Voices STD (Stuff to Do)—February 2, 2007

By Eric Benson

Friday/ February 2

Mississippi bluesmen, Carolina bluegrass players, bayou fiddlers, gospel divas and more will make their way to Mandel Hall for the U of C Folklore Society’s annual Folk Festival. People come from far and wide to catch a rich and diverse array of performers who will play on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings and lead workshops during the day on Saturday and Sunday. Each performance will feature five different groups and promises to be well worth your penny. More information is available at UofCFolk.org. (Concerts: Mandel Hall, 8 p.m.; also 2/3, 7:30 p.m.; 2/4, 6 p.m.; $20 general, $8 student, Workshops: Ida Noyes Hall, 10 a.m. 2/3, 2/4, free)

University Theater officially gets underway with three short plays—Very Important People, It’s a Small World, and Old Friends: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim. Together they’re being called Workshop Week: You’re Gonna Love Very Small Important People, and should boast the zany daring for which UT workshops are known. (Francis X. Kinahan Third Floor Theater, Reynolds Club, 8 p.m., $6)

Workshops may headline this week’s UT offerings, but their redheaded stepchild Off-Off Campus is also jumping into the fray. Off-Off begins its own season with “Haircut of the Century,” a sketch comedy directed by Ariane Williams and Alex Yablon. If UT isn’t quite wacky enough for you, hang out with this posse of comic gurus. (University Church, 5655 South University Avenue, 9 p.m., $4)

Saturday/ February 3

The DuSable Museum presents “381 Days: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Story,” an exhibition of photographs, historical texts, and multidimensional collages depicting the movement that began with Rosa Parks’s valiant stand and resulted in an historic non-violent protest. (DuSable Museum, 740 East 56th Place, 10 a.m., $3 general, $2 student)

Chamber Orchestra conductor Will C. White leads a veritable army of musicians into Haydn’s “The Seasons” in a belated Groundhog Day Concert. The concert will feature the Chamber Orchestra and the combined forces of the Motet Choir and the University Chorus. One hundred and forty musicians blasting through Rockefeller Chapel should be more than enough to cure your winter blues. (Rockefeller Chapel, 8 p.m., $10 general suggested donation, $5 student suggested donation)

Sunday/ February 4

University Ballet, our own regal institution of classical dancers, performs Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty in a matinee at International House. If you’re wary of taking in ballet on Super Bowl Sunday, be sure to see the earlier performance on Friday. (International House, 1414 East 59th Street, 2 p.m., also 2/2 8 p.m., $10 general, $5 student)

Speaking of the Super Bowl, who would have thought that the Hyde Park Art Center would be hosting the best Super Bowl party in town? Not only will the Ultimate Art-Opera Super Bowl Party feature football, free beer, and snacks, but if the Bears take a huge early lead, you can check out the live premiere of Max King Cap’s media opera God’s Punk in the other room. If that’s still not enough, the Art Center has four recently opened exhibits for you to explore. Still not enough? They’re welcoming tailgaters in their parking lot. Oh, and it’s free. (Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 South Cornell Avenue, 5 p.m., free)

Monday/ February 5

If you’ve got a hankering for some robust classical music but don’t want to shell out a lot to see it, then you’ll want to check out the Civic Orchestra of Chicago’s concert of Wagner and Tchaikovsky. The performance features hotshot French conductor Ludovic Morlot and won’t cost you a dime. (Symphony Center, 220 South Michigan Avenue, 7:30 p.m., free)

Tuesday/ February 6

In the summer of 2005, a group of seasoned U of C filmmakers shot a wildly ambitious feature-length film entitled Crime Fiction. After a year and a half of backbreaking work, the movie premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival in the film mecca of Park City, Utah. Now, the filmmakers are back home and ready to screen their film at Doc. This tale of a hapless novelist who scores a smash hit after his girlfriend is “mysteriously” killed is devilish fun. (Max Palevsky Cinema, 9:30 p.m., $5 suggested donation)

Wednesday/ February 7

After touring Europe for the last few months, Ken Vandermark, the de facto leader of Chicago’s improvised music scene, is back in town. He’s only stopping in before launching a U.S. tour, but you can catch him with his flagship group, The Vandermark 5, at the South Side’s Velvet Lounge. (Velvet Lounge, 67 East Cermak Road, 9 p.m., 21+, $10)

Thursday/ February 8

The Double Door, that hipster North Side venue, hosts Ctrl-Alt-Rock v. 2.0, an evening of indie and alternative rock featuring The Reptiods, The Ladies & Gentlemen, Farewell Captain, DJ Tankboy, and Hyde Park’s own the Passerines. (Double Door, 1572 North Milwaukee Avenue, 9 p.m., 21+, $7)