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Robbie Fulks’s Weekend Plans

Our top five picks for things to do: The next big thing in Chicago theatre (for a budget five bucks) . . . a ukulele invasion . . . a Fred Anderson tribute . . . and introducing our new feature, this week starring Robbie Fulks

Robbie Fulk playing an acoustic guitar
FULK LORE What’s Robbie Fulks up to this Friday? Where can you hear him Monday? This and other tantalizing tips for your week below.

THE FIVE

Don’t-miss picks for Wed 08.18.10 through Tue 08.24.10:

1

theatre Ignition 2010
In 2009, Victory Gardens’ inaugural roundup of new plays helped catapult Kristoffer Diaz and his now-Pulitzer finalist, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, onto the New York stage; Michael Golamco’s Year Zero similarly made the jump. Like Miss America, the two playwrights return this week to hand over their metaphorical tiaras and deliver the keynote address for Ignition’s sophomore outing. As if that weren’t enough to make Thursday a must-see, the night’s staged reading is the new play Mala Hierba, by Tanya Saracho—our pick for the most likely candidate to inherit Diaz and Golamco’s crown.
GO: Keynote Aug 19 at 7:30; reading at 8. Ignition runs Aug 18–22. $5 per night; $25 fest pass. Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N Lincoln. victorygardens.org

2

concerts Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
The group’s 1972 opus, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, brought country, folk, and bluegrass under the rock ’n’ roll tent—a true original that turned everyone from Alabama to Old Crow Medicine Show on to the emerging genre of Americana. Think of this gig as a rare chance to hear a piece of living music history (sorry, NGDB—we know you’re not that old). Bonus: Learn from a master when the longtime band member John McEuen leads a banjo and guitar workshop; spots are still available.
GO: Workshop: Aug 21 at 2; $35. Concerts: Aug 21 at 7 and 10; $31-$35. Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N Lincoln. oldtownschool.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: More roots music, courtesy of two odes to one undersung instrument. The Great Midwest Ukefestas in ukulele—takes over Chief O’Neill’s Pub for a full day of strumming on Aug 22, with an open mic at 2. And in other uke news, the band Neutral Uke Hotel plays an all-ukulele rendition of the Chicago Guide’s favorite album ever, Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Aug 19 at the Empty Bottle.

3

theatre Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins
Other than the fact that it jumpstarts with a march from Daley Plaza, this 22nd-annual experimental theatre extravaganza is about as Off-Loop as they come. The fest, like the march, is helmed by Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company’s Richard Cotovsky and features some 50 local troupes in performances running 72 hours straight: Don’t miss A Red Orchid Theatre dialing random strangers plucked from the phonebook at 5 a.m.
GO: Aug 20–22. $10 per day; $25 weekend pass. Angel Island, 735 W Sheridan. maryarrchie.com

4

farrago Chicago Comic Con
One for the nerds: Sure, you can salute William Shatner and Adam West in person—but this geekfest also gives you the opportunity to gladhand all five final Cylons from Battlestar Galactica. Frak, yeah.
GO: Aug 19–22. $25-$30 per day; $50-$200 four-day pass. Donald E Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N River, Rosemont. wizardworld.com

5

farrago Tall Ships Chicago
And one for the kids: When a fleet of some 20 vessels from ports as far-flung as the Netherlands docks at Navy Pier, the nautical fanfare includes cannon, a boat parade, daily sails, on-deck tours, maritime displays, nightly fireworks, and more. Finally, a mode of transportation befitting Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
GO: Aug 24–29. Prices vary by event; see website for schedule. Navy Pier, 600 E Grand. navypier.com

FREEBIES OF THE WEEK

concerts Clare and the Reasons
Dusk Variations, the free concert series devoted to blurring the line between rock and classical, wraps with this group, a twee Brooklyn band that lands squarely in the latter half of the “chamber pop” formula.
GO: Aug 23 at 6:30. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph. millenniumpark.org

concerts Tuesdays on the Terrace
The MCA’s splendiferous backyard jazz series pays tribute to the recently departed tenor-sax icon and Velvet Lounge proprietor, Fred Anderson, who had been scheduled to play the museum in June before he fell ill. Expect an especially moving set from the Chicago bassist Tatsu Aoki.
GO: Aug 24 at 5:30. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago. mcachicago.org

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND

Introducing a new Chicago Guide tidbit: weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals (a.k.a. people we like). First up, the Chicago musician Robbie Fulks:

“I work a lot of weekends, including this one coming up [Fulks plays the Tulsa Performing Arts Center on Aug 21], but I’ve got Friday off, so I thought I might take my son to go see The Duel at the Music Box. It’s a film adaptation of the Chekhov story. I don’t know anything about the actors, but my son is kind of a Chekhov freak, and so am I; you could say we trust the Chekhov brand. And the Music Box is just about our favorite theatre. That’s the only good thing I can say about my fathering: My boys have all grown up to love the Music Box.”

• See The Duel at the Music Box: Aug 20–26 at 5:45, 7:45, and 9:45, plus 1:45 and 3:45 on Aug 21–22; $5-$9.25.
• Read our story on Fulks from the June issue
• Hear Fulks play the Hideout Aug 23 at 7 with Robbie Gjersoe and Jenny Scheinman; cover is a suggested donation of $10

Photograph: Todd Crawford

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