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20 Of Our Favorite Events In Chicago This Week

By Michelle Meywes Kopeny in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 27, 2017 4:01PM

Dan Harmon, photo courtesy Chicago Improv Festival

Laughs and good times ahead with Improv Fest, a rocking ACLU benefit concert, Jay and Silent Bob, Baconfest and more.


IMPROV FEST: Dan Harmon (Community) and Scott Adsit (30 Rock) will co-headline this year’s Chicago Improv Festival that starts Monday and runs through Sunday. It’s the festival’s 20th anniversary, and more than 145 improv groups make up the bill spanning venues across the city including Stage 773, the Athenaeum Theatre, The Annoyance Theatre, and Second City’s e.t.c. Theater. Some of the other notable names making the marquis this year are TJ Jagodowski, Kevin Dorff, Rob Belushi, Empire’s Antoine McKay and Superstore’s Jon Barinholtz. Check out the full schedule here. Tickets range from $5 to $35.

OUTER DIMENSIONAL ROCK: Pontiak tends to subtly change their sound from album to album, but their songs are all based on a solid foundation of old school, groove-oriented psychedelia. On this year's Dialectic of Ignorance the band gets a little woozier, often sounding like they're playing through a thin, shimmering sheet separating the listener on one side and the band on the other. The band is going to be on tour opening for Sword in a few months, so consider this intimate Monday night headlining free show at The Empty Bottle a special treat. Get there early.

THROWBACK DINNER: Go old school steakhouse at RPM Steak’s American Throwback dinner from 6 to 9 p.m. The menu will feature Prime Rib, Caesar Salad, Creamed Spinach and Bananas Foster for dessert. Tickets are $85. For a reservation, call call 312-955-1431.

Jennifer Higdon. Photo by Candace di Carlo courtesy of Chicago Sinfonietta.

LGBTQ COMPOSERS: The Chicago Sinfonietta honors LGBTQ composers and musicians with More than a Letter at 7:30 p.m. The special concert at the Symphony Center features a performance from pianist/activist Sara Davis Buechner and a Chicago Premiere by Pulitzer Prize/Grammy Award-winning composer Jennifer Higdon, plus David Conte’s "Elegy for Matthew," a tribute to Matthew Shepard, the victim of one of the most notorious anti-gay hate crimes in American history. Tickets start at $18.

RED FUNDRAISER: Support Red Theater’s free theater at Red Revolution from 7 to 10 p.m. The fundraiser at Revolution Brewing’s Brewers’ Lounge includes unlimited pints of Revolution Brewing’s five core house beers, appetizers and raffle tickets for prizes. Tickets are $45 with the code COMRADE.


Image via The Girl Talk's Facebook page.

GIRL TALK: Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is the special guest at this edition of The Girl Talk, a female-empowered talk show, at Hideout at 6:30 p.m. Entry is $5.


WINE DINNER: Ema’s hosts their first ever wine dinner with winemaker Rajat Parr at 6:30 p.m. Wines from Santa Barbara’s Sandhi Winery will accompany a mezze feast from Chef CJ Jacobson. Tickets are $75. Call 312-485-5778 or email to reserve a spot.

ACLU BENEFIT CONCERT: Team up with the Empty Bottle and Twin Peaks for a special ACLU benefit concert at 9 p.m. The local rockers will grace the Bottle stage for only the second time, joined on the bill by Redgrave and Deeper. Tickets are $25.

LADIES OF LIVE LIT: The ladies of the live lit show Miss Spoken take on the hot button issue of Sibling Rivalry at the Gallery Cabaret at 7 p.m. Rosamund Lannin and Carly Oishi host with readings from Leah Jones, Kenzie Siebert and more. Entry is a $5 suggested donation.

REMEMBERING DOUBLE DOOR: We don't think this is quite a wake since the recently shuttered Double Door is looking for another space to hold shows, but until that happens this is a chance to mingle with the venue's staff and "talk future plans for the music community." The event starts at 9 p.m. at Liar's Club.


Image via Toast to Harry Caray's Facebook page.

TOAST TO HARRY CARAY: The 19th annual Toast to Harry Caray is here, and this year Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg lead the toast with a rousing rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." The worldwide toast will commence at 6:30 p.m. CST with ground zero being the Harry Caray’s steakhouse in River North. Identical twins are invited to pre-register for this year’s theme of “Let’s Win Two” honoring the late Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks.

JAY + SILENT BOB GET OLD: Film legends Jay & Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) find fun in never forgetting about the good ol days of Mallrats and the View Askewniverse. They’re bringing their hit podcast, Jay & Silent Bob Get Old, live on tour, with a stop at the Vic Theatre at 8 p.m. Tickets are $39.50. Prepare for a lot of entertaining conversation.

Image via Chop Top Challenge's Facebook page.

CHOP TOP KICKOFF: It’s time once again for the Chop Top Challenge, where some wild guys race to Las Vegas in chopped vehicles with no top or windshield. The kickoff party is this Thursday at arts space Silent Funny where you can see some of the crazy cars in person. They’ll also have live music, live painting and a raffle. Free.

COCKTAIL CLASS: Taste the flavors of Latin America at Saint Lou’s Assembly’s multicourse dinner and cocktail making class. Learn to create themed cocktails with the MONEYGUN masters while enjoying paired dishes from Executive Chef Carlos Cruz. 7 p.m. Tickets are $75.

DOC10 FILM FEST: Ten documentaries. Ten Chicago premieres. Ten inspiring filmmakers. The DOC10 Film Festival takes over the Davis Theatre this weekend. Jon Benet, John Coltrane, obituary writers and more are among the topics covered. Check out the schedule and ticket options on the festival website.


AMERICA WOKESHOPS: The School of the Art Institute of Chicago presents a free three-day event to get citizens more engaged in their own democracy. “United, States, America: Three Problematic Concepts” is a series of “Wokeshops” for Informed Participation with experts in civil rights, policy, race, immigration, and the media. Check out the full agenda and rsvp here.

Image via Baconfest's Facebook page.

BACONFEST: The name says it all. Baconfest is an entire festival dedicated to bacon. Food Network stars, Michelin honored chefs and local chefs will all be on the roster this weekend, preparing bacon-loaded dishes for you, bacon-lover, to enjoy. There are three sessions to choose from at the UIC Pavilion: Friday dinner and Saturday lunch and dinner. Tickets are $100 and include tastings, drink tickets, a Baconfest tote bag and a souvenir program guide.

GIORDANO DANCE: Giordano Dance Chicago presents their Spring Engagement at Harris Theater Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The program features a new work by Liz Imperio and Frank Chaves' restaging of "Grusin Suite." Tickets start at $15.

'60s SWINGING GROOVES: Foxygen has been a band with a pretty uneven past. When they are on—both on album and live—they are on and a thrill to see. But part of what makes it such a thrill is the knowledge going in that the volatile group cold be about to trigger absolute collapse. On this year's Hang, we think the band has finally hit their stride and gained the ability to deliver something uniformly terrific. The album features a full on orchestra driving each song, with the music being based in the sound of '60s London sophisticated pop. The result is a lush and lovely listen. It's a complete, and very welcome, departure from their train wreck of a last album, 2014's ...And Star Power. If you've never heard of Foxygen this is an excellent introduction and if you've been turned off by them in the past, now is the time to give them another chance. Foxygen plays Friday night at The Vice and tickets are $22.

It's called First Tuesdays, but local journalists Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky are holding their celebrated monthly live political talk show on a Friday this month so that you can spend Friday night with Illinois Congressmen Danny Davis and Luis Gutierrez. They'll talk about how the Democrats are trying to fight back in the era of Trump. Topics of discussion include budgets, healthcare, immigration, and the intelligence committee hearings. First Tuesdays with Mick & Ben - Special Congressional Edition is happening at The Hideout,1354 W. Wabansia Ave., at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 31. Tickets are $5.