Our Top Five, Strings Attached

Our top five picks for things to do this week: Puppets for adults, steamy French cinema, Ray Bradbury calling, and poetry gone burlesque

Blair Thomas near train tracks with his marionette and musical instruments
SUITED FOR ADULTS  Blair Thomas stages a three-part puppet show for grownups this week at Victory Gardens.

THE FIVE

Don’t-miss picks for Wed 07.07.10 through Tue 07.13.10:

1

theatre Hard Headed Heart
Blair Thomas, the cofounder of Redmoon and one-man marionette machine, mounts his 12-years-in-the-works fugue of spectacular puppetry on the string-pulling subjects of love, loss, sex, and death. Need we mention this production is adults-only? Or that you should call the babysitter immediately (as in, get your tickets now)?
GO: July 8–Aug 8. $25. Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N Lincoln. victorygardens.org

2

film Fahrenheit 451
François Truffaut’s only English-language film—a stylized treatment of Ray Bradbury’s reading-list staple of the same name, starring Julie Christie and Oskar Werner—screens at the Siskel, followed by a discussion with Bradbury’s official biographer, Sam Weller (Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews), andthe local film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, plus—are you reading this, once and future sci-fi geeks?—the man himself, Bradbury, piped in via Skype.
GO: July 10 at 3. $7-$10. Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State. siskelfilmcenter.org

3

theatre A Parallelogram
With personnel like this, who cares about plot? Steppenwolf debuts the latest by the 2009 Steinberg Playwright Award winner Bruce Norris, directed by the Tony winner Anna D. Shapiro, and starring the Jeff winner Tom Irwin. (What? You want details? Listen to a podcast chat between Norris and Steppenwolf’s literary manager, Joy Meads.)
GO: Previews continue through July 10; $20-$48. Regular run July 11–Aug 29; $20-$70. Steppenwolf, 1650 N Halsted. steppenwolf.org

4

festivals Chicago Folk & Roots Festival
Adeptly programmed by the Old Town School of Folk Music, this urban hootenanny combines audience participation (dancing) with plenty of motivation to get up and move (bluegrass from the James King Band, the exotic Tuareg-Wodaabe blues of Etran Finatawa), in the leafy enclave of Lincoln Square.
GO: July 10-11 from noon to 9:30. $5-$10 per day. Welles Park, Lincoln and Montrose. chicagofolkandroots.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: Dozens of acts from both sides of the pond—including Eileen Ivers and The Tossers—play five stages at the 25th annual Irish American Heritage Festival.

5

lit The Poetry Brothel
And you thought librarians were sexy. TPB—a NYC-based series of literary bar parties in which patrons request one-on-one readings from lusty performers poised to sell their wares (i.e., poetry)—makes its Chicago debut at the opulent, and rarely open to the public, Foundation Room (i.e., the House of Blues’ penthouse party pad). Despite the burlesque undertones, the night is all above board (i.e., no disrobing)—but if we had known poetry came with this spoonful of sugar, we might have been lit majors.
GO: July 10 from 8 to midnight. $15. Foundation Room at the House of Blues, 329 N Dearborn. thepoetrybrothel.com

FREEBIES OF THE WEEK

film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Despite drawing our resident humorist’s ire for being one of many movies set in Chicago but rife with geographic inaccuracies, this John Hughes classic still makes us smile. Read Jeff Ruby’s musings on the injustices of cinematic laziness, then count the blunders when a young Matthew Broderick fills the screen on the Chicago History Museum’s back plaza.
GO: July 13 at dusk. Chicago History Museum, 1601 N Clark. chicagohistory.org

concerts Rachel Barton Pine
Who would have thought the violin virtuosa could shred such a sick metal solo? The newly named Great Performer of Illinois plays a free concert that doubles as summer’s most eclectic set: a Baroque ditty with her period-chamber ensemble; a virtuosic solo turn in Tchaikovsky’s mind-blowing Violin Concerto; and a righteous jam session with her thrash-metal band, Earthen Grave. Rock on, Rachel.
GO: July 11 at 7. Pritzker Pavilion, Michigan and Randolph. greatperformersofillinois.com

ALSO THIS WEEK: Dobet Gnahoré seamlessly sews the ancient sounds of the Ivory Coast into sophisticated Afro pop, while Victor Démé’s intimate songs reveal the blues’ roots in Burkina Faso; both play as part of Music Without Borders, July 8 in Millennium Park.

galleries Open Studio @ HPAC
Solving Chicago’s traffic conundrum, one art project at a time: The Paris-based artist Philippe Durand is spending his summer in residence at the Hyde Park Art Center, investigating Chicago’s suburban commuter culture for future artistic endeavors. Hear his thoughts thus far when he opens his studio for a public discussion.
GO: July 8 at 5. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S Cornell. hydeparkart.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: The boldface-name architects and designers Frank Christopher Lee, Dirk Lohan, Avram Lothan, and Eva Maddox discuss Chicago’s architectural heritage in a chat moderated by Lee Bey, July 13 at the Harold Washington Library Center.

Photograph: Saverio Truglia

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