World AIDS Day screenings, the Buttcracker, and moreKerry Reid, Micco Caporale and Salem Collo-Julinon December 2, 2022 at 7:16 pm

Last week, the annual winter flower shows opened at the city’s conservatories in Garfield Park and Lincoln Park. This year, the theme at Garfield Park Conservatory (300 N. Central Park) is “Snow Day,” which they’re channeling with a 12 feet tall “tree” created with white poinsettias, as well as oversized snowmen hidden throughout the conservatory’s show house. Seasonal plants on view include snows of Kilimanjaro shrubs, snow bush, snowball cabbage, and snow crystals (aka sweet alyssum). The Lincoln Park Conservatory’s (2391 N. Stockton) theme this year is “Sugar Plum,” which they embody with pink poinsettias and scenes and music from The Nutcracker. You can also expect to see purple heart, spiderwort, “Rosea Picta” snow bush, “Pure Violet Premium” pansies, and “Velvet Elvis” plectranthus. The winter flower shows are free and will be on view until January 8, but timed reservations are required within regular hours. Garfield Park Conservatory is open Wed 10 AM-8 PM (with last entry at 7 PM), Thu-Sun 10 AM-5 PM (last entry at 4 PM), and closed Mon-Tue. Lincoln Park Conservatory is open Wed-Sun 10 AM-3 PM; closed Mon-Tue. Check out the Garfield Park Conservatory and Lincoln Park Conservatory websites to plan your visit. (MC)

A portion of the show currently on display at Lincoln Park Conservatory.

There are some local events continuing today and this weekend in the spirit of World AIDS Day, which is observed on December 1 each year to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness, to show support for those living with HIV, to fight prejudice, and to educate. (In case you missed it, Reader editor in chief Enrique Limón wrote some reflections about growing up at the height of the AIDS era for his editor’s note in our latest issue.) The International Museum of Surgical Science (1524 N. Lake Shore Dr.) hosts Being And Belonging this weekend, a program of seven short films curated by the organization Visual AIDS highlighting underreported stories involving HIV and AIDS, from an international list of artists and filmmakers living with HIV. The program includes newly commissioned work by American artist Clifford Prince King, performance and video artist and Canadian queer community health activist Mikiki, and self-named “artivista” and Argentinian Camila Arce, who has been living with HIV since birth, and whose work is focused on the needs and realities of women living with HIV, those who were born with HIV, and those who seroconverted through breastfeeding. Being and Belonging screens in a continuous loop through Sunday; the museum is open today until 5 PM, and Sat-Sun 10 AM-5 PM. Admission for adults is $18, but check the museum’s website for a range of discounted rates for students, seniors, children, educators, and members of the military. The program also screens in its entirety on Sun 12/4 at 2 PM at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (220 E. Chicago); it’s free with museum admission ($15 for adults). (SCJ)

A trailer created for Being and Belonging by Visual AIDS

And tonight the nonprofit service organization CALOR (formed in 1990 by a group of HIV and Latinx activists as Comprensión y Apoyo a Latinos en Oposición at Retrovirus) hosts the World AIDS Day Variety Show, a night of community, tacos, beverages, and performances by performer and Selena illusionist Angelicia Diamond, rapper and actress Lila Star Escada, musician Rosalba Valdez, and performance artist Benji Hart. Drag performers Milani and Isa Diamond host, and DJ X-tasy will be on the decks. CALOR will offer free rapid HIV testing during the event. (8 PM, at Healthy Hood Chicago, 2242 S. Damen, free, all-ages, reservations requested at Eventbrite). (SCJ)

There are approximately eleventybillion versions of The Nutcracker running around this time of year—but there’s only one Buttcracker. The brainchild of Jaq Seifert (who, as they told Reader contributor Matt Simonette earlier this week, originally came up with the title as a campfire joke) started out as a one-night burlesque and variety show back in 2016. It’s now getting a full run at the Greenhouse Theater Center (2257 N. Lincoln), with Miguel Long directing and choreography by Dylan Kerr. The story, based very loosely on the original, follows Clara from a stuffy holiday office party to the Land of Sweets, where celebrations of sex and body positivity unfold through burlesque, boylesque, circus arts, and more. The lineup changes almost nightly, and there are special preshow performances Fridays and Saturdays and brunch matinees on Sunday, along with specialty cocktails every show. It runs through 12/31, Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, with a special 9 PM performance for New Year’s Eve. Tickets range from $20 industry to $100 VIP seating during the regular run, $60-$200 on NYE, and are available at or 18+, 21+ for alcoholic beverages. (KR)

Another dance alternative to the holiday chestnut arrives 7 PM tonight at Links Hall (3111 N. Western) with two new pieces from REdance group. On the Edge of the Fault Line by RE

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