Show: Justin Townes Earle "With his third album, the brand-new Harlem River Blues, Justin Townes Earle continues to make profoundly satisfying music with modest methods, surveying and mining America's southern musical heritage without trying to reinvent it," writes Peter Margasak. "All the songs are originals, and though he's transplanted most of the settings to New York, where he lives, his lyrics engage the universal themes embedded in our folk tradition—they would've worked just as well 70 years ago as they do now."
Dinner: Aquitane Intimate new Lincoln Park restaurant featuring the cuisine of chef Holly Willoughby (David Burke's Primehouse); review pending.
2221 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-698-8456
Show: Male Bonding "Though Male Bonding have disappointed the people who expected them to blow up in the States the way Bloc Party did, the collision of dance-inflected rhythms, careening punk energy, bubblegum melodies, and slinky, Afrophile guitar licks on their debut full-length, Nothing Hurts—which they may have perfected on the album's centerpiece, 'Weird Feelings'—has an undeniable crackle," writes Miles Raymer. Titus Andronicus headlines. Titus Andronicus headlines; Best Coast, Free Energy, and Male Bonding open.
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.
3913 N. Sheridan Rd., 773-404-8955, pizzarusticachicago.com
Show: The Girlfriends This strong early feature (1955) by Michelangelo Antonioni, based on a novel by Cesare Pavese, focuses on a woman who returns to her native Turin to open a fashion salon, and on the troubled wealthy young men and women she gets to know.
Dinner: Cibo Matto "could pass as Spiaggia’s more playful, easygoing younger sibling," writes Mike Sula. "in most cases the plates lived up to their pitches—that octopus, abetted by salsa verde and pickled pearl onions, might have been the most tender and perfectly cooked cephalopod I’ve preyed upon in recent memory, and the grilled halibut yielded all the promised flavor." One of the best new Chicago restaurants of 2009.
201 N. State St., 312-239-9500, cibomatto.therestaurantsatthewit.com
Show: Closure With his first full-length play, Jake Perry hits the ground running. Unlike most new playwrights, Perry understands he's not writing for television; his patient first act is an uninterrupted hour-long scene. Best of all, he avoids schematic characterizations and predictable plotting in favor of resonant irresolution.
Dinner: Turqoise Cafe Prices at this Roscoe Village Turkish restaurant are a little higher than at many ethnic places. But dishes like the sogurme (smoked chunks of eggplant in creamy yogurt with lots of garlic), seafood salad, and the house salad (a piquant medley of red cabbage, arugula, red onion, and romaine lettuce in a lemon herb dressing) are worth a little extra.
2147 W. Roscoe St., 773-549-3523, turquoisedining.com