There are other summer rituals besides Lollapalooza to check out this weekend—mercifully, many of the air-conditioned sort. For starters, Friday marks the beginning of the Fillet of Solo Festival, Live Bait Theater’s annual roundup of one-man and one-woman performances (3914 N. Clark St.; 773-871-1212). If the fest—which launched 13 years ago with the then-unknown Jeff Garland—has idled on your to-see list for summers, this year’s edition is the one to catch: Although longtime artistic director Sharon Evans is in talks to partner with Lifeline Theater, Live Bait will turn over its space to Artistic Home Theater on September 1st. Future Garlands in this year’s lineup include Kristin Garrison in Strip Mauled! The Musical! (not actually a musical, but a monologue on suburban sprawl), 8 p.m. Friday the 1st and Saturday the 2nd. The fest continues through August 16th; visit livebaittheater.org for a full schedule. Tickets are $15.Best Bets for Things to Do This Week
Doe-eyed film star and budding chanteuse Zooey Deschanel’s Tuesday gig at Park West (as half of the indie-rock act She & Him) is sold out, but you can catch another type of It Girl—one from behind the camera—this weekend. Columbia College MFA grad Kameishia Wooten’s short film, Southern Cross, has been picked up by fests across the country, including the Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video, Chicago’s 14th annual roundup of African American cinema. The fest kicks off 7:30 p.m. Friday the 1st at the Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State St.; 312-846-2600) with a program of shorts and an appearance by Wooten, among others. Tickets are $9; find a full schedule for the fest, which runs all month, at siskelfilmcenter.org.
Not ready to commit to box seats at the Civic? Dabble in opera for the low, low price of free. Djamileh, a little-known, one-act fairy tale from Georges Bizet (Carmen) plays 3:30 p.m. Sunday the 3rd, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday the 5th, and 7:30 p.m. Thursday the 7th at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.). The story follows the beautiful title character in her attempts to win over the too-cool hunk Haroun. Although admission is free; tickets are required; call 312-742-8497. .
While Lolla braves the heat in Grant Park, a smaller but mighty music fest sets up camp farther down the lakeshore. Heritage Jazz Fest Music Weekend wakes up the South Shore Cultural Center (7059 S. South Shore Drive; 773-734-2000) with live performances by acts including the Donald Byrd Sextet (Saturday around 7 p.m.), led by the seminal hard bop, jazz, and fusion trumpeter. The best part? Admission is free. More info: jazzunites.org.
Up-and-comer Laura Jacqmin, fresh off the heels of winning the Wasserstein Prize for new playwrights, debuts a site-specific show this weekend. Pluto Was a Planet, commissioned by Around the Coyote for its Wicker Park ATC Gallery (1935 ½ W. North Ave.; 773-342-6777), follows a couple of Ivy Leaguers abducted from their dorm and challenged to join a secret society. The play runs 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays through August 9th; tickets are $15.
Stay one step ahead of the Scots: Kooky Kristen Schaal, aka crazed fan Mel from “Flight of the Conchords,” previews Double Down Hearts, her new show with fellow comedian Kurt Braunohler, 8 p.m. Friday the 1st and Saturday the 2nd at the Lakeshore Theater (3175 N Broadway St.; 773-472-3492) before the show continues to the 2008 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Tickets are $25.