Dinner & a Show: Friday 2/19

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Music

Show: Cougars This mean-ass local rock band comes out of hibernation for the Rock and Wrestling Supershow, organized by EGO Pro Wrestling. "Cougars play so hard it sometimes seems like they're parodying hard rock, which to my mind makes them a perfect match for a sport that can't decide if it's parodying itself," writes Monica Kendrick.

7 PM, Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake, 312-666-6775 or 866-468-3401, $15.

Dinner: Macello Executive chef-partner Giovanni DeNigris (Trattoria Trullo) showcases the rustic cucina and robust wines of Puglia in his exposed-brick dining room, a former meatpacking warehouse, and pizzas are a good bet under the hands of chef Gino Losacco, who mans the central wood-burning brick oven.

1235 W. Lake St., 312-850-9870

Retribution Gospel Choir
  • Cameron Wittig
  • Retribution Gospel Choir
Show: Retribution Gospel Choir Alan Sparhawk, best known as the singer, guitarist, and lyricist for Low, has often indulged his harder-rocking side in a second band like Black Eyed Snakes or Retribution Gospel Choir. Lately the Choir—which also includes Low bassist Steve Garrington—looks more and more like the main attraction.

10 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $10.

Dinner: The Southern The former Chaise Lounge is now the Southern, a more casual bar and restaurant featuring the regional cuisine of chef Cary Taylor (Blackbird, Ambria, Avenues); too new to review.

1840 W. North Ave., 773-342-1840


Show: Mathew Jonson Vancouver polymath Mathew Jonson, now based in Berlin like so many other dance-music has a quiet, moody, signature sound. "Even his trackiest stuff builds into an unbroken woozy haze, but the complexity of the compositions keeps you from just floating away into the ambience," writes Jessica Hopper.

10 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-4140, $10, $15 after midnight.

Dinner: Pick Me Up Cafe Open nonstop from Friday afternoon through the wee hours on Monday, with shorter hours the rest of the week, this homey cafe serves a varied menu that includes a whole page of coffee drinks; vegan sundaes, shakes, and cakes; and lots of vegetarian options.

3408 N. Clark St., 773-248-6613


Show: Carl Testa Bassist, composer, and former Chicagoan Carl Testa, a member of Anthony Braxton's Septet and 12 + 1tet, has been in town for the past week playing some low-key gigs, and he closes out his visit with a performance tonight at Elastic.

9pm, Elastic, 2830 N. Milwaukee Ave., second floor, 773-772-3616

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


Movies

Show: Celestial Navigations: The Short Films of Al Jarnow Experimental animator Al Jarnow is best known for the shorts he contributed to the children's shows Sesame Street and 3-2-1 Contact, but this survey of his work from 1968 to 1987 shows him to be a multifaceted artist. Drawing on stop-motion and time-lapse photography, flipbooks, and eventually early computer animation, Jarnow transformed investigations of perspective, geometry, and science into delightful, whimsical vignettes.

8pm, Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., 312-846-2600

Dinner: Cibo Matto "could pass as Spiaggia’s more playful, easygoing younger sibling," writes Mike Sula. One of the best new Chicago restaurants of 2009.

201 N. State St., 312-239-9500


Show: Creation Paul Bettany gives a quiet but deeply felt performance as Charles Darwin, whose brave new concept of humanity is complicated by the Christian ideals of his wife, in this British historical drama.

5pm, 7:30pm, Renaissance Place, 1850 2nd St., Highland Park, 847-258-7282

Dinner: Carlos' Carlos and Debbie Nieto have operated this intimate French dining room in Highland Park since 1981. The atmosphere is regal, with handsome dark-wood trim, richly toned fabrics, and elegant porcelain dinnerware. Ramiro Velasquez runs the kitchen, dazzling patrons with the expertise he gained under such powerhouses as Jacky Pluton, Don Yamauchi, Eric Aubriot, and Alan Wolf.

429 Temple Ave., Highland Park, 847-432-0770


Performing Arts

Show: Ken Barnard "Clearly Barnard has never aspired merely to craft a witty one-liner, and his grand ambitions are beginning to pay off," writes Steve Heisler. "His work now strikes a compelling balance between absurdist personal revelations ('I called my girlfriend the wrong name during sex. . . . She’s Debra, and I said Zebra') and prop/costume/character weirdness."

7:30pm, Lakeshore Theater, 3175 N. Broadway, 773-472-3492, $15

Dinner: Chilam Balam BYO Mexican restaurant offering farm-to-table small plates from twenty-three-year-old Chuy Valencia, the latest—and possibly the youngest—graduate of the School of Bayless to come out of the Frontera/Topolobampo kitchens and stake his own claim. One of the best new restaurants of 2009.

3023 N. Broadway, 773-296-6901


Show: Abigail's Party This 1977 tragedy of manners by Mike Leigh—the auteur best known for films like Happy-Go-Lucky and Vera Drake—operates on the fool-around-and-fool-around-and-somebody-ends-up-in-tears principle: it makes dysfunction hugely amusing right up to the moment when the bottom falls out.

8pm, A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells, 312-943-8722, $15-$30

Dinner: Bistro Margot This Old Town restaurant's four dining rooms and two bars evoke turn-of-the-century Paris, with rich cranberry walls, Tiffany-like sconces, and black-and-white tiled floors.

1437 N. Wells St., 312-587-3660

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