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Worst Beach Party Ever

Our top five for things to do this week: Thrift-store cinema at the Empty Bottle … two Steppenwolf mainstays storm Victory Gardens … beer onboard … plus, our pick for a free Pitchfork afterparty

Blair Thomas near train tracks with his marionette and musical instruments
BEACH BLANKET BINGO The so-bad-it’s-awful flick Computer Beach Party screens at the Empty Bottle alongside games and running commentary from the Found Footage Festival guys.


Don’t-miss picks for Wed 07.14.10 through Tue 07.20.10:


film Computer Beach Party
The Found Footage Festival guys offer live running commentary alongside a screening of this awesomely horrendous-sounding 1985 comedy—a VHS copy of which they dug up, in true FFF fashion, in an Ohio thrift store. Cinematic abuses include amateurish dubbing and two numbers by the heavy metal band Panther, and then there’s the plot involving two computer geeks’ attempt to thwart an evil beach developer. Don’t ask. Just go.
GO: July 18 at 7. $10. Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western. foundfootagefest.com


theatre A Guide for the Perplexed
Steppenwolf ensemble members Kevin Anderson and Francis Guinan on the same stage? There’s your Cast of the Month. The two star as an ex-con and his beleaguered brother-in-law in Joel Drake Johnson’s dramedy about life after prison at Victory Gardens.
GO: Previews continue through July 18; $20-$40. Regular run July 21 through Aug 15; $20-$50. Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N Lincoln. victorygardens.org


classical Jorge Federico Osorio
The Chicago-based pianist embarks on the rare and Herculean task of playing all five of Beethoven’s piano concertos over the course of two nights. Give that man a towel and a squirt bottle.
GO: July 15-16 at 8. $12-$50 per concert; $50 two-night pass. Ravinia, Lake Cook and Green Bay, Highland Park. ravinia.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: And also at Ravinia, The Swell Season—aka Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who charmed indie film and music buffs alike in the 2006 flick Once—harmonize in beautifully bittersweet ballads. You know, in case you don’t get enough indie rock this week.


concerts Pitchfork Music Festival
Speaking of, there’s this thing called Pitchfork. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Or perhaps a better question is, when the Sunday schedule includes Cass McCombs, Beach House, St. Vincent, Sleigh Bells, and Pavement, when will you find time to hit the beer line?
GO: July 16 from 3 to 10, July 17-18 from noon to 10. $40 one-day tickets still available. Union Park, 1501 W Randolph. pitchforkmusicfestival.com


tours Exploring Chicago’s Yeast Side: A History of Beer
And on the subject of brews, Gabriel Magliaro, the head honcho of Chicago’s Half Acre Beer Company, lectures on the city’s sudsy past and present during a two-and-a-half-hour boat tour. We’re not sure how the boat bit plays into our hoppy history, but, really, who cares? It’s a cruise. With beer.
GO: July 15 at 6. $55. Reservations required; location details provide upon registration: chicagohistory.org


concerts Kid Sister
Save a little concert stamina for Chicago’s favorite rapping sibling when she kicks it old-school in Millennium Park as part of the Downtown Sound series, her brash delivery bouncing off of 1980s-style synth funk and the bandshell’s brushed steel.
GO: July 19 at 6:30. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph. millenniumpark.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: The Benin supergroup Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou has asserted its soukous superiority over the dance floor for nearly 40 years—although this concert, in the wake of the band’s Western rediscovery by a French journalist, marks one of its first-ever U.S. shows, July 15 in Millennium Park.

dance Chicago Dancing Festival tickets
CDF doesn’t pirouette into town until August, but free tickets to the fest’s world-class performances get doled out July 16. Why the heads-up? Last year seats went in two hours, flat.
GO: Visit chicagodancingfestival.com for more information and to sign up for ticket alerts.

classical Planet Earth Live
If you missed this spectacular nature series when it aired on the Discovery Channel in 2007, here’s your chance to see jaw-dropping highlights from the show screened outside, with the composer of its Emmy-winning score, George Fenton, directing the Grant Park Orchestra.
GO: July 21 at 8:15. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph. grantparkmusicfestival.com

theatre El Nogalar
The talk-of-the-town playwright Tanya Saracho presents a staged reading of her take on Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, relocated to a Mexican pecan grove, as part of the Latino Theatre Festival. See it now for free; in March, the official world premiere debuts at regular Goodman prices.
GO: July 17 at 2. Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org

ALSO THIS WEEK: And also at the Goodman, though not free: Charenton, a deadly play-within-a-play named for the asylum where the Marquis de Sade was imprisoned for 13 years, marks the second act in the Cuban troupe Teatro Buendía’s U.S. debut.

galleries The Art of Touring
Your unofficial Pitchfork afterparty: a new exhibition of art made on and about the road by musicians, including Tim Rutili of Red Red Meat and Califone, Gina Black of The Blacks, Patrick Sansone of Wilco, and the Flosstradamus duo.
GO: Opening reception July 16 from 7 to 11. Show continues through Aug 7; see website for hours. Johalla Projects, 1561 N Milwaukee. johallaprojects.com/johalla

ALSO THIS WEEK: Two of the guys behind Touch and Go, the punk zine that gave birth to Chicago’s influential record label of the same name, wax reminiscent at Quimby’s on July 17; plus, the MCA’s 12x12 space turns into an orangerie for the week, citrus included.


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