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18 Of Our Favorite Events In Chicago This Weekend

By Michelle Meywes Kopeny in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 5, 2016 4:31PM

Strandbeest. Photo via the Chicago Cultural Center.

There's so much more than football going on this weekend in Chicago.


STRANDBEEST: You may have seen photos of the giant beach creatures designed by Dutch physicist Theo Jansen after they made a surprise appearance at the Bean earlier this week. These Strandbeest sculptures made of tubing and sails “walk” down the beach powered only by the wind. The Chicago Cultural Center will have some the sculptures on display as part of his first major American exhibition tour along with artist drawings, photographs, videos and daily demonstrations. Opening reception with Jansen is Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. and the exhibit runs through May 1. Free.

NOON HOUSE MUSIC: Would you rather spend your lunch-hour eating at your desk or dancing with a DJ? Choose the latter with Wired Fridays at the Chicago Cultural Center. Chicago DJ Ron Trent has been around the block, playing house music since the mid-80’s and he’ll be providing the tunes at noon on Friday. Free.

AFTER HOURS REFRESH: The Museum of Contemporary Art’s after-hours series Prime Time is presented in collaboration with Pitchfork this time around. Titled ⌘R, the theme is “refresh” and includes live performances from Holly Herndon, Bitchin Bajas, local musician Jimmy Whispers and DJ sets from How to Dress Well and Joan of Arc’s Tim Kinsella. Tickets are $15 in advance ($20 door).

WORLD NUTELLA DAY: Who knew there was such a thing as World Nutella Day? It just happens to be on Friday and you can celebrate with a special plin dessert at Osteria Langhe. The sweet pinched raviolis created by Chef/Owner Cameron Grant are filled with the chocolate and hazelnut spread and will be available today only. $10 a serving. Reservations are recommended.

FUNNYMAN RETURNS: Venture out to the Horseshoe Hammond Casino to see the return of funnyman Tracy Morgan in his “Picking Up The Pieces” tour. The SNL alum and former 30 Rock star was in a horrible car accident accident in 2014 that left him in a coma for weeks. Luckily he’s back and funnier than ever with added material from his recovery. Tickets start at $44.

CARNIVAL: We’re certainly not in Brazil, but you can still celebrate Carnival at Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar on Friday. They’ll transform the bar into a “festive bacchanal” during The Rio Thing. Resident DJ Gilberto Bryl will play tropical beats including Samba, Bossa Nova, Axe, Tropicalia and more. Free.

ROCK CONCERT: Razorhouse brings their unique blend of rock and/or roll to Township when they play there with The Handcuffs this Friday. Frontman Mark Panick pens songs that mix the beautiful with the darkly disturbing, approximating a sound that ranges from gothic—think Nick Cave or Tom Waits gothic—to bent chamber-pop to country murder ballads. Doors are at 8:30 p.m. and the show starts at 9 p.m. with a set from Les Vikq.


ROCK IT OUT: Mass Gothic's self-titled debut is a big, roaring mixture of cinematic pop. Led by Noel Heroux, the band churns out inventive rock and/or roll that sticks around long after the last note has died out. His tour just kicked off a few days ago so their Saturday appearance at Schubas should catch a band still hungry for the road and in sharp form. Tickets are $10 and the show is at 10 p.m.

INDOOR BAR CRAWL: Visit all the different bars at Navy Pier without ever going outside during "the world's largest indoor bar crawl" from 2 to 8 p.m. It’ll be all “beads, beers & bars” at the Mardi Gras themed crawl through Harry Caray’s, Billy Goat, Margaritaville and more. Tickets are $30.

RETRO SKI LODGE PARTY: Pretend you’re part of the Hot Tub Time Machine crew with the Retro Ski Lodge Block Party beginning at 11 a.m. Put on your best fluorescent spandex and other 80’s ski gear for the crawl through nine different Gold Coast bars. Tickets are $10.

Look for the hidden dragon at Garfield Park Conservatory's Chinese New Year celebration. Photo via Garfield Park Conservatory's Facebook page.

CHINESE NEW YEAR: Celebrate the Chinese New Year at Garfield Park Conservatory from noon to 4 p.m. Say hello to the year of the Monkey with family-friendly activities including making monkey masks, a dragon dance and learning about Chinese holiday’s customs and traditions. Free.

CAJUN MUSIC: Get down to some real Cajun roots music for Mardi Gras at Cole’s Bar. Bands Hey, Chère and Cropduster 4 will play beginning at 9 p.m. Free.

MARS-DI GRAS: Get over to Adler Planetarium for a Mardi Gras party that's out of this world. From 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. they'll have special programs that show us what it would be like to live, work and play on Mars. The Lowdown Brass Band will even be roaming around the planetary celebration. Free with general admission.

INDIE WED: Planning a wedding? We know it can be an overwhelming undertaking, especially for brides and grooms who want their individual spirit to shine. Look no further than Indie Wed’s 7th annual Winter Wedding Show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Ravenswood Art Center. You can browse more than 100 indie vendors who capture that unique vibe. They’ll also have food, drinks and musical performances. Tickets are $15 for a single or $25 for a pair in advance.

Indie Wed Brand Video (Sizzle) from Fresh Roasted Films on Vimeo.


PAJAMA BRUNCH: Make an excuse to leave the house in your pjs for one of Let Us Entertain You’s Big Game Pajama Brunches. Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!, Mon Ami Gabi and Stella Barra Pizzeria are all participating, and as if you needed more incentive to not bother getting dressed, each location is offering gift certificates equal to the price of your meal (for a future visit) if you come in your pjs or your favorite team’s jersey. Check LEYE’s website for times and more information.

HIGHEST BOWL PARTY: Put the bong away, we're talking about being high up in the sky for the “Highest Super Bowl Party” at John Hancock. Every bar and restaurant in town has food and drink specials on Super Bowl Sunday, but how many of them dangle you over the city with nothing between you and the sky but a pane of glass? Beginning at 5 p.m. 360 Chicago will offer themed drink specials and free TILT rides for anyone wearing an NFL jersey. Seating is first come first served.

Rockit's Furever Football Party is Sunday. Photo via Furever Rescue's website.

FUREVER FOOTBALL BENEFIT: Attend a Super Bowl pre-party and benefit a furry good cause at the same time this Sunday at Rockit Bar & Grill. They’ll have passed sliders, wings and fries along with a couple of complimentary beers and drinking games all to benefit local non-profit Furever Rescue. 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance ($20 door).

POETRY READING: Not really into watching sports players run into each other? Check out the Law & Disorder poetry event from 1-3 p.m. at Woman Made Gallery. With performances from Jennifer Karmin, J'Sun Howard and many more, they’ll focus on topics involving breaking laws and injustice. Free.