Voices STD (Stuff to Do)—January 18, 2008

By Ben Rossi

Friday / January 18

Chicago Critical Mass is an anarchic, free-form non-organization dedicated to bike-riding Michigan Avenue in semi-protest of what it calls “car culture” on its website, and apparently, it has opened up a chapter in Hyde Park. Beginning at Harper Court, this ragtag band of grassroots activists, bike enthusiasts, and curious tag-alongs will tour the South Side Friday night. (5211 South Harper Avenue, 5:30 p.m., free)

Katerina Šedá, a young Czech artist who has made a name for herself with her sociology-themed pieces, treats art as a communal act of identity-building and affirmation. For her latest exhibition at the Renaissance Society, she assembled over 600 drawings made by her grandmother of various tools and supplies sold in the Brno hardware shop she owned. The result is a reflection on the social composition of identity. (The Renaissance Society, Cobb Hall, 10:00 a.m.–5 p.m.)

Saturday / January 19

With Scarlett Johansson abortions almost going straight from screen to DVD, it’s amazing to think that Woody Allen was once considered one of the most important American directors. Yet for an entire decade, Allen made films that captured with neurotic eloquence the sensibilities of a generation. Take the trip up to the Music Box for Allen’s paean to New York, Manhattan, a film that almost equals the iconic Annie Hall. (3733 North Southport Avenue, 11:30 a.m., $7.25)

Powered by John Adams’s rampaging score, the 2005 opera Doctor Atomic, now playing at the Civic Opera House, gives us a vision of the Manhattan Project like you’ve never seen before. Focusing on the fiercely competitive personalities of the project’s guiding lights, such as J. Robert Oppenheimer, Robert Wilson, and Edward Teller, the opera plays out the debates between the scientists over the dreadful power unleashed in the desert. If you can afford it, go. (20 North Wacker Drive, 7:30 p.m., $41–$176)

Sunday / January 20

2007’s sleeper hit Once stars John Carney as a struggling musician who befriends a young, musically-inclined immigrant in Dublin. Almost an extended music video, the film sacrifices plot and characterization to the original music. Said music, it must be said, is pretty good. (Doc Films, 4 p.m., $5)

Monday / January 21

There are so many great films being shown this week, it’s hard not to sound monotonous. But just one more: The Gene Siskel Film Center is showing Animal Crackers, a hilarious 1930 Marx Brothers romp set in Africa. (164 North State Street, 7:45 p.m., $5)

Tuesday / January 22

Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, will speak Tuesday night at the Fairmont Hotel. Sponsored by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the talk’s jumping-off point is this question: What if you could harness the power of the free market to solve the problems of poverty, hunger, and inequality? (200 North Columbus Drive, 5:30–7:15 p.m., $30)

Wednesday / January 23

Don’t miss the Court Theatre’s new staging of Titus Andronicus, one of Shakespeare’s earliest works, and a gritty, powerful drama at that. A Roman general brings his war trophy, the Gothic Queen Tamora, home with him to Rome but finds out that he got more than he bargained for. (Court Theatre, 7:30 p.m., $10 with UCID)

Thursday / January 24

Dwight Hopkins, professor of theology in the Divinity School, will present a theory of theological anthropology in a lecture that is part of the Ethics Club Lecture Series. Hopkins specializes in liberation and black theologies. The theory posited in his new book, Being Human: Race, Culture and Religion, however, has the broad ambition of reshaping the notion of “the human” in the light of culture, self, and race. (Swift Hall, Room 200, 12–1:20 p.m., free)

The Chicago Society presents a night of comedy with Jordan Carlos, stand-up comedian and “black friend” to Stephen Colbert. Carlos draws his material from his experiences as the “token” black guy. Entitled “LOL 102: An Evening of Comedy,” the event is located in Cobb Coffee Shop, so whatever you do, arrive early to secure seats. (Cobb Hall, 7– 9 p.m., free)