Baseball legends Willie Mays and Whitey Ford
DOUBLE PLAY  This week: rare baseball films at the Block, America’s pastime circa 1858 at Cantigny.


Big news! OK, it’s no Stanley Cup, but the Chicago Guide has just been named best e-newsletter by the City and Regional Magazine Awards. Are you a subscriber? Sign up to get our now even more officially awesome picks in your inbox every week. Without further ado, our top five for Wed 06.09.10 through Tue 06.15.10:


sports/film Vintage Baseball
The end of hockey season is a mere slapshot or two away—fingers crossed—which means by Thursday we could be turning our full attention to summer’s official pastime. At bat this week, an old-fashioned doubleheader: rare baseball films at Northwestern’s Block Cinema and old-school baseball games at the Cantigny estate. The Block’s two-hour program includes vintage Gillette commercials starring Willie Mays and Whitey Ford, footage from the 1926 World Series, and more, while over in Wheaton, the Lockport Sleepers, Oregon Ganymedes, and Iron Diamonds square off in a round-robin tournament played according to 1858 rules: no overhand pitching, no balls or strikes, no stealing, no sliding, no leading off, and no gloves. (The hot dogs and popcorn, we hear, will be made according to 2010 standards.)
GO: Baseball films: June 10 at 7. $4-$6. Block Cinema, Northwestern U, 40 Arts Circle, Evanston. Vintage baseball: June 12 at 11. Free, parking $5. Cantigny, 1S151 Winfield, Wheaton.


theatre Itsoseng
Remember this name: Omphile Molusi. The South African writer/actor’s one-man semiautobiographical play, about a township untouched by the rainbow-happy promise of a postapartheid country, is as moving as theatre gets—and has already garnered awards from the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Bonus: Listen to Molusi talk about his hometown in an audio clip from the BBC.
GO: June 9-20. $28-$38. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier, 800 E Grand.


theatre Sketchbook
Meanwhile, homegrown theatre goes experimental. Sketchbook, the tenth-annual festival of new plays and vignettes from the local collective Collaboraction, includes world premieres by The Hypocrites’ love-him-or-hate-him-but-at-least-you’ve-heard-of-him artistic director, Sean Graney, as well as Brett C. Leonard, whose last Chicago premiere, The Long Red Road, scored Philip Seymour Hoffman as director.
GO: Previews June 10-11; regular run June 12-27. See website for full schedule. Fest passes $20-$100. Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Dog & Pony Theatre Co. applies its innovative sensibility to the tale of a postal worker with a secret and the woman who delivers him from it. Dead Letter Office opens at Storefront Theater.


comedy Shame That Tune
While the formula of this new series at the Hideout mashes up a few familiar concepts—the live game show (The Neo-Futurists’ Crisis, The Game Show Show … and Stuff), the live interview show (The Brian Costello Show, The Interview Show with Mark Bazer), and the live reading series (most notably, Mortified)—this week marks Shame That Tune’s premiere, so just a warning that, if you go, you’re venturing into (somewhat) unchartered territory. The gist: Brian Costello (see above) and Abraham Levitan (of the local bands Baby Teeth and Pearly Sweets, and the music guy for another reading series, The Dollar Store) welcome three contestants, all of whom spin a wheel divided into musical genres. Each contestant then recounts an embarrassing story from his or her adolescent years; while Costello chats with the player post-story, Levitan speed-composes a song, based on the anecdote, in the genre determined by the wheel. We sort of get it. We’re sort of worried. But definitely curious.
GO: June 11 at 6:30. $5. The Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia.


concerts Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers
In other funny business: Some movie stars buy Maseratis. This one barnstorms the country with an ace bluegrass band, evangelizing for the banjo and throwing in jokes here and there for good measure. If you missed Martin and Co. picking at the Cadillac Palace last fall, here’s your chance at fleet-fingered, gospel-tinged redemption.
GO: June 12 at 7:30. Only lawn seats remain, $22. Ravinia, Lake Cook and Green Bay, Highland Park.


festivals For the Love of Hops Festival
In its sophomore installment, this fest—celebrating the summer release of Two Brothers’ double IPA, Hop Juice—hasn’t reached the insanely epic proportions of Three Floyds’ Dark Lord Day . . . yet. But with bands and beer and more beer, it’s growing leaps and bounds. Be there for year 2.
GO: June 12 from noon to 11. Two Brothers Brewing Company, 30W315 Calumet, Warrenville.

readings Daniel Clowes
The Chicago native, graphic novelist, and Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Ghost World and Art School Confidential—both based on his comics—signs copies of his new book, Wilson, his first full-length graphic novel in a decade. To do: Download a preview, read the Trib’s profile on Clowes, then make haste to Quimby’s.
GO: June 12 at 7. Quimby’s, 1854 W North.

festivals Printers Row Lit Fest
Blocks of books to browse; readings by authors from Adam Langer to Anne Lamott; an inaugural afterhours party, Lit After Dark; plus a chance to rub elbows with the staff of Chicago mag. What more could you want? If, smart aleck, you answered anything at all, get a load of the complete author lineup.
GO: June 12 from 10 to 6 (admission to Lit After Dark, from 6 to 9, is $10); June 13 from 10 to 6. Dearborn and Polk.

galleries Chicago Urban Arts Society
The art world has long entertained both a top-down (gallery-based) and a bottom-up (artist-run) approach to the buying and selling of art—but, in this era of cheap and easy information sharing, we could be shifting toward the latter. CUAS is a step in that direction. The arts organization offers memberships, workshops, an exhibition space, studio and facilities rental, and a decidedly populist vibe, as seen this month in works by the local political artist Ray Noland. Friday’s opening of Noland’s solo show, Sweet Tea & American Values, offers a chance to check out all of the above in CUAS’s brand new Pilsen home—plus free snacks.
GO: June 11 from 6 to 11; exhibition continues through July 30. Chicago Urban Arts Society, 2229 S Halsted.

concerts Chicago Blues Festival and more
Play six degrees of Howlin’ Wolf, the legendary Chicago musician who would have turned 100 on Thursday: On June 10, Bassekou Kouyate closes his Music Without Borders concert of Malian folk with a set devoted to Wolf—with Eddie Shaw, Otis Taylor, and Wolf’s longtime guitarist Hubert Sumlin sitting in. Then, on June 11, Blues Fest plugs in with a bang when Sumlin and a roster of fellow Wolf alumni play at 5; the blues harmonica giant James Cotton and Matt “Guitar” Murphy, colleagues from Wolf’s early days in Mississippi, reunite at 7:20; and the young transatlantic-singer-on-the-rise Zora Young, a distant relative of Wolf’s, leads a tribute to him and the late blues pianist Sunnyland Slim, with Sumlin on guitar once again, at 8:25.
GO: Kouyate: June 10 at 6:30. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph. 312-742-1168. Blues Fest: June 11-13 from 11 to 9:30. Grant Park, Jackson and Columbus.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Chicago’s hippest hip-hop duo, The Cool Kids, play a free lunchtime gig in Millennium Park, June 14 at noon; call 312-742-1168 for details.

Photography: (left) National Baseball Hall of Fame Library; (right) Jim Frazier