BROTHERLY LOVE Celebrate the season, Waco Brothers–style, when the country-
punk rockers play their annual holiday shows at Schubas.
Don’t-miss picks for Wed 12.28.11 through Tue 1.3.11: Not looking to blow half of your 2012 entertainment budget before the year officially begins? Below, five things to do this week not on December 31—plus five great NYE options that won’t break the bank.
film The Tree of Life
OR, ON NEW YEAR’S EVE: The Music Box hosts its annual showing of The Poseidon Adventure, timed to coincide with the New Year’s countdown onscreen. Tickets run $22–$27; the party starts at 11; costumes are encouraged.
WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND
Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: the third-generation illusionist and go-to magic consultant for The House Theatre, Steppenwolf, Court Theatre, and Lookingglass, Dennis Watkins, who plans to swallow a string of eight razor blades on New Year’s Eve.
“Friday night I’ll be doing my weekly Magic Parlour show at the Chopin Theatre. It’s a night of classic magic passed on by my grandfather, who was a pro magician. My favorite trick, the finale, is built around the ‘card stab’ premise, where an audience member chooses a card, shuffles it back into the stack, and tosses the entire deck in the air. The magician then stabs his sword into the mess of cards and sticks the chosen card. I tweaked the trick a little, to where I blow up a seven-foot balloon, climb in, and have my head poking out. The volunteer then tosses the deck into the air, and I stab the sword through the balloon and into the chosen card. It failed once, but out of the thousands of times I’ve done it, I’d say that’s pretty good.
“My big New Year’s Eve plans revolve around work, which they normally do, but I’m extremely excited for this year. I’m performing an extended New Year’s Eve magic show for the first time in a suite at the Palmer House. I love the Palmer House. It’s an amazing Chicago institution and a perfect place to hold this really intimate—36 seats—magic show. There will be more classic tricks, like sleight of hand, cups and balls, linking rinks, and Sam the Bellhop, which was my grandfather’s favorite: You tell the story of Sam, a bellhop at a hotel, with a deck of cards, which you’re shuffling constantly. The suits and numbers of each card represent the details of the story, and as you’re shuffling, the right card miraculously comes to the top for you to flip onto the table and move the story along.
“The finale is definitely going to be the balloon card stab, but I’m trying to have it so I can pop the balloon and stab the card exactly at midnight—with the audience champagne in hand. I can’t think of a better way to toast the new year.” —As told to Heather Youkhana
FREEBIES OF THE WEEK
theatre Blue Nativity
Last chance to see this popular telling of the Christmas story—with puppets—before Quest Theatre retires the ten-year-old production.
GO: 1/1 at 5. St. Gregory the Great, 5535 N Paulina. questensemble.org
Photography: (WACO BROTHERS) Courtesy of Bloodshot Records; (WATKINS) Katherine Webster