Redmoon's latest extravaganza, Spectacle '09, runs through Sunday at Belmont Harbor.
THE VIOLET HOUR Estelle Parsons, standing, stars as Violet Weston in Tracy Letts’s August: Osage County. 


Don’t-miss picks for Wed 01.27.10 through Tue 02.02.10:


theatre August: Osage County
If you spent the last two-plus years faking your way through small talk about Tracy Letts’s Pulitzer winner, now’s your chance to rectify the situation. In this touring production, Broadway cast member Estelle Parsons returns to fill the magnificently drug-addled shoes of the dysfunctional matriarch Violet Weston.
GO: Feb 2-14. $25-$80. Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W Randolph.


film Ashes of American Flags: Wilco Live
More catch-up: If you missed its local premiere last spring as part of the inaugural Chicago International Movies and Music Festival, here’s your chance. The concert flick, shot during the hometown band’s 2008 national tour and codirected by Brendan Canty of Fugazi, returns to the big screen at the Siskel.
GO: Jan 29–Feb 1. $7-$10. Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State.

ALSO THIS WEEK: American Artifact: The Rise of American Rock Poster Art screens at the Siskel with filmmakers and artists including our own December poster boy, Jay Ryan, in attendance.


dance Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
With their hilarious—and technically adept—renditions of classical ballets, these agile men in tights raise the barre on female impersonation, portraying swans, sylphs, and swooning Victorian ladies with delightfully garish grace. A don’t-miss.
GO: Jan 27 at 7:30. $45-$75. Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph.


theatre Brother/Sister, Blue Door, Fugard
Are we living in a postracial age? Guaranteed to jumpstart your discussion: the bevy of theatres across town putting race on centerstage. Running in repertory at Steppenwolf: The Brother/Sister Plays, Tarell Alvin McCraney’s trio of works depicting interconnected lives in a gritty back pocket of Louisiana. At Victory Gardens: Blue Door, about a black man besieged by angry ancestors. And two by the Tony-winning playwright Athol Fugard: from Timeline, “Master Harold” … and the Boys, set in 1950s South Africa, and from Remy Bumppo, The Island, set in a prison based on the one in which Nelson Mandela was held.
GO: The Brother/Sister Plays: Previews through Jan 30; $20-$48. Regular run through May 23; $20-$70. Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N Halsted. Blue Door: Previews through Jan 31; $20-$37. Regular run through Feb 28; $20-$48. Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N Lincoln. “Master Harold”: Thru Mar 21; $15-$35. Timeline Theatre, 615 W Wellington. The Island: Previews thru Jan 30; $25-$40. Regular run through Mar 7; $35-$50. Remy Bumppo Theatre Company at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N Lincoln.


farrago Husky Heroes
A warm-and-fuzzy option: Siberian huskies strut their stuff in dogsledding and skijoring demos at the Morton Arboretum this weekend. Visitors can pet the pups and—be warned, parents—sign up to adopt a rescued dog.
GO: Jan 30-31: 11-4. $8-$11. 4100 Rte 53, Lisle.


lit/lectures Arianna Huffington
The HuffPo honcho chats as part of Columbia College’s Media Arts series. Go early; you’ll be competing with the impassioned masses (ie, undergrads) for seats. 
GO: Jan 27 at 7. Film Row Cinema, 1104 S Wabash, 8th floor.

film Radical Disciple: The Story of Father Pfleger
From filmmaker Bob Hercules (Senator Obama Goes to Africa): a documentary on Chicago’s indomitable pulpit activist and the longtime priest at St. Sabina, Father Michael Pfleger. Again, get there early (the theatre holds 250, and reservations aren’t available); then stick around for a postfilm Q&A with Hercules and Pfleger.
GO: Jan 28 at 7. Film Row Cinema, 1104 S Wabash, 8th floor.

galleries Maya Lin
Lin instantly became one of the best-known artists in the world when, in 1981, she won a competition to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. Only an undergrad at the time, she has proven to be anything but a one-hit wunderkind. This new exhibition includes a work created specifically for Chicago.
GO: Feb 1–Apr 23. The Arts Club of Chicago, 201 E Ontario. 312-787-3997.

lit/lectures T. C. Boyle
His last book, The Women, helped fan the eternal flame of Frank Lloyd Wright fever; now the novelist reads from his new tome, Wild Child and Other Stories.
GO: Feb 1 at 6. Pritzker Auditorium, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S State.

classical Fifth House Ensemble
In the second installment of Black Violet, FHE’s three-act collaboration with the local graphic novelist Ezra Claytan Daniels, a wily housecat navigates a plague-ridden London circa 1665. (Think projected illustrations set to a soundtrack of Shostakovich, Queen, and more.)
GO: Feb 1 at 7. Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington. Also Feb 4 at 8, $12-$25, at SPACE, 1245 Chicago, Evanston.

Photography: Robert J. Saferstein