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Show: Explode Into Colors "All-female Portland trio Explode Into Colors are big faves in their hometown, both with basement-party punks and on the outre-dance scene," writes Jessica Hopper. "They're killer live—with Claudia Meza on baritone guitar and vocals, Lisa Schonberg on drums, and Heather Treadway on percussion, keys, and more vocals, their setup is full sounding and for-real funky."
9:30 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 866-468-3401, $10, 17+.
Dinner: Birchwood Kitchen There’s not a cheap shortcut to be found at this ambitious sandwich shop from former Pastoral cheeseman Daniel Sirko and partner Judd Murphy (also of Pastoral).
2211 W. North, 773-276-2100
Show: Seth Troxler "Though now based in Berlin, 24-year-old Seth Troxler was born in Kalamazoo and grew up there and in suburban Detroit," writes Miles Raymer. "He started listening to house music at age seven, and his stepfather was part of a well-known local DJ crew. Troxler's upcoming entry in Bpitch Control's Boogybytes mix series is rooted solidly in Michigan-born techno—specifically the type of chilly, restrained, minimalist funk that Detroit's had on lock for decades."
10 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-4140, $15, $10 in advance and before midnight.
Dinner: Arco de Cuchileros One of Chicago's first tapas restaurants, this family-run place serves reasonably priced ”small dishes” with interesting touches.
3445 N. Halsted, 773-296-6046
Show: Dana Hall "Though the recent Into the Light (Origin) is Dana Hall's debut as a bandleader, he's hardly shy about asserting himself," writes Peter Margasak. "A veteran drummer who's played with the likes of Bobby Broom and Malachi Thompson and serves as musical director of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Hall favors a furious attack—but you never get the sense he's just hitting hard because he's got nothing to say."
9 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 773-878-5552, $12.
Dinner: Le's Pho "With all the pho joints around Argyle, there’s always the nagging thought that no matter which one chooses there’s another serving a subtler, more aromatic bowl of the Vietnamese beef noodle soup; among phoficionados such places rise and fall in favor continuously," writes Mike Sula. "But Pho Hoa, tucked inside a Broadway strip mall along a tight parking lot in perpetual gridlock, continues to dish out sublime bowls of soup."
4925 N. Broadway, 773-784-8723
Show: Beeswax The talented indie director Andrew Bujalski (Funny Ha Ha, Mutual Apprecation) delivers another of his wry, socially observant romantic comedies, focusing this time on the odd parallels between partnership in business and in love; he'll attend three screenings this weekend. See J.R. Jones's in-depth review for more.
6pm, 8pm, Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., 312-846-2600
Dinner: Xoco "Caldos, served only after 3 PM, are all more than meals in themselves, deep and substantial soups brimming with the same sort of meats available on the tortas but also vegetables, chile, avocado, and lime and maybe noodles or dumplings to boot," writes Mike Sula.
449 N. Clark St., 312-334-3688
Show: The Hurt Locker "The war has already produced some excellent fiction films (The Lucky Ones, In the Valley of Elah), but this is the first to dispense with the controversy surrounding the invasion and focus on the timeless subject of men in combat. It's the best war movie since Full Metal Jacket," writes J.R. Jones.
8:30pm, Logan, 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-252-0628
Dinner: La Bombonera Ramon Delgado opened the original La Bombonera in Logan Square in 1987, and carried on with it for close to 20 years before moving to Orlando for a few years. Now he's back in the game, joined by his son, Carlos. He has big plans for this sunny neighborhood cafe offering Cuban sandwiches, (roasted pork, ham, cheese, mustard, and pickle pressed on a grill), media noches (the same insides, on a yellow egg bun), ropa vieja, and the Chicago-invented Puerto Rican delicacy the jibarito, a gooey mess of meat, cheese, and mayo grilled between starchy green plantains.
3658 W. Diversey Pky., 773-394-1375
Show: The Brother/Sister Plays "I'd rather be puzzled by this incredibly ambitious and accomplished work than satisfied by something less. 'The Brother/Sister Plays' is comparable to Angels in America, not just in terms of its length and preoccupations but also because of the mythopoetic territory it opens up," writes Tony Adler.
7:30pm, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Upstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St., 312-335-1650
Dinner: Old Town Social is a beer-focused bar, with 16 offerings on draft, many more bottles, and a short seasonal cocktail menu—but chef Jared Van Camp's curing operation is the ace in the hole.
455 W. North Ave., 312-266-2277
Show: Little Boy Needs Ride and Notes to Molly The first of these two wry, surreal short works by Chris Bower makes you want to kill yourself. The second, to kill somebody else. Fortunately, even stronger than either impulse is the sense that it doesn’t matter what the fuck you do.
9pm, Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston Ave., 773-539-7838
Dinner: Kuma's Corner The menu at this gussied-up corner tap is focused squarely on bar food—but finger-lickin' bar food it is. Kuma's serves whopping hunks of juicy, lightly seasoned meat on delicious, chewy pretzel rolls in more than 20 metal-themed iterations (the Motorhead, the Mastodon, etc), each also available as a chicken sandwich or garden burger.
2900 W. Belmont Ave., 773-604-8769