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23 Of Our Favorite Events In Chicago This Weekend

By Michelle Meywes Kopeny in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 12, 2016 4:22PM

Get on down to Chinatown for the Lunar New Year Parade on Sunday. Photo via Chinatown Special Events' website.

We've got lots of events for love in honor of Valentine's Day on Sunday, but there's still plenty to do this weekend if you're trying to avoid Cupid.


BUILD A DATE: If you haven’t found your special Valentine, you can build one at ACME hotel on Friday. The “Do Your Thing” party invites singles to build their perfect robot date with Robot City Workshop from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $45.

VALENTINE MASQUERADE: Find your Valentine at Rebar’s Singles Masquerade beginning at 8 p.m. The event will have interactive matchmaking activities and Macallan whiskey to bring attendees closer together. There’s also a VIP “first date” area for couples lucky enough to pair off. Tickets are $55.

DJ: Born and raised in West Philadelphia, this DJ might be best known as Will Smith’s sidekick from Fresh Prince. Hang with DJ Jazzy Jeff Friday night at Studio Paris at 9 p.m. Tickets start at $15.

FIRST LOOK: Get a sneak peek at the Chicago Auto Show while supporting a bunch of good causes at this black-tie event. First Look for Charity supports 18 different charities including local causes like Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, JDRF and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $250.

MARDI GRAS DINNER: Rockit Burger has teamed up with Abita Beer and Woodford Reserve for a Mardi Gras-themed dinner complete with gumbo, king cake and a performance from Four Star Brass Band. 7 p.m. Tickets are $50.

NEW LOCAL BAND: See former members of Smith Westerns and Unknown Mortal Orchestra for free as they play with their new country soul band, Whitney. Doors to the Upstairs at Virgin Hotel open at 9 p.m.

ROLLINS TALKS: Henry Rollins is here to share. He’ll be at Thalia Hall on Friday and Saturday with a show where he talks about his recent travels to Central Asia, Africa and South America as well as panel conversations here in Chicago with Pussy Riot, the West Memphis Three and more. Tickets start at $26.

TECHNO-RRIFIC: Smart Bar is hosting a number of Chicago-centric events over the weekend with local DJs as a sort of Valentine to the city's dance scene. Friday's Chicago Is Techno party features local icon Derrick Carter, who will be joined behind the decks by Chrissy. Advance tickets are $12. Prices are higher at the door and rise throughout the night.


BURLESQUE: Chicago burlesque star Michelle L'amour brings her new show "Le Nu" to Carnivale this weekend in honor of Valentine’s day. The intimate “European-inspired” evening will include served desserts and performances from L’amour herself along with other sultry acts and musicians. Tickets start at $75. See website for showtimes.

AUTO SHOW: The 2016 Chicago Auto Show officially opens to the public at McCormick Place on Saturday. See the latest in concept cars, sports cars and cars you could actually picture in your own driveway, along with celebrity appearances and demonstrations. Admission is $12 for adults and $7 for seniors and kids ages 7 to 12.

Watch some real women arm wrestle at CLLAW. Photo by James Rand.

LADY ARM WRESTLING: The Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers holds a special Valentine’s event, My Bloody CLLAW-entine, this Saturday at Logan Square Auditorium at 9 p.m. The tournament, which benefits Sideshow Theatre Company and The Chicago Human Rhythm Project, will also feature a performance from the all-female Beastie Boys tribute band, She’s Crafty. Tickets are $10 in advance ($15 door).

NAKED AT THE ART MUSEUM: No, not you. Put your pants back on. Watson Adventures is putting on Valentine’s scavenger hunts at the Art Institute this weekend where you are tasked with finding all the nude art from “bathing beauties” to “provocative Picassos.” Hunts are at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $38.

HANDMADE MARKET: Handmade Market returns to Empty Bottle this saturday with more than 30 unique vendors. Find jewelry, handbags, knitted items, clothes, paper crafts and more and more for sale from local makers. Noon to 4 p.m. Free.

Primordial Pair illustration by Erik Lundquist

BEER RELEASE PARTY: Arcade Brewery and Dimo’s Pizza have collaborated on a new Pale Ale and they’re celebrating with a party from 6 to 10 p.m. at Dimo’s in Wicker Park. The new brew, called Primordial Pair, is made with Jaggery (cane & palm tree sugar) and pairs well with Dimo’s inventive pizzas. They’ll have music and video games from local developers Bit Bash at the release party, plus $1 from the sale of each beer goes to Hope for the Day charity.

LUNAR NEW YEAR PARADE: Argyle Street gets in on the Chinese New Year fun with the Lunar New Year Parade parade at 1 p.m. The family-friendly parade will have colorful floats and dancers and face-painting for the kids. Free.


VALENTINE KARAOKE + ZINE FEST: The independent literary festival Chicago Zine Fest is holding their fifth annual karaoke fundraiser at Beauty Bar at 8 p.m. The Valentine’s Day-themed event is hosted by Shameless Karaoke and gives you the opportunity to belt out all the love classics like like Hall and Oates ‘Kiss on My List’ or Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted to Love’ while supporting the arts. Admission is $5.

LGBTQ 90’S PARTY: Chicago Fire star Monica Raymund is the host of a monthly pop up party for the LGBTQ crowd called Clandestina, and for Valentine’s Day, the party becomes a ball and benefit. The theme is 90’s Love Story with a live performance from 90s Hip-Hop star Monie Love among others. Tickets are $20 and include an hour long open bar from 8-9 p.m. Proceeds benefit Project Fierce.

Van Gogh's Bedrooms. Photo via the Art Institute's website.

VAN GOGH BEDROOMS: The Art Institute's Van Gogh exhibit “The Bedroom” opens on Sunday. This is the first time that all three of the legendary artist’s Bedroom paintings are together in North America. The paintings will be on display through May 10. Exhibit is included in museum admission.

BUTCHER CLASS: Chop Shop’s got an alternative to your typical Valentine’s dinner date. At their Butcher Class from 3 to 5 p.m., the butcher team will show you how to breakdown a whole hog and then serve up four different pork dishes. Reservations are $50 per person and can be made by calling 773.537.4440.

CHINATOWN NEW YEAR PARADE: If you’re like us, you’ve been celebrating the Chinese New Year all week. Head on down to Chinatown for the culmination of it all with the Lunar New Year Parade at 1 p.m. See marching bands, floats, lion dances and a 90-foot long “Mystical Dragon” all to celebrate the new year of the Monkey. Free.


Get a photo with your furry friend to benefit PAWS. Photo by Sebastian Sparenga.

PUPPY LOVE: There will be tons of Puppy Love at River Shannon on Valentine’s Day as they help raise funds for PAWS. Bring your furry friend to the bar for a professional photo and drink specials for you owners. $1 from each the photos and drink purchases will benefit the city’s no-kill pet shelter. 3 to 5 p.m.

CHILI-SYNTH COOK-OFF: Who woulda thought that synthesizers go so well with chili? Believe it or not this is the 6th annual Chili-Synth Cook-Off at the Empty Bottle where contenders create a synth-based “sonic interpretation” of the chili they make. The audience will decide the winner based on the best pairing. There are only two rules for the competition: No midi and no laptops. Tickets are $5.

BOOGIE DOWN: Smart Bar continues it's Valentine to Chicago with a Valentine's Day edition of it Sunday residency Queen! This week they're calling it the Two Tamales and an Egg Roll Release Party featuring Michael Serafini, Garrett David, Chicago Skyway and Specter. Doors open at 10 p.m. and the cover is $7.