Voices STD (Stuff to Do)—February 1, 2008

By Ben Rossi

Friday / February 1

Ingmar Bergman’s classic Persona, a deceptively simple film about a nurse who comes to know her patient intimately, screens at the Gene Siskel Film Center tonight. Persona has been called Bergman’s best by some critics. The film is part of the Center’s The Great Transitions: World Cinema in the ’60s series. (164 North State Street, 6 p.m., $7 for students)

Her first book threw Pakistan’s government into damage-control mode (they banned it). Ayesha Siddiqa has touched a nerve both in Pakistan and in some quarters here in the States with her incisive analysis of Pakistan’s extralegal military economy. A former civil servant, Siddiqa got her Ph.D. in war studies in London. She’ll talk about her new book and its implications for the war on terror at International House this evening. (International House, 4 p.m., free)

Saturday / February 2

Don’t look for the ponderous, tragic nobility of Madonna’s Evita in Trap Door Theatre’s Eva Peron: This Peron is a spoiled, neurotic woman who even in her last days remains an unreformed bitch. Written by Copi, a major influence in France’s Theatre of the Absurd movement, the play is volatile, funny, and, as befits its main character, larger than life. (1655 West Cortland Street, 8 p.m., $17)

The University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra digs into Brahms’s “Piano Concerto No. 2,” one of the composer’s most successful and lengthy pieces. The orchestra pairs it with excerpts from Bedrich Smetana’s Ma vlast, a set of symphonic poems celebrating Smetana’s native Czechoslovakia. (Mandel Hall, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., $5 for students)

Sunday / February 3

Granted, it’s a little early to make the trek up to the North Side, but it’s worth it for this rare screening of W.C. Fields’s The Bank Dick, a hilariously misanthropic, booze-soaked comedy. Fields delights as a shlub elevated to small-town hero when he accidentally foils a bank robbery. As usual, the plot is as insubstantial as meringue; Fields’s acrobatic physical comedy, drunken wordplay, and almost absurdist comic universe make the film golden. (3733 North Southport Avenue, 11:30 p.m., $9.25)

David Rubinger has photographed Israel’s history from the very beginning, when he himself fought for its independence. His recently released autobiography, Israel Through My Lens: 60 Years As a Photojournalist, is a fascinating account of a remarkable life, and a remarkable nation. Rubinger will share anecdotes and memories about his best-known pictures at the Spertus Institute Sunday afternoon. (610 South Michigan Avenue, 2 p.m., $20)

Monday / February 4

Aspiring musicians should head over to the Chicago Cultural Center for Monday night’s installment of the city’s Musicians at Work Forum on how to form a stable band and make it profitable. Paneled by local music biz representatives and musicians, it’s a great way to pick up tips and do some networking. And envisioning your band as a little business venture is sure to help you create great art. (77 East Randolph Street, 6 p.m., free)

As part of its Sam Fuller series, Doc screens Verboten!, a little known late ’50s jewel that marks an experimental thrust in Fuller’s career. Set in post-war Germany, Verboten! chronicles the trials and tribulations of a wounded G.I. as he falls in love with a beautiful German woman and becomes entangled in a sinister Nazi plot. (Max Palevsky Cinema, 7 p.m., $5)

Tuesday / February 5

Kick out the jams on Fat Tuesday with The Sophisticated Cissies, a mega funk group dedicated to playing the music of New Orleans’s beloved Meters. For the $10 cover, clubbers get a full buffet of Cajun cuisine, like cornbread, gumbo, and jambalaya. Plus, this Mardi Gras you won’t need alcohol to assuage your conscience. All the proceeds go to the Habitat–NOLA Musicians’ Project, a project providing new homes for displaced New Orleans musicians. (3159 North Southport Avenue, 8 p.m., $10, 21 and over)

A new reading series, the fruit of a collaboration between Chicago arts podcast Bad at Sports and the Green Lantern Gallery, kicks off with Jonathan Messinger reading from his collection of short stories, Hiding Out. Hiding Out has made waves in literary circles for its subtle yet straightforward evocation of ordinary life and its occasional sublimities. (1511 North Milwaukee Avenue, 2nd floor, 7 p.m., free)

Wednesday / February 6

On Wednesday night the iO Cabaret hosts the 45 minutes of comedic bliss that is TJ & Dave. A prime example of long-form improv, the show features amazingly complex characters. (3541 North Clark Street, 11 p.m., $5)

Thursday / February 7

2004 Edinburgh Festival Fringe award winner Fatboy comes to A Red Orchid Theatre. This puerile, comic, and ultimately disturbing parade of the grotesque takes its cues as much from South Park as from high theatre. A gluttonous, power-crazed couple scheme and conspire their way from paupers to potentates while wallowing in their own greed and lasciviousness. (1531 North Wells, 8 p.m., $20–$25)