The Cool Kids
Photo: Hayley Murphy

The Kids Are All Right

Want to know what the cool kids are doing this week? Comic artists, zinesters, and all manner of underground publishing types convene for the Hip Lit Fair, Saturday the 17th from noon to 4 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Art (220 E. Chicago Ave.; 312-280-2660). Highlights include a Comic Art Battle, which local artist Ezra Claytan Daniels describes as “one of the only times the general public gets to see comic book nerds really bust out of their shells.” Museum admission is $10. And then there are the other Cool Kids: Chicago’s own hip-hop duo that’s been garnering oodles of indie cred. Those Kids play the Abbey Pub (3420 W. Grace St.; 773-478-4408) 8:30 p.m. Wednesday the 21st. There’s no advance ticketing, so get there early; donations for Darfur will be taken at the door.


Best Bets for Things to Do This Week:

Hear tomorrow’s Tracy Letts this weekend, when the performance troupe Collaboraction unveils its annual Sketchbook Festival, a roundup of new short plays by emerging writers. This year’s roster includes Parkersburg, about three female coal diggers trying to eke out a living, by buzz kid Laura Jacqmin. Two alternating programs run 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 5:30 p.m. Sundays through June 15th at Steppenwolf Garage Theatre (1624 N. Halsted St.; 312-335-1650). Tickets are $15 to $50.

Or get lit Friday the 16th with a few choice words written on the body: As part of Columbia College’s annual street festival meets arts spectacle Manifest, a Poetry Tattoo Parlor (noon to 5 p.m.; Ninth Street and Wabash Avenue) doles out temporary tattoos of inspiring lines—hey, it’s casual Friday, right? Other activities include Spectacle Fortuna, a parade featuring Elizabethan costumes fashioned from recycled trash bags and the punk marching band Mucca Pazza (6:45 p.m.; Balbo Drive and Wabash). Events are free; find a full lineup at

It’s not quite street fest season yet, but if Manifest wets your whistle for large-scale social outings, the eco-forward Green Festival rolls into Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.) this weekend. Highlights include a video of Chicago magazine’s own Green Awards recipients; catch a preview here; or go here for festival info. The fest runs 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday the 17th and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday the 18th; a weekend pass is $15.

Gawking from the street is so no-access. Explore Chicago’s architecture like a VIP, from the inside, during Great Chicago Places and Spaces. This year’s buffet of mostly free behind-the-scenes tours includes the new Trump Tower and Spertus Institute. Registration begins 7:30 a.m. Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th at the Chicago Architecture Foundation (224 W. Michigan Ave.; 312-744-3315). Visit for a full schedule.

For a different sort of look at Chicago, catch Out of the Vault 2008, a program of four short films shot 40 years ago, during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The screening takes place 7 p.m. Friday the 16th at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.; 312-744-6630). Admission is free.

Bosnian-born writer Aleksandar Hemon discusses his latest book, The Lazarus Project, based on the 1908 murder of a Jewish immigrant, with Chicago contributor Victoria Lautman at this month’s Writers on the Record, 11:45 a.m. Sunday the 18th at Lookingglass Theatre (821 N. Michigan Ave.). Admission is free, but reservations are recommended: 312-832-6788.