Manifest Destiny: Columbia unleashes its annual cyclone of creativity on May 15.


Don’t-miss events for Wed 05.13.09 through Tue 05.19.09


farrago Manifest
Columbia College has creativity coming out of its ears—so much so that by the end of each school year, the students are fit to burst. And thus explains Manifest: the one-day spontaneous combustion of artistic talent featuring everything from a 32-car pinewood-meets-demolition derby (Balbo and Wabash at 2:30) to Spectacle Fortuna, a parade of puppets, the punk marching band Mucca Pazza, and Waukegan native Ray Bradbury’s characters come to life (Harrison and Wabash at 6:45).
GO: May 15. Full schedule and details:


classical Eighth Blackbird and Pacifica Quartet*
The U of C’s back-to-back Grammy-winning resident ensembles perform works by composition students. Last year the wacky program featured melodicas, slide whistles, kazoos, and goose calls. We’re curious to hear which parts of the kitchen sink make it in for 2009.
GO: May 15 at 7:30: Fulton Recital Hall, U. of C., 1010 E 59th. May 28 at 7:30: Ganz Hall, Roosevelt U, 430 S Michigan.


farrago Family Secrets reading*
Hear local author Jeff Coen read from his insider’s take on the mob trial that captivated Chicago, with a Q&A and book signing following each reading.
GO: May 16 at 2: Centuries & Sleuths, 7419 W Madison, Forest Park. 708-771-7243. May 21 at 7:30: Barnes & Noble, 1441 W Webster. 773-871-3610. May 23 at 2: Borders, 1144 Lake, Oak Park. 708-386-6927


farrago Michael Pollan
The author of such works as In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma wrote the book on how thoroughly we are what we eat. Plan on arriving early if you want to snag a seat.
GO: May 18 at 6. Pritzker Auditorium, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S State.


farrago Great Chicago Places & Spaces*
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it: Squeeze as many of these free behind-the-scenes tours as possible into your Saturday schedule. Offerings include The Dark Knight Revealed, a walking tour of locations seen in the latest Batman flick, and a bus tour of proposed sites for the 2016 Olympic Games.
GO: May 16. Some tours require preregistration. Full schedule and details:


farrago Indiana Dunes BioBlitz
Think the dunes are just like Chicago’s beaches, only a little further east? Think again. This 15-mile stretch of protected shoreline is teaming with critters other than mosquitoes and bikini-clad coeds, and pintsize scientists are invited to convene for a 24-hour marathon cataloging of every plant and creature in the 15,000-acre park.
GO: May 15 at noon thru May 16 at noon. Map and details:


Read our May story on two brothers’ quests for revenge in advance of the Family Secrets trial . . . Hear Stephen Colbert trash talk Eighth Blackbird’s recording of Steve Reich’s Pulitzer-winning Double Sextet . . . Get the back story on Chicago’s starring role in The Dark Knight


PHOTOGRAPH: Alexis Ellers