Insects, flies, and videotape; July’s best deal on a gourmet meal; the baby gift you’ll feel good giving; more

  Creating buzz
“I hope that the viewer has a combined sense of insect-ness and a sort of rhythmic song, like listening to crickets.” This is the type of stuff that comes from the mouth of Chicago-based artist Julia Oldham, 27, who mimics the movement of honeybees, moths, and other insects on a month-long video installation starting July 8th at the Museum of Contemporary Art (220 E. Chicago Ave.; 312-280-2660).

Katz and Slotnick
Can somebody say ‘crapshoot’?
“We don’t know what’s going to happen each night,” insists Lauren Katz. Fresh off the HBO hit Curb Your Enthusiasm, Katz returns to Chicago with her improv partner Joey Slotnick for Wants and Needs, a full-length improv show playing July 13th through August 6th at Lookingglass Theatre (821 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-337-0665).   “In the entertainment industry in L.A., everyone’s always in desperate need of a job,” Katz says. Slotnick counters: “In Chicago, people just want a beer and a win for the Cubs.”
  Deal of the month
The 2006 Chicago Chefs’ Summer Celebration, a benefit on July 27th for Green City Market, the organic lovefest in Lincoln Park. The $45 ticket buys booze, live music, and, most important, cuisine from 45 local heavy hitters including Shawn McClain, Paul Kahan, and Carrie Nahabedian. Tickets are available at The Spice House (1512 N. Wells St., Chicago; 1941 Central St., Evanston) or at
Deal of the month #2
In July, the online spa source features discounts from more than a dozen local spas as part of its Summer Spa Fest.
Baby gift of the moment
Many Hands Blankies, a collaboration between Oak Park–based FunQuilts and CARC (formerly the Chicago Association of Retarded Citizens). Made by developmentally disabled adults, the 30-by-40 inch flannel blankies ($75, at or 708-445-1817) come in an elephant, chimpanzee, or dolphin motif. Says Weeks Ringle, co-owner of FunQuilts: “Early response has been overwhelming.”
How many desserts have been inspired by the Frango mint?
Nine, according to the forthcoming Marshall Field’s Cookbook ($24.95, in stores or at 1-800-MFIELDS), dubbed the surest-to-fly-off-shelves-item-of-the-summer-now-that-Field’s-is-becoming-Macy’s.

A 1957 Classics
Comics edition

File under just plain odd
“We all know that the earth isn’t hollow, don’t we? Apparently not all of us-at least judging from the amount of hollow earth weirdness alive and well on the Internet. The hollow earth even has its own newsletter-The Hollow Earth Insider.” From Hollow Earth (Da Capo Press; $24.95), Northwestern University writing professor David Standish’s history of the motif, out this month.
Illustration: Christoph Hitz; Photography: Wants And Needs Tony Hernandez, Classics Comics Edition Gilberton Company Inc., Courtesy Of Da Capo Press