A day of slam poetry at The Metro, America’s best underground hip-hop label, and so much Bollywood dancing, all on our list of weekend recommendations.
Dutch artist Jeroen Nelemans explores the lives and trustworthiness of online images by breaking them down to their essentials
How do images make it to the Internet? How do they move through the world? Where do they go when they die? These are the questions that keep Dutch artist Jeroen Nelemans up at night. In Backlit, his newest exhibition opening tonight at The Mission (1431 W. Chicago Ave.), he investigates the lives of the iconic images found floating through the results of common search engines. Through careful manipulation, he breaks images down to their component parts and, in some cases, even deconstructs the hardware that allows us to see them in the first place. Once reassembled, the new pieces ask viewers to consider what they really know about the visuals in front of them, whether they’re on a computer screen or in the physical world. (Opening reception Friday, 6 p.m.–8 p.m. The show runs through Saturday, April 19. Admission is free.)
Louder Than a Bomb Semifinals
High-school poetry slam sponsored by Young Chicago Authors enters its semifinal round with a day of competition at the Metro
If you read our coverage of this year’s Louder Than a Bomb competition, you’ll know that it’s been a busy couple of months for the annual event. The youth poetry slam (and incubator for local hip-hop talent like Chance the Rapper) takes the next step in crowning the 2014 champion with a day full of semifinal bouts this Saturday at The Metro (3730 N. Clark St.). Working with this year’s theme of “Freedom in Education,” teams of high-school poets from around the city have crafted moving performances dedicated to lessons and those who teach them. Winners will advance to the finals on Saturday, March 15, and drop by WBEZ next week to record their work for broadcast. (Saturday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. $4.50–$10; buy tickets here)
“Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton”
The label that brought you J Dilla and Madlib gets its due with a documentary screening and retrospective concert
Donuts by J Dilla. Madvillainy by Madvillain. If you’ve heard a hip-hop track in the last 15 years that made your brain feel like it was expanding in all directions at once, there’s a good chance it came out on Stones Throw Records. Already cemented among fans, the label’s legacy gets some well-deserved exposure this month with the release of its documentary, Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton. Playing this Sunday at the Logan Theatre (2646 N. Milwaukee Ave.), the film examines the rise of the underground hip-hop headquarters through concert footage, behind-the-scenes artifacts, and interviews with everyone from Kanye West to Tyler the Creator. The screening is accompanied by a label showcase at the Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western Ave.), which promises performances from J Rocc, Jonwayne, and label founder Peanut Butter Wolf. (Film: Sunday, 6:30 p.m. 17+. $15; buy tickets here. Show: Sunday, 9 p.m. $15; buy tickets here)
Re-Imagine: A Bollywood Dance Tribute to Raj Kapoor
Dancers from the Kalapriya dance company summon the spirit of old Bollywood with this performance honoring filmmaker Raj Kapoor
As one of Bollywood’s earliest superstars, actor and director Raj Kapoor helped bring international renown to India’s film industry. He was also responsible for bankrolling some of Bollywood’s most iconic musical numbers. This weekend, the songs and dances of Kapoor’s films step through the screen and onto the stage at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts (1016 N. Dearborn St.). As projections of Kapoor films flicker like spirits in the background, dancers from the Kalapriya dance company will recreate and reinterpret the movements that made Indian cinema famous. The combination of live dancers and classic footage bridges the divide of the decades, making the films and their choreography seem as lively as they were when they first debuted. Let’s see 3D glasses do that. (Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. $15–$25; buy Friday or Saturday tickets)
Comedy March Madnezz
As basketball winds down, ComedySportz fills its brackets with comedians in this laugh-filled competition
Ladies and gentlemen, bracket season is almost upon us. While basketball teams across the country begin their conference tournaments, the jokesters at ComedySportz (929 W. Belmont Ave.) will be hip-deep in a competition of their own. Dubbed Comedy March Madnezz, the laugh-filled showdown pits 12 teams of over 60 area comedians against one another, with battle lines drawn based on—what else—college alma mater. The first matches went down last weekend, with Chicago and Illinois comics suffering shocking home-court losses. Will a trip to the loser’s bracket wake up their fighting spirit? Can one of them make it to the finals on Saturday, March 29? Will someone show up wearing a mascot head? These questions and more will be answered during this weekend’s second-round matches. (Friday, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday, 6 p.m, 8 p.m., and 10 p.m. $27–$29; buy tickets here)
Photo by Stacy Lucier.