Members of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago dancing; Worms-eye view of members of The Books.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS  Both free, both this week: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago at the Art Institute, The Books in Millennium Park


The free stuff gets top billing this week! Don’t-miss picks for Wed 06.16.10 through Tue 06.22.10:


dance Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Chicago Summerdance
Enough sitting on the couch watching hockey/basketball/ soccer/reruns/fill in your time-sucker-of-choice here. Shake a leg to the Loop Thursday for a dancing doubleheader: First, see HSDC perform 20 short pieces inspired by works in the Modern Wing; then show off your own footwork a few blocks down at the launch of this year’s Summerdance, an annual favorite featuring one hour of dance lessons followed by two hours of shimmying under the stars. Dance styles vary nightly; first up: Argentine tango.
GO: HSDC: June 17 at 5. Free. Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan. Summerdance: June 17, with lessons from 6 to 7 and dancing from 7:30 to 9:30. Free. Spirit of Music Garden, Grant Park, 601 S Michigan.


farrago Star Party
Didn’t snag tickets to the Siskel’s sold-out gala saluting Robert Downey Jr.? American Science & Surplus’s suburban star party features asteroids in place of A listers, but your kid—or the kid in you—will love it when the NASA astrophysicist Michelle Thaller points out heavenly bodies through telescopes set up on the shop’s roof.
GO: June 18 at 8:30 (rain date: June 19 at 8:30), with a telescope workshop beforehand at 6:30. Free. American Science & Surplus, 33W361 Roosevelt, Geneva.


theatre The Silver Project
Talk about big ideas. The only thing more ambitious than commissioning 33 short works by a dazzling array of boldface-name playwrights (Kristoffer Diaz, Neil LaBute, Regina Taylor) is to stage the whole shebang for free. And the only thing more ambitious than that is to reprise the entire undertaking, which initially ran in once-a-month installments from February to May, over the course of five drama-filled nights.
GO: June 16-20 at 9. Free. American Theater Company, 1909 W Byron.


concerts Mos Def, Tinariwen, Califone, The Books
We were already a little dizzy contemplating the upcoming lineup of free concerts—the alt-rapper-slash-moviestar Mos Def, the AK-47-toting-Tuareg-turned-Afro-beat-idols Tinariwen, an in-store gig by Chicago’s dreamy postrock experimentalists Califone—and that was before we got to The Books, whose electronic audio collages sound like snippets of ambient downtown noise edited, polished, and amplified: the perfect soundtrack for a picnic in the park.
GO: Tinariwen: June 17 at 6:30; part of Music Without Borders. Free. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph. Mos Def: June 19 at 7:45; part of Takin’ It to the Streets: Urban International Festival. Free. Marquette Park, Kedzie and Marquette. Califone: June 19 at 2. Free. Saki, 3716 W Fullerton. The Books: June 21 at 7:30; part of Downtown Sound. Free. Pritzker Pavilion.


galleries Roger Brown: Calif USA
He was an SAIC grad and a nationally known Chicago imagist, but the late Roger Brown was also an amasser of ceramics, knickknacks, and pop-culture ephemera—a lifetime of stuff collected in his California home that provided inspiration for, and often made appearances in, his artwork. By pairing three-dimensional paintings from Brown’s Virtual Still Life series with selections from the artist’s treasure trove, the curator Nicholas Lowe offers remarkable insight into Brown’s life.  Those who similarly thrive on creative clutter can bring their own domestic artifacts for a companion show, The People’s Gallery of Everyday Objects (don’t worry, hoarders; you’ll get your goodies back at the end of the exhibition’s run).
GO: Opening reception with curator tour June 19 at 3. Both shows run June 20–Oct 3. Open calls for public objects June 27 and July 11 from 2 to 4. Free. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S Cornell.


concerts The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
Sure, Gospel Fest rocked, but we saved a few hallelujahs for this local chamber-pop group’s triumphant return to the stage following a devastating van accident last fall. Despite frontwoman Elia Einhorn’s morose tales of romantic woe, this show—with all band members out of the hospital and fully repaired—is cause for celebration.
GO: June 19 at 9:30. $10. Subterranean, 2011 W North.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Lincoln Hall’s whiz-bang June lineup continues with The Autumn Defense, a side project from Wilco’s John Stirratt and Pat Sansone that harks back to 1970s soft rock, on June 17 and Mates of State, a happy marriage of minimal indie pop and unbridled charm, on June 22.

parties Summer Lovin’
Maybe you were there last year, when we filled the MCA body-to-body (including that of the Blackhawk Adam Burish) for our annual singles mixer, cosponsored by The Auxiliary Board of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. If not, we humbly suggest you hustle there Friday, when we introduce our top 20 singles of 2010—including a Kellogg professor, a nightlife impresario, a world-class soprano, a globetrotting venture capitalist, and a Cubs pitcher.
GO: June 18 at 7. $85-$105; benefits Northwestern’s Brain Tumor Institute. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago.

comedy Just for Laughs
If you thought streets were clogged last week with Blackhawks fans and ticker tape, get a load of the cloud of comedy settling over the city now. Among the umpteen gigs offered as part of this year’s Just for Laughs fest, those with tickets still available include: The City That Works, a 90-minute sketch show from the Chicago ensemble Schadenfreude that also stars the rapper Rhymefest and local hawkers reading their ad copy live (think Tim “You dream it; we build it” Smithe of Walter E. Smithe); and The Not Inappropriate Show, with Bob Odenkirk (Mr. Show), a family-friendly sketch roundup that doubles as a chance to see Rogers Park’s newly opened Mayne Stage.
GO: The City That Works: June 17 at 9. $10. Martyrs’, 3855 N Lincoln. The Not Inappropriate Show: June 18 at 4, June 19 at 1 and 4. $25. Mayne Stage, 1328 W Morse.

Photograph: (HSDC) Todd Rosenberg