The Mix: ‘Women of History,’ ‘Duchess!’ and more things to do in Chicago March 4-10

There’s much to check out online and in person in Chicago in the week ahead.

SHARE The Mix: ‘Women of History,’ ‘Duchess!’ and more things to do in Chicago March 4-10

Aviator Bessie Coleman

Wikipedia Commons

Pioneering women

Chicago Detours reboots its “Badass Women of History” tour as a live, interactive virtual event, which highlights diverse women who forged groundbreaking paths in science, business, culture and social justice. Each of the women has a Chicago connection, and their stories are told through videos, photos and artwork: aviator Bessie Coleman; dancer Maria Tallchief; sculptor Enid Yandell; Iva Toguri D’Aquino, who gained notoriety as Tokyo Rose during World War II, and Naomi Weisstein, founder of American Women in Psychology. Streams at 6 p.m. March 8 and 12, and 1 p.m. March 20 and 27. Tickets: $20, $35. Visit

Royal rules


Sydney Charles (left) and Celeste M. Cooper in “Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!”

Lowell Thomas

The Steppenwolf Theatre NOW Series continues with Vivian J.O. Barnes’ “Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!” Soon there will be a royal wedding and rules must be taught and absorbed as a duchess (Sydney Charles) meets and tutors the young soon-to-be duchess (Celeste M. Cooper) in the ways of her future family. Loosely inspired by Meghan Markle’s experience with the British royals, Barnes investigates how society’s institutions of power affect Black women. Directed by Weyni Mengesha, the drama begins streaming March 10. Tickets: $75 includes access to all six Steppenwolf NOW productions. Visit

MCA reopens


A still from Carolina Caycedo’s “Apariciones / Apparitions.”


It’s time to catch up with exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art, several of which opened just as another shutdown began this past December. One of these, “Carolina Caycedo: From the Bottom of the River” (to Sept. 12), surveys the past 10 years of the artist’s practice, which addresses humanity’s relationship with nature via an array of video, drawing, sculpture and photography. Featured in the exhibit is “Be Damned,” an ongoing multimedia project that examines the impact of hydroelectric dams and other infrastructure projects on communities and the environment. Admission: $15. Visit

South Asian traditions


Murali and Uma Balachandran


The annual Mandala Makers Festival features a series of streaming performances at 7 p.m. every Friday in March. Each evening showcases musical artists rooted in South Asian traditions both classic and contemporary. The March 5 edition includes Uma Balachandran performing konnakol (the art of performing percussion syllables vocally) accompanied by her father, Murali Balachandran, on mridangam; Pavitra Ramachandran, a Carnatic singer accompanied by her father Prasod Ramachandran on violin, and Rini, featuring Indian electronica and art rock drawing from Carnatic traditions. The festival running through March 26 is free but donations to Mandala South Asian Performing Arts’are appreciated. Visit

Controversial film


Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland in “F.T.A.”

Kino Lorber

In 1971, during the Vietnam War, actors Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland along with other performers took their controversial musical comedy tour “F.T.A.” to Southeast Asia. (The title comes from the original Army recruitment slogan “Fun, Travel, Adventure” and redubbed“Free the Army” or “F--- the Army.”)The tour, which was popular with enlisted men and women, was filmed by director Francine Parker for a documentary that was released in 1972 but quickly pulled from theaters due to Fonda’s infamous visit to Hanoi. Now the rarely seen film, with an added introduction by Fonda, has been restored and is available for streaming via Facets through March 25. Tickets: $10. For more information, visit

Mind-bending experience


The Museum of Illusions

Julie Dietz

The Museum of Illusions (25 E. Washington), where nothing is quite as it seems. is a one-of-a-kind adventure that reveals a lot about how the brain interprets reality. There are more than 80 visual and educational exhibits featuring holograms, stereograms, optical illusions and immersive rooms that are designed to tease the senses and trick the mind. Plus you can learn the mechanics behind each illusion. Admission is $15-$21, children under 5 free. Visit

Dracula drag


Ivana Tequila (clockwise from top left), Ruby Nicole; Noah Hyman, Clio van Granville and Veronica Spritz of “Diva Dracula.”

Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus

The Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus ends its season dedicated to famous novels with “Lipstick & Lyrics: Diva Dracula,” featuring 15 drag performers on a journey through the macabre which runs from “scary to hysterical,” according to artistic director James Morehead. The concert streams at 8 p.m. March 6, 12 and 13. Tickets: $15-$40. Visit

Virtual stage


Ida Cuttler in “That’s Weird, Grandma: House Par-Tay.”

PlayMakers Laboratory

Playmakers Laboratory’s online revue “That’s Weird, Grandma: House Par-Tay” continues with adaptations of stories written by students from Chicago elementary schools that celebrate Women’s History Month, St. Patrick’s day and more. Streams through March 29 Tickets: $2-$4. Visit … Actress Betsey Means performs “Democracy in America: A Social Gathering with Jane Addams,” her solo show based on the social justice crusader’s life and writings. Streams at noon March 8. Tickets: $15. Visit … Vicki Quade’s comedy “Easter Bunny Bingo: Jesus, Resurrection & Peeps” streams through April 4. Tickets: $15. Visit

Mary Houlihan is a Chicago freelance writer.

The Latest
Preckwinkle said Tuesday night she looks “forward to all the good work that lies ahead” as her opponent, Richard Boykin — a former Cook County Board commissioner — conceded the race: “The voters have spoken, and I stand by their decision.”
Ramirez was up 65% to Villegas’ 25%, with more than half of the 551 precincts counted.
As the results came in, Miller’s supporters filled a ballroom at a hotel here for her election-night party, sharing stories about driving voters to the polls — and talking about the heat their candidate has faced in social media since her “white life” gaffe.
Lakendra Porter, 24, was charged with aggravated battery with use of a deadly weapon and reckless conduct, police said.
About 20% of registered Chicago voters had turned out by Tuesday evening, an unofficial total that would mark the lowest rate for the city since 2014.