Looking for some cool things to do and see in Chicago in the week ahead?
We’ve got these suggestions to consider:
Fans of wild high-powered vehicles that go places the more tame version can’t will want to check out the Monster Jam: Triple Threat Series. Eight skilled competitors — Grave Digger, El Toro Loco, Zombie, Megalodon, Monster Mutt, Blue Thunder, Max-D and Pirate’s Curse — battle it out for the championship in their customized vehicles. Plus there will be an attempt at Chicago’s first indoor arena-based truck back flip! From Feb. 28-March 2, Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim, Rosemont. Tickets: $20+. Visit ticketmaster.com.
More than 20 restaurants showcase some of the city’s best Latino chefs at Pilsen Gourmet (5-10 p.m. Feb. 29 at 1647 Blue Island, $30+). Featured are chef demonstrations, food samples, craft artists, silent auction and music. Proceeds benefit Pilsen Fest, the neighborhood’s annual summer celebration. This is followed by the first Pilsen Restaurant Week (March 1-7) in which nearly two dozen eateries offer prix fixe menus highlighting traditional and contemporary dishes. For more details, visit pilsenfestchicago.com.
The annual winter visit by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre features the Midwest premiere of resident choreographer Jamar Roberts’ “Ode,” a piece about gun violence that the New York Times called “delicate, daring and heartbreaking.” Other pieces include Donald Byrd’s “Greenwood,” Darrell Grand Moultrie’s “Ounce of Faith,” Aszure Barton’s “BUSK,” Judith Jameson’s “Divining,” Lar Lubovitch’s “Fandango,” Robert Battle’s “Ella” and more. As always, each performance concludes with the company’s signature work: Alvin Ailey’s timeless masterpiece “Revelations.” From March 4-8 at Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells. Tickets: $35-$120. Visit auditoriumtheatre.org.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Revolutionaire et Romantique perform The Complete Beethoven Symphonies. The nine works, each representing a stage in the evolution of Beethoven’s musical language, plus the composer’s only ballet “The Creatures of Prometheus,” are performed over six days. It’s a chance for audiences to experience the full effect of the originality of the maestro’s music written between 1799-1825. From Feb. 27-March 3, Harris Theatre, 205 E. Randolph. Tickets: $35-$150. Visit harristheaterchicago.org.
Find celebrities, exhibitors, comic artists, authors and plenty of cosplay at C2E2, the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo. This year’s lineup is as usual a long list of artists, writers and performers, including actors Mark Ruffalo, George Takei and William Shatner and authors Joe Hill, Rainbow Rowell and Adalyn Grace as well as anime, comic and game creators. The pop-culture geekfest takes place Feb. 28-March 1 at McCormick Place, South Building, 2301 S. King Dr. Tickets: $35-$240. Visit c2e2.com.
The new exhibit “Tony Tasset: The Weight” features new sculptures by the artist best remembered for a 2010 public art project: a giant eyeball in tiny Pritzker Park on State Street. Now an emeritus professor at University of Illinois-Chicago, Tasset has been busy in his Western Michigan studio continuing his Pop Conceptualist aesthetic. The works in “The Weight” are described as “part Woody Guthrie, part Robert Crumb, part Jeff Koons, part Louise Bourgeois.” “My art has always responded to the cultural moment, the current zeitgeist,” says Tasset. “ ‘The Weight’ was made in response to the current state of the world. Things are heavy.” From Feb. 28-April 11 at Kavi Gupta Gallery, 219 N. Elizabeth. Free. Visit kavigupta.com.
Films for everyone
The JCC Jewish Film Festival returns with more than 50 films of all genres with something for every generation. Dramas, comedies, documentaries and short films honor Jewish directors, writers and actors. Among the many opening weekend films are Jorge Gurvich’s drama “Back to Maracana,” Johanne Helgeland’s family drama “The Crossing,” Catherine Corsini’s romantic drama “Impossible Love” and Lex Gillespie’s documentary “The Mamboniks.” The seventh annual festival takes place Feb. 27- March 1 at various locations around the city and suburbs. Tickets: $13. For more information, visit jccfilmfest.jccchicago.org.
Hailing from Amsterdam, the Mauskovic Dance Band combines elements of cumbia, Afro-Caribbean rhythms and space disco to create a unique hypnotic groove. The band is touring behind its new EP “Shadance Hall”; the live shows have been called a “controlled explosion” of sound and emotions. At 9:15 p.m. March 4, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western. Tickets: $10. Visit emptybottle.com
Mary Houlihan is a Chicago freelance writer.