Rock of Ages
CAN’T FIGHT THIS FEELING Go ahead: Indulge in the guiltiest of musical-theatre pleasures. Rock of Ages, starring American Idol’s Constantine Maroulis (right), opens Sep 21.


Don’t-miss picks for Wed 09.15.10 through Tue 09.21.10:


theatre Rock of Ages
If you can tell the difference between Foreigner and Journey without looking, it’s time to let your 1980s freak flag fly. With a score that includes the above two and more (REO Speedwagon! Quarterflash! Oh, yeah, and American Idol’s Constantine Maroulis in the lead) this fist-pumper captures the zeitgeist of an era that dared to proclaim: Don’t Stop Believin’!
GO: Sep 21–Oct 3. $18–$85. Broadway in Chicago at Bank of America Theatre, 18 W Monroe.


dance The Other Dance Festival
While August’s Chicago Dancing Festival was heavy on out-of-town talent, this under-the-radar lineup is rife with promising locals. Week one includes seasoned experimentalists (Mordine & Company) as well as emerging independent choreographers (the cosmically inclined Jonathan Meyer). 
GO: Thu–Fri at 7:30, Sep 16–Oct 1. $12–$15 per night; $35 fest pass. Hamlin Park Fieldhouse, 3035 N Hoyne.


classical Songs About Buildings and Moods
Music to move to: Six emerging composers debut commissions inspired by, and played onsite at, five Loop landmarks (the Monadnock Building, the Aqua Tower) in a budget-friendly tour organized by Accessible Contemporary Music. Wear your walking shoes.
GO: Sep 18. Tours leave every 20 minutes between 10 and noon; reception at 2. $20. Tours start at Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington.


theatre The Mamet Rep
The dynamic duo of Killer Joe’s director, Rick Snyder, and lead, Darrell W. Cox, reteam for Oleanna, David Mamet’s staccato saga of sexual harassment, in rotating repertory with Speed the Plow, a tale of two producers in meltdown mode. Plus: Ten more fall plays you shouldn’t miss in Chicago’s September issue, on newsstands Sep 16.
GO: Previews continue through Sep 19; $10–$30. Regular run through Oct 24; $35–$40. American Theater Company, 1909 W Byron.

ALSO THIS WEEK: ATC’s former artistic director and current DePaul drama honcho, Damon Kiely, adapts Edward Anderson’s vintage crime novel Thieves Like Us for House Theatre, with the prolific—and superb—Kimberly Senior directing.


concerts Aimee Mann
Pop music’s Chekhov, Mann delivers impeccably crafted vignettes of disappointment, disconnection, and misdirection, singing deceptively sunny melodies set to Beatlesesque accompaniment. Her three shows at the Old Town School are sold out, but a few—and we mean a few—tickets remain for her Friday night set in the burbs.
GO: Sep 17 at 8. $24–$26. Prairie Center for the Arts, 201 Schaumburg, Schaumburg.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Peter Stampfel of the 1960s avant-garde acts Holy Modal Rounders and The Fugs makes a rare Chicago appearance Sep 18 at the Hideout.


classical Riccardo Muti
The leonine new king of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra officially ascends his throne next week for a Berlioz bill with live narration by Gérard Depardieu, but it’s the free kickoff concert for the masses in Millennium Park that has us yelling, “Bravo!”
GO: Sep 19 at 5:30. Pritzker Pavilion, Michigan and Randolph.

galleries As If
Although the collaborative duo Carla Arocha and Stéphane Schraenen are based in Antwerp, many Chicagoans are familiar with their work: Arocha lived here in the 1990s; the pair had a delightful show at Meloche in 2007; and their spectacular 2009 installation 24/7 hangs in the Howard CTA station. Combining a strong command of composition and the decorative, their work is consistently pleasing and easy to look at but not so easily forgotten.
GO: Opening reception Sep 16 from 4 to 7; show continues through Nov 6. Monique Meloche Gallery, 2154 W Division.


Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals (a.k.a. people we like): Carlyn Berghoff, the cookbook author, chef, and fourth-generation owner of the Berghoff Restaurant, whose 25th-annual Oktoberfest unleashes lager and gemütlichkeit on the Loop this week.

“After a successful Oktoberfest, I’m definitely going to take a deep breath and steer clear of any bratwurst! As a mother of three, my Saturday will be spent with family and at my kid’s various sporting events: my high-school daughter’s rowing event, my youngest son’s soccer practice. But after that, it’s off to enjoy the city with an evening out with my husband at Mercat a la Planxa, a favorite of ours, followed by a long walk along the lakefront to take in the last remaining signs of the summer.”

• Raise a pint at Berghoff Oktoberfest, Sep 15-17 from 11 to 9 daily at Adams and Dearborn; admission is free

• Read about Carlyn’s The Berghoff Café Cookbook, one of our picks for the best cookbooks of 2009

 • Revisit our 2008 story on Mercat a la Planxa from Chicago’s dining archives

Photograph: Joan Marcus