Chicago Agenda: Monday, February 3

On today’s agenda: JC Brooks honors lady songwriters, LitMash punches up the spoken word, and “The Barber of Seville” calls forth classic chuckles. 

JC Brooks Covers His Favorite Female Songwriters

Chicago soul mainstay shows his appreciation for female songwriters with an all-lady cover set at City Winery 

Chicago soul firestarter JC Brooks knows his way around a cover (just listen to how he transformed Wilco’s “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”). He’s also a great student of pop-music history. Tonight, during a stripped-down performance at City Winery (1200 W. Randolph St.), he’ll bring those two talents in honor of music’s foremost female songwriters. With the help of accompanist Jeremy Tromburg, Brooks will add his electric voice to classic songs by ladies ranging from Carole King to Janelle Monáe. City Winery will also take the opportunity to show off some of its titular wares: for $25, you can pair the music with wine pours from the venue’s extensive cellars. (8 p.m., doors open at 6 p.m.; $10 for music only, $25 for wine pairing; buy tickets here)

LitMash

Competitors from comedy, storytelling, slam poetry, and more compete for cash and honors in this cross-genre lit battle

Poetry slams. Story slams. Two cousins of competition that have, until now, remained confined to their respective corners. That all changes with LitMash, the cross-genre literary throwdown overseen by Chicago Slam Works (the organization of poetry-slam inventor Marc Kelly Smith). During their monthly donnybrook at Haymarket Pub & Brewery (737 W. Randolph St.), six competitors drawn from the ranks of storytelling, spoken word, comedy, essay writing, and more compete for audience hearts and minds (and generous cash prizes). This month’s slate of competitors includes poet Dan Sully, performer Melissa DuPrey, and comedian Adrienne Gunn. (8 p.m., doors open at 7:30; $8)

“The Barber of Seville”

Figaro! Figaro! Rossini’s comic masterpiece gets an energetic new production from the Lyric Opera

Like Jerry Seinfeld, we learned everything we know about opera from Bugs Bunny. Thankfully, this is the one time that information is actually pertinent. Kidding aside, there’s a reason that Chuck Jones chose to parody The Barber of Seville in his 1950 classic “Rabbit of Seville”: it’s one of the most iconic comic pieces in opera history. Rossini’s rollicking love story has all the makings of a laugh riot—mistaken identity, crisscrossed correspondence, and one particularly clever barber pulling all the strings. It’s another exquisite escape from the Lyric Opera, thanks in no small part to the Broadway-proven sensibilities of Tony-winning director Rob Ashford. If you don’t leave the Civic Opera House (20 N. Upper Wacker Dr.) shouting “Figaro!” into the night, we just can’t help you anymore. (7:30 p.m.; $20–$139; buy tickets here)

Photo courtesy of Bloodshot Records