The Mix: Chicago Restaurant Week and more cool things to do in Chicago Jan 23-29

From a Richard Gray collection exhibit the Art Institute to Mandy Patinkin in concert, there’s much to see and do in the week ahead.

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 Matt Wilson & His Orchestra headline Space on Jan. 26. | Paul Irmiter

Matt Wilson & His Orchestra headline Space on Jan. 26. | Paul Irmiter

Paul Irmiter

Looking for some cool things to see and do in Chicago in the week ahead?

We’ve got some suggestions to consider:

Good eats

The city’s culinary scene is once again celebrated during Chicago Restaurant Week Jan. 24-Feb. 9. Yes, you actually have more than a week to satisfy your cravings as the event brings together more than 400 city and suburban restaurants representing a wide array of cuisines. The prix fixe menus offer multi-course meals: $24 for brunch/lunch and $36 or $48 for dinner. For a list of participating restaurants (remember to make a reservation), visit eatitupchicago.com.

The art of drawing

IM039987_int_press.jpg

Wassily Kandinsky. Untitled, c. 1915.

The Art Institute of Chicago, gift of Richard and Mary L. Gray

Over 50 years of collecting, art dealer Richard Gray and his wife, art historian Mary L. Gray, amassed a remarkable collection of drawings spanning 700 years of Western art. More than 100 drawings from the couple’s collection are on display in “Pure Drawing: Seven Centuries of Art from the Gray Collection.” While the collection includes masters such as Rubens, Boucher, Seurat, Van Gogh, Degas, Picasso, Pollock, de Kooning and Hockney, the Grays were also interested in lesser-known artists making their legacy one that encompasses centuries worth of the art of drawing. From Jan. 25-May 10, Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan. Admission: $22-$25. Visit artic.edu.

Silent film redux

During the silent film era in Japan (1920s-1930s), Benshi performers stood alongside the screen to introduce and explain the story to the audience, often speaking for the performers. A modern day twist on the concept, Neo Benshi, takes this tradition and challenges comedy teams to reinterpret video clips. The results are sure to be hilarious. Hosted by Hoja Lopez and Emma Wargolet. At 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26, iO Theater, 1501 N. Kingsbury. Tickets: $13. Visit ioimprov.com.

Hey kitty kitty!

Tigress cubs are photographed at the Patpara Nala waterhole by veteran wildlife photographer Steve Winter. | ©2010 Steve Winter

Tigress cubs are photographed at the Patpara Nala waterhole by veteran wildlife photographer Steve Winter. | ©2010 Steve Winter

©2010 Steve Winter

Wildlife photographer Steve Winter has come face-to-face with the big cats. He has trekked the Himalayas in search of snow leopards, tracked elusive jaguars in Latin American jungles and pursued the American cougar throughout the Hollywood Hills. Winter will recount his experiences and discuss the importance of protecting the world’s wild animals in “On the Trail of Big Cats,” the latest edition of the National Geographic Live” series. At 3 p.m. Jan. 26, Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells. Tickets: $42, $54. Visit auditoriumtheatre.org.

New song, old song

Mandy Patinkin performs onstage during the National Dance Institute Annual Gala at The Ziegfeld Ballroom in 2018 in New York City.

Mandy Patinkin performs onstage during the National Dance Institute Annual Gala at The Ziegfeld Ballroom in 2018 in New York City.

Getty Images

If you only know Mandy Patinkin from his portrayal of Saul Berenson on the Showtime series “Homeland,” here’s your chance to see another side of the talented performer. Since the show finished filming its final season in the fall of 2018, the Emmy and Tony Award-winning Patinkin has been busy with a new album and a concert tour in which he performs new songs as well as favorites from Broadway and the Great American Songbook. Pianist Adam Ben-David accompanies Patinkin. At 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23, Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. Tickets: $45+. Visit ticketmaster.com.

For the love of reading

Jose Cervantes as Porcupine, (from left) Joe Liolos as Bear, Whitney Dottery as Bunny, and Tyra Bullock as Mole in Lifeline Theatre’s “Bunny’s Book Club.”

Jose Cervantes as Porcupine, (from left) Joe Liolos as Bear, Whitney Dottery as Bunny, and Tyra Bullock as Mole in Lifeline Theatre’s “Bunny’s Book Club.”

Suzanne Plunkett

Currently on stage at the Lifeline Theatre KidSeries is a world premiere adaptation of “Bunny’s Book Club,” a popular children’s book by Annie Silvestro and illustrator Tatjana Mai-Wyss. Adapted by ensemble member Aly Renee Amidei, the story follows Bunny, a young rabbit in love with books who, with the help of her furry friends, decides to start a book club. For ages 5 and up. Through Feb. 16 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood. Tickets: $15, $20. Visit lifelinetheatre.com.

Musical mix

The past, present and future are at work in the music of Matt Wilson & His Orchestra. On the band’s current tour, the former frontman for Trip Shakespeare and his harp and banjo orchestra preview new material from the upcoming album “When I Was a Writer,” which features new songs that poured out of Wilson after a few years away from songwriting. They also dig deep into Wilson’s past songbook as well as performing their renditions of old-time songs. At 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26, Space, 1245 Chicago, Evanston. Tickets: $15-$22. Visit evanstonspace.com.

Madcap operetta

Under the direction of Kirk Muspratt, the New Philharmonic opens its 2020 season with Franz Lehar’s operetta, “The Merry Widow.” Sung in English, the story (this time set in the roaring 1920s) revolves around a rich widow and the attempts to find her the right husband while she pines for her long-lost love. The cast features soprano Alisa Suzanne Jordheim, baritone Jesse Donner, mezzo-soprano Katherine Weber and tenor James Judd. From Jan. 24-26, McAninch Arts Center, College of DuPage, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn. Tickets: $59. Visit atthemac.org.

Mary Houlihan is a local freelance writer.

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