Five Picks for New Year’s

Our top five for New Year’s Eve: No plans? No problem. We’ve rounded up big nights out of all stripes, with tickets still available.

A scene from a 'The Iliad,' at A Red Orchid Theatre
THERE WILL BE BLOOD Take your tweens to A Red Orchid Theatre’s The Iliad—if
you dare. Plus, more rabble-rousing New Year’s options below, all with tickets still
available.

THE FIVE

Don’t-miss picks for Wed 12.29.10 through Tue 01.04.11:

1

for the pint-sized set The Iliad
The raves keep piling in for this staging of Homer’s saga, stocked with a cast of bloodthirsty tweens. The production is appropriate for kids age 10 and up—but a warning, parents: Item number one on next year’s holiday wishlist? Stage-combat lessons.
GO: Dec 31 at 7. $30 includes a champagne or sparkling cider toast. A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N Wells. aredorchidtheatre.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: Zoo Year’s Eve at Brookfield Zoo starts its countdown at 7:59 for revelers with early bedtimes.

2

for the dance revolutionaries Mucca Pazza
The holidays are about spending time with those near and dear—in other words, Chicago’s own circus–punk marching band, Mucca Pazza. The raucous outfit is known for its live gigs—more party than concert, even on a regular night—which means expect a New Year’s Eve conga line of epic proportions. Step lively.
GO: Dec 31 at 10. $25. Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N Kedzie. mucca-pazza.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: Or raise a pint to the oom-pah-pah of the local Polkaholics at DANK Haus.

3

for the procrastinators Chuck Berry’s Winter Dance
Maybe you hate the stress of New Year’s Eve. Maybe you were too lazy to make plans, despite the Chicago Guide’s best efforts otherwise. Maybe you prefer the good old days, when rock ’n’ roll shows started at 7:30, not 10 p.m. For you, we present this Jan 1 concert by a founding father of rollicking, jubilant rock, who at 84 still performs regularly in his hometown of St. Louis but rarely heads north to Chicago—with an even rarer chance to dance along.
GO: Jan 1 at 7. $30–$100; VIP seating includes an open bar. Congress Theater, 2135 N Milwaukee. congresschicago.com

4

for the swingers  E. Faye Butler
Some things change, some things stay the same: For the second year in a row, we pick a jazz concert by this local vocalist with pipes of pure gold as one of the best ways to ring in the new year. Butler buffs, take note: These gigs mark your last chance to hear the singer in Chicago before she takes the stage in a new adaptation of Studs Terkel’s Working in February.
GO: Dec 30–31 at 8. $45–$55. Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie, Skokie. northlight.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: New Year’s Eve tickets remain for Remy Bumppo Theatre Company’s The Importance of Being Earnest; American Theater Company’s It’s a Wonderful Life; and Lookingglass Theatre’s Peter Pan, with a champagne toast andeven better—cheap parking.

5

for the laugh trackers  Chuckle Bowl Spectacular
Twelve lanes of open bowling, a midnight toast with the champagne of beers, and a revival of Blewt! Productions’ interactive game show Don’t Spit the Water. There’s nothing classy, sophisticated, or well-heeled about it. Which is just how you like it.
GO: Dec 31 at 9. $30–$35. Lincoln Square Lanes, 4874 N Lincoln. chucklebowl.com

ALSO THIS WEEK: The Neo-Futurists unleash an all-ages version of their long-running improv hit, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, on Dec 31. Unlike every other Friday of the year, advance tickets are required; see neofuturists.org for details.

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND

WIDTW is recovering from too much turkey and stuffing and will spend the weekend planning fabulous things to do in 2011.

FREEBIE OF THE WEEK

for the partiers Free Rides
No matter which category above you choose, we respectfully recommend tacking on what may be the best freebie yet: a safe ride home. Courtesy of Miller Lite, revelers can hop on and off a shuttle service running every 20 to 25 minutes on a continuous circuit between Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park, Old Town, River North, the Loop, and points beyond. Happy New Year, everyone.
GO: Dec 31 from 8 pm to 4 am. For route info, call 800-FREE-RIDES; text “FREE RIDE” to 30364; or visit millerlitefreerides.com

 

Photograph: Michael Brosilow

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