The Mix: Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival and more cool things to do Jan. 9-15, 2020

A local gig by Sons of the Silent Age, and a Winter Chamber Music Festival are also among the entertainment options in the week ahead.

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The duo of Parvesh Cheena (left) and Danny Pudi will perform at the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival.

Elisabeth Caren

11 days of comedy

The 19th annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival is a mirthful melting pot featuring local favorites, international ensembles, veterans and up-and-coming talent. The festival is headlined by a past favorite, the two-man team of Parv and Pudi, featuring Danny Pudi (“Community”) and Parvesh Cheena (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”). From the Chicago sketch comedy scene there’s Rehner and Nixon and Off Off Broadway, while newcomers include Billionaire Pity Party, Comedy Dance Chicago and Asperger’s Are Us (the Duplass brothers made a documentary about this all-autistic troupe). From Jan. 9-19 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. Tickets: $15, $16; festival passes, $22.50-$275. Visit

A critic’s legacy


Film critic Pauline Kael

Sun-Times file

One of the most opinionated film critics, known for her best-seller “I Lost It at the Movies” and attention-getting reviews in The New Yorker, is profiled in the documentary “What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael.” Film clips, archival television interviews, talking heads (both pro and con) and readings from Kael’s writings are featured. Also screened are seven films important to her critical legacy: Jean Renoir’s “The River,” Robert Altman’s “McCabe and Mrs. Miller,” Arthur Penn’s “Bonnie and Clyde,” Bernardo Bertolucci’s “Last Tango in Paris,” Martin Scorsese’s “Mean Streets,” Brian De Palma’s “Casualties of War” and Jean-Luc Godard’s “Band of Outsiders.” From Jan. 10-16 at Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. Tickets: $4-$7. Visit

Annual Bowie benefit


Sons of the Silent Age

Derick Smith

Sons of the Silent Age is a nine-member band of diehard fans dedicated to the music of David Bowie. Led by Ministry singer Chris Connelly and former Smashing Pumpkins drummer Matt Chamberlin, the band’s annual benefit concert has become a January highlight. This year the show features a performance of “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” and “Station to Station.” Plus there’s an opening set by The Ready Freddies playing the music of Queen, and a special appearance by actor Michael Shannon. At 7 p.m. Jan. 11, Metro, 3730 N. Clark. Tickets: $25, $30. Visit

Chamber music interlude


Violinist James Ehnes

Benjamin Ealovega

Northwestern University’s Winter Chamber Music Festival offers an array of performers including the debuts of Aizuri Quartet, American String Quartet and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as well as the return of Grammy Award-winning violinist James Ehnes, pianist Andrew Armstrong and the Dudok Quartet Amsterdam. From Jan. 10-26, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle, Evanston. Tickets: $30, $20. Visit

Politics in 2020


NPR political correspondent Asma Khalid


It’s an understatement to say that 2020 will be a heated year when it comes to politics. So to get the year started, WBEZ’s Podcast Passport series presents a live taping of The NPR Politics Podcast in which four of NPR’s political journalists discuss everything from foreign interference in the U.S. elections to the Iowa caucuses. On hand to answer your questions are political correspondent Asma Khalid, congressional correspondent Susan Davis, senior Washington correspondent Ron Elving and White House reporter Ayesha Rascoe. At 7:30 p.m. Jan. 10, Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. Tickets: $25, $55. Visit

Singing across borders


David Broza (center) and his band

Allan Tannenbaum

With his latest ensemble, David Broza & Friends, the Israeli singer-songwriter brings a Cuban twist to his songs via a collaboration with the New York-based band Trio Havana. Over his 40-plus-year career, Broza has spanned the gamut from blues to jazz, rock, country, folk and world music. He sings in Hebrew, Spanish, English and Arabic with a goal of bridging barriers through music. Special guests and local favorites Michael McDermott and Heather Horton join Broza for a few songs. At 8 p.m. Jan. 14, City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph. Tickets: $40-$65. Visit

Let’s think summer

Paddleboards are among the attractions at the Chicago Boat, RV & Sail Show.

Paddleboards are among the attractions at the Chicago Boat, RV & Sail Show.


The annual Chicago Boat, RV & Sail Show returns with an eye-popping array of its title items as well as the latest in technology and outdoor accessories, seminars and educational boating courses. Children can fish at the Huck Finn Trout Pond and try their luck at remote-control sailboat racing. To Jan. 12, McCormick Place South, 2301 S. King Dr. Tickets: $5-$15. Visit

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