Tonight's recommended shows paired with nearby restaurants, including Chicago's best all-female improv group and good budget sushi.
Show: "Local quartet Implodes is all kinds of big guitar damage," writes Jessica Hopper. "Shoegaze fuzz blasts, sparkly drone, slicks of tuneful sludge, distortion so thick it obscures the keyboards, the vocals, and even the drums. Sometimes the band's dissonance is reminiscent of Glenn Branca's orchestras, but there are only two guitarists here: Ken Camden is part of the mini scene anchored by Zelienople, who've got their own style of ethereal hugeness, and Matt Jencik, formerly of Taking Pictures, was Slint's fill-in bassist in 2007 and just started playing with David Pajo in Papa M."
9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $3.
Dinner: Crust Chef Michael Altenberg’s casual flatbread-pizza joint, the city’s first certified organic restaurant, is a sleek modern dining hall with bright orange molded plastic chairs and trippy Formica tables; the spacious tented back patio and sidewalk cafe add seats for another 130. The pizzas—er, flatbreads—have an airy, chewy, well-proofed crust and are topped with everything from savory silver dollars of pepperoni to a sunny-side-up egg to a take on an Alsatian Flammkuchen (caramelized onion, bacon, and caraway seeds with a bechamel sauce).
2056 W. Division, 773-235-5511
Show: Good Hair Prompted by his young daughter’s innocent question—“Daddy, how come don’t I have good hair?”—comedian Chris Rock investigates the multibillion-dollar black hair-care industry, a topic that leads him to the very roots (so to speak) of African-American identity.
Pipers Alley, 230 W. North, 312-642-6275, 5:45pm, 8pm
Dinner: Twin Anchors Despite the nautical theme, ties to local celebrities, and proud association with Frank Sinatra, Twin Anchors is a peanuts-on-the-bar neighborhood place with a loyal clientele.
1655 N. Sedgwick, 312-266-1616
Show: Red Cliff The battle scenes are everything one might expect: the ringing of engraved blades, blood spray in the open air, swordsmen on horseback wading into foot soldiers as if they were threshing wheat. More impressive, though, are Woo's balancing of the epic and the intimate and his contrasting of male and female power.
Landmark's Century Centre, 2828 N. Clark, 773-509-4949, 5pm, 8:30pm
Dinner: Duke of Perth Long-standing Lakeview pub best known for its selection of beers and Scotch whiskeys (over 90 of the latter). The Scottish-themed menu includes fish-and-chips (all you can eat for $9.50 Wednesdays and Fridays), shepherd's pie, and vegetarian options such as leek pie and salads.
2913 N. Clark, 773-477-1741
Show: The Mystery of Irma Vep The ludicrously overplotted narrative is just an excuse for over-the-top acting and a nonstop barrage of pop-culture and highbrow allusions (including some hilariously mangled snippets from Shakespeare, Poe, and Wilde). In this Court Theatre production, director Sean Graney amplifies Ludlam's campy double entendres and groaner puns with lewd sight gags, gross-out bits, and an especially clever piece of shtick that satirizes his own penchant for putting audiences in the middle of his shows. Graney's previous assignment at Court, Joe Orton's What the Butler Saw, was also the work of a subversive queer writer. This production is equally creative—and raunchy—but a lot more tightly coordinated.
Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis, 773-753-4472
Dinner: Cedars Mediterranean Kitchen Lebanese offerings include the usual suspects — marinated chicken kebabs, falafel, and hummus to spread on unusually good pita. Portions are generous, which makes it a great stop for those on a student budget.
1206 E. 53rd, 773-324-6227
Show: Children of a Lesser God Despite competition from Sirens, Children of a Lesser God is the best all-female improv group in Chicago. Letting loose like girls at a slumber party, they can be uninhibitedly hyper and unabashedly sentimental, and their fearless individuality and sexual openness give them a third-wave-feminist edge.
iO, 3541 N. Clark, 773-880-0199 Closed.
Dinner: Shiroi Hana A big favorite of sushi lovers on a budget.
3242 N. Clark, 773-477-1652