From music to theater to family fun, there’s much to see and do in the week ahead throughout the Chicago area. So make those big plans now! Here are some suggestions to help you navigate the area’s vibrant entertainment landscape:
MUSIC: Meek Mill
When he’s not promoting probation reform or mixing it up with his ex Nicki Minaj, Meek Mill makes music, and he’s known for his appreciation of the hip-hop stars who came before him. The rapper brings his Motivation Tour to the Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence, for a 7:30 p.m. show March 8. Tickets are sold out.
MOVIES: European Union Film Festival
Films for every taste and interest can be found at the 22nd annual European Union Film Festival, running March 8-April 4. The creative diversity of European filmmakers are on display in the 60 films, all Chicago premieres. More than a third of the films are directed or co-directed by women, including the opening-night film from Romania: Gabi Virginia Sarga and Catalin Rotaru’s “Thou Shall Not Kill,” an investigative drama about a young surgeon looking into a chain of sudden post-surgery deaths. At the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. Tickets: $11.
COMEDY: Maria Bamford
Comedian Maria Bamford, star of the semi-autobiographical Netflix comedy series “Lady Dynamite,” brings her stand-up act to The Den Theatre. Bamford is a woman of many voices, and she uses them to great effect in telling hilarious observational stories. Kicking off an ongoing roster of stand-up shows at The Den, Bamford performs March 14-17 in the space at 1331 N. Milwaukee. Tickets: $35, $55.
MUSIC: Luther Dickinson and the Sisters of the Strawberry Moon
The new album “Solstice” finds Luther Dickinson stepping away from the North Mississippi Allstars to collaborate with some of the most captivating female voices in American roots music — Amy Helm, Amy LaVere, Birds of Chicago, Sharde Thomas and the Como Mamas. Calling themselves Luther Dickinson and the Sisters of the Strawberry Moon, the group is now touring with a rotating cast of performers. On the Chicago stop, Helm and Birds of Chicago join Dickinson for a show at 8 p.m. March 11, City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph. Tickets: $30-$45.
ART: ‘Rembrandt Portraits’
Not all art exhibits need to be massive to be effective. Take for example the new mini-exhibit, “Rembrandt Portraits,” which examines the Dutch artist’s approach to portraiture. Here two paintings on loan from Pasadena’s Norton Simon Museum (“Portrait of a Boy” and “Self-Portrait”) join two from the Art Institute (“Old Man with a Gold Chain” and “Young Woman at an Open Half-Door). Together the paintings highlight Rembrandt’s skill as a painter of people, one that is more complex than may first appear. The exhibit runs through June 9 at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan. Admission: $14-$25.
MUSIC: Bach cantatas
Internationally renowned countertenor Iestyn Davies, now appearing in the Lyric Opera’s “Ariodante,” is featured in a solo performance presented by Haymarket Opera Company. Davis’ falsetto is the perfect fit for this presentation of Bach’s cantatas for alto, some of the composer’s most daring and inventive music. He’s backed by the Haymarket Opera Orchestra, which also will perform pieces by Muffat and Telemann. At 7:30 p.m. March 9, Old St. Patrick’s Church, 700 W. Adams. Tickets: $25-$500.
MUSIC: Goddesses of Rock Show
In a celebration of International Women’s Day, rock maven Cathy Richardson presents her Goddesses of Rock Show, a tribute to some of the greatest female rock legends. This is a category Richardson knows well. A long obsession with the band Heart led Richardson to pursue music, which resulted in a career entwined in the music of rock queens Janis Joplin and Grace Slick. She starred in the bio-musical “Love, Janis” and toured with Joplin’s band Big Brother and the Holding Company. Today she is lead singer with Jefferson Starship. Expect songs from these artists as well as Fleetwood Mac, The Pretenders, Pat Benatar and more. Maisie Bull opens the show at 9 p.m. March 8 at FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt, Berwyn. http://fitzgeraldsnightclub.comTickets: $15, $20.
THEATER: ‘The Choir of Man’
A hit at international music festivals, The Choir of Man, is part concert, part party set in a working pub. The ensemble of nine — singers, dancers, multi-instrumentalists — performs pub tunes, folk, Broadway and classic rock. Included in this show for all ages are songs by artists ranging from Adele to Queen, Paul Simon to Red Hot Chili Peppers. March 12-17 at Broadway Playhouse, Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut. Tickets: $39-$79.
MUSIC: The Vandoliers
The Vandoliers’ new album, “Forever,” is a mix of punk, country and Tejano that reflects the unbridled sounds of the musicians’ youth and the band’s roots in Texas. Fronted by the fiery storytelling of Joshua Fleming, the Dallas-Fort Worth-based band is the new frontier of country-punk. Austin Lucas and South City Revival open at 9 p.m. March 8 at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia. Tickets: $10.
Mary Houlihan is a local freelance writer.