Wynton Marsalis
THE BIG 5-0 Wynton Marsalis celebrates his half-century birthday, with the help of
the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, on 4/27 at Symphony Center.


Don’t-miss picks for Wed 4.25.12 through Tue 5.1.12:


jazz Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
The big band’s annual visit from the Big Apple doubles as a birthday celebration on 4/27 for its esteemed leader, Wynton Marsalis. Then on 4/28, Marsalis—trumpet in hand—explains Duke Ellington’s greatness to kids during an afternoon program. It’s hard to imagine a better introduction to jazz.
GO: 4/27 at 8: $55–$204. 4/28 at 1: $17–$57. Symphony Center, 120 S Michigan. cso.org


dance Armitage Gone! Dance
Karole Armitage was the punk ballerina of the 1980s, known for her black pointe shoes, spiky hair, and aggressive moves. But this week at the MCA, the New Yorker proves her impressive choreography is much more expansive than its slamdance associations.
GO: 4/26–28 at 7:30. $28–$35. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago. mcachicago.org


theatre A Little Night Music
We’re giddy at the prospect of seeing the Tony-winner Deanna Dunagan as Madame Armfeldt, the regal matriarch-with-a-past at the core of Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece. We’re equally excited about watching William Brown direct one of the 20th century’s greatest musicals. And we’re gushing. We admit it.
GO: Previews 5/1–10. $35–$70. Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. writerstheatre.org


comedy Chicago Improv Festival
One of the first rules of improv: To say, “Yes, and.” As in this fest kicked off its 15th-annual run on 4/23. Yes, and you still have dozens of chances to yuk it up to comedy groups such as Chicago’s BASSPROV, Mexico’s ImproTOP, and Russia’s, er, Russian Komedi before it’s over.
GO: Through 4/29. $5–$20. Schedule and locations: chicagoimprovfestival.org


bars Chicago Zombie Pub Crawl
During this Andersonville bar hop, the zombies want your beer, not your brains. Register in advance to be one of the drunken undead or to follow their staggering crawl to each watering hole.
GO: 4/28 from 2:30–9. $20–$25. List of bars: chicagozombiepubcrawl.com


Kevin Elliott
Kevin Elliott

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Kevin Elliott, the store manager for Open Books, a bookshop-slash-literacy-nonprofit that holds reading and writing workshops for kids in Chicago. Elliott mans the tables on 4/28 and 4/29 at the Open Books Store Sidewalk Sale (213 W. Institute), where thousands of books are selling at $3 or less to benefit children’s literacy programs.

On Friday, there’s a lot of prep to do at Open Books for the sale. Before I go home, I’m thinking about heading to BadHappy Poutine Shop for dinner. It opened a couple blocks from the store about a month ago, and I’m ashamed to say I’ve been there three times already.

I’ll be at the sale all day Saturday, when Open Books is partnering with Dominican University’s Butler Children’s Literature Center to give away one like-new book to any student who stops by. That night, I’m going to see one of my favorite bands, Tortoise, at The Empty Bottle. They’re a local band, but I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like.

I’ll be back at Open Books bright and early Sunday for the next day of the sale. Then once things cool down that evening, I’m headed to Lake View to either Guthries Tavern or Northdown Cafe and Taproom, one of my favorite neighborhood bars. They’ve got a really good beer list that constantly changes and lots of veggie options, though in that respect, I go both ways.


At UIC Forum, Chicago Public Media brings together more than 100 social justice, health, and environmental nonprofits, many of which will be equipped to sign up volunteers or take donations on the spot. By our estimation, charity couldn’t get much easier.
GO: 4/28 from 12–6 p.m. UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd. wbez.org/expo