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Scour the city, Amazing Race-style, with Urban Dare

The Hunt Club
Remember the scavenger hunts of your childhood? Running door to door, desperately trying to find that elusive pipe cleaner? Great fun, but frowned upon after a certain age. Thanks to Urban Dare, a small-scale Amazing Race of sorts, you can relive that youthful pastime-or, at least, enjoy a slightly more grown-up version. Urban Dare’s setup combines traditional scavenger-hunt elements with trivia questions, modern technology, and well, dares.

Here’s how it works: teams of two solve clues to locate checkpoints around the city. At each stop, participants take a digital photo or perform a dare to earn a passport stamp before moving on. (A sample question from a Washington, D.C., version of the race, “Who was the Smithsonian’s first secretary?” led participants to take their photos with the museum’s statue of Joseph Henry.) The dares are fun, not humiliating, so you won’t have to freeze anyone’s underpants or eat a cicada-or you can forgo the dare altogether and receive a penalty. You’re on your own in determining the route, but method of transit is limited to public transport or foot (no cabs, cars, or bikes). The course covers five to seven miles, depending on your knowledge of shortcuts, and should take three to four hours.

Intrigued? You’ll need a digital camera and a cell phone (calling friends for help with clues is permitted). GPS devices and Blackberries are allowed, though not required. Cost is $90 per team of two; preregistration is required at urbandare.com. The race begins at noon Saturday the 9th at Buckingham Fountain (500 S. Lake Shore Drive). One major difference from The Amazing Race: first place wins you bragging rights, not a million bucks. Call 703-931-1769 for more information.


Best Bets for Things to Do This Week

• Late comedian Jim Zulevic may not be a household name, but he has one of those faces that’s immediately recognizable from TV and movies. Or, you might remember the Second City alum from one of the theatre’s most legendary shows, Paradigm Lost, alongside Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch. Zulevic died of a heart attack last year at age 40; this month, Theater on the Lake (2401 N. Lake Shore Dr.; 312-742-7004) stages a retrospective of his work, Apparently Heaven Can’t Wait . . . The Best of Jim Zulevic at The Second City, Wednesday the 13th through Sunday the 17th. Tickets are $17.50.

• Broadway shows have become a gossip mill in their own right. Get a peek behind the scenes in the new documentary Show Business: The Road to Broadway. Director Dori Berinstein followed the casts and crews of shows including Wicked, Avenue Q, and Taboo from rehearsals through the Tony Awards during the 2003-’04 theatre season. The film opens Friday the 8th at The Music Box (3733 N. Southport Ave.; 773-871-6604). Tickets are $9.25.

• It’s like that old maxim, “Starve a cold, feed the blues.” Get your fix of eats and beats with a blues brunch at Buddy Guy’s Legends (754 S. Wabash Ave.; 312-427-0333), scheduled to coincide with this weekend’s Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park. Brunch runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday the 9th and Sunday the 10th; a $15 ticket includes a full buffet and live music.

OK Go’s live shows match the energy of their offbeat videos-sans treadmills (you try singing with gusto while running at a clip). Catch one of the homegrown band’s three performances, 7 p.m. nightly Tuesday the 12th through Thursday the 14th, at Charter One Pavilion (Northerly Island, 1300 S. Lynn White Dr). The Fray headlines. Tickets are $35.50 through Ticketmaster; call 312-559-1212.

• What pairs well with booze, besides peanuts? Creativity, of course. The third annual Drinking and Writing Festival combines beer tastings, a book sale, live music, and discussions of famous writers known to like their drink; this year’s installment is dedicated to poet and novelist Charles Bukowski. The festival runs noon to 5 p.m. Saturday the 9th at Hopleaf Bar (5148 N. Clark St.; 773-968-2345). Admission is $15 at drinkingandwriting.com or $20 at the door, and includes tickets for 10 drink tastings.

• Bid to win a walk-on role on HBO’s Entourage at the Piven Theatre Workshop Benefit, hosted by Jeremy Piven and Billy Dec. The fundraiser takes place Saturday the 9th from 6 to 10 p.m. at Rockit Bar and Grill (22 W. Hubbard St.; 847-866-8049), and includes a raffle, cocktails, and appetizers. Tickets are $150.

PLEASE NOTE: Events may be postponed or simply canceled. Please call ahead to make sure they are still scheduled to take place.Send tips or comments to marquee@chicagomag.com.
See last week’s column at www.chicagomag.com.
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