5:30–7:30 p.m. Wondering what that concrete car is in the Campus North Parking Garage? It’s the centerpiece of Concrete Happenings at the University of Chicago, an ongoing series that explores concrete and art. Concrete Poetry (Part I) will explore the tangibility of language through an exhibition tour and a concrete tablet-making activity. (Part II on February 16.) Starts at the Smart Museum of Art and ends at the Special Collections Research Center in the Reg, free, RSVP encouraged.
7 p.m. Esteemed jazz pianist Fred Hersch’s extraordinary life and music get their close-up in The Ballad of Fred Hersch. From his early AIDS activism to recent health scare, this 2016 documentary tells the story behind the notes. This on-campus screening provides the prelude to Hersch’s concert alongside his trio the following evening. Screening Room 201, Logan Center, free.
Thursday, February 9, through Saturday, February 11, at 7:30 p.m. Matinee on Saturday, February 11, at 2 p.m. UT/TAPS tackles Sam Shepard with Geography of a Horse Dreamer. Directed by third-year Si Squires-Kasten, this production provides a unique take on Shepard’s western to question gender, art, and the American Dream. Theater East, Logan Center for the Arts, $6 advance, $8 door.
7:30 p.m. UChicago Presents hosts the celebrated Fred Hersch Trio in a program of Hersch’s own music. He is joined by Eric McPherson on drums and John Hébert on bass. There will be a pre-concert discussion between Hersch and UChicago Professor of Music Thomas Christensen in the venue at 6:30 p.m. Performance Hall, Logan Center, $5 students, $28 Faculty and Staff, $35 general admission.
7:30 p.m.–11 p.m. This #flashbackfriday, UChicago Swing Dance Society is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Java Jives in C-Shop. The event will begin with a beginner lesson, followed by hours of dancing the night away with coffee-themed tunes and snacks! C-Shop, Reynolds Club, free.
7:30 p.m. Finally, a show as scrambled as your post-midterm brain. Off-Off Campus presents Mad Libs Ad Libs using the plots of famous plots and movies for three separate stories. The Revival, $5.
8 p.m. Don’t miss the second installment of ARTiculate, a new storytelling initiative at the intersection of art, music, theater, and other media. Up this week are MeeSoh Bossard, Jonathan Gardner, Eli Winter, Will Davis, Karolina Simcic, and Grace McLeod, as well as Memento, Memoryhouse Magazine’s performance ensemble. Performance Penthouse, Logan Center, Free.
8 p.m. The UChicago Folk Festival enters its 57th year with two nights of concerts featuring folk headliners. Plus, don’t miss a diverse host of daytime workshops, at which you can learn everything from blues harmonica to English waltzes to improvisation on the recorder. A complete schedule of events can be found online at uofcfolk.org. Mandel Hall, Reynolds Club, $25 regular, $20 senior, $10 student. For Saturday, February 11’s concert, pricing is $30, $25, and $10 respectively.
6:30 p.m. This year’s College Night at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is going for Baroque with works by Italian greats, with a special focus on Antonio Vivaldi (of Four Seasons fame). Come early for pre-concert goodies, like dinner at 6:30 p.m. and a Q&A with CSO musicians at 7. Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave, $15 with a student ID.
5–8 p.m. The long-awaited opening of sculptor Robert Grosvenor’s exhibit at the Renaissance Society kicks off with an opening reception. A talk with poet and art critic John Yau begins at 6 p.m. Renaissance Society, 4th Floor, Cobb Hal, free.