Pocket Guide: A cultural short list for December, in order of buzz

The White House: A Look Inside at the Museum of Science and Industry
The White House: A Look Inside at the Museum of Science and Industry

 

Ranked from highest profile to biggest surprise

THE SECOND CITY’S 50TH
12/11-13 Fifty years: We laughed, we cried, we saw careers take off—including those of returning Citizens Martin Short, Eugene Levy, and Catherine O’Hara.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL
12/22-27 An all-star production features many a Ghost of TV Shows Past (not to mention Sitcoms Yet to Come): James Garner, George Wendt, F. Murray Abraham, and Wayne Knight.

AMERICAN BUFFALO
12/3–2/7 What’s changed since the days when David Mamet was a no-name playwright, Tracy Letts (starring) was pre-Pulitzer, and Amy Morton (directing) had no Tony noms? Plenty—including your shot at tickets.

ROCK ’N’ ROLL NEW YEAR’S EVE
12/31 Open-bar bashes are so overdone. Party like it’s 2009 with this year’s lineup of NYE concerts: The Black Keys, Umphrey’s McGee, Girl Talk—and our pick, Local H.

THE SWELL SEASON
12/3 They sing, we swoon: The musicians behind the hit indie flick Once return with a new set list of bittersweet tunes.

BARBARA CRANE
The Chicago photographer is the subject of not one, not two, but three concurrent retrospectives. Not bad for 81 and still shooting.

UNTIL EMMETT TILL
12/4 Talk about public service: Local jazzman Ernest Dawkins unleashes his powerful song suite just blocks from Till’s childhood home—for free.

THE WHITE HOUSE: A LOOK INSIDE
Through 2/15 A 60-by-13-foot replica at the MSI includes details like ringing phones; Obama family action figures not included.

HOLIDAY HOW-TO
The DIY movement isn’t relegated to holiday craft fairs: Show some spirit at the Do-It-Yourself Messiah (12/21, 22) and Dance-Along Nutcracker (12/6).

ANNE FRANK: A HISTORY FOR TODAY
12/3–2/28 Like flipping through the Frank family album: A new exhibition at the Illinois Holocaust Museum features hundreds of rarely seen snapshots.

 

Photography: Courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry, ©AFS/AFF, Amsterdam/Basel

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