693
Annoyance Film Night

Antigonick

Through 4/5: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM

We first hear Antigone (Anu Bhatt), whose lines "We begin in the dark / and birth is the death of us" invoke Hegel, the philosopher who read Sophocles's heroine as a character without "ethical consciousness." Such layering marks the poet and classicist Anne Carson’s Antigonick, a loose translation of the Greek tragedy that doubles as a meditation on the nature of tragedy. Carson goes so far as to add a silent witness, Nick (David Lawrence Hamilton), who's onstage throughout, marking time with the metronome on his desk and posting death notices, which only accumulate after Antigone challenges Kreon (Ann James), rejecting the laws of the polis for the particular laws of grief and rage. Sideshow Theatre meets Carson’s singular vision with a production that eagerly subverts expectations, mixing up its casting by gender, age, and color. It's an ensemble achievement, and director Jonathan L. Green's elegant staging reflects this, seamlessly flowing from choral recitation to individual speech and back. —Suzanne Scanlon $20-$30

http://sideshowtheatre.org
Victory Gardens Theater (map)
2433 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-871-3000
Antigonick

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The Apple Family Plays: That Hopey Changey Thing and Sorry

Through 4/19: Wed-Thu 7:30 PM (except Wed 2/18 and Thu 4/2, 8:30 PM), Fri 8 PM, Sat 4 and 8 PM, Sun 2 PM; also Sun 3/15, 3/29, and 4/12, 6 PM; Tue 4/14, 7:30 PM

Richard Nelson's Apple Family plays center on four adult siblings and their elderly Uncle Benjamin. In That Hopey Changey Thing, the family gathers for dinner on Election Day 2010; Sorry takes place two years later, on the day Benjamin is to be checked into a retirement home. Both plays (there are two more in the series, though they’re not being performed here) feature long debates on politics and American mores, but the atmosphere owes less to Crossfire than the funny-sad humanism of Chekhov, whose Three Sisters is an obvious influence. In Louis Contey's perceptive staging, the script is matched in intelligence and feeling by an excellent cast that includes Janet Ulrich Brooks as the stalwart eldest sister and Mike Nussbaum as poor, muddled Benjamin. —Zac Thompson $35

TimeLine Theatre Company (map)
Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, Baird Hall Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
Lakeview
phone 773-281-8463
The Apple Family Plays: <i>That Hopey Changey Thing</i> and <i>Sorry</i>

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Arguments and Grievances

Open run: first Sun of each month, 8 PM

As the country faces deep, divisive questions about the nature and direction of our shared society, some issues are in perilous danger of falling through the cracks. Phish vs. Insane Clown Posse. Friend Zone vs. Bone Zone. Star Trek vs. Star Wars. Curated by Zach Peterson, this excellent debate series enlists some of the city's funniest underground comedians to hash out the overlooked questions of our day. The lineup and topics rotate each week, but on opening night the comics came doubly armed with hard facts and potent bits. Politicians take note: Showing up to a debate in ICP greasepaint is one sure way to polarize a crowd. On the Juggalo question, there can be no middle ground. —Keith Griffith

Schubas (map)
3159 N. Southport Ave.
Lakeview
phone 773-525-2508

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The Art of Dr. Seuss Gallery

Ongoing

Like many of us, Ted Geisel felt unfulfilled by his day job. Does it matter that, as Dr. Seuss, Geisel produced some of the world's most beloved picture books and introduced generations of children to the pleasures of reading? For the sake of his young audience, Dr. Seuss had to keep his drawings simple and his color palette limited. But before he'd gone to work as a commercial illustrator, Geisel had trained as a fine artist. So late at night, he painted. He experimented with color and style and more adult themes. He hung his "midnight paintings" in his house in La Jolla, California, but didn't want them released into the world while he was still alive. Continue reading >>

Water Tower Place (map)
835 North Michigan Avenue
Other North The Art of Dr. Seuss Gallery

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At the Gates, Converge, Vellenfyre, Pallbearer

Mon., April 6, 7:30 p.m.

In some ways, it must suck to make a hugely popular and influential album—even if you bottle that lightning again, it can’t strike with the same force. Swedish five-piece At the Gates laid down a foundational document of melodic death metal with 1995’s Slaughter of the Soul, and they know perfectly well that it’s impossible to found something twice: In 2007, when the band had just reunited after 11 years apart, front man Tomas “Tompa” Lindberg declared, “No new record will be recorded. The legacy of Slaughter of the Soul will remain intact.” Of course, saying something like that is a good way to make a liar of yourself, and last fall At the Gates released At War With Reality (Century Media), their first studio album in 19 years. Following the template of its predecessor, it’s impeccably engineered head-banging music, indebted to thrash and NWOBHM as well as death metal. A hammering pulse—often a steady double kick drum locked into the gnashing, melodic riffs—dominates the songs, even dictating the metabolism of the austere, achingly grandiose twin-guitar leads. Despite the occasional swaggering groove or cluster of syncopated stings, listening to this stuff can feel like watching the curvaceous chrome-plated parts of a showroom motorcycle’s engine as they do their intricate, mercilessly precise high-speed dance. But it also has a melancholy, stricken emotional tone, which combines with those maniacal rhythms and the ragged desperation in Lindberg’s unmistakable vocals—he sings not in the usual growl but in a choked scream that’s almost a sob—to convey a very particular kind of urgency and restlessness. It’s like that sudden laserlike conviction that can grip you in a dream: something horrific is on its way, moving fast, and you’ve got to run this instant if you hope to escape. At War With Reality sounds warmer and fuller than Slaughter of the Soul, with less of the hard, bristly treble that gives the earlier album its cruel gleam—it’s a pearl, not a diamond, more heartwood than thorns—and it feels a hair less frantic and taut, as you’d expect from guys in their early to mid-40s. Or maybe you wouldn’t—but if you don’t think the passage of 19 years makes a difference in such physically demanding music, well, get back to me in 19 years and let’s see what you say. —Philip Montoro $30

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House of Blues (map)
329 N. Dearborn St.
River North
phone 312-923-2000
At the Gates, Converge, Vellenfyre, Pallbearer

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B-Rooted Festival

4/3-4/4: Fri 4 PM, Sat 1 PM

The hip-hop dance fest explores various genres and styles through a symposium about "underground street dance, pop culture, concert dance and the academy during the last decade." The whole thing culminates in an all-styles jam session, so wear your dancing shoes.

Dance Center of Columbia College (map)
1306 S. Michigan Ave.
South Loop
phone 312-369-6600

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Baby Wants Candy: The Rock Musical

Open run: Fri 10:30 PM

Baby Wants Candy—a tight troupe now famous for its improvised musicals—began in 1997 as one of the dozens of ImprovOlympic teams formed every year. Somehow they've avoided the usual dissolution of such groups. More impressive, they've never experienced the artistic conservatism that paralyzes improvisers eager to "do it right"—and reap the reward, presumably, of a career in NYC or LA. Instead the troupe has become the very model of smart, physical, quick-thinking, and just plain silly long-form improvisers; they still play well together and manage to entertain. Inspired by the improbable suggestion "So this is it" at the show I saw, nine actors (backed by the five-member Yes Band) improvised a complicated, hilarious, tongue-in-cheek tale of three partnerships on the rocks--two marriages and a professional relationship--and the narrator who helps bring the couples back together. —Jack Helbig $15

Apollo Theater (map)
2540 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-935-6100

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Beat Swap Meet

Sun 3/29, noon-6 PM

The traveling record swap features vinyl for sale from a number of collectors and dealers. $5, free with canned good

Empty Bottle (map)
1035 N. Western Ave.
Ukrainian Village/East Village
phone 773-276-3600
Beat Swap Meet

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Belle & Sebastian, Honeyblood

Fri., April 3, 8 p.m.

On Belle and Sebastian’s first new album in five years, the recent Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance (Matador), Stuart Murdoch sounds at once like his usual self and a larger-than-life troubador. The singer’s pretty, delicate melodies remain intact along with his wispy delivery, but at times the grooves pulsing beneath his voice seem to arrive from another world—a missive from a nightclub rather than a teahouse. On a song like the infectious “Allie” the harder beats and moderately seething guitars make sense when paired with the lyrical content—both are urgent and emotional—but on the album’s first single, “The Party Line,” the throbbing, quasi-funk four-on-the-floor and the prevalence of a synthetic fake-disco bass line still feel jarring a dozen listens in. It’s as if Belle & Sebastian have taken it upon themselves to remix their own music and magnify a lovely aesthetic for those incapable of latching on to anything without a big beat. But beneath the tepid embrace of EDM, there’s no mistaking the sound of the band. —Peter Margasak sold out

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Riviera Theatre (map)
4746 N. Racine Ave.
Uptown
phone 773-275-6800
Belle & Sebastian, Honeyblood

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