January 26, 2007

Voices STD (Stuff to Do)—January 26, 2007

Friday, January 26

The Hilliard Ensemble, a world-renowned vocal group, has specialized in early music since its beginning in 1974. Yet the Ensemble is also an adventurous and flexible unit, performing the work of contemporary composer Arvo Pärt and collaborating with jazz saxophonist Jan Garbarek. This group may love old tunes, but they’re anything but stuffy. (Rockefeller Chapel, 8 p.m., $30 general, $11 student)

David Lynch, the director of Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, is famous for his inscrutable plots and searing images. Inland Empire, his latest effort, makes its Chicago debut today and will run through February 1, exclusively at the Music Box. (The director himself will be in attendance on Saturday evening, but those showings are sold out.) Inland Empire was shot over two years with Lynch writing much of the movie during production. Expect the usual craziness along with gritty performances by Lauren Dern, Jeremy Irons, and Justin Theroux. (Music Box Theatre, 3733 North Southport Avenue, 4 p.m., 8 p.m., 11:30 p.m., through 2/1, $9.25)

Silent film with live musical accompaniment is not uncommon at the U of C, but rarely are these kind of events staged with as much grandeur as this weekend’s screening of New Bablyon. Conductor Barbara Schubert leads the mighty University Symphony Orchestra into Shostakovich’s first film score to accompany this classic Soviet picture about the historical events surrounding the Paris Commune of 1873. (Mandel Hall, 8 p.m., also 1/27, $10 and up)

Saturday, January 27

The painter Rudolf Stingel is known for his highly conceptual work and his use of alternative materials like rubber, carpet, painted aluminum, and Styrofoam. Starting today and running through May 27, the Museum of Contemporary Art will host Stingel’s first U.S. solo show, a career retrospective and a showcase of several newer pieces. The exhibit’s curator, Francesco Bonami, leads a tour at noon to help kick off the four-month-long festivities. (Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago Avenue, noon, $10 general, $6 student)

University Theater’s winter season begins with Agon, a physical and clown theater performance based on Aeschylus’ Oresteia. The play, directed and conceived by Angeline Gragasin, will also run on Friday. Expect an invigorating night of first-rate theater. (Design Lab, Reynolds Club, 8 p.m., 9:30 p.m., free)

Sunday, January 28

The Pacifica Quartet, that dapper string foursome, presents the second of their three concerts as U of C artists-in-residence. The Pacifica plays demanding music with aplomb and class—always a good bet. (Mandel Hall, 3 p.m., $15 general, $5 student)

What’s better than medieval Italian swordplay? The Chicago Swordplay Guild is hosting The Flower of Battle: Knightly Combat in Medieval Italy, a day of seminars and workshops on medieval Italian martial arts. In addition to knights in shining armor, you get a boxed lunch with the price of admission. (Ida Noyes Hall, 9 a.m., $25 morning, $30 all day)

Monday, January 29

Legendary Nobel Prize–winning U of C economist Milton Friedman died last fall at the age of 94. The U of C will celebrate his life with a memorial service at Rockefeller Chapel; speakers will include fellow Nobel laureate Gary Becker, Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, and U of C President Robert Zimmer. (Rockefeller Chapel, 2 p.m., free)

Tuesday, January 30

The New York–based pianist Uri Caine (pictured) likes to walk the often hazy border between jazz and classical music. He’s a member of Dave Douglass’s much-celebrated Quintet, leads forays into digital music making, and sometimes just sits down to play the classical repertoire. As part of his stay as a Presidential Fellow in the Arts, Caine will perform a public concert of Mozart and Mahler with a five-member ensemble. Caine plays the laptop as well as the piano, and most of the musicians in the ensemble are hard-boiled jazzmen, so expect a fresh and unconventional interpretation of the music. (Mandel Hall, 7 p.m., $15 general, $5 student)

Director Thom Anderson presents his film Los Angeles Plays Itself, a documentary critique of Hollywood’s portrayal of the real Los Angeles. The film is the anchor of the quarter-long Tuesday night series of the same title and will feature a talk and Q&A session with the director. The event is part of Doc’s ongoing 75th anniversary celebration. (Max Palevsky Cinema, 7 p.m., $5)

Writer Denis Johnson is most famous for his short story collection Jesus’ Son, which was turned into a critically-acclaimed movie starring Billy Crudup. Johnson’s work frequently appears in high-class periodicals like The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Poetry. He comes to the U of C for a reading and Q&A session coordinated by the Committee on Creative Writing. (Social Sciences 122, 5 p.m., free)

Wednesday, January 31

HotHouse, one of the best rooms in the city for music and art, presents urText, a literary series curated by Achy Obejas with readings by U of C alumnus David Driscoll, U of C creative writing professor Srikanth Reddy, Bayo Ojikutu, and Coya Paz. (HotHouse, 31 East Balboa Drive, 7 p.m., 18+, $5 suggested donation)

Thursday, February 1

The Smart Museum kicks off Cosmophilia, an exhibition of Islamic art, with an opening lecture and reception. The art, spanning a millennium of Islamic history from Spain to India, arrives in Chicago from the David Collection in Copenhagen, and should be a sumptuous visual feast. The exhibition will run through May 20. (Smart Museum, 5550 South Greenwood Avenue, 5 p.m., free)