From Cincinnati-style chili to Chicago blues, this weekend's got the Midwest covered. So do some exploring, then head to a new bar where it doesn't matter where you come from—as long as you like burgers and fries.
Cinner's, 4757 N. Talman
Chocolate-laden and allspice-perfumed Cincinnati-style chili is the focus at this Lincoln Square spot. Get it served however you like (on top of spaghetti with cheese, beans and onions, inside of a muffin, slathered onto a hot dog), and consider adding on one of the Cincy-themed cocktails. Maybe a Queen City native will explain the significance—and appeal—of the Over the Rhine (rum, gin, watermelon vodka, Midori, sweet and sour, Sprite and grenadine).
Aberdeen, 1856 W. North
As Wicker Park and Bucktown have grown and developed (hello, Marc Jacobs, so long, Filter), the need has increased for watering holes that play to a varied clientele. Half sports bar (with sleek flat-screen TVs hung around the opened-up space) half lounge (with low, wide seats and DJs at night), Aberdeen offers something to please revelers of all types. Even if the crowd doesn't suit you, the menu of reasonably priced, upscale bar eats (like truffle oil-topped fries) will.
Listen here, now
10 p.m. Saturday at Blues Island Pub, 2100 W. Vermont; free
This throaty singer/guitarist grew up scrapping with Johnny Dollar and The Scandalous Band before falling into his own with R&B outfit, Mona Lisa. The next 11 years of his career saw him providing achy licks behind the organ-punch soul of the Kinsey Report. So when time came to jump from the nest again, Ron lashed out with some crunchy rock, as heard all over his 1999 breakout LP, Paroled. Watch out for tracks like "Where Does A True Love Go" and "Somebody Lied."
Runs through May 31 at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 S. Michigan; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday
If architecture is, as historian Spiro Kostof noted, "the material theater of human activity," the photographers in "Building Pictures" tear down the fourth wall. Most of the artists represented are deconstructing an image tightly controlled by preservationists and realtors. Chris Mottalini revisits Paul Rudolph's celebrated Modernist homes sometime between their abandonment and demolition, while Thomas Ruff presents Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's exacting masterpieces in a chromogenic blur. We're reminded of photography's limited ability to represent the physical world as we increasingly rely on art images to perceive our surroundings.