Dinner & a Show: Wednesday 7/28 | Bleader

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Natacha Atlas
  • Natacha Atlas

Show: Natacha Atlas Raised by an Arabic father and an English mother in a Moroccan neighborhood in the suburbs of Brussels, Natacha Atlas has spent her entire career exploring collisions of Western and Middle Eastern music. On her most recent album, Ana Hina, her singing is intimate, conversational, sometimes even hushed, and the restrained instrumental backdrops—compact string arrangements, tinkling piano, gently percolating Middle Eastern percussion, reeling Paris-cafe accordion, slaloming ney and clarinet—make it possible to hear a richness and variety of tone in her voice that was sometimes concealed in her earlier, dance-oriented work.

8:30 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln, 773-728-6000, oldtownschool.org, $5 suggested donation.

Dinner: Los Nopales The grilled tilapia tacos at this low-key storefront are so good, so bright and fresh, that at these prices—$5.95 for three tacos ($6.95 at dinner)—it seems like you're stealing. The sweet, rich coffee flan we finished with was also a special—one of the friendly owners told us the chef, her husband, is constantly experimenting. That's the kind of thing you'd expect at a place far more swank; to find it in a modest storefront is beguiling.

4544 N. Western Ave., 773-334-3149, losnopalesrestaurant.com

Show: Engines "With their second album, Wire and Brass (Okka Disk), the Engines have become one of the city's best jazz groups—elegant, nimble, and with a pliant, organic sound that can shift smoothly from sensual and quite conventional postbop to raucous, paint-peeling free jazz, then back again," writes Peter Margasak.

9:30 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433, hideoutchicago.com, $6.

Dinner: Sai Cafe The fish served at Sai Cafe is so uniformly good that it’s hard to misstep. Pieces of sushi are lavishly cut, and even the fishiest fish — mackerel, for example — is firm and fresh.

2010 N. Sheffield Ave., 773-472-8080, saicafe.com


Show: Dreams That Money Can Buy Hans Richter's rarely screened feature, made between 1944 and 1947, follows a young poet named Joe who sets up a shop that sells dreams to customers based on their own subconscious material. Half a dozen artists—Max Ernst (who provided the inspiration for the film and also wrote a monologue), Fernand Leger, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Alexander Calder, and David Diamond—were hired by Richter to design separate dreams for the film; other participants include Paul Bowles, Libby Holman, Darius Milhaud, and John Cage.

7pm, Univ. of Chicago Doc Films, 1212 E. 59th St., 773-702-8575, docfilms.uchicago.edu

Dinner: Medici on 57th The quintessential off-campus hangout, complete with carved wood booths and graffiti-covered walls. The reasonable prices at this long-standing Hyde Park gem make it a favorite among students and locals alike.

1327 E. 57th St., 773-667-7394, medici57.com

Show: The Class The first French film in decades to have won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, this involving drama by Laurent Cantet (Heading South, Time Out) turns an inner-city classroom into a cultural battleground.

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

Dinner: Kan Zaman Lebanese food and hookah smoking in River North. The menu's full of dishes that were popular at the old location: hummus, baba ghanoush, shawarma, and fattoush.

617 N. Wells St., 312-751-9600, kanzamanchicago.com

Performing Arts

Show: The AWARD. Show! There are no categories in this curated contest. Veteran and newbie choreographers compete on the same, um, footing. Familiar faces include Peter Carpenter, offering an excerpt from his sly deconstruction of the Reagan era, My Fellow Americans; Molly Shanahan, delivering a new iteration of her ongoing project, Stamina of Curiosity; and Joanna Rosenthal of Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre, riffing on film-noir aggression and paranoia in Grey Noise.

8pm, Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., 312-369-6600, colum.edu/dance_center, $15

Dinner: Cafe Mediterra This Mediterranean restaurant and coffee shop in the old Gourmand space has an impressive pedigree: owner Mutaz Abdullah's father owns Cedars of Lebanon, and his brother runs Sultan's Market.

728 S. Dearborn St., 312-427-2610, cafemediterra.com

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