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110 in the Shade

hrough 12/16: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 2 PM; no performance 11/22
Theater Wit 1229 W. Belmont, Chicago Lakeview


773-975-8150

Nicholas Barron

Sundays, 10 PM
The Motel Bar 600 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago River West


312-822-2900

Blue Man Group

Open run: Thu 8 PM; Fri 7 PM; Sat 2, 5, and 8 PM; Sun 4 and 7 PM
Briar Street Theatre 3133 N. Halsted St., Chicago Lakeview

Buy from Ticketmaster$49-$99


After 20 years and god knows how many bald caps and gallons of paint, this Chicago staple stays true to its mission: “Blue Man Group—enemy of monotony, remedy for boredom, promoter of overjoy and elation.” That experimental, interactive theater can remain both current and family friendly in equal measure speaks to the show's healthy mix of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it wit and larger-than-life clowning. Audience participation, voluntary and involuntary, is still a key component, whether it’s sharing Twinkies with the trio, donning a poncho in the splash zone, or being shamed as a latecomer, in showstopping fashion. Cultural references and parodies have certainly changed with the times (and devices), but the keys to Blue Man Group remain its hypnotic music and lively energy—if you’re not out of your seat dancing when the 90 minutes are up, you probably don’t have a pulse. —Marissa Oberlander 773-348-4000

Born of Osiris

Sun., Dec. 9, 6:30 p.m.
Durty Nellie's 180 N. Smith St., Palatine Suburbs Northwest


847-358-9150

Bow & Hammer

Sun., Dec. 9, 12:30 p.m.
The Promontory 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West, Chicago Hyde Park


312-801-2100

Ammie Brod

Sun., Dec. 9, 8:30 p.m.
Constellation 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago Roscoe Village

Buy Tickets

Brother Ali

Sun., Dec. 9, 7 p.m.
Bottom Lounge 1375 W. Lake St., Chicago West Loop/Fulton Market

Buy from TicketWeb


312-666-6775

Derrick Carter, Michael Serafini, Garrett David

Sun., Dec. 9, 10 p.m.
Smart Bar 3730 N. Clark St., Chicago Wrigleyville


773-549-4140

ChicoMaloTrio

Sundays, 4 p.m.
Edgewater Lounge 5600 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago Edgewater


773-878-3343

Club Malos, Wig, Lip, Harry Vetch

Sun., Dec. 9, 8 p.m.
Burlington 3425 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago Logan Square


773-384-3243

Cordoba, Blacker Face, Taylor Seaberg

Sun., Dec. 9, 8:30 p.m.
Empty Bottle 1035 N. Western Ave., Chicago Ukrainian Village/East Village


773-276-3600

Dream Freaks Fall From Space

Open run: Wed-Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 8 and 11 PM, Sun 4 PM, Tue 8 PM
Second City 1616 N. Wells St., Chicago Old Town

Buy Tickets$29-$46


Second City is in denial. Donald Trump is our president, and along with that comes a host of issues regarding race, gender equality, LGBTQ rights, and police brutality, among other things. The cast of the brand-new yet already outdated main-stage revue Dream Freaks Fall From Space tackle these loaded topics by mentioning them, then moving right along. And speaking of denial, scenes break one of the most fundamental rules of improvisation—embody the spirit of "yes, and . . . " to complement your partner onstage. Here instead actors deny ideas with "What are you talking about?" Second City is the tentpole of Chicago comedy for the rest of the country, but Dream Freaks feels like it was concocted in an intermediate-level improv class where mere nods get laughs and politics get skewered with Pixy Stix. Continue reading >> 312-337-3992

Fat Babies

Sundays, 8 p.m.
Honky Tonk BBQ 1800 S. Racine, Chicago Pilsen/Little Village


With few exceptions, those practicing the sort of traditional jazz popularized in New Orleans and Chicago during the 20s and early 30s essentially believe and traffic in museum-grade preservation. They play for audiences living in time-travel fantasies, preferring to ignore the music made over the last 80 years as they seek Charleston partners. The members of Chicago’s Fat Babies might perform in shirtsleeves and neckties and meticulously record interpretations of the trad-jazz repertoire in glorious mono, but they also play music of other eras—whether it’s drummer Alex Hall working in the Flat Five or bassist Beau Sample storming through Jazz Manouche with Alfonso Ponticelli. The Fat Babies perform with such a vitality—never jacking up the pitch-perfect rhythm or playing postmodern games—that I don’t even see what they do as an act of reclamation. The ebullient polyphony and drive on their third album, Solid Gassuh (Delmark), is pure pleasure, a riot of motion and multilinear melody as banjoist Jake Sanders flails propulsive chords alongside the Baby Dodds-inspired rhythmic spill of Hall and Sample’s unerring pulse-and-harmony anchor. That leaves plenty of space for the raucous yet lyric playing of pianist Paul Asaro, reedists Jonathan Doyle and John Otto, trombonist Dave Bock, and cornetist Andy Schumm. While the occasional white-bread vocal might suggest a hokey costume party, there’s little to disrupt the spell these guys cast their long-running weekly residencies. 312-226-7427

The Forced Transfer

Opens Tue 6/7
National Cambodian Heritage Museum 2831 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago Ravenswood


As a young Buddhist monk in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, during the 1960s, Kompha Seth studied the Brahmi alphabet and Magadhi—a root language of modern Khmer—which had been preserved and passed down for generations. Today, he's one of only a few Cambodians in the world who understands these dialects and their links to modern Khmer. Continue reading >> 773-506-1280

Kimberly Gordon Organ Trio

Sundays, 11 p.m.
Green Mill 4802 N. Broadway St., Chicago Uptown


773-878-5552

18+
John Grant, Two Medicine

Sun., Dec. 9, 8 p.m.
Lincoln Hall 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago Lincoln Park


773-525-2501

Terisa Griffin & Mary Griffin

Sun., Dec. 9, 7 p.m.
The Promontory 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West, Chicago Hyde Park


312-801-2100

The Harold

Open run: Wed-Thu 8 PM, Fri 8 and 10:30 PM, Sat 10:30 PM, Sun 8 PM, Mon 10:30 PM
iO Theater 1501 N. Kingsbury, Chicago Lincoln Park


Improv teams use an audience suggestion to create interweaving story lines that result in a connected long-form narrative.

The Infinite Wrench

Open run: Fri-Sat 11:30 PM, Sun 7 PM
Neo-Futurarium 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago Andersonville


Greg Allen gave and Greg Allen took away. On December 31, 2016, the Neo-Futurists founder made good on his promise to kill off the company's signature cult show, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, ending an unprecedented run of 28 years. The current generation of ensemble members weren't happy. Now they've pretty much reconstituted TMLMTBGB in everything but name, running on the same schedule at the same venue with the same exuberance. Though their new baby is superficially different from the original (where before the plays were numbered, for instance, now they're color coded), it retains the identical goal of offering 30 original short plays in 60 minutes. The performance I saw lapsed occasionally into reductive political posturing, having more to do with tribal affirmation than revelation. But it also had its share of wit, insight, emotional frankness, and dancerly physicality. —Tony Adler 773-275-5255

jazz improv session

Sundays, 5 p.m.
Cafe Mestizo 1646 W. 18th St., Chicago Pilsen/Little Village


312-421-5920

Lone Bellow, Robert Ellis

Sun., Dec. 9, 4 & 7 p.m.

Buy Tickets


12/8 and 12/9, 7 PM sold out 773-728-6000

Los Lobos

Dec. 9-12, 8 p.m.
City Winery 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago Near West Side

Buy Tickets Buy Tickets Buy Tickets Buy Tickets


312-733-9463

Carmen Lundy Quartet

Sun., Dec. 9, 4, 8 & 10 p.m.
Jazz Showcase 806 S. Plymouth Ct., Chicago South Loop


312-360-0234

Lyric Opera's Il Trovatore

Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m.
Lyric Opera House 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago Loop


312-827-5600