A scene from '1001'
IN THE SPOTLIGHT Collaboraction reprises Jason Grote’s 1001—twice.


Don’t-miss picks for Wed 07.20.11 through Tue 07.26.11:


theatre 1001
Osama bin Laden—one of the key characters in Jason Grote’s audaciously unconventional mash-up of passion, politics, and Middle Eastern myth—was still alive when the play debuted in 2007. Will his death alter the tenor of a piece that also features Sinbad and Flaubert? We can’t wait to find out—and we must not be the only ones: In addition to a one-week reprise at Theater on the Lake, Collaboraction has added a five-week remount on its own brand new home stage.
GO: At Theater on the Lake: 7/20–24. $17.50. Fullerton and Lake Shore. chicagoparkdistrict.com/theateronthelake. At the Flat Iron Arts Building: 7/28–8/28. $15–$25. 1579 N Milwaukee. collaboraction.org


rock/pop Wicker Park Fest
The poor man’s Pitchfork, this eight-year-old street fest bites its thumb at hair-metal cover bands and washed-up has-beens in favor of music that folks actually want to hear—especially for a budget five bucks. On this year’s bill: the postrock duo El Ten Eleven (Sat at 7:15), the bustling DJ hustlers Flosstradamus (Sat at 8:45), the Indiana indie rockers Murder by Death (Sun at 7:30), the California surf-punk outfit Wavves (Sun at 9), the alt-folkies Blitzen Trapper (Sun at 9), and some 46 others.
GO: 7/23–24 from noon to 10. $5 per day. Milwaukee from North to Wood. wickerparkfestchicago.com


farrago U.S. Air Guitar National Finals
For those about to faux-rock, we salute you. Be there when two dozen competitors from across the country—including Chicago’s own three-time regional winner, Justin “Nordic Thunder” Howard—vie for the 2011 U.S. Air Guitar title and a chance to shred at the world championships in Finland later this year.
GO: 7/23 at 9. $21. Metro, 3730 N Clark. metrochicago.com


sports/rec Downtown Canyons
You might not want to bathe in it just yet, but experiencing the Chicago River with a sturdy canoe separating you from the murk? Safe enough. This twice-yearly paddle gets you a fantastic eye view of local architecture—and a killer back and biceps workout. Just BYO drinking water.
GO: 7/23 from 9 to 1. $45, or $25 if you have your own boat. Lawrence’s Fisheries, 2120 S Canal. chicagoriver.org


gardens/parks Meet the Bees
Last month’s ferocious hailstorm left the Garfield Park Conservatory’s roof in shambles and its greenhouses in severe disarray—but, like the imperiled honeybees the GPC raises, it’s a fighter: This week’s scheduled Meet the Bees event is still on. Visitors can watch and learn as beekeepers harvest summer honey from the onsite hives, then taste-test different varieties while old-timey groups play stringband tunes. Suggested admission for the day is a mere $3, but witnessing the condition of the historic facility might move you to leave a little more green in its coffer.
GO: 7/23 from 11 to 4. $3 suggested donation. Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N Central Park. garfieldconservatory.org


Cowriter and costar of Second City's 'South Side of Heaven'
Katie Rich

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Katie Rich, cowriter and costar of The Second City’s current main-stage show, South Side of Heaven.

“There’s no way in hell I’ll exercise once the weekend starts, so I’ll do the 5:45 class at The Bar Method in Lake View. It incorporates ballet, yoga, pilates, resistance training, and even cardio. During it, you hate everything. It’s like the worst hour of your life.

“After that, I’ll head up north to the Sifu gallery to see Kelley Deal sign copies of her new knitting book, Bags That Rock. Kelley Deal was one of the singers for the Pixies and The Breeders, and when I was a teenager, I wanted to be her. When I grew up and did Second City, I found out that she does stuff here, like Letters to Santa [a 24-hour improv and music fundraiser held each December]. Then I have two shows on Friday night, at 8 and 11. Afterwards, I go home, look at TV, and go to bed.”

“Breakfast at Nookies on Wells! I live next door. If need be, I’ll sit at the counter. There is carrot cake French toast!

“I usually do The Paper Machete once a month or so, but I try to check it out even if I’m not performing. It’s a live magazine at the Horseshoe. There are musicians, comedians, journalists, critics—everyone from all walks of life. It makes me proud of my city and the people in it. You come and do a piece about something that’s going on. Last week I talked about Chicago’s new slogan, ‘Second to None.’

“Then I’m going to the Sheffield Garden Walk with Holly and Julie from the show. We’re going to see Mike Doughty. He used to be the lead singer of Soul Coughing, a band that kids who were a lot cooler than me in high school told me about. It’s like Schoolhouse Rock on shrooms. My goal is to convince him to come to our show. Doing the main stage [at Second City] gives you a nice artistic bartering system.

“That night we have shows at 8 and 11; then we do a set of improv. Saturday wraps up around 2 or 2:30 a.m., then we usually hang out for a bit as a family and screw around at Second City until they kick us out. I’m drinking either something very fancy—a Ketel One martini—or like I’m on a pontoon boat: Coors Light or Budweiser. A lot of [cast members] will go to the Ale House, the 5 o’clock dive bar. But if you see me there on a Saturday, you should tell me to go home, because I probably shouldn’t be there.” —As told to Jenna Marotta


folk/world Yemen Blues, Etran Finatawa
Ravid Kahalani mashes up his ancestors’ Yemeni culture with blues, jazz, and funk to yield the irresistible sounds of Yemen Blues, while Niger’s Etran Finatawa sources Wodaabe and Touareg influences to create its own signature brand of compelling grooves. Together, the two bands make a persuasive argument for a sonic picnic in Millennium Park—the finale to this year’s Music Without Borders series.
GO: 7/21 at 6:30. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Washington. millenniumpark.org

rock/pop The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
Or grab a patch of grass in the shadow of the Illinois Centennial Monument and let these twee chamber rockers serenade you in the heart of Logan Square, part of the ongoing Summer Sessions series. The pint-sized Girls Rock! Chicago’s Alex Lund and Matt Ulery’s Loom open.
GO: 7/23 at 5:30; SYGC goes on at 7:30. Intersection of Logan, Kedzie, and Milwaukee. summersessionsonthesquare.org


Photograph: (1001) Saverio Truglia; (RICH) Courtesy of Second City