ROAD WARRIORS: This Memorial Day, skip lane jockeying on the Dan Ryan in favor of lakeshore pedaling at Bike the Drive.


Forget London. Forget Paris. Heck, forget Milwaukee. This year, spend Memorial Day in Chicago—and love it—with these don’t-miss events for Wed 05.20.09 through Tue 05.26.09


theatre The Crowd You’re in With
Folks away on fancy vacations won’t be among the first Chicagoans to see this latest play by local darling Rebecca Gilman—but you will. While the subject matter, a backyard barbecue, is pretty tame compared to her past material (serial killers, stalkers, racism), we’re happy to give Gilman—winner of the Evening Standard Award and the Harper Lee Award—the benefit of the doubt.
GO: Previews May 23-31; $10-$24. Regular run through Jun 21; $15-$39. Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn.


farrago Animal Houses
Your kid’s whining because her best friend went to Florida for the long weekend? Pack your wee one into the car and head for the Morton Arboretum. Trust us: Jumping on hotel beds is nothing compared to crawling around a skunk den. Kids of all ages get free run of these 11 human-sized animal dwellings, from a blue heron rookery to an ant colony.
GO: May 22–Nov 15. $8-$11; $5-$7 Wed. 4100 Rte 53, Lisle.


theatre Eric Bogosian
Some people head to New York or L.A. to cozy up to the literati, but this weekend a boldface playwright comes to us. Bogosian—writer, quintessential character actor, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent regular—hosts two chats: one following Wednesday’s performance of his play Talk Radio at The Gift and another on his new book, Perforated Heart, Thursday at the central library.
GO: Talk Radio: May 20 at 8. Play continues through May 31. $15-$25. The Gift Theatre, 4802 N Milwaukee. At the library: May 21 at 6. Free. Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S State.


galleries Warm/Cool Decorator
Don’t know anyone throwing a Memorial Day bash? No matter. Thanks to the Second Bedroom Project Space, a newish gallery located in a Bridgeport apartment, you can make like you’re at a hip house party—and see some cutting-edge art while you’re at it. This installation from artist Ben Brandt involves bathing the titular bedroom in blue police light.
GO: Opening reception May 22 from 7 to 11; exhibition continues through Jun 12. Free. 3216 S Morgan, apt 4R.


farrago Bike the Drive
Another reason we love Chicago? We’ve got this amazing natural resource lovingly known as “the lake,” and for one daybreak a year, we get to bike alongside it, sans cars. Registration is still open.
GO: May 24. Ride begins at 5:30 am; postride fest runs 8-noon. $12-$42. Grant Park, Jackson and Columbus.


Ready? OK. First, beach season officially begins May 22, so stop whatever you’re doing Friday and head east until you hit water. For the hipster crowd, the German electronica guru Gas makes his U.S. debut with a free set at the Chicago Cultural Center on Tuesday. Last but not least, the long-exiled mammals have returned to the Shedd Aquarium. The completely overhauled Oceanarium reopens Saturday with updates including a new wade-in beluga tank; the first 100 guests May 23-25 get in free.


You love Chicago—really, you do—but you could use a break from the city? Head north to Wisconsin, where the suds flow strong all weekend long at the Kohler Festival of Beer. Or revisit our April cover story, Weekend Getaways, for quick and easy last-minute trip ideas.


PHOTOGRAPH: Active Transportation Alliance