The Chicago Institute of Music “Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration” features performances by violinist Rachel Barton Pine, vocalist Tammy McCann, saxophonist Victor Goines, violinist Hannah White, duo pianists Sung Hoon Mo and Inah Chiu, and the Brotherhood Chorale of the Apostolic Church of God. Free streams at 3 p.m. on January 17. There’s also a free talk exploring race and identity in American music at 3 p.m. on January 16. Visit musicinst.org/nch. … The Hyde Park Art Center “Gamechangers & Name Changers: A Virtual Celebration of MLK Day” features film screenings and conversations celebrating local artists and activists who embody the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Stream for free from noon to 4 p.m. on January 18. Visit hydeparkart.org. … The African American Arts Alliance of Chicago and the Black Ensemble Theater present their “Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day.” an event filled with dance, music, spoken word and excerpts from King’s speeches. Stream for free at 6 p.m. on January 18. Visit aaaachicago.org Where blackensemble.org. … Old Town Folk Music School hosts a day of free and inspiring programming, including a Wiggleworms song/dance class online at 10 a.m. with Shanta Nurullah and Zahra Baker; an hour of peace and justice singing with Bill Brickey and some surprise guests at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Visit oldtownschool.org for day links to events.
The magic of the motel
Take a break from quarantine when Links Hall presents Thaddeus Phillips’ ‘mysterious and playful’ZooMotel” performed live from the writer/performer’s home outside of Bogota, Colombia. Phillips and designer/artist Steven Dufala have created an extremely inventive piece featuring interactive magic and illusions (created by magician Steve Cuiffo). Set in a motel room where “time stands still and mysterious and enlightening stories emerge from around the world”. Members of the public (limited to 21) become the other guests of the 22-room motel. American Theater magazine calls the show “eerily enchanting”. Live broadcast of “Zoo Motel” from January 14 to 24. Tickets: $21. To visit zoomotel.org/tickets.
Northwestern University Opera Theater has created an ambitious staging by Claudio Monteverdi “The Orfeo” a 400-year-old opera, which tells the story of the mythical poet-musician Orfeo and his journey to hell to save his love Eurydice. The Northwest version, filmed remotely during the pandemic and billed as a five-part miniseries, is set in the 1960s amidst the counterculture movement as Orfeo embarks on a spiritual journey to a psychedelic underworld. to recover Eurydice. “L’Orfeo” open water course January 15-February 12. Visit music.northwestern.edu/orfeo-remote.
Global Tiny Office
New York’s globalFEST, the annual event that showcases world music artists to American audiences, is teaming up with NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts for a revamped 2021 event. The collaboration Small office meets globalFEST offers four evenings of streaming music hosted by Angélique Kidjo and featuring performances by 16 international artists. Performers include DakhaBrakha, Sofia Rei, Emel, Natu Camara, Martha Redbone, Rachele Andrioli, Rokia Traore, Nora Brown, Vox Sambou, Dedicated Men of Zion and many more. Music streams for free at 7 p.m. from January 11-14. To visit globalfest.org.
the National Geographic Life Virtual Series features six live events with films, discussions and Q&As on a variety of topics beginning with “Life on Other Worlds”. Planetary scientist and astrobiologist Kevin Peter Hand and NASA engineer Kobie Boykins offer updates on this vast frontier of exploration. Live stream at 6 p.m. on January 19. Other topics in the series that run through April include the evolution of dinosaur science, adventures while making movies in the wild, the mysterious world of the seas, science and photography, and women and migration. Tickets: $20; $54 to $90 for the series. To visit auditoriumtheatre.org.
Chicago musician Tim Bredrup, under the nickname “Listening to Tim”, uses its vast repertoire of original songs – from nursery rhymes to Beatles tunes – to inspire families to sing and dance together while teaching the basics of music. Bredrup is now celebrating the release of his new album “We’re All Human,” with a live-streamed family concert at 11 a.m. on January 16. Tickets: $20. To visit tuneswithtim.com/concerts.
Be a woman
The new exhibition of the Museum of Contemporary Photography “Reproductive: Health, Fertility, Agency” explores the psychological, physical and emotional realities faced by women in the years before, during and after fertility. Works range from photography to video installations by artists Laia Abril, Candice Breitz, Elinor Carucci, Krista Franklin, Doreen Garner, Candy Guinea, Joanne Leonard and Carmen Winant. Experience the free show online (and in person when museums are allowed to reopen) from January 19 to May 23. Visit mocp.org.
Mary Houlihan is a local freelance writer.