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Late Night Teatro Vista

Through Wed 12/10, times vary

Late Night Teatro Vista returns for the third year, celebrating the city's Latino theater scene with nearly a month of performances and staged readings featuring emerging artists and playwrights. One to look out for is Chicago-based actor/playwright Juan F. Villa, whose latest, Don Chipotle (Wed 11/19, 7 PM), pulls a little from Don Quixote and a lot from a childhood surrounded by violence and drugs on NYC's Lower East Side. Reader critic Tony Adler called Villa's earlier autobiographical work Empanada for Dream "incredibly well crafted yet terrifying in its rage," but this one promises to be "a magical adventure story, where, through the eyes and brave action of a child, the audience crosses the vast metropolis of Manhattan to see the world put to right." The next week Teatro Vista presents a staged reading of Two Diamonds (Mon 11/24, 7 PM), a new work by resident playwright Cándido Tirado, whose gritty drama First Class was praised by Reader contributor Suzanne Scanlon last year as offering "intense" physical and emotional journeys that "move expertly from comedy to agony." After that is Ike Holter, known for Hit the Wall, about the Stonewall riots, and Exit Strategy, set in a fictional Chicago public school. Here he'll offer two nights of Chicago-based short plays (Mon 12/1-Tue 12/2, 7 PM). LNTV hosts an evening of stories by local artistic directors the following week, all centered on the word "unfinished" (Mon 12/8, 7 PM). Storytellers include Jenny Avery of Next Theatre and Ron OJ Parson, cofounder of Onyx Theatre Ensemble and a resident artist at Court Theatre. Serving as bookends to the series are the kickoff event FirstDraft, a night of ten-minute plays by young writers (Mon 11/17, 7 PM), and Kristiana Colón and Damon Williams's Lack on Lack, a one-act play with music and spoken word (Wed 12/10, 7 PM). —Megan Thielking $5-$20

Victory Gardens Theater (map)
2433 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-871-3000

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Gilbert Gottfried

Thu 11/20, 7:30 and 9:30 PM

With a loudmouth voice as subtle as a chorus of chain saws gnawing through a monster-truck tire—which is, coincidentally, a pretty decent description of its timbre—comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried has long had success lending his pipes to cartoon characters. His embodiment of Iago, Jafar's hotheaded parrot sidekick in Aladdin, probably remains his most notable voice-acting role ("Look at this. I'm so ticked off I'm molting"). By no stretch, however, is Gottfried's voice used only for good. While it might translate as colorful and uproarious in a family-friendly Disney film, it'll sound abrasive and derisive when spouting absolute filth and malice in jokes that would make Caligula blush. Those are Gottfried's bread and butter: the inappropriate and the outrageous. That's when he hums. The proof is in the Comedy Central Roasts, in which Gottfried is a regular participant, annihilating easy-target celebrities like David Hasselhoff, Bob Saget, and the late Joan Rivers, with whom he shared a fictional sexcapade that he riffs about in excruciating, gruesome detail. He's poetic in his takedowns, his signature squint staring straight into the camera as he taunts comedy with how far he'll push a joke, and push a crowd. (His roast of Hugh Hefner in 2001 included a 9/11 joke that prompted a "Too soon!" cry from the audience.) And the yelling only makes it funnier, because it adds shock value. No matter how raw or gross Gottfried's punch lines get, the over-the-top production of the joke is more hilarious than its reveal. It's like watching the man behind the curtain burn the curtain to the ground and then take a piss on it. For further proof, please track down the YouTube video of Gottfried's rendition of the infamous "the Aristocrats" joke from the 2005 movie of the same name. There are more references to fisting in his five-minute-plus version than should be legally allowed in a comic's lifetime. —Kevin Warwick

$25 plus two-drink minimum

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

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Todd Glass

11/20-11/22: Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 8 and 10:30 PM

Glass is a thinking man's comic with a boisterous stage presence and a well-informed opinion on virtually any topic. On his podcast The Todd Glass Show, he and fellow comedians dissect everything from their starts in stand-up to Glass's love of candles, but tonight he'll probably just tell some great jokes. $20

Up Comedy Club (map)
230 W. North Ave.
Old Town
phone 312-337-3992
Todd Glass

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Dads, Tiny Moving Parts, Choir Vandals

Fri., Nov. 21, 6:30 p.m.

I like nihilistic “no future” punk when it’s done well, but I prefer listening to musicians who’ve grown up enough to decide they want to use the years ahead of them (a choice that also makes it worthwhile to make sense of their pasts). The guys in Ann Arbor-based emo band Dads understand the confusion of twentysomethings who feel like they’ve been left behind on the road to home ownership and “happily ever after,” with their lives stagnating in limbo. On “Grand Edge, MI” from the great new I’ll Be the Tornado (6131), they sing about longing to talk with an estranged special someone and looking at old photos of long-absent friends—and when the song’s desolate, near-acoustic arrangement catches fire and turns into a massive rager, the uncertainty and dread in the lyrics burns deeper too. Dads are getting better at more than just evoking those feelings; their music is evolving too, with gorgeous melodies, spot-on vocal harmonies, and expertly constructed dynamic shifts. I’ll Be the Tornado, recorded at Minbal Studios in Chicago, is their second full-length, and it combines posthardcore fury with delicate restraint without sacrificing the power of either. From the start Dads had the potential to write this sort of material, but now they have the experience to realize it. —Leor Galil $12

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Beat Kitchen (map)
2100 W. Belmont Ave.
Roscoe Village
phone 773-281-4444
Dads, Tiny Moving Parts, Choir Vandals

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Kevin Barnes, Esta Vivo

Fri., Nov. 21, 7 p.m.

I've spent the past several days listening to Of Montreal's new album, Lousy With Sylvianbriar, on repeat and just really enjoying that principal member Kevin Barnes gave up the Prince ghost and decided to make some more charming, jangly 60s pop via Athens, Georgia, circa the late 90s. —Gwynedd Stuart, 2013

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

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James Davis's Beveled

Fri., Nov. 21, 9:30 p.m.

With his newish sextet, Beveled, local trumpeter James Davis flexes his muscles as a composer and arranger—on the band’s self-titled debut, released by Ears & Eyes, his melodies blossom from a calm, restrained aesthetic that recalls chamber music. Paired flugelhorns (Davis and Chad McCullough) and bass clarinets (Mike Salter and Anna Najoom) put flesh and skin on the rhythmic skeletons provided by bassist Dan Thatcher and drummer Juan Pastor, and this unusual instrumentation creates a striking, elegant timbre, like dark polished wood and brass. Beveled plays Davis’s tunes with measured resolve and crisp precision, so that solos emerge from the extended ensemble passages like comets streaking the sky. The music might benefit from a wider range of moods and tempos, but its lapidary beauty and serene composure are lovely to behold. —Peter Margasak $10, $5 in advance

Constellation (map)
3111 N. Western Ave.
Roscoe Village James Davis's Beveled

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Chicago Italian Film Festival

11/21-11/25

This year marks the first time Italian filmmakers have been celebrated en masse in our fair town. The inaugural Chicago Italian Film Festival kicks off tonight and stays true to the fest's theme, "Italian Comedy: Then and Now," with back-to-back screenings of 1961's Divorce Italian Style and 2014's I Can Quit Whenever I Want. $10 per screening, $40 for five-film pass

Music Box (map)
3733 N. Southport Ave.
Lakeview
phone 773-871-6604

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DIY Trunk Show

Sat 11/22, 10 AM-5 PM

More than 130 vendors of homemade goods, plus food, coffee, and chair massages.

http://diytrunkshow.com
Broadway Armory Park (map)
5917 N. Broadway St.
Edgewater
phone 312-742-7502

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Goose Island tap takeover and poster sale

Sat 11/22, noon-4 PM
,

Features Goose Island brews Festivity Ale, 2013 Bourbon County Stout, the Muddy, and more with screen-printed posters from Schubas and Lincoln Hall shows for sale.

Schubas (map)
3159 N. Southport Ave.
Lakeview
phone 773-525-2508
Goose Island tap takeover and poster sale

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Rock for Kids auction

Sat 11/22, 6:30 PM

A benefit for Foundations of Music with auction items signed by Cher, Vampire Weekend, Paul Simon, Kraftwerk, Wilco, and Aretha Franklin, plus a performance from current Foundations of Music students. $75

http://foundationsofmusic.org
Park West (map)
322 W. Armitage Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-929-5959

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Run the Jewels, Ratking, Despot

Sat., Nov. 22, 5:15 p.m.

The new Run the Jewels 2 (Mass Appeal) is the kind of powerful, instantly gratifying rap record that makes all the other music in your regular rotation feel irrelevant. The duo of dystopian Brooklyn MC-producer El-P and earnest Atlanta rapper Killer Mike proved themselves capable of greatness on their 2013 self-titled debut, which owes its appeal to much more than just their rap-game buddy-cop pairing. But I wasn’t prepared for just how great their follow-up would be, and I’m still not sure I’m done wrapping my head around the pointed, playful, wide-ranging postindustrial rap on Run the Jewels 2. I always seem to get stuck on one song—right now my ears are in the vise grip of the dronelike low-end hum and chattering, chipmunky vocal sample of “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry.” El-P and Killer Mike’s back-and-forth rapping, by turns loping, singsong, swarming, and aggressive, has enough character and color just as sound that it took me several listens to digest their lyrics—lines such as “You can all run naked backwards through a field of dicks” might have seemed silly in other hands, but with Run the Jewels silliness is part of the appeal. Their fierceness isn’t any less compelling just because they’re sometimes goofy and endearing. —Leor Galil Run the Jewels also plays at 9 PM. $24

Buy Tickets
Metro (map)
3730 N. Clark St.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-549-0203

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First Aid Kit, Samantha Crain

Sat., Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m.

On last year’s Kid Face (Ramseur), Samantha Crain demonstrates her skill at providing a broader context for ideas and themes drawn from a life on the road. The narrator in “Taught to Lie” says she’s become almost pathologically irresponsible because her rootlessness has allowed her to escape accountability—she admits, sounding almost proud, “I’ve learned to tell the truth sometimes.” Crain has explained that her song “Paint” is about how long solo tours make her feel like a ghost: “I’m trying not to disappear / Into the shadows,” she sings. The music’s strummy, Neil Young-flavored country-rock melodies and loping grooves support her remarkable voice without upstaging it. With her strong, precise singing, full of daring swoops and unexpectedly liquid phrasing, she sometimes sounds like a jazz vocalist—and a good jazz vocalist, one who doesn’t stoop to self-indulgent grandstanding. In “For the Miner,” she makes the absence of the sun feel like a life-altering deprivation simply by stretching out the last word in the line “Is it overcast and gray?” Crain hasn’t played Chicago in a couple years; tonight she’ll play material from Kid Face and preview new songs she plans to record for release next year. —Peter Margasak sold out

Buy Tickets
the Vic (map)
3145 N. Sheffield Ave.
Lakeview
phone 773-472-0449
First Aid Kit, Samantha Crain

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Riviera Theatre (map)
4746 N. Racine Ave.
Uptown
phone 773-275-6800
Fitz & the Tantrums, Big Data

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Run the Jewels, Ratking, Despot, David Ruffin Theory

Sat., Nov. 22, 9 p.m.

The new Run the Jewels 2 (Mass Appeal) is the kind of powerful, instantly gratifying rap record that makes all the other music in your regular rotation feel irrelevant. The duo of dystopian Brooklyn MC-producer El-P and earnest Atlanta rapper Killer Mike proved themselves capable of greatness on their 2013 self-titled debut, which owes its appeal to much more than just their rap-game buddy-cop pairing. But I wasn’t prepared for just how great their follow-up would be, and I’m still not sure I’m done wrapping my head around the pointed, playful, wide-ranging postindustrial rap on Run the Jewels 2. I always seem to get stuck on one song—right now my ears are in the vise grip of the dronelike low-end hum and chattering, chipmunky vocal sample of “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry.” El-P and Killer Mike’s back-and-forth rapping, by turns loping, singsong, swarming, and aggressive, has enough character and color just as sound that it took me several listens to digest their lyrics—lines such as “You can all run naked backwards through a field of dicks” might have seemed silly in other hands, but with Run the Jewels silliness is part of the appeal. Their fierceness isn’t any less compelling just because they’re sometimes goofy and endearing. —Leor Galil Run the Jewels also plays at 5:15 PM. sold out

Metro (map)
3730 N. Clark St.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-549-0203
Run the Jewels, Ratking, Despot, David Ruffin Theory

Tools

Devil's Day Off

Through 11/22: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM

Be it inferno or vortex, nothing so pleases Chicagoans as collectively bitching about the weather. Jon Steinhagen—a Chicago man himself—taps into that sentiment with his new play, which follows a bunch of nameless characters as they cope with a power outage and simultaneous heat wave. Like true Chicagoans, the play’s inhabitants are equal parts romantic and sarcastic, with a dash of skepticism and whininess for good measure. The cast members who dive headfirst into this character cesspool include the ever-morphing Mary Jo Bolduc and Matthew J. Lloyd, whose physicality is a show in itself. Steinhagen's loose script at times threatens to become scattershot, but mostly that openness allows for beautiful, bold moments—like a monologue about god delivered in five languages. Melting pot, Chicago style. —Chloe Riley $23

Signal Ensemble Theatre (map)
1802 W. Berenice Ave.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-347-1350
Devil's Day Off

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