Our pick for the best singer in Chicago, Dee Alexander
DEE-LIGHTFUL: Our pick for the best singer in Chicago, Dee Alexander,
plays the Green Mill this weekend.


Don’t-miss picks for the week of Wed 07.29.09 through Tue 08.04.09:


concerts Dee Alexander
Haven’t seen our August issue? You’re missing out, big time. For instance, you might not know that we bestowed the title of best singer in Chicago—not best jazz singer, mind you: best singer, period—to Dee Alexander, who plays the Green Mill this weekend. Get thee to a newsstand, stat; then make haste to Uptown for our newly crowned crooner’s two-night gig.
GO: July 31 at 9; Aug 1 at 8. $12. Green Mill, 4802 N Broadway. greenmilljazz.com


concerts Jill & Julia Show
Julia Sweeney gained fame on SNL (our skin still crawls at the memory of the androgynous Pat), but these days she’s more familiar to the NPR crowd for her hilarious, poignant, and relentlessly honest monologues about God, death, and family—not, actually, as much of a downer as it might sound. Hear for yourself when she teams up with the astute singer-songwriter Jill Sobule in this local concert series, now hosted by Evanston’s intimate SPACE.
GO: Aug 1 at 8. $17-$28. SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave, Evanston. evanstonspace.com


theatre Spring Awakening
Like the musical’s sheltered teens, we’ve been kept in the dark long enough: At last, this eight-time Tony winner—about sex ed, or the lack thereof, in a stiflingly small town—makes its Chicago debut. A superb, provocative, and ingeniously scored show, with a bonus for Napervillians: hometown gal Gabrielle Garza in a substantial supporting role.
GO: Aug 4-16. $25-$95. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, 24 W Randolph. broadwayinchicago.com


theatre Next Beer is Here
Nothing eases the Curse of the Billy Goat like a tall frosty brew—or six. To that end, the folks behind the Pub Theater, those lovable sots who brought us the long-running Bye Bye Liver, pose the sort of existential dilemma we’d prefer not to confront beyond the theoretical: What would happen if beer vanished from Wrigley Field? This comedy explores the unthinkable in the troupe’s brand new home just west of Wrigleyville—upstairs from a bar, no less. All the better to drown any lingering chills.
GO: Fri at 8 thru Aug 28. $14. The Pub Theater at Fizz, 3220 N Lincoln. thepubtheater.com


farrago Joe Meno
It’s a story hour that should stir even the most neglected of imaginations: The local literary darling and sometime Chicago magazine contributor Meno reads from his new novel, The Great Perhaps, with live music (The Astronomer) and visuals (illustrations by The Bird Machine’s Jay Ryan, photos by Todd Baxter) to help set the scene. And thanks to the Old Town School’s microbrew-stocked bar and drinking-in-the-auditorium policy, even the storytime snacks get an adult-friendly upgrade.
GO: Aug 1 at 8. $10-$15. Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N Lincoln. oldtownschool.org


The free summer jazz series Made in Chicago gets an auspicious start when the Chicago Improvisers Orchestra—featuring guests Maggie Brown and Orbert Davis—performs Lincolniana and Sounds of Hope Suite, a duet of odes to Illinois’s two presidents. … Evanston gets in on the alfresco action with a free outdoor screening of The Third Man, a classic Cold War thriller turning 60 this year. … And then there’s opera for a song: Acis and Galatea, featuring music by Handel and a pastoral plotline from a time before fairy tales went all Shrek, runs for four free performances. … Logan Square gets into the street-fest spirit with the inaugural Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival, a strollable 1.5-mile neighborhood to-do, with live music (Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, Nicole Mitchell) and loads of civic pride. … Or stay home, save gas, and ponder moving off the grid with a pair of documentaries—written and produced by the occasional Chicago contributor Terry Spencer Hesser—on two far-away islands where residents have given cars the boot. The Siren Song of Hydra premieres Aug 4 at 10:30 on WTTW; Exploring the Island of Sark with Kira debuts the following night at the same time.


PHOTOGRAPH: Nathan Kirkman