October 20, 2006

STD (Stuff to Do)—October 20, 2006

Friday, October 20

Christmas Eve is rarely fodder for absurdist dark comedy. Leave it to 2005 Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter to transform that silent night into a Kafkaesque tale of a government psychiatric hospital gone awry in The Hothouse. A Red Orchid Theater plans a six-week run for the show, but there’s no time to catch it like the first night of previews—and none cheaper. A Red Orchid Theater, 1531 North Wells Street, 8 p.m., $10, through December 3)

Off-Off Campus, the U of C’s improv and sketch comedy outfit, premieres their newest revue Detour de Force on the second floor of University Church. The venerable group, now in its 20th year, traces its artistic lineage back to Second City co-founder Bernie Sahlins. (University Church, 5655 South University Avenue, 9 p.m., $4)

The Dave Holland Quintet has been at the apex of the jazz world for several years, but, right now, the group is playing better than ever. Chris Potter and Robin Eubanks form an extraordinary horn duo, but fundamentally the Quintet is all about the careful rhythmic conversation between vibraphonist Steve Nelson, drummer Nate Smith, and, of course, Holland himself on bass. If you’ve ever wanted to know what taut, riveting jazz music sounds like, this is your ticket. (Jazz Showcase, 59 West Grand Avenue, 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., 21+, $25, through October 22)

Saturday, October 21

You can dance the night away in the decaying elegance of the Shoreland Ballroom at an evening of contradances and square dances sponsored by the U of C Folklore Society. A fiddle-banjo-guitar trio will provide the music for this Shoreland Dance. Lessons will be offered at 7:30. (Shoreland Ballroom, 8 p.m., $3 students, $5 general)

Donnie, a scion of the Atlanta soul scene, has been winning fans with his poly-stylistic, politically conscious singing and songwriting. He brings his “classically contemporary” sound to the HotHouse for what promises to be a sell-out show. (HotHouse, 31 East Balbo Avenue, 10 p.m., 21+, $25)

The Midnight Marauders, a motley group of nighttime cyclists, will lead a Halloween-themed ride. Expect spooky sights along the way. The group meets up at the Handlebar at 11:30 p.m. before departing on their shadowy journey. We’re told that helmets, lights, and moderation are recommended but not required. (Handlebar, 2311 West North Avenue, 11:30 p.m., free)

Sunday, October 22

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the only full-time, professional chamber orchestra in the country, begins the second year of its three-year U of C residency with a concert that features two jazz-themed works: Milhaud’s ballet Creation of the World and SPCO conductor Stephen Prutsman’s own jazz fantasy. Concerti by Bach and Ravel round out the program. (Mandel Hall, 3 p.m., $11 student, $35 general)

Sunday afternoon is a great time to see a film at Doc, and there will be none better this quarter than Tsotsi, the story of a small-time South African gangster who accidentally kidnaps a baby. With a raw and searching portrait of Soweto, Tsotsi captured the 2006 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. (Max Palevsky Cinema, 2 p.m., $5)

Monday, October 23

Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” program may be a relic of the past, but the idea of turning space into a battlefield hasn’t left us. The Chicago Society is sponsoring a unique debate, “Weaponizing Space: The Fight for the Final Frontier,” which address questions regarding U.S. deployment of space-based offensive weapons, China’s emerging space program, and other futuristic policy issues. If you’re a concerned citizen, or merely hope that you may finally get to pilot the Millennium Falcon, this debate will be worthwhile. (Oriental Institute, 6:30 p.m., free)

Tuesday, October 24

The Saw Doctors, the most successful Irish rock band since U2, hits up the Metro with their characteristic blend of hook-laden riffs and traditional Irish sounds. Their music has been much parroted, but there’s nothing like hearing the original. (Metro, 3730 North Clark Street, 9 p.m., 18+, $26)

Wednesday, October 25

Chicago Calling, a 24-hour arts festival that spans diverse media, genre, and locations has a midnight kickoff at Elastic with two sets of improvised music directed by Daniele Cavallanti and Tiziano Tononi. (Elastic, 2830 North Milwaukee Avenue, 12 a.m., $2)

Come daytime, the festival spreads city-wide, and you can catch it in your own backyard with an afternoon event focusing on the works of children and teens at the Hyde Park Arts Center. (Hyde Park Arts Center, 5020 South Cornell Avenue, 2 p.m., free)

Check out the complete schedule online at

Thursday, October 26

Boxing has proven to be the sport that lends itself best to film. Part athletic competition and part rumble, the sweet science can take the form of inspirational schmaltz, searing drama, or atmospheric noir. The Set-Up, a neglected 1949 classic starring Robert Ryan, is an early and influential entry in the “washed-up boxer refusing to take the fall” subgenre that has inspired the likes of Scorsese and Tarantino. The movie’s 72 minutes unfold in real time. (Max Palevsky Cinema, 7 p.m., $5)