Voices STD (Stuff to Do)—February 29, 2008

By Ben Rossi

Friday / February 29

The award-winning chamber ensemble Alban Berg Quartet gives its last Mandel Hall concert as part of its farewell tour. Crowning the elegiac program, which includes Haydn’s The Last Seven Words of Christ and Schubert’s “String Quartet in G Major,” will be Berg’s own tragic Lyric Suite. It should be a moving evening. (Mandel Hall, 7:30 p.m., $5)

The Museum of Contemporary Art presents an intriguing theatrical concert composed by avant-garde multi-instrumentalist Carla Kihlstedt. Necessary Monsters brings characters inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’s The Book of Imaginary Beings to life through envelope-pushing music, extravagant costumes, and other visual elements. (220 East Chicago Avenue, 7:30 p.m., $24)

Fire Escape Films holds its second annual 48 Hour Film Festival this weekend, featuring films written, shot, and edited in 48 hours. Participants compete for festival favorite. Additionally, the One-Dub Dirty Love Jazz Club, The Names that Spell, and Saturday Realism will perform on Saturday at 1 p.m. (Cox Lounge, 6 p.m., free)

Saturday / March 1

Proof that people will go to just about any length to kill the Chicago winter doldrums, the Chiditarod, or Chicago Iditarod, is a wild street party masquerading as a sporting event. Teams of five racers—four people tied to a specially modified shopping cart and one musher running behind—gallop through the streets of Wicker Park and Bucktown collecting food to donate to local food banks. Whether you’re running with the pack or laughing from the sidelines, the Chiditarod is bound to be a good time. Participants are required to provide their own shopping carts and highly encouraged to decorate them. (Southwest corner of Shakespeare and Damen, 12:30 p.m., $25 refundable cart deposit, for more information check out chiditarod.org)

Student choreographers showcase their talents in the UC Dancers’ new concert, The Edge. The show includes work by Maria Fondeur, Wendy Gonzalez, Helen Gregg, Jessica Hester, Kate Swanson, and Alexa Webster-Clark. Also in the offing are pieces by professional choreographer Erin Carlisle Norton. (Bartlett Arts Rehearsal Space, 7–8 p.m., $3 for students)

Sunday / March 2

Straddling dark high-concept and lowbrow comedy, the sketch trio Hey You Millionaires brings its twisted humor to the Annoyance Theatre tonight. Sketches include NPR disc jockeys struggling with the N-word and scientists performing “comedy experiments.” (4830 North Broadway, 7 p.m., $10)

August Strindberg’s misogynistic, lurid 1888 Miss Julie really doesn’t deserve as good a treatment as it gets at the Chopin Theatre, yet it is surprisingly moving. Miss Julie chronicles the downfall of an aristocrat, described by Strindberg as a “man-hating half-woman,” who rebels against the restrictions placed on her by polite society and embarks on a disastrous, torrid affair with a servant. In separating the sex act from love, Strindberg’s play shocked the world and served as an inspiration for many later playwrights, including Tennessee Williams. (1542 West Division Street, 2 p.m., $20)

Monday / March 3

William A. Wellman’s canonical 1931 gangster film The Public Enemy catapulted James Cagney into superstardom and established the distinctive themes and visual tropes that would define the genre for the next 20 years or more. Everyone knows the scene in which an irritated Cagney mashes a grapefruit into the pretty face of a yammering Mae Clark. Plus, it’s set in Chicago. (164 North State Street, 6 p.m., $7 for students)

Catch the last day of the world’s biggest club squash tournament at the University Club of Chicago. Players compete for thousands of dollars in tense, fast-paced games. Tickets go quickly, so buy one as soon as possible. (76 East Monroe Street, $35–$125, 5:30 p.m.)

Tuesday / March 4

Author of 12 books of literature and one of the preeminent Language poets, Carla Harryman will read a selection of her poems tonight in Classics. The event is part of the University of Chicago’s Poem Present Reading and Lecture series. (Classics Hall, Room 110, 5:30 p.m., free)

Wednesday / March 5

Irish folk/rock super group the Pogues hit the Riviera Theatre as part of their long (since 2001) series of reunion tours with bibulous and brilliant front man Shane MacGowan. It’s a must-see event, especially given the stupendous performance the group had last year at the Congress. You can catch the same show tomorrow if you can’t make it tonight. Looks like you might have to buy tickets from a scalper, though. (4746 North Racine, 7 p.m., $80)

Thursday / March 6

Widely considered the best foreign film of 2007, Palme d’Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days tells the story of two women desperately seeking an illegal abortion in Cold War–era Romania. It’s a nightmare of a movie: suspenseful, stomach-turning (though not graphic), and deeply disturbing. (3733 North Southport Avenue, 7:35 p.m., $9.25)

Tonight sees the premiere of Court Theatre’s Carousel, a time-honored Rodgers and Hammerstein musical set in a fishing village on the coast of Maine circa 1890. Centering on the love affair between rakish carnival barker Billy Bigelow and a mill worker named Julie Jordan, Carousel explores depths of emotion rarely touched in musicals. Charles Newell directs. (Court Theatre, 7:30 p.m., $24 for students)