These are the days of hearts and flowers for many people. How would we get through the dull hours of February without scads of chocolate, cinnamon hearts and frilly cards?!
Me, I’ve got my mind on a different, less pretty topic: death. Honestly I’m not the morbid type. First it was just a fluke - I stumbled across the Museum of Mourning Photography and Mourning Practice while researching some of Chicago’s smaller museums. Stay tuned for more on their intriguing and solemn collection.
But the more I looked around town, the more I started to feel like that kid in The Sixth Sense. Take Morbid Curiosity, which recently kicked off at the Chicago Cultural Center. The show's a real deep dive into death – across cultures and time. To think that one collector managed to amass over a thousand tchotchkes related to the afterlife – man I’d hate to have to clean up after he’s gone!
Speaking of the afterlife, and depending on your spiritual leanings, Heaven + Hell may also appeal - it's the new exhibition at Intuit Gallery.
Death's also stalking the political landscape. This week Governor Quinn agreed to loosen regulations on state cemeteries, a move none-too-pleasing to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. Their disagreement is part of the continuing fall-out from the 2009 Burr Oak scandal.
Local "death synth" group MR666 (apparently Chicago's the capital of this engimatic music genre) provides the perfect soundtrack for a weekend inspired by cultural musings on death. More lighthearted, valentine-friendly picks are below – enjoy!
Chicago artist-to-watch Add-2 plays Sub-T Friday along with K. Flay and Rita J.
2011 W North Ave
Get a serving of history, science and culture with your chocolate!
300 N Central Park Ave
Exhibition: Friday-Sunday Symposium: Saturday 1pm
An artistic investigation of Latino culture, inspired by the classic Milton Bradley board game Memory.
5020 S Cornell Ave
The Portugese "fado" sensation brings her mournful and mesmerizing sound to the O-Town.
Old Town School of Folk Music: Gary and Laura Mauer Concert Center
4544 N Lincoln Ave
Full-on funny - and freaky - hip hop. The Jeep takes Chi-town!
2109 S State
A documentary about one of the classic American art forms: burlesque. Ba-da boom!
1601 N Clark
Twenty-first century burlesque: an interpretation of the mad genius emanating from Roger Waters' bass - and brain!
1225 W Belmont
Click here to subscribe to the Weekender podcast.