Chicago is getting a New Year's Eve countdown

Akin to Times Square's New Year's Ball, Chicago is getting a big, free, chilly New Year's Eve countdown at the riverfront this year. The six-hour event will take place along Wacker between Michigan and Columbus, and instead of watching a ball drop, we'll see a luminescent star climb the front of the Hyatt Regency. Bands (TBA) will play for an estimated 100,000 people on two stages—one at the Hyatt and another in Pioneer Court—and the whole shebang will be broadcast throughout the Midwest—ostensibly as a Central-Time alternative to New York's hour-delayed drop. Costs are well into the millions, but the bill is being largely footed by the Hyatt and Corona. For more info, visit the site.

Aurora sixth-grader to voice Nemo in forthcoming sequel

The Tribune reported Friday that Aurora sixth-grader Hayden Rolence will voice Nemo in Pixar's upcoming Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory. He'll replace Alexander Gould (of Weeds' Shane Botwin fame), now a post-pubescent 21.

​Chicago International Film Fest announces full lineup

The 51st annual festival, which runs October 15 to 29 at the AMC River East, will feature six world premieres, including Breakfast at Ina's, about the legacy of Chicago chef Ina Pinkney, and Syl Johnson: Any Way the Wind Blows, about the Chicago soul musician you've heard sampled on at least one hip-hop track.

​The Onion launches StarWipe

Piggybacking off ClickHole's success, the Chicago-based Onion News Network yesterday launched its latest site: StarWipe, a jab at TMZ and its gossip-column compatriots.

Andrew Byrd announces four December Gezelligheid shows

The Lake Forest violinist & singer yesterday announced his annual 'Gezelligheid' shows, which focus on instrumental violin, at the Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Ave. December 7, 8, 9, and 10. Tickets go on sale Friday, September 25 at 10 a.m.

Fader did a mini-documentary on Vic Mensa

The 12-minute video tells an abridged version of the rapper's trek from Hyde Park to Jay Z's Roc Nation label. Behold:

Tickets are still available for Chicago's Culture Festival

Chicago magazine's inaugural Culture Festival happens Saturday, September 26, and features talks and performances by Gillian Flynn, Angel Olsen, Pete Holmes, Liza Treyger, Kyle Kinane, Jeanne Gang, Stanley Tigerman, Amanda Williams, Anna D. Shapiro, and Frank Galati. Tickets are still available starting at $30.


September 24: Jake's Women: A writer hides from his failing marriage in the women he writes on the page. Spartan Theatre at the Royal George Theatre (1641 N. Halsted) through October 11

September 24: Love and Information: Remy Bumppo takes on Caryl Churchill's ode to Internet-age romance. Remy Bumppo at the Greenhouse Theater Center (2257 N. Lincoln) through November 1

September 24: Scream, Queen, Scream: Hell in a Handbag's campy-scary Halloween run. Hell in a Handbag at Mary's Attic (5400 N. Clark) through October 25

September 26: That's F'd Up: Redtwist ensemble member Johnny Garcia tells his own story in this one-man show. Redtwist Theatre (2044 W. Bryn Mawr) through October 25

Open Now: East of Eden: Steppenwolf's foremost Steinbeck adapter Frank Galati takes on the writer's World War opus. Steppenwolf Theatre (1650) through October 31

Open Now: Sucker Punch: Two aspiring black boxers face off after years of estrangement and riots in their native London neighborhood. Victory Gardens (2433 N. Lincoln) through October 18

Open Now: Direct from Death Row The Scottsboro Boys: Mark Stein and Harley White Jr.'s soft-shoe rendering of the 1931 court case involving nine black men falsely accused of raping two white women. Raven Theatre (6157 N. Clark) through November 14

Open Now: Spamalot: The Monty Python musical swings through the suburbs. Metropolis Performing Arts Centre (111 W. Campbell, Arlington Heights) through October 25

Open Now: Sins of the Father: Three generations of African-American men confront a bleak family history. ETA Creative Arts (7558 S. Chicago) through October 25

Open Now: Butcher: A man in a military uniform and Santa hat shows up at a police station on Christmas Eve with a meat hook and sign reading "arrest me" around his neck. Signal Ensemble Theatre (1802 W. Berenice) through October 24

Open Now: Washer/Dryer: A new New York marriage farce. Rasaka at Victory Gardens (2433 N. Lincoln) through October 11

Open Now: Miss Buncle's Book: A Depression-era spinster writes her unwitting neighbors into an unexpected bestseller. Lifeline Theatre (6912 N. Glenwood) through November 1

Open Now: Gem of the Ocean: The latest in Ron OJ Parson's trek through August Wilson's century cycle. Court Theatre (5535 S. Ellis) through October 11

Open Now: Funnyman: A vaudeville has-been tries to relaunch his career and rekindle his wrecked relationship with his daughter. Northlight Theatre (9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie) through October 18

Open Now: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: Edward Albee's ode to marital carnage gets the storefront treatment. Redtwist Theatre (1044 W. Bryn Mawr) through October 11

Open Now: How the World Began: A former New York science teacher takes a job in rural Kansas and sparks a full-blown uproar re: the origin of the universe. Rivendell Theatre (5779 N. Ridge) through October 10

Open Now: Guardians: 30-year-old storefront theater Mary Arrchie, booted by gentrification, opens its final season with Peter Morris's parallel narrative about the Abu Ghraib photos and a British tabloid publishing fake war torture photos. Mary Arrchie Theatre (735 W. Sheridan) through October 18

Open Now: Brother's Keeper: A mashup of one-acts Orion's Belt and Dolly Llama. Subtext at Saint Bonaventure Church (1625 W. Diversey) through October 4

Open Now: Dogfight: A musical about three Vietnam-bound soldiers who compete to find the ugliest date on their last night at home and, predictably, get taught a lesson. BoHo at Theater Wit (1229 W. Belmont) through October 18

Open Now: The Revel: A self-described "soul-quenchin’ revival in music and spirits" crafted at U. Chicago's Performance Lab. House Theatre at the Chopin (1543 W. Division) through October 25

Open Now: American Idiot: Billie Joe's rock opera gets its local debut at Chicago's punkiest storefront. The Hypocrites at the Den (1333 N. Milwaukee) through October 25

Open Now: The Price: Two sons duke it out over their dad's heirlooms in TimeLine's take on Arthur Miller. TimeLine Theatre (615 W. Wellington) through November 22

Open Now: The Jacksonian: The Midwest premiere of Pulitzer-winner Beth Henley's play about a displaced dentist in a seedy Mississippi motel. Profiles Theatre (4147 N. Broadway) through October 11

Open Now: The Outfit: Laura Schellhardt's fairytale-noir one-act skewering modern gender politics. Piccolo Theatre (600 Main St., Evanston) through October 10

Open Now: October Sky: A world-premiere musical take by Aaron Thielen on the famous book and film. Marriott Theatre (10 Marriott, Lincolnshire) through October 18

Open Now: Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight: Four men and two women share three beds. Hilarity ensures. Windy City Playhouse (3014 W. Irving Park Rd.) through October 4


September 26: After Miss Julie: Patrick Marber sets Strindberg's classic in 1945 England during Churchill's downfall. Strawdog Theatre (3829 N. Broadway) through September 26

September 26: The Universal Wolf: Joan Schenkar imagines a Little Red Riding Hood in which the predators and prey trade places. Trap Door Theatre (1655 W. Cortland) through September 26

September 27: The Rainmaker: A woman falls for the man who promises to bring rain to her dry Midwestern town. American Blues Theater at the Greenhouse Theater Center (2257 N. Lincoln) through September 27

September 27: The Lyons: Rita fields suburban mundanity amid a dying husband and unraveling children. Aston Rep at Raven Theatre (6157 N. Clark) through September 27