Laugh It Off
We’re not saying there are proven weight-loss benefits to laughter, but who couldn’t use a good chuckle following the family-and-food marathon known as Thanksgiving? Comedienne Mary Lynn Rajskub, a.k.a. quirky Chloe from TV’s 24, brings her one-woman show Turns Out I’m Funny to Lakeshore Theater (3175 N. Broadway; 773-472-3492) Saturday the 24th at 7 and 9 p.m. Tickets are $22.50. For those who just can’t picture hauling themselves off the couch post-turkey, catch the winner of the 2007 Andy Kaufman Award for Creativity in Comedy, Kristen Schaal (a.k.a. crazed fan Mel from HBO’s Flight of the Conchords), next Friday, the 30th, at 8 p.m. in her own one-woman show, also at Lakeshore. Tickets are $15.

Best Bets for Things to Do This Week
(For more, see Last Girl Standing’s Black Wednesday roundup online.)

• Some of us need a week or so to regroup after Thursday’s gorgefest. Others jump right back in there. In Farewell Umbrella (Au Revoir Parapluie), the acrobatic circus show from visionary James Thiérrée, performers twist, soar, and generally defy the laws of digestion. The show runs through December 1st at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave.; 312-595-5600). Tickets are $46 to $56.

• If too much family togetherness dredges up echoes of long-dormant teenage rebellion, excuse yourself and catch You Weren’t There, a documentary examining Chicago’s punk-rock scene circa 1977 to 1984. Featured bands Mentally Ill, Negative Element, and End Result play a l0:30 p.m. show at Beat Kitchen (2100 W. Belmont Ave.; 773-281-4444) following the 7:30 p.m. screening Saturday the 24th at Portage Theater (4050 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-736-4050). Tickets run $10 for the film, $8 for the concert.

• Once the turkey’s been tenderized, leave the pounding to the pros: TAO, Japan’s answer to Riverdance, puts an updated spin on the ancient percussive art known as Wadaiko. Performances run Friday the 23rd through Sunday the 25th at Harris Theater (205 E. Randolph Dr.; 312-334-7777). Tickets are $15 to $57.

• Most holiday celebrations (and recovering from them) involve drinking. Get in the spirit with Drinking & Writing Vol. IV: The 12 Steps of Christmas, a collection of monologues told through the lens of several notorious drinkers (Kerouac, Capote, Fitzgerald, Hemingway) who also wrote now and then. Showtime is 10:30 p.m. Fridays November 23rd through December 21st in the new lobby bar at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater (2433 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-871-3000). Tickets are $15.

• Not many tunes beat Jingle Bells for instant recognition—unless you count the entire oeuvre of John Williams. The composer of soundtracks such as Jaws and Star Wars leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra through a selection of cinematic standouts Friday the 23rd and Sunday the 25th at Symphony Center (220 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-294-3000); additional programs on Saturday the 24th and Tuesday the 27th include non-film works.

• Have yourself a mellow little Christmas at Sam Stryke’s Christmas Memories concert. The Chicago pianist plays traditional carols and original compositions 8 p.m. Thursday the 29th at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie; 847-673-6300). Tickets run $10 to $25.

• Pinching every last penny for holiday gifting doesn’t mean you’re out of luck when it comes to entertainment. Family favorite The Snow Queen officially returns to Victory Gardens Biograph Theater (2433 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-871-3000) on Friday the 30th, but the theatre presents a free sneak peek 10:30 a.m. Saturday the 24th. The event includes treats, coffee, and a Q&A with the director, cast, musicians, and puppeteers.

• What’s better than standing around in the cold to watch the Wreathing of the Lions at the Art Institute of Chicago (111 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-443-3600)? Defrosting inside for free. The first 300 people who show up Friday the 23rd for the annual decking of the beasts gain free admission to the museum, which will stay open until 6:30 p.m.

• Prep those vocal chords for caroling with another kind of choir practice: Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave.; 773-871-6604) reprises its popular Sing-Along Grease Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15, and there’s a pre-show costume parade onstage with prizes.

PLEASE NOTE: Events may be postponed or simply canceled. Please call ahead to make sure they are still scheduled to take place. Send tips or comments to