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Five Fun Things to Do in Chicago This Week

Eryn Allen Kane, Wonderland Express, Simmer Brown Show, Tonya and Nancy: The Rock Opera, Be Happy: A Forget-About-The-Election Variety Show, and McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade

TURKEY TRADITION The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade hits State Street Thursday.   Photo: Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, November 23 through November 29, 2016

1 Eryn Allen Kane

R&B:The Chicago-by-way-of-Detroit singer caps off a marquee year that included a stellar EP and guest spots on albums by Chance the Rapper and Noname.
11/25 at 7 p.m. $30–$35. Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut. clubtix.com

2 Wonderland Express

Seasonal:A holiday favorite for 11 years, the Wonderland Express pulls into the Joutras Gallery on the morning after Thanksgiving. Frolic in fake snow, marvel at model trains, and see Chicago landmarks rendered in twigs by miniatures maven Paul Busse of Applied Imagination.
11/25–1/2. $11–$13. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook, Glencoe. chicagobotanic.org

3 Simmer Brown Show

Comedy:This South Asian comedy collective’s monthly showcase features recently departed Second City cast member Peter Kim, as well as Prateek Srivastava, Sameena Mustafa, Jerry Tran, Mark Toland, and James Fisher.
11/26 at 8 p.m. $10–$15. Bughouse Theater, 1910 W. Irving Park. simmerbrowncomedy.brownpapertickets.com

4 Tonya and Nancy: The Rock Opera

Theater:’Twas the thwhack heard ’round the world when, two weeks out from the 1994 Winter Olympics, a thug took a truncheon to figure skater Nancy Kerrigan’s knee. The perp was later connected to Tonya Harding, Kerrigan’s archenemy. The deliciously salacious story is now a musical, complete with shady goons, bedazzled microminis, and a teary Russian ingénue dressed as a swan.
11/26–12/30. $12–$30. Underscore Theatre at Theater Wit, 4635 N. Clark. theaterwit.org

5 Be Happy: A Forget-About-The-Election Variety Show

Comedy:Chicago’s comedy scene assuages the post-election blues with this variety hour, which also includes magic and mind reading. All proceeds go to the ACLU.
11/27 at 8 p.m. $20. Public House Theatre, 3914 N. Clark. thepubtheatre.com

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Eryn Allen Kane Photo: Taylor Castle

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know-locals: singer Eryn Allen Kane, who performs at Fourth Presbyterian Church on Friday, November 25.

“I’m doing two shows this week in my two cities—on Wednesday night in my hometown, Detroit, and then the Friday show at Fourth Presbyterian here in Chicago. The musicians I’m playing with this week, I call them my ‘home band’—we’ve got a local three-piece horn section and some Chicago singers who come out to back me up. The last time we were all together was my first big show of the year, in February at City Winery. It’s really nice to see everybody again around the holidays. We’re going to be having a lot of fun, and I think that’ll make the show fun by extension.

“I was on tour last week and I’m going on the road again next week, but this week I can kind of relax with family and friends. Whenever I get back to my apartment in Logan Square, I try to meet up with some good friends—especially my fellow touring artists, when we overlap. I love to try new places to eat, but I’m extremely indecisive, so I usually just end up at Lula Cafe. Sometimes it’s the first place I go when I come home—I’m always trying to get out more, but it keeps sucking me back in. Their rotating brunch menu is amazing right now. I just went the other day and had pumpkin bread French toast with walnuts and pears, and this crazy thing with pork loin, squash, and a sunny-side-up egg.

“I’ll be rehearsing with the band as much as we can this week, and when we have our meetings or need a bite to eat, we love going to the Boiler Room. We’ve probably been there a million times, and we all usually get the PB & J deal—that’s a slice of pizza, a PBR tallboy, and a shot of Jamison for like $8. They’re cash only, but if you bring the bartender your receipt from their ATM, they’ll throw in another free Jamison shot. And the other night I discovered—because I wasn’t, for once, in the mood for pizza—that they also make bomb chicken wings.

“I spend a lot of my weekends just chilling on Logan Boulevard, barbecuing when the weather’s nice. Logan Square’s changed drastically, but I love it there—it’s just got a great sense of community. When I get time, I like going out to jazz shows at Hungry Brain or Constellation. I also spend a lot of time at the Whistler. I wish I was going to be here next week, because the first Wednesday and Thursday of each month, they do some really cool shows. Every first Wednesday at 9:00 is Movieoke night—it’s like movie karaoke. You get up on stage and act out a scene from a film. I did Kill Bill last time I was there; I’m a huge Tarantino fan. On Thursdays, they put on a thing called Fresh Roasted: There are two DJs, and they each have an hour to build a beat around the same sample. When the time’s up, they play what they’ve got and the audience decides the winner.” —As told to John Hardberger

Freebie of the Week

McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade

Parade:Macy’s big to-do gets all the glory, but Chicago’s own Thanksgiving parade has marched resolutely along since 1934. Organizers boast a uniquely high level of community participation, with dozens of cultural and civic groups making appearances.
11/24 at 8 a.m. Free. State Street from Congress to Randolph. chicagofestivals.org

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