The Hottest State

In 1995 Chicago suffered a heat wave that killed 739 people. Now, Pegasus Players and Live Bait Theater have teamed up to adapt sociologist Eric Klinenberg’s book about the disaster, Heat Wave, for the stage. Heat Wave, the play, written by Steven Simoncic, examines responses to the catastrophe, from the mayor to the paramedics. Previews run Friday the 22nd through Sunday the 24th at Truman College’s O’Rourke Center (1145 W. Wilson Ave.; 773-878-9761); the play officially opens Monday the 25th and continues through April 6th. Tickets are $15 to $25. For more on the show, read associate editor Nora O’Donnell’s interview with Klinenberg and Simoncic and check next week for a review.

Best Bets for Things to Do This Week

Mr. Imagination
Photo by Ron Gordon

Pitch in

  • You don’t get a nickname like Mr. Imagination without having a story to go along with it: After the Chicago-born, self-taught artist was shot while selling his jewelry on the street in the late seventies, he awoke from a coma with visions of ancient cultures and began creating artwork using found objects (examples are on view at the House of Blues, among other local spots). On Thursday the 28th from 5 to 8 p.m., Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art (756 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 312-243-9088) holds a silent auction benefiting the artist, who, in another twist of fate, recently lost his Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, home to a fire. Admission is free; the event includes wine, food, and videos and slideshows of Mr. Imagination’s work.


  • Ellen Page or Julie Christie? No Country for Old Men or There Will Be Blood? Watch at home or hit the town? The weekend is rife with Oscars options, but we humbly recommend Chicago magazine’s own bash, Hollywood Glam, 6:30 p.m. Sunday the 24th at Room 21 (2110 S. Wabash Ave.). Admission, $40 in advance or $45 at the door, includes food and drinks; proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Creative attire is encouraged, with prizes presented to the best dressed by the evening’s emcee, NBC5’s LeeAnn Trotter. Call 312-328-1198 for tickets.


  • Speaking of No Country for Old Men, not all portraits of Texas are so bleak or bloody. Writer Horton Foote, who has waxed poetic about the Lone Star state, among plenty of other subjects, is the subject of the Goodman Theatre’s current festival (170 N. Dearborn St.; 312-443-3800). Running concurrently with Talking Pictures, Foote’s play about a small Texas town on the eve of the Depression, are two rarely produced one-acts staged together, Blind Date and The Actor; both shows run through March 2nd. Tickets are $15 to $38. Read more about all three productions and upcoming fest events at

Punch In

  • In addition to Heat Wave, another non-fiction work getting the theatre treatment—in an adaptation by Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz, no less—is Working, a musical take on the eponymous book of interviews by Pulitzer Prize winner and Chicagoan Studs Terkel. Performances run Friday the 22nd through Sunday the 24th, and Friday the 29th and Saturday, March 1st (the latter two with sign-language interpretation) in the Eloise Martin Recital Hall at Dominican University (7900 W. Division St., River Forest; 708-488-5000). Tickets are $15.


  • Just imagine the lawyer jokes: At 8 p.m. Monday the 25th, Zanies Chicago (1548 N. Wells St.; 312-337-4027) hosts a stand-up showcase populated entirely by attorneys. The event is part of the comedy club’s year-long quest to find the “zaniest” person in Chicago; doctors, dentists, teachers, and accountants get their shots later this year. Tickets are $5.