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Show: Shapers "Shapers stepped onto the Chicago scene fully loaded. Their debut as a live band was just this past fall, and now they're self-releasing their first album, Little, Big*," writes Jessica Hopper, "a sweet heap of artful krautrock (Neu! and Cluster are clear influences) with occasional fitful vocals, and its nine songs cover an interstellar range."
9 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $5.
1840 W. North, 773-342-1840
* Ed. note: Named after the John Crowley novel? Have heard great things about that book.
Show: Free Fall Two of Atomic's Norwegian members—pianist Haavard Wiik and bassist Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten—are still in town, and play at Elastic with Free Fall, their long-running post-Jimmy Giuffre improvising trio with reedist Ken Vandermark.
10pm, Elastic, 2830 N. Milwaukee Ave., second floor, 773-772-3616, $8
Dinner: La Humita This small but elegant corner restaurant serves Ecuadoran specialties including the namesake humita, a tamale filled with corn pudding instead of meat.
3466 N. Pulaski Rd., 773-794-9672
Show: North Face Writer-director Philipp Stölzl dramatizes the 1936 attempt of four climbers to scale the deadly north face of Mount Eiger in the Swiss Alps, and the result is terrifically suspenseful even if one already knows the outcome. See our in-depth review for more.
4:30pm, 9:30pm, Music Box, 3733 N. Southport Ave., 773-871-6604
Dinner: P.S. Bangkok The daddy of local Thai restaurants, this 25-year-old eatery is fancier than most, with white linen on the tables, a gold-painted tin ceiling, and wood carvings displayed in an intricate case. The huge menu has something for everyone: there are 13 salads alone, including a succulent one of char-grilled shrimp, lemongrass, and papaya tossed in a coconut-milk-and-lemon vinaigrette.
3345 N. Clark St., 773-871-7777
Show: Comic Symposium of Chicago This inaugural symposium features panel discussions with local comics artists. Participants include Nicole Hollander, Paul Hornschemeier, Anders Nilsen, John Porcellino, and more.
Thursday-Friday, 4:30-7pm, School of the Art Institute, ballroom, 112 S. Michigan Ave., 312-915-0061, Free
Dinner: Cafecito The best damn Cuban sandwiches in town.
26 E. Congress Pkwy., 312- 922-2233
Show: Rent No Broadway-style bombast here. Jonathan Larson's masterwork is deeply personal in David Walters and Brian LaDuca's homespun, richly grounded NightBlue revival.
8pm, Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., 773-327-5252, $27-$30
Dinner: Cuna "A bustling barstaurant isn’t my idea of the best place to savor sophisticated contemporary cuisine, but Cuna, the first nightlife venture from local businessman Paolo Acuna, has a friendly neighborhood vibe," writes Anne Spiselman. "But the real draw for foodies is chef Kendal Duque, formerly of Sepia. If you ate there you’ll recognize his flatbreads, offered here with toppings like Amish chicken confit or roast beet, garlic, and Gorgonzola."
1113 W. Belmont Ave., 312-224-8588
Show: My Mans, aka Mark Raterman and Tim Robinson - part of the bold improv group Cook County Social Club - are the most deadpan of comic actors, equally serious as they wrestle each other to the ground, break character to pay compliments to each other, and engage in an extended homage to The Karate Kid.
8pm, iO, 3541 N. Clark St., $12
Dinner: Moxie An oasis on a Wrigleyville strip dominated by burgers and fries, Moxie is soothing and chic.
3517 N. Clark St., 773-935-6694