Start off this weekend with board games and blazing shamisen solos, then wing your way to the West Loop, where you can catch the last gasp of a thought-provoking exhibit. To cap things off, hightail it down to Hyde Park for a long-awaited meal courtesy of a Chicago icon. Sound busy? You can rest on Sunday.
If you've been to one of Jerry Kleiner's other restaurants (Red Light, Room 21, Carnivale), you have a pretty good idea of what to expect at his long-awaited eatery in Hyde Park: a sensory feast of vibrant colors and oversize décor. Good, food, too; Kleiner has partnered with his longtime chef Chris Barron for a menu of classic American dishes like BBQ braised beef short ribs and glazed salmon. If you get tired of staring at the huge, handmade lamps, sneak a peek at your entree's progress in the open kitchen.
We'd recommend Guthrie's for the casual atmosphere and quality beer selection alone, but its enviable selection of board games is the real draw. There's Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy for the eggheads, Risk and Stratego for your bellicose buddies, Boggle and Scrabble for the word freaks and Candyland for the truly nostalgic. On top of that, patrons at this low-key (for Wrigleyville, at least) bar can choose from around a dozen drafts and specialty beers like Sierra Nevada Seasonal, as well as a few snack selections.
Listen here, now
8 p.m. Friday at Old Town School of Folk Music; $22
Do you get hyped at the musical accompaniment to Nintendo Wii commercials? Those buzzing tunes come courtesy of the Yoshida Brothers, a pair of blazing shamisen virtuosos that mix classical Japanese music with elements of jazz, blues and folk. If that piques your interest, catch the duo's dueling fret work at the Old Town School of Folk Music, where the Japanese natives will be flailing their fingers way faster than you during a round of WarioWare. The Yoshida Bros. are touring select US cities in advance of their newest album, Tsugaru Shamisen, due June 3.
Runs through May 31 at Walsh Gallery; 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
Technology and social networks grow more impenetrable by the hour but, as Li Lin Lee demonstrates, our visual vocabulary remains quite accessible. Lee's deceptively simple canvases collapse centuries of history, imbuing common shapes and invented logos with a type of ancient reverence, telling stories in a language we strongly intuit, if only vaguely comprehend.