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Show: Rufus Wainwright "Coming after several heavily orchestrated albums, a full-blown re-creation of Judy Garland's famous Carnegie Hall concert, and his first opera,
Dinner: Xoco "There is nothing like Xoco’s jamon torta, griddled flat and layered with La Quercia prosciutto, seasonally variable organic Wisconsin cheddar, black beans, avocado, and chipotle mustard. The prices are justified by a singular dedication to superior products," writes Mike Sula. One of the best new Chicago restaurants of 2009.
449 N. Clark St., 312-334-3688, rickbayless.com/restaurants/xoco.html
Show: Crystal Castles Crystal Castles' 2008 self-titled album succeeded thanks in part to its appealing take on chiptune music, an uber-geeky style that the duo injected with a trashy streak of noisy aggression. "But time passes for all of us, even artsy electro-punk bands," writes Miles Raymer, "and Crystal Castles' second self-titled album, while still way more aggro than your average dance record, has a relatively restrained aesthetic."
Dinner: Rosa de Lima "Peru gave the world potatoes, so you’d expect the country’s signature tuber to be presented here with aplomb, and so it is: causa de camarones is a layered tower of grainy mashed yellow spuds alternating with shrimp salad, a study in subtle flavors and textures; papas a la Huancaina is a mound of potato disks drenched in creamy Peruvian cheese, dappled with olives and parsley in a rich, delicious mess," writes David Hammond.
2013-15 N. Western Ave., 773-342-4557, rosadelima.com
Show: Boris Fiercely experimental and never predictable, Boris don't know how to sit still. Since June this beautifully heavy Japanese trio has dropped three new releases: a split single with Torche, a compilation of rerecorded songs and alternate takes, and a beautiful, eerie EP collaboration with Cult front man Ian Astbury.
Dinner: TAC Quick "Young Andy Aroonrasameruang, formerly of Banana Leaf, and his likable staff probably make it easier than anywhere else to get traditional stuff the way it's eaten in Thailand," writes Mike Sula. "Aside from the regular menu there's a clearly translated Thai menu available by request with almost 40 items you're not likely to encounter elsewhere without a working knowledge of the language — like a salad of shrimp, cashews, and fish maw, sort of a fishy pork rind that soaks up the flavor of the sauce like a crouton."
3930 N. Sheridan Rd., 773-327-5253
Show: Witchbanger "A fairly new local metal quintet, Witchbanger borders on supergroup status, at least for people to whom the names Wickerman, Buried at Sea, and Unfortunaut mean anything (and you should be one of those people)," writes Monica Kendrick. Plague Bringer, Blood of the Tyrant, I Klatus, and Lungs open.
Dinner: Rapa Nui The "House of Empanadas," one of Chicago's few options for authentic Chilean cuisine. Authentic Chilean empanadas are made here of pino, a savory blend of ground beef, raisins, chopped egg, and olives, all baked in a wheat-flour shell. Baking is big here, and rolls made fresh on the premises are used for the sandwiches, including the chacarero, a Chilean specialty featuring tender steak, tomato, and green beans.
4009 N. Elston Ave., 773-478-0175, rapanuichicago.wordpress.com
Show: Bomber Comparisons to Little Miss Sunshine are all but inevitable, but this trenchant and truthful indie comedy masterpiece about a dysfunctional family on a road trip blows that funny little picture out of the water. See Ed M. Koziarski's profile for more.
Dinner: La Madia Restaurant in the old Jazz Showcase offering a range of pizzas and a large wine list with 250 by the bottle and multiple options by the glass. As for the pies, they're delicious. A soft, slightly chewy thin crust showcases the pure flavors of fantastic house-made fennel sausage, fresh arugula and prosciutto, and other select toppings like a sweetly savory combo of Taleggio and roasted vin santo grapes that hung in tricky, but ultimately successful balance.
59 W. Grand Ave., 312-329-0400, dinelamadia.com
Show: Cry Danger A superb, too-seldom-seen film noir from 1951. Director Robert Parrish junks the expressionist shadow play that usually goes with the genre, substituting a keen eye for gritty Los Angeles locations and a sharp handling of dialogue. It screens as part of the Noir City: Chicago 2 festival.
Dinner: Pizza Rustica Every Italian restaurant likes to think that its food is the real thing. Pizza Rustica's just may be. The caprese salad, for instance, is the kind of dish you see everywhere, but rarely does it taste as good as these huge slices of tomato and light, creamy fresh mozzarella finished with a misting of good olive oil. The pizza is thin crust—not the dense, soggy kind you get most places, but light, crispy, and golden brown, almost like a slightly soft cracker.
3913 N. Sheridan Rd., 773-404-8955, pizzarusticachicago.com
Show: The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse After a long and fruitful career in Hollywood, Fritz Lang returned to Germany in 1960 to make the final chapter in his trilogy about the criminal genius Dr. Mabuse. The Thousand Eyes has the stripped-down, elemental feel of many late masterpieces: all the distractions have been cleared away, and Lang is able to present his concerns with a disarming directness.
Dinner: La Petite Folie Michael and Mary Mastricola, both former U. of C. students and longtime Hyde Park residents, decamped to Paris in the mid-90s so Mary could attend the Cordon Bleu cooking school, then returned to Chicago to open this charming restaurant serving spectacular baguettes and a wide range of French classics with a menu that changes frequently.
1504 E. 55th St., 773-493-1394, lapetitefolie.com
Show: Chicago Dance Crash Rival dance crews, class wars, star-crossed teen lovers—Chicago Dance Crash's new evening-length show, Qwan Sauce!, has all the elements of the iconic 2001 Juilliard-meets-the-streets flick Save the Last Dance.
8 pm, Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., 773-327-5252, theatrebuildingchicago.org, $18-$20
Dinner: Los Moles Vagabond chef Geno Bahena, one of Rick Bayless's most renowned (and elusive) disciples, has returned to ply mole in this modest Lakeview spot.
3140 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-935-9620, losmoles.net
7-9 pm, Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore, 7419 W. Madison St., 708-771-7243, centuriesandsleuths.com
Dinner: Aripo's Venezuelan Arepa House New family-run restaurant featuring a broad variety of arepas and empanandas, plus Venezuelan specialties. Owner Jose Rodriguez offers 19 versions of the stuffed form, from the La Nuestra ("Ours"), stuffed with pabelon, the Venezuelan national dish of shredded beef, black beans, sweet plantains, and cheese, to the El Domino, named for the contrasting colors of black beans and crumbled white cheese, to the chicken-salad-and-avocado Reina Pepiada ("Voluptuous Queen"), named for Susana Duijm, the Venezuelan winner of the 1955 Miss World pageant.
118 N. Marion St., 708-386-1313, aripos.com