Redmoon's latest extravaganza, Spectacle '09, runs through Sunday at Belmont Harbor.
SAW IT, LOVED IT  Vagabond Opera plays the Spertus on Nov 19.


Don’t-miss picks for Wed 11.18.09 through Tue 11.24.09:


concerts  Vagabond Opera
Not so much "opera" per se as old-world hootenanny meets klezmer cabaret meets Parisian jazz jam session, Vagabond, which performs songs in some 13 languages, is for fans of Gogol Bordello—with less punk bravado and more musical training. See the Portland, Oregon, group unspool their lusty, gutsy world-music program with Chicago’s cosmopolitan skyline as backdrop.
GO: Nov 19 at 7:30. $15-$20. Crown Family Great Hall, Spertus Institute, 610 S Michigan.


lit/lectures Chicago Moth Story Slam
"Slam" refers to the competitive format, but it just as easily applies to attendance at this new storytelling series, launched in Chicago in September by the folks behind The Moth Radio Hour (heard locally on WBEZ). How it works: Wannabe raconteurs show up and throw their names in a hat; ten are selected at random, then have five minutes to charm the audience with an anecdote on this month’s theme, blunders, without any notes to aid their delivery. And we said Vagabond Opera was gutsy?
GO: Nov 24. Stories start at 8; show up early to get in line. $7. Martyrs’, 3855 N Lincoln.


theatre Peter Gallagher, Don’t Give Up on Me
Perhaps November’s most original amalgamation: Serious-actor-slash-dashing-O.C.-dad Gallagher tells the semi-autobiographical story of a young thespian’s apprenticeships with James Cagney, Jack Lemmon, and Peter O’Toole through the music of Frank Loesser, Burt Bacharach, and Lyle Lovett. Sadly, The O.C.’s eminently hummable theme song, "California," is not on the bill.
GO: Nov 22–Dec 14. $55. Drury Lane Water Tower Place, 175 E Chestnut.


classical International Contemporary Ensemble
Imagine the enormous range of tones created by nature—wind blowing through a tunnel, rain falling on an aluminum roof—and you have something that resembles the music of Kaija Saariaho. Hear for yourself when the local group ICE plays works by the contemporary Finnish composer, with Saariaho in attendance. Chicago classical music writer Nora O’Donnell calls the program "very right now."
GO: Nov 19 at 7:30. $10-$25. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago.


theatre The Mystery of Irma Vep
Two actors play a haunted household’s worth of servants, masters, werewolves, mummies, and more in a script by Charles Ludlam riffing on everything from the Brontës to more schlock horror flicks than you can shake a bloody severed leg at. See it now before theatre offerings go the way of the season (ie, less detached limbs, more boughs of holly).
GO: Previews through Nov 20; $32-$40. Run continues through Dec 13; $38-$56. Court Theatre, 5535 S Ellis.


galleries Sidewalks: Photographs by Charles Osgood and Stories by Rick Kogan
The Moth may be the hip new storyteller on the block, but Chicago has a history of compelling yarns—many of which have been told, in illustrative detail, by the Trib photographer Osgood and the Trib writer and WGN radio host Kogan in their long-running column, Sidewalks. The pair kick off a new exhibition of photos and excerpts with a reception Nov 19 from 5 to 7, then host a gallery talk Nov 20 at 12:15.
GO: Nov 19–Feb 28. Chicago Tourism Center Gallery, 72 E Randolph. 312-744-6630

lit/lectures Jonathan Safran Foer
Foer chats about his new book, Eating Animals—something he no longer does. We pledge to listen with an open mind, but—despite Foer’s warnings about the dangers of passive carnivorousness—we can’t make any promises until after Thanksgiving.
GO: Nov 18 at 6. Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, Harold Washington Library, 400 S State.

Photography: Alicia Rose Photography