Weekender: Afro-beats, a civil rights opera and Pee-wee Herman

Weekender: Afro-beats, a civil rights opera and Pee-wee Herman

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Pilsen Natatorium. (Clayton Hauck)

So a couple of weekends ago I wound up feeling like a real doofus. Regular listeners may recall one of Weekender’s picks in early February was the Flynt Flossy/Turquoise Jeep show at Reggie’s Rock Club in the South Loop. Well, late that very same Saturday night, I decided all spur of the moment to go.

Here was my thinking: Yes, it’s Saturday. And sure, the Jeep’s mighty popular. But Reggie’s is huge! And in Chicago, a city where diverse entertainments are almost as plentiful as parking meters? My impulse for hip-hop would not be denied. Right? Right?!

Wrong. Dead, dead wrong. Show was so sold out. The duo managing the list looked at me and my friend like we were nuts, thinking we could just waltz on in the place (don’t they know I like to dance?). Then, adding insult to injury, we had to RETURN the wrist bands allowing us to get our drink on, which had only taken 10 minutes to get in the first place! What, no mementos? Note to management: From my admittedly limited P.O.V., it might be more efficient - or at least humane - to flip that order of business.

But really I have no one to blame but myself. I got blindsided by something I well know to be a fact of life around this city: You gotta plan ahead. Stuff sells out. This is a reality Weekender (and Vocalo.org) producer Adam Peindl and I face every week. We’ll find something we think sounds great, but by the time we’re actually putting together the segment, there are no tickets to be had.

That’s the case with the City Life Supplement, a fun new radio show taking place this Saturday at Transistor, a truly creative space. So I thought I’d use this space to give you fair warning - if you think the show sounds cool, then make reservations now for their March (or later) date!

I have a theory that Chicago’s sold-out scenario has been ratcheting up a bit of late - more on that in a future episode. In the meantime, here’s a novel way to guarantee you’ll get into a show - be a part of it.

Yet another early warning for ya! More immediate-to-hand entertainment options are below - enjoy!

1. Midwest Swimming and Diving Invitational

Friday 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Swimmers gather for a “last chance meet” at the warm, steamy and true blue Myers-McLoraine Pool.

University of Chicago Ratner Athletics Center

East 56th Street and Ellis Avenue

2. Caseen Gaines

Friday 7 p.m.

Caseen Gaines takes a fascinating dive into the behind-the-scenes world of the ’80s era Saturday morning entertainment, Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

Quimby’s Bookstore

1854 W. North Ave.

3. Afro Beats!

Saturday 2 p.m.

The Fulcrum Point New Music Project explores the rhythms and sounds of West Africa - get in on the drum circles, traditional African dances and soul-stirring songs!

Harris Theatre

205 E. Randolph Dr.

4. Manual Cinema: Fjords

Saturday 2 p.m. and Sunday 2 p.m.

Manual Cinema teams up with the poet Zachary Schomburg and the music ensemble Chicago Q to play with words, puppets and images. A mystical mystery awaits you.

Poetry Foundation 61 W. Superior St.

5. Chicago Arts Orchestra: Transatlantic Voyage

Saturday 8 p.m.

An exploration of musical connections between the New and Old Worlds during the 18th Century.

St Luke Church

1500 W. Belmont Ave.

6. The March: A Civil Rights Opera

Sunday 4 p.m.

An opera inspired by the March on Washington, which spotlights some of the people who came together on a hot, sunny day in August of 1963 to make history.

Robeson Theater, South Shore Cultural Center

7059 South Shore Drive

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