Hans Solo
Before he was lead singer of The Decemberists, Colin Meloy was dead set on going solo. Club owners in Portland, however, had other ideas: “I wasn’t getting any shows,” he says. “People said that if I got a band together I was eminently more bookable.” So the fact that his quintet will join 82 classical musicians in Millennium Park on July 18th must make him, um, infinitely more bookable? “Actually, I’m planning a solo tour for next year,” says Meloy, who hired classical composer Sean O’Loughlin to orchestrate his songs.


Pucker Up
After all that touring and pancake makeup, Paul Stanley, the KISS vocalist and guitarist, has put glam rock on hold to paint, something he says he began “as a cathartic journey” while going through a divorce. The rocker shows off his paintings July 22nd at Woodfield Shopping Center’s Wentworth Gallery. For info, call 847-995-1190.

If the occasional Vince Vaughn sighting isn’t quenching your thirst for celebrity interaction, drop by Gen Art Chicago’s inaugural Film Festival, which kicks off June 26th with a party for 1,000. The five-night event-modeled after a celeb-stocked fest in New York-should lure B-listers for the afterparties and, better yet, give Chicago a shot at hosting premières such as Joshua, starring rising talent Sam Rockwell. For info, go to genart.org.

Behind the Wheel
Take The Office’s mockumentary style, toss in Reno 911!’s improv, add a motley crew of mechanics, and you’ve got American Body Shop, which premières July 8th on Comedy Central. Fact: The show’s star, Pete Hulne, grew up in Rogers Park and trained at iO. “I love improvising. I’m able to use the tools that I’ve really mastered,” says Hulne, 38. “OK, don’t say ‘mastered’-a tool that I really love.”

Girls Gone Wild
Karen Abbott, an Atlanta writer, clearly has a soft spot for Minna and Ada Everleigh, the enigmatic sisters who, 100 years ago, ran Chicago’s-and the country’s-most notorious brothel. In Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America’s Soul (Random House, $25.95), Abbott writes that Minna and Ada Everleigh “are to pleasure what Christ was to Christianity,” quoting newspaperman Jack Lait, who coauthored the 1951 book Chicago Confidential.

Beauty Flash
What do Armitage Avenue, L.A.’s Grove Drive, and Boston’s Newbury Street have in common? Trendy stores and practically zero parking-which is why Kiehl’s, the name behind every SPF item (lip balm, moisturizer, eye gel) in our summer beach bag, now offers curbside service in a handful of cities. Order from the Kiehl’s on Armitage (907 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-665-2515) over the phone, call when you pull up, and an apothecary rep will run your lotions out to the car. If only Annette’s and Art Effect would follow.

Thing We Love This Month
The Pecan Shortbread Cookie Dough ($8.95) at The Chopping Block (4747 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-472-6700). Loads with Plugra butter, the dough cooks up in less than 20 minutes. The rich result tastes completely and wonderfully homemade, without the corresponding mess.