Aerial view of a holding pond, form the film Petropolis
LEAK EFFECT  An aerial view of a holding pond used to store water left over from bitumen processing, as seen in Petropolis, screening this week at Chicago Filmmakers


Don’t-miss picks for Wed 08.11.10 through Tue 08.17.10:


film Petropolis
From the Gulf disaster to $3-plus prices at the pump, we’ve all got oil on the brain. This 2009 film on Canada’s Alberta Tar Sands doesn’t feature a spill, but with extraction methods that rival an act of God in terms of impact (the site has been called the world’s largest industrial energy project—though just a warning that the filmmakers fall pretty squarely on the side of environmental activism), the documentary does offer a unique look at the drilling process: The film was shot entirely from above by helicopter.
GO: Aug 13 at 8. $7-$8. Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N Clark, second floor.


opera High Cs on the High Seas
Your late twenties through early forties are a tricky time when it comes to discounts: too old for cheapo Eurail passes, too young for AARP. Here to provide those early middle ages with a good deal: Chicago Opera Theater, whose annual opera cruise—this year featuring the Evanston native, Northwestern grad, and international opera house–hopping soprano Nancy Gustafson, last seen at COT in the company’s 2007 production of Erwartung—comes at a $25 discount for those age 21 to 45 ($85 for everyone else). Gustafson and an open bar afloat on the lake? Get ready to party like you’re 32 again.
GO: Aug 12 at 5:30. $60-$85. Kanan Cruises slip at Navy Pier, 600 E Grand.


film Jason Simon’s One-Minute Film Festival
Here’s hoping 60 seconds is also the max wait time at the bar when this program of shorts and booze takes over the Art Institute’s Pritzker Garden. This Chicago date marks the eight-year-old fest’s first foray away from its home turf—a barn in upstate New York—but in 2012, MASS MoCA will present a traveling roadshow of OMFF greatest hits. Want a shot at making the highlights reel? Submissions for this week’s screening will be accepted through the day of; see details.
GO: Aug 13 at 9. $10; cash bar. Art Institute of Chicago; enter via Pritzker Garden gate on Columbus, just east of Michigan.


classical Fifth House Ensemble
The French composer Olivier Messiaen wrote Quartet for the End of Time when he was a prisoner of war. Its first performance hall? A POW camp. The apocalyptic piece gets an entirely different setting this week at the Adler. We guess Pink Floyd doesn’t own the rights to pairing heavenly bodies with mind-altering music.
GO: Reception Aug 12 at 6; concert at 7. $15-$20. Adler Planetarium, 1300 S Lake Shore.


concerts Rufus Wainwright
The heat, the mud, the total lack of luxury: Lolla never would have worked for Wainwright. We can’t picture the theatrical songwriter’s languid extravagance anywhere but a setting like the ornate Bank of America, which makes this concert ripe for the plucking. Though he toned down much of his bravura showmanship in favor of solo piano and introspection on his latest album, All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu (in part inspired by the long illness and recent death of his mother, the folkie Kate McGarrigle), the music retains Wainwright’s lavish sense of melody and compelling charisma.
GO: Aug 13 at 8. $46-$56. Bank of America Theatre, 18 W Monroe.


film The Blues Brothers
If you’ve watched The Blues Brothers once, you’ve watched it 1,000 times—but unless you’ve seen it on the grounds of the Joliet Prison, you’ve never seen it quite like this. Part of the Rolling Roadshow, a traveling film fest that screens flicks on locations where the movies were shot or set, Friday’s program joins the ranks of Robocop in Detroit and On the Waterfront in Hoboken. BYO blanket or lawn chair; sunglasses and fedora recommended but not required.
GO: Aug 13 at 8:15. Old Joliet Prison, 1125 Collins, Joliet.

concerts The Juan MacLean
You were a model employee Friday and stuck it out until 5 p.m., long after everyone else had slipped away under the auspices of “summer hours.” Reward yourself Monday with some mid-day hooky and catch this band, LCD Soundsystem’s labelmate and pal, spinning an alfresco lunchtime set as part of Millennium Park’s Edible Audible Picnic series.
GO: Aug 16 at noon. Pritzker Pavilion, Michigan and Randolph.

Photograph: © Greenpeace/Eamon Mac Mahon