Keren Ann, Marcus Sakey, Blues Fest
This week’s top picks: French pop … a Prairie Avenue insider … loads of free concerts … plus, what the novelist Marcus Sakey is doing this weekend (you’re invited)
CHIC AND CHEAP Keren Ann plays Lincoln Hall on 6/13; tickets are $12–$15.
Don’t-miss picks for Wed 06.08.11 through Tue 06.14.11:
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rock/pop Keren Ann
The French chanteuse sets her hushed vocals to skewed girl-group doo-wop, brooding pop, and atmospheric ballads. We set our sights on tickets.
GO: 6/13 at 8. $12–$15. Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln. lincolnhallchicago.com
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tours A Walk Through Time
Think of it as The Real Housewives of Prairie Avenue: Glessner House’s 125th birthday anchors this curator-guided stroll, but it’s the tour’s seven private residences rarely open to the public we can’t wait to peek inside.
GO: 6/12 at 1. $50. Glessner House Museum, 1800 S Prairie. glessnerhouse.org
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theatre Leap Fest
Want to see the Next Big Thing? It might be unveiled at Stage Left’s annual caucus of new works: In seven years, three debuts have gone on to win the Jeff Awards’ new-play trophy. Among our most anticipated: Steve Spencer’s The News All the Time, about an ace reporter who learns she’s pregnant five minutes before her biggest scoop, and Rob Smith’s Underneath, about a terminal cancer patient who tells her husband that her final wish is a one-night stand with an ex-lover. Now that’s big.
GO: 6/14–7/3. $13 per play; $30 fest pass. Stage Left Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont. stagelefttheatre.com
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lectures A Life with Whales
Nope, not the subtitle of a Wes Anderson movie. In this chat at the Brookfield Zoo, the National Geographic photographer and marine biologist Flip Nicklin (nope, not a Wes Anderson character) shares his photos and audio recordings of humpback and killer whales—the perfect adult-oriented accompaniment to the Field’s kid-friendly new exhibit Whales.
GO: 6/14 at 7:30. $16; advance registration recommended. Brookfield Zoo, 8400 W 31st, Brookfield. czs.org
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film The Wizard of Oz
We’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of weird: John Waters, that is, who introduces this screening of The Film That Changed His Life—the first in a new series at the Music Box. Replace “His” with “My” and you’ve got the film series’ title, also a new book by the Chicago journalist Robert Elder, who in turn introduces Waters.
GO: 6/11 at 5:30. $20–$32. Music Box Theatre, 3733 N Southport. musicboxtheatre.com
ALSO THIS WEEK: And also at the Music Box, the comedian, writer, and now filmmaker Harry Shearer hosts a screening of his new documentary on Katrina, The Big Uneasy, with a Q&A following on 6/10.
theatre Performing Tonight: Liza Minnelli’s Daughter
Oh, those nutty Neos. Here, the troupe vet Mary Fons plays a woman obsessively certain she is fated to stardom as the offspring of Liza with a Z. Somewhere, Lorna Luft can sympathize.
GO: Previews 4/28–29. Run continues through 6/4. All tickets $10–$15. Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N Ashland. neofuturists.org
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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 crime-fiction novelist and Roscoe Villager Marcus Sakey.
“My new novel, The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes, was just released, so most of the weekend will be dedicated to pimping it. But I’m hoping to steal a few hours for myself on Saturday afternoon. Fingers crossed for a sunny day—it will be spent lounging in the hammock that takes up most of my back yard, smelling the pulled pork roasting in the smoker, and devouring an advanced copy of George Pelecanos’s new novel.
“Sunday it’s back to work, although my work looks a lot like play. I’m joining the legendary Rick Kogan on WGN radio that morning and stopping by a bunch of bookstores in the afternoon. Sunday evening I’m hosting a book-release party at the Hidden Shamrock.
“Want to join? You’re invited. Festivities start at 7. Guaranteed to be a good time if you’re into beer or books or both. And if you’re not, well, we probably wouldn’t get along anyway.”
FREEBIES OF THE WEEK
rock/pop Chicago Blues Festival
City budget cuts, the passing of elders, and the worrisome lack of young musicians have left this year’s lineup in a weakened state (though not as diminished as some of its fellow fests reduced to a few hours at Taste of Chicago), but a few gems remain: a tribute to the late Pinetop Perkins by the drummer/harmonica player Willie Smith (6/11 at 4:45), the blues-harp wiz Billy Branch (6/11 at 8:30), and the torrid young soul singer Shemekia Copeland leading a 40th-anniversary toast to the local Alligator Records with the guitarist Lonnie Brooks (6/12 at 6).
GO: 6/10–12 from 11 to 9:30. Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson. chicagobluesfestival.us
ALSO THIS WEEK: Not free but related: The Evanston venue SPACE hosts a bill devoted to Chicago’s own West Side Blues on 6/9, followed by another Perkins tribute on 6/10. Last but not least (and free), the Campbell Brothers, a leading example of gospel music’s sacred steel style, play Millennium Park’s Downtown Sound series on 6/13.
folk Arto JÄrvelÄ, Kaivama
There’s a strange warmth in the folk fiddling of the frozen Finnish northlands, and Järvelä has it mastered, while Kaivama plays the music of 19th-century Finlanders who settled in Michigan and Minnesota.
GO: 6/8 at 8:30. Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N Lincoln. oldtownschool.org
lectures The Beat Cop’s Guide to Chicago Eats
Donuts, sure, but also polish sausage, fried chicken, and so on: Learn where Chicago’s finest find their snacks at this reading and signing of a book by the same name, coauthored by Sgt. David J. Haynes, a 15-year CPD vet, and the local blogger Christopher Garlington. Copies of the tell-all tome, which includes $34 in local-dining coupons, will be available for $15.95.
GO: 6/14 at 7. Quimby’s, 1854 W North. quimbys.com
ALSO THIS WEEK: Speaking of discounts, Quimby’s sister shop, Chicago Comics, hosts a dance party featuring DJ Major Taylor on 6/10. Stop by and shimmy for five minutes between 6 and 8, and you’ll get 20 percent off your bill.
Photography: (ANN) Amit Israeli; (SAKEY) Jeff Sciortino