GET OFF YOUR DUFF: Tickets to Steppenwolf’s First Look Repertory of New Work, including Eric Simonson’s Honest, are going quickly.


Don’t-miss picks for Wed 08.05.09 through Tue 08.11.09:


theatre First Look Repertory of New Work
It’s too late to be among the first of the "first lookers"—and Sex with Strangers, which the Trib’s Chris Jones called "the next red-hot Chicago play," is sold out—but you can still catch the other two offerings in Steppenwolf’s three-part cycle of new plays by local writers. Hey, Eric Simonson, the playwright behind Honest and a Steppenwolf ensemble member, is no slouch:  He’s got that Oscar and all. But call now: Limited tickets are available.
GO: Through Aug 9. $20. Steppenwolf Garage Theatre, 1624 N Halsted.


farrago Shorts Program: Chicago Connected I
The late Chicagoan Lionel Mark Smith appeared in seven films by David Mamet, but his last role onscreen came in Larry (The Actor), a semiautobiographical short that screens, along with three other mini films featuring local players, during week one of the month-long 15th annual Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video.
GO: Aug 11 at 8:15. $10. Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State.


concerts Lolla Afterparty at Debonair
You could blow 200 bucks on a Lollapalooza pass—or you could feast from the more affordable buffet of afterparties on offer this weekend. Tickets are still available for Thievery Corporation (Thu at House of Blues), Major Lazer (Fri at Congress), and Joe Pug (Sat at Hideout), but our money’s on Debonair Social Club, where the Friday night DJ roundup includes sets by Chris Tomson of Vampire Weekend and Bjorn Yttling of Peter Bjorn and John.
GO: Aug 7 at 10. $10. Debonair Social Club, 1575 N Milwaukee.


museums Lincoln: Man or Myth?
This week’s pick from the Lincoln bicentennial file: a documentary that attempts to extricate the real Abe from two centuries’ worth of legend building, hosted by Bill Kurtis, another sometime Illinoisan who casts a long shadow.
GO: Aug 9 at 1:30. Free with museum admission, $12-$14. Chicago History Museum, 1601 N Clark.


farrago Arlington Million*
We’ve heard that choosing a racehorse by name is like judging a book by its cover, but Just As Well, a contender in this weekend’s Arlington Million, just doesn’t inspire the same kind of passion in us as fellow runner Recapturetheglory. But what do we know: The 2007 winner, Jambalaya, just makes us hungry. Whether you’re rooting by name, number, or something a little more scientific, Saturday marks the race of the season at Arlington Park.
GO: Aug 8. Gates open at 10; first post at 12:15. $15. Arlington Park, 2200 W Euclid Ave, Arlington Heights.


concerts Shellac
If you missed the trio’s rare pair of local shows in June at the Bottom Lounge, don’t skip this free alfresco jam session from Chicago’s kings of tightly wound agitation, fronted by the legendary music producer Steve Albini.
GO: Aug 10 at 6:30. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph.

concerts Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz
Also this week in Millennium Park’s glitzy bandstand: the alto-sax legend Bunky Green, who has found new inspiration in teaming with some of jazz’s brightest young stars. We can’t wait to hear what kind of a fire Rudresh Mahanthappa’s boundary-pushing Chicago Legacy Ensemble lights beneath Green.
GO: Aug 6 at 6:30. Pritzker Pavilion.


Also fast, also in Arlington Heights: the opening, on Saturday, of the suburb’s first skate park, featuring a pro demo, an amateur trick competition, free snacks, live music, and lots of baggy jeans. Details:


PHOTOGRAPH: Mark Campbell