The history at Gallery 400 is of a more recent vintage: the show "It's the Political Economy, Stupid," the first in a series called "Standard of Living," focuses on the 2008 financial crisis. "All of the artists either responded to or made art coinciding with the collapse of 2008," says Lorelei Stewart, the gallery director. "They show the political, economic, psychological, and emotional ramifications of the collapse and also the threads that created it." The 16 pieces in "It's the Political Economy, Stupid" are mostly video, and mostly created by American and European artists. The two curators, Gregory Sholette, an American, and Oliver Ressler, an Austrian, originally created the exhibit for the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York. Continue reading. >>
The Hyde Park School of dance concludes its season with Tchaikovsky's holiday staple. $20http://hydeparkdance.org
The indoor market features vintage clothing, jewelry, art, furniture, and more. Mimosas and other drinks are available for sipping while you shop, and there will be a free gift-wrapping station to ready your holiday purchases. $8, $3 for students, free with a toy donation
Artist Vanessa Palmer's premiere show in the United States. Reception Fri 11/22, 6-8 PM.
A trip around Lake Michigan including a lunch buffet, an interactive DJ set, and visit from ole Saint Nick himself. $42.90-$49.90
New works by current students and recent alumni. Reception Sat 12/14, 4:30-7 PM.
Group show featuring multidisciplinary work that demonstrates the material and visual aspects of wood. Reception Thu 11/14, 5-8 PM.
It's December 15. Probably time to start dabbling in some Christmas shopping. Fortunately every neighborhood seems to be hosting some kind of holiday market that'll include crafts, cards, treats, art, and, if you're lucky, Santa's lap (though that's likely not for sale). The Bucktown Holiday Art Show and Irish Christmas Market are just a pair of today's examples. Peruse the Reader's online holiday calendar for more.
Reedist Paquito D’Rivera first made his name as an improviser, helping forge the template for modern Latin jazz as a member of Cuban band Irakere in the 70s. Since defecting from his homeland in ’81 he’s broadened his repertoire, playing straight-up postbop, tango, and Brazilian regional and historical styles. He demonstrates a distinctive feel for Brazilian music on his latest album, Song for Maura (Sunnyside), a lively session cut with Sao Paulo’s spry Trio Corrente; it showcases the reedist’s fluidity with old-school chorro and the Pernambuco folk music called forro, among other forms. That pliability serves him well—in particular his smooth agility and clean tone on the clarinet are beyond compare. For this rare Chicago visit D’Rivera will be in jazz mode, working with a local rhythm section consisting of bassist Larry Gray, drummer Ernie Adams, and pianist Rick Ferguson, but it’s not just any pickup gig—the Kaia String Quartet, a Chicago group specializing in Latin American composers, will also be involved. This is the closing concert of 2013’s Chicago Latino Music Festival. —Peter Margasak $20
Quebec-based technical death-metal band Gorguts (largely the brainchild of front man Luc Lemay) formed in 1989 and have been granted legendary status in the scene thanks to their third album, 1998’s Obscura—it took a quantum leap into a realm of philosophical torment and rhythmic convolution that no one had envisioned in quite that way before. Like the new Colored Sands (Season of Mist), Obscura ended a hiatus for the band, but in that case it was only five years—Colored Sands is the first new Gorguts studio album since 2001. It might not have happened at all if guitarist Steeve Hurdle (whose group Negativa featured Lemay) hadn’t persuaded Lemay to re-form Gorguts for its 20th anniversary. Hurdle died in 2012, and his contributions are sorely missed, but the lineup on Colored Sands is a supergroup of sorts, featuring guitarist Kevin Hufnagel and bassist Colin Marston (both of Dysrhythmia) and drummer John Longstreth of Origin (replacing Steve MacDonald, who committed suicide in 2002). And they take another massive leap with Colored Sands—a concept album about Tibet, more or less, it’s as painstakingly constructed as the sand mandalas it references. (Even the string-ensemble piece, “The Battle of Chamdo,” doesn’t seem gratuitous.) With its relentlessly inventive energy, it sets up a rich, uneasy tension between meditation and mutilation. —Monica Kendrick Origin, Nero Di Marte, Morgue Supplier, and Air Raid open.
Fourth-wave emo will be outgrowing its DIY roots soon, if the debut of local three-piece Their/They’re/There is any indication. They played their first show on Record Store Day this past April at Reckless Records in Wicker Park—it was also a release party for their self-titled debut EP—and a swarm of kids suddenly flooded the already busy shop just before the band’s set, bypassing a line of RSD customers that stretched out the door. The shop got so packed that I felt claustrophobic after a couple songs and listened to the rest of the show from the sidewalk. T/T/T’s pedigree in midwestern emo helps explain why they had such a draw, even though they’d announced their existence just a month before: singer-bassist Evan Thomas Weiss is the main man in Into It. Over It. and plays in Pet Symmetry, guitarist Matthew Frank is in Loose Lips Sink Ships and Lifted Bells (alongside Bob Nanna of Braid), and drummer Mike Kinsella has been performing as Owen for more than a decade (plus he’s been a member of American Football, Owls, Cap’n Jazz, et cetera). Weiss has told me he thinks of T/T/T as a “fun outing,” and the group’s new EP, Analog Weekend (Polyvinyl/Topshelf), is a blast: Frank’s knotty but nimble riffs on “Travelers Insurance” sound almost as rambunctious as Angus Young’s guitar solos—but because this is fourth-wave emo, they do without AC/DC-style lewd-and-crude lyrics. —Leor Galil Mansions open. $14
You'd be forgiven for thinking that this amiable musical comedy, about a group of quirky kids competing in a middle school spelling bee, is just another crowd-pleasing cash cow—Nunsense with nerds. That's how most companies approach it, going for easy laughs by playing up familiar stereotypes. But when you take the time to explore the characters and the story, as this sparkling Griffin Theatre Company production does, what emerges is the kind of angst-ridden exploration of the world of hyperachieving whiz kids that you expect from someone like William Finn, who wrote the music and lyrics. Director Scott Weinstein's savvy cast find the heart and soul of every character, and the result is nothing short of R-E-S-P-L-E-N-D-E-N-T. —Jack Helbig $25-$36http://griffintheatre.com
It's almost two years since I was first bowled over by An Iliad. Working from Robert Fagles's translation of THE Iliad—Homer's epic set during the Trojan War—collaborators Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare built a 90-minute monologue around a figure called the Poet, who's apparently immortal (he recalls gigs in Babylonia) but otherwise not so lucky (he wears a dirty coat and inhabits what looks like a forgotten corner of the Deep Tunnel). The Poet's memory isn't what it used to be, but he's still imbued with both the majesty and the horror of his tale: the passion of the semidivine Greek warrior Achilles as he suffers enormous losses and inflicts the same on others. In 2011 Court Theatre artistic director Charles Newell staged Peterson and O'Hare's script, with the prodigious Timothy Edward Kane as the Poet. "The main point I want to make with regard to Court Theatre's An Iliad is 'wow,'" I wrote at the time. "The rest of what I have to say is pretty much a gloss on that." Now Kane, Newell, and An Iliad are back at Court for a revival, and the operative word is still wow. But it's a different quality of wow. Kane is no less fierce when he wants to be; he roars out descriptions of the most barbaric soldierly mayhem with arms spread, fists clenched, teeth bared, eyes burning like those of the tiger in the poem by Blake. His litany of wars—from the Trojan on up, now, to the Syrian—remains devastating. Yet this time around his performance feels quieter overall, more intimate—even a little more goofy now and then, as when the Poet impersonates a calculating Helen or notes Hermes's "fabulous sandals." I've been assured that there are just two new pages of text and a few subtle directorial revisions in the whole of this production. The sense, though, is of greater introspection. Pained meditation. Perhaps appropriately for a second run and an actor saddled with a longer list of wars than he had to recite before, this An Iliad centers much more on the passion of the Poet himself, suffering enormous losses with each telling of the great poem that it's his privilege and curse to tell. —Tony Adler Sold Out
In the early hours of July 23, 1967, officers of the notoriously brutal Detroit police department raided a "blind pig"—an unlicensed bar—on the city's black west side, touching off riots that killed 43 people and burned out hundreds of buildings. That catastrophe is just the backdrop for Dominique Morisseau's drama. In the foreground are grown siblings Lank and Chelle, who run a blind pig of their own and fall to fighting over what Chelle regards as Lank's reckless optimism. Not only does he want to invest their small inheritance in a legit bar (shades of Raisin in the Sun) but he starts falling for a white woman he rescued when he found her wandering the streets, badly beaten. Some elements don't mesh in Ron OJ Parson's production. Chelle and Lank listen to the previous year's music and their wardrobe looks more '65 than '67, Chelle's cautious temperament doesn't jibe with professional party-giving and Caroline—the white woman—seems to recover awfully fast. But the emotional integrity is there. To borrow a simile from the script, I loved Parson's five-member cast like potato salad. —Tony Adler $25-$72
Gonzales reads from his latest book House of Pain: New and Selected Essays.