Dinner & a Show: Friday 3/19 | Bleader

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The Aldermen Project: 50 Alderman/50 Artists
  • Aaron Wooten
  • Portrait of Alderman Patrick Levar

Show: The Aldermen Project: 50 Alderman/50 Artists Curators Jeremy Scheuch and Lauri Apple got 50 artists to immortalize an alderman apiece for "The Aldermen Project: 50 Aldermen/50 Artists," including Derek Erdman, Phineas X. Jones, Jon Gitelson, Aaron Wooten and more. [Apple is an assistant editor at the Reader, which is a sponsor of the show.]

Opens Fri 3/19, 7-11 PM. Through 4/2: Sat noon-5 PM and by appointment, Johalla Projects, 1561 N. Milwaukee, 312-636-4966 or 312-833-1108, free

Dinner: Big Star Unlike Paul Kahan's other ventures (Blackbird, Avec, the Publican), Big Star is a bar. But you may have to remind yourself of that, because it's got probably the tastiest Mexican menu of any bar in Chicago.

1531 N. Damen Ave., 773-235-4039


Show: Scout Niblett Though clearly inspired by Kurt Cobain's guitar playing and PJ Harvey's raw, intimate early-90s recordings, Niblett carves out space in her music for her own personality with her voice: "sometimes keening and vulnerable, sometimes almost playful, sometimes charged with a transfixing ritualistic energy, it taps into powerful, primal emotions," writes Peter Margasak.

10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $12.

Dinner: Palette Bistro "Chef Salvatore Traina is a native of Italy, and I couldn't resist his Sicilian lasagna. Filled with ground beef, sliced eggs, peas, ricotta, and mozzarella, it's baked with a savory tomato sauce with distinct notes of cinnamon and oregano and rustically served plopped on the plate in a heap," writes Kate Schmidt.

2834 N. Southport Ave., 773-477-2565

Show: Larry McCray Blues guitarist Larry McCray "contructs his fiery but mercifully understated solos with unerring precision and impeccable note choices, usually limiting himself to brief, rigorous statements slotted between sung verses—and even when he stretches out, he seldom if ever repeats himself."

9 PM, Buddy Guy's Legends, 754 S. Wabash, 312-427-0333, $15.

Dinner: Cafecito "How the hell is it that this Lebanese-American from Peoria is now pressing the best damn Cuban sandwiches in the city? It probably has to do with the near-manic pursuit of perfection that should have made him a success at anything," writes Mike Sula.

26 E. Congress Pkwy., 312- 922-2233


Show: Dogtooth "I’ve seen movies this weird before, but never from Greece," writes J.R. Jones. "Writer-director Giorgos Lanthimos walks a fine line between the sinister and the hilarious, though the confused siblings (Aggeliki Papoulia, Mary Tsoni, and Hristos Passalis) are never less than poignant. This is one you won’t forget, though probably not for lack of trying." It screens as part of the European Union Film Festival.

8:15pm, Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., 312-846-2600

Dinner: Bijan's Bistro This reincarnation of the venerable late-night hangout Bijan is amazingly unsullied by tourists. Regulars crowd around the gleaming mahogany bar, and Ralf, the courtly host, seems to know half the tables in the joint.

663 N. State St., 312-202-1904

Performing Arts

Show: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Still in his first year as artistic director, Glenn Edgerton is maintaining HSDC's international profile with the company premiere this weekend of 27'52", by Nederlands Dans Theater choreographer Jiri Kylian—the first time Kylian has set the piece on a U.S. troupe.

8pm, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., 312-334-7777, $25-$90

Dinner: Aja What do you get when you drop the Kobe and other expensive steaks from Ajasteak? Answer: Aja, a more casual, less expensive concept that—as the name suggests—tweaks traditional Asian cuisines.

660 N. State St., 312-202-6050

Show: Uncle Vanya "To paraphrase the old army slogan, this may be the hardest show you'll ever love. The Maly Drama Theatre performs Anton Chekhov's classic study of disillusionment in the original Russian, with supertitles flashing an English translation," writes Tony Adler. "And yet, ultimately, the inconvenience matters not at all. Gorgeous and sharp, deep, funny, and sly, Lev Dodin's staging bucks all the cliches that have developed around this tale of smalltown gentry."

7:30pm, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand Ave., 312-595-5600 (TTY 312-595-5699), $65-$75

Dinner: Xoco "The brick-red short rib chile soup is filled with potatoes and chayote, and the tender chunks of braised beef just hold their integrity in the ballsy, well-balanced broth. The pork belly fideos, nutty vermicelli with thick squares of fatty pork, are too rich to slurp down in one sitting. The third wave in Xoco’s attack are the freshly fried churros, best accompanied by bean-to-cup hot chocolate lightly spiced with chile or spiked with cow or almond milk," writes Mike Sula.

449 N. Clark St., 312-334-3688


Show: Urban Style Emporium Grand Opening Attendees can also check out the new hat salon inside the shop, Loreta Corsetti Millinery Atelier. The opening festivities run from 6 to 9, RSVP to info@urbanstyleemporium.com.

200 E Delaware Place, 312-335-1353

Dinner: Silver Spoon Chai and Vanna Gumtrontip opened Lincoln Square's remarkable Spoon in 1996, serving fresh, competent Ameri-Thai standards, but also, more important, a range of authentically Thai dishes from an extensive "secret" menu," writes Mike Sula. "Their Gold Coast location, next door to the Thai consulate, adds Japanese food to the fix."

710 N. Rush St., 312-944-7100

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