Five things to do this weekend: Feb. 2-3
Sample and judge free chili in Harvard Square. Did you get your free chocolate last week? Move fast enough and you can follow that up with the 90-minute, fifth annual Some Like It Hot Chili Cook-Off, in which there’s to be chili in various categories – “Hot, Spicy, Vegan, Traditional, and Unusual” is the way the Harvard Square Business Association puts it – from restaurants including Bertucci’s, Crema Café, Fire + Ice, First Printer, Grafton Street, Grendel’s Den, J.P. Licks, Otto, Russell House Tavern, Shay’s Pub and Wine Bar, Tasty Burger and Uno Chicago Grill. The event takes place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday in front of Brattle Square Florist at 31 Brattle St., Harvard Square.
See Islamic Art collected over three decades by a unique Harvard grad. Even the catalog for “In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art” describes it as something of a mystery why the wealthy, middle-aged Calderwood took to Islamic art, graduating first from Boston University and, in the 1960s, Harvard. But she excelled in the field – going on to lecture at the Museum of Fine Arts and Boston College and to collect amazing artifacts over the course of some 30 years. She died in 2006, leaving her collection to Harvard. Now some 150 objects from the Persian cultural sphere, including luxury glazed ceramics of the early and medieval Islamic era, illustrated manuscripts of medieval epic poems and lacquerware of the early modern era go on display through June 1 at the Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, 485 Broadway. This is the first weekend to see the works in this little-known and largely unpublished collection. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays (as well as Tuesdays through Fridays).
Laugh at love with “My Bloody Valentine” Geek Comedy. Kevin Harrington’s geek comedy series suggests “love is like a vampire – it sucks!” and that a round of comedians and music is the best way to beat the beating heart. Ken Reid headlines with support from Julia Bond, Matt Chaves, Amy Macabre, Dan Martin, Mickey McCauley and Marianne Toilet. The musical guest is The Unlivin’ Dead, and the whole shebang costs $5 starting at 8 p.m. Saturday at Comicazi, 407 Highland Ave., Davis Square, Somerville.
Go forth to Beethoven’s Fifth, for free, and be out by 6 p.m. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor includes what have been called the best-known four notes in all of music: “Da-da-da-DUMMM.” Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have turned over their annual Independent Activities Period to learning the Fifth and plan to test their efforts with a free, one-hour concert. Skeptical about how well students can handle the masterwork, especially as part of something called the IAP Orchestra, conducted by sophomore Daniel Zhang? Keep in mind this is MIT we’re talking about. Also keep in mind the orchestra will be performing in Kresge Auditorium, the Eero Saarinen-designed hall with astonishing acoustics and unobstructed views no matter where you sit. The concert is from 4 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Kresge Auditorium, 48 Massachusetts Ave.
Go to the circus with What Time Is It Mr. Fox? Steampunk soul band What Time Is It, Mr. Fox? has pulled out all the stops for its Sunday evening “Musical Circus CD Release Extravaganza.” The show is to include trapeze, animation, dance and video, according to lead fox Brian King, whose earnest and sexy songwriting lends itself also to salesmanship: “We are unbelievably excited about this show,” King said. “It’s going to be like the Super Bowl and ‘Downton Abbey’ all rolled into a magic carpet ride.” Here’s the venue’s own hyperbolic take on the event, which provides a chance to buy the band’s Kickstarted album, “A Little Bit Of Blue”:
Fronted by the powerful, supple voice of divo 3rian King, the band mixes soul music with baroque and medieval flair, sounding something like a male version of Adele leading a steampunk parade. Time Out NYC’s Adam Feldman recently advised of King, “Catch him as his star rises” in giving the band his Critic’s Pick of the Week. Mr. Fox will perform its original song, “Cold Rain,” which was covered by soul legend Irma Thomas on her Grammy-nominated CD “Simply Grand.” The night will also feature premiere videos, including “The Ladies Tree,” an animated short about Joan of Arc by award-winning filmmaker and Harvard professor, Ruth Lingford … aerial performers on trapeze and silks (Flight or Flight NYC) and boylesque (HomoErectus NYC).