Neighborhood Happenings

The best events happening across the South Side this week, from the stage and screen to music and the visual arts.

Stage & Screen

The Ballad of Little Duck & The Samaritan Syndrome
It’s the Menekseoglu show, starring Jeremy Menekseoglu, written by Jeremy Menekseoglu, and directed by Rachel Martindale and Anna W. Menekseoglu. Their next production is a double feature, two plays written by the man himself, Jeremy Menekseoglu. “The Ballad of Little Duck” follows a brutally beaten man through his memories, which float to the surface in the aftermath of the loss of his baby and his girlfriend. In “The Samaritan Syndrome”–which only features the writing, and not the performance, of Jeremy Menekseoglu–a man looks for salvation in a mental hospital which allows clients to rescue victims of their own design. The company has made their name staging eclectic adaptations of classic works, such as “Peter Pan” and “Hamlet.” But both these plays are completely new works, so what you’re getting is pure, unfiltered Menekseoglu. If you need to try before you buy, the company has a YouTube page with past shows. To find it, just search “Menekseoglu.” (Chris Deakin)
Dream Theatre, 556 W. 18th St. Through June 23. Thursday-Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 7pm. $15. (773)552-8616.

Hoodoo Love
Katori Hall, at age thirty-two, has quickly become one of the most formidable young playwrights in America. In an undergraduate acting class at Columbia University, the Memphis-born performer abruptly encountered the true scarcity of acting roles for black women alongside a staunch unwillingness of directors to cast the classics “color-blind.” So she turned to playwriting instead. Her 2010 play “The Mountaintop” has traveled the world, picking up an Olivier Award in London’s West End and starring Samuel L. Jackson in its Broadway production (and making its Chicago debut as Court Theatre’s 2013/2014 season opener). Meanwhile, her first play, “Hoodoo Love,” finds a Chicago home at eta Creative Arts. Closing out a season of plays showcasing women writers and directors, “Hoodoo Love” is a brutal look at womanhood in Depression-era Tennessee. Hall tells a love story between musicians that is unsentimental, filled with forces of magic, violence, ambition, and music. (Meaghan Murphy)
eta Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. Chicago Ave. Through July 28. Friday-Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 3pm and 7pm. $30; $15 students and seniors. (773)752-3955.

American Allegory
Forget square dancing, forget hip hop, the Lindy Hop is “America’s True National Folk Dance,” and it’s not without its controversies. DePaul sociologist Black Hawk Hancock delves into the dance’s history and ethnography within the context of Chicago in “American Allegory,” the subject of a June 8 launch at the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore. With him will be sociologists Mary Pattillo, author of “Black Picket Fences” and “Black on the Block,” and Paul Willis, who penned “The Ethnographic Imagination” and “Learning to Labor.” In promoting Hancock’s title, the three authors will examine the tensions that have resulted from white appropriation of this historically black art form. Hancock will not dance around the issue. (Emily Holland)
Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave. Saturday, June 8, 3pm-4pm. Free. (773)752-4381.

Fiesta Back of the Yards and Washington Park Community Carnival
Fiesta Back of the Yards is a twenty-two-year-old community festival offering junk food sold from trailers, roller coaster rides which are erected and dismantled in mere hours, and thousands of other sweaty festival goers. Summer is here, and it’s as wonderful as you remember. Like neighborhood fests across the city, the area will welcome music and dance groups alongside rows of vendors. Enjoy a baseball lesson from the White Sox, and a mobile dance party sponsored by Dr. Pepper. The Washington Park Community Carnival offers much of the same, but in the immediate vicinity of Lorado Taft’s grand sculpture Fountain of Time. The festival opened in 1992 to accusations of disrespect and sacrilege from the sculpture’s neighbors. Attend the fest and decide for yourself whether corndogs, ferris wheels and swindling carnies are a fitting tribute to this major piece of civic art. The answer is yes. (Chris Deakin)
Fiesta Back of the Yards, 47th St. between Ashland and Damen. Friday, June 7, 5pm-10pm; Saturday, June 8, 10am-10pm; Sunday, June 9, noon-10pm. $1-$3 per ride, $55 Unlimited. Washington Park Carnival, Best and Payne Dr. to Cottage Grove. Through June 9.

2013 Youth Spectacle Interventions: Sonic Boom
When people say that they want their voices to be heard through art, they usually don’t expect those voices to be projected from a stereo system. Yet this is the newest endeavor of Redmoon, a performing arts group that specializes in spectacle theater. As a genre, “Interventions” are those works of art that are enacted in the public sphere. As part of their project Youth Spectacle Interventions 2013, Redmoon continues to color outside the lines. Through their Neighborhood Arts Programming, the group has created the Sonic Boom: a cart supporting a sixteen-foot-tall system of stereo speakers that will be touring public spaces through June, promising to amplify the voices of over 1,000 of Chicago’s youth. Can you hear me now? (Lauren Culbertson)
Homan Square Peace Rally, 3517 W. Arthington St. Saturday, June 8, 10am-4pm. Free. (312)850-8440.

Much Ado About Nothing
“Much Ado About Nothing,” one of Shakespeare’s lighter comedies, has come to the International House. The last curtain will go up this Sunday at 6pm, following two performances this past Sunday. “Much Ado,” for the plebes who don’t know, is happily devoid of deaths and ends with two–count ‘em–weddings. In his spare time between filming and editing “The Avengers,” Joss Whedon made a movie of the play that is coming out this Friday, just in time to be compared directly with I-House’s version. This production is an I-House original: thirty-six residents compose the cast and crew, representing twelve countries. Though the characters are supposed to be Spanish, rest assured nearly every player’s accent will be different. (Ari Feldman)
International House at the University of Chicago, 1414 E. 59th St. Saturday, June 8, 3pm and 7pm. Free. RSVP required.

Witch Hat, Dungeon Broads, Onley Tonight, Films by Jenna Caravello
Witch Hat, Dungeon Broads, Onley Tonight, and Films by Jenna Caravello are the latest headliners at Roxaboxen Exhibitions. $5 entry for those who can guess which acts are bands. Entry is $5 for everyone else too, and with four shows, it’s sure to be worth the price of admission. Witch Hat hails from Baltimore, a trio whose tracks are meant to be, in their words, “felt rather than heard.” The recent album Destination: Excellence includes “Your Dog Ate Rat Poison,” “Drowned in a Bog,” and other titles that follow the “news to ruin your day” theme. The duo Dungeon Broads offers a hazy, disparate soundscape of unrelenting bass, and distorted croons. With Onley Tonight, the party shrinks to one, as artist Hannah Thompson performs a work of sound and soft sculpture. Last, Jenna Caravello offers a series of shorts. The Boxen will be rockin. (Hannah Nyhart)
Roxaboxen Exhibitions, 2130 W. 21st St. Saturday, June 8, 8pm. $5.


Black Flag & Good For You
Does anyone even know who is attending the Black Flag 2013 reunion? Does it matter? Can’t we just agree that some of the guys who are there now were some of the guys back then and that punk is an ethic, not a well placed safety pin? What am I talking about? Did I once see Henry Rollins in a Whole Foods? The answer to that last one is yes, so maybe it’s fine, he’s off to bigger things now. So, okay, here we are, and a new Black Flag album is on the way. What does Chicago have to do with this? Well, they’re coming to Reggie’s Rock Club alongside Good For You, which is made up of one half Black Flag-founder, Greg Ginn, and one half Mike Vallely, aka Mike V., aka former Thrasher centerfold boy. So what? You’re too busy that Sunday cleaning up from the fun Vietnamese food-themed brunch you’re having with coworkers? The weather’s good and you’ll want to walk to Avec instead? No, you were a punk in high school and you can still subvert the system. Quit your job and be a human. (Toxic Leeds)
Reggie’s Rock Club, 2105 S. State St. Saturday, June 8, 8pm, 18+. Sunday, June 9, 6pm, all ages. $30 advance; $35 door. (312)949-0120.

Spring Awakening Music Festival
Have you ever heard four on the floor on the forty yard line? On June 14, 15, and 16, electronic dance musicians from across the world will give you that experience when they convene at da Bears’ winter stomping grounds for the Spring Awakening Music Festival. The performers this year include Calvin Harris, Felix da Housecat, Moby DJ, Flosstrodamus, Bassnectar, and both Zedd and Zed’s Dead. It rained during last year’s festival, but like the rain and consequent mud at Woodstock, the shower wasn’t so bad. “I felt like I was getting baptized by bass” said Rolling Stone commentator “venue.” (Nathan Worcester)
Soldier Field, 1410 Museum Campus Dr. June 14-June 16. $180-$300 for three day pass, one day ticket price TBD.

Takin’ It to the Streets Festival
Takin’ it to the Streets is a virtually free (donations encouraged) celebration of Islamic culture. Its centerpiece, a multi-stage music festival, will take place on June 15 in Marquette Park (the park, which is located in Chicago Lawn, which is itself sometimes called Marquette Park…it gets confusing). The event boasts an incredible lineup of Muslim rappers and DJs. The headliner, Blackstar, consists of Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and guest deejay Ali Shaheed Muhammad. The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, which consists primarily of Phil Cohran’s eight musical sons, will also make an appearance, as will Kindred the Family Soul, Brother Ali, and onetime Chicago aldermanic hopeful Rhymefest. But superb American hip hop and R&B isn’t even the end of it. Other performers include the Chicago fusion ensemble Zamin, Iraqi-born hip hop academic the Narcicyst, Malaysian deejay Man-O-Wax, and Malian desert bluesman Vieux Farka Touré. (Nathan Worcester)
Marquette Park, 6734 S. Kedzie. Saturday, June 15, 10am-9pm. Free (suggested donation, which seems pretty reasonable considering what you’re getting).

Visual Arts

Artists are rarely the object of a gallery event, rather they are the wizards behind the curtain of their own artwork. But for one evening, the Hyde Park Art Center wants this relationship reversed. Artists ain’t unicorns, or so HPAC wants you to think. To prove this point, HPAC is hosting its quarterly ARTBAR, an opening-style event (drinks, music) but without the (usual) art. HPAC-affiliated artists will be working the event, serving fanciful cocktails, spinning dance tunes, and teaching mini-workshops on ceramics and printmaking. By taking the artists out of the studio and putting them on display, HPAC invites dialogue between the viewers and the makers. (Sasha Tycko)
Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Friday, June 7, 6pm-9pm. $15 suggested donation. (773)324-5520.

Version Fest 13
In addition to some free Revolution IPAs, this year’s Version Fest has a lot brewing. Like a summer downpour over Chicago, Version Fest 13 will feature people of all vocations working to shake up the city–this time from within its very own urban structure. In order to do so, Version invited food interventionists, cultural geographers, sociologists, and artists to present their projects, skills, ideas, and visions for a better society. These ideas, manifested in a demo of an Urban Operating System and Bridgeport block party, will promote further social engagement to collectively change public space within Chicago. (Alexa Daugherty)
Multiple Venues. Opening reception at the Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan St., Friday, June 14, 6pm-11pm. Events through June 22. Free. (773)837-0145. See for a schedule of events.

Off Balance-Balance
The dictionary offers a range of definitions for “balance”: a state of equilibrium, equal distribution, emotional stability, habit of calm behavior and judgment, a harmonious whole. At the Zhou B Art Center, this phenomenon, along with its foil, imbalance, is being dissected and examined at a close view through a myriad of collages and other mixed media projects created by the artists of the Midwest Collage Society. The group, celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, is comprised of sixty members from the Chicagoland area. The diverse collection of artists uses paints, thread, metals, and numerous other materials to create their works. In “Off Balance-Balance,” they do not simply transpose the feelings of balance and imbalance through their work, but rather demonstrate their effects on themselves, society, and in the end, their remedy. (Quinn Georgic)
Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35 St. Through June 15. Monday-Sunday, 10am-5pm. Free. (773)523-0200.

Pope.L’s Forlesen
While the Renaissance Society comes to the end of another season, William Pope.L at the UofC’s Department of Visual Arts is launching into new spaces with refreshing familiarity. An interdisciplinary artist best known for his tactile public performance of “crawls” across New York City, Pope.L ingeniously exercises his sense of self to tackle a complex knot of social realities like race, class, and politics. With “Forlesen,” his latest work and first solo exhibition since moving to Chicago, Pope.L hones in on the way in which difference is demarcated between the polar fringes of these intricate social threads, paying particular attention to the spaces separating blackness and whiteness. In effect, through inventive play with media–an installation of walls, drawings, sculptures, and video room projections–Pope.L reconfigures The Renaissance Society, transforming the space into a reflection and investigation of the mazelike texture intrinsic to these controversial issues. (Candice Ralph)
The Renaissance Society, 5811 S. Ellis Ave. Through June 23. Tuesday-Friday, 10am-5pm; Saturday-Sunday 12pm-5pm. Free. (773)702-8670.