Pink Martini, the cosmopolitan big band
TOP SHELF  Among this week’s freebies: a happy-hour serenade by the cosmopolitan big band Pink Martini, part of the Grant Park Music Festival


The free stuff gets top billing two weeks running! Don’t-miss picks for Wed 06.23.10 through Tue 06.29.10:


concerts Pink Martini
La vie, they say, is long and hard. But some things ease the journey, including the breezy, jazz-inflected lounge music of this band of Francophile—and Cubanophile and Italianophile—Oregonians, whose songs come in at least ten languages. Grab a patch of lawn and a bottle of wine, and prepare to be serenaded into serenity (the group’s latest album is called Splendor in the Grass, after all).
GO: June 23 at 6:30; part of the Grant Park Music Festival. Free. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph.

ALSO THIS WEEK: In nearby Grant Park, Broadway in Chicago stages a live clips show of the best of recent seasons, with scenes from Billy Elliot, Shrek, Wicked, and more, on June 28 at 6.


beer Tour de Fat
For the third year in a row, New Belgium, the Colorado-based brewer of Fat Tire beer, rolls its traveling-road-show-slash-cycling-carnival into Chicago. Although the day’s programming includes a car funeral for one local who pledges to give up his or her ride in return for a shiny new two-wheeler, you don’t have to be anti-auto to attend. You don’t even have to be pro-bike. But you should be pro-beer. Other festivities include live music and a costume bike parade; see website for details.
GO: June 26 from 9 to 4. Free admission; food and beer available for purchase. Palmer Square Park, Kedzie and Palmer.


lit Anthony Bourdain
Bourdain has eaten his way in pig hearts and snake parts across continents and oceans, but apparently he just can’t get enough of Chicago. If you forked over serious cash to see him at the Chicago Theatre back in April, you might have overpaid. The celebrity chef and human garbage disposal returns to town this week for a free reading and signing tied to his latest book, Medium Raw.
GO: June 24 at 6. Free. Pritzker Auditorium, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S State.


parades Chicago Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade
A quick rundown of this year’s Pride. Number of 1980s divas warming up the crowd the day before at Pride Fest: 2. Number of blocks on the parade route: 17. Number of participating floats, vehicles, marching bands, et cetera: 250. Number of expected spectators: 500,000. Number of rainbow flags: countless—but you can try tallying when Chicagoans convene for the city’s second-largest annual parade.
GO: June 27 at noon. Free. Parade steps off from Halsted and Belmont. Full route:


film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Move over, Depp. At this outdoor screening of the 1971 original starring Gene Wilder, organizers will hand out hundreds of Blommer chocolate bars, ten of which hold golden tickets for prizes including more chocolate, DVDs of the flick, and gift certificates for the likes of Province. Heck, for that last one, we’d kiss an Oompa Loompa. 
GO: June 29. Prizes handed out at 8:30; movie at dusk (around 8:45). Free. Fulton River Park, 601 W Kinzie.


museums Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy
Sixty sculptures, by Calder and later artists indebted to the kinetic master, take over the MCA. Go Saturday when the show opens—or wait until the museum’s no-admission day on Tuesday and you’ve got yourself another freebie.
GO: June 26–Oct 17. Free to $12. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago.

film La Piscine
After this steamy flick, you’ll be ready for a cold dip. The onetime real-life lovers Alain Delon and Romy Schneider star along with Jane Birkin in Jacques Deray’s 1969 film set in and around a swimming pool in Saint Tropez.
GO: June 23. Snacks at 7:30; film at 8:15. $5. Alliance Française de Chicago, 54 W Chicago.

theatre Cherrywood
Kirk Lynn’s script for his self-described “feral ensemble piece” contains lines that cast members choose at random—which would sound like a recipe for cherry-flavored disaster if it weren’t for the Obie-winning David Cromer at the helm. Bonus: Make it a Cromer twofer with the director’s take on A Streetcar Named Desire, onstage through July 11 at Writers’ Theatre.
GO: June 24–August 8. $18-$22. Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co, 735 W Sheridan.

classical Wagner’s ‘Ring’ Hits
BYO spear and magic helmet for an awesome Ring cycle sampler led by Ravinia’s music director, James Conlon, and featuring Ride of the Valkyries, scenes from Siegfried, and the Götterdämmerung suite. The Grammy-winning soprano Christine Brewer and the powerhouse tenor John Treleaven star.
GO: June 30 at 8. $10-$25. Lake Cook and Green Bay, Highland Park.

Photograph: © 2009 Adam Levey