Who’s Piloting These Airwaves Anyway?

The Neo-Futurists’ Picked Up

Photo by Andrew Collings

New TV episodes finally returned this week—and yet we’re still hankering for so much as an ounce of creativity on camera. The Neo-Futurists to the rescue; the performance troupe puts its own spin on TV pilots with the debut of its six-week Picked Up series, 8 p.m. Friday the 11th and Saturday the 12th. Each week the troupe will tackle a different pilot idea; we’re looking forward to “Office Prison Break,” April 24th through 26th, a mash-up inspired by the two hit shows. Audience votes will determine which pilot is “picked up” as part of the company’s repertoire. Performances run Thursdays through Saturdays through May 17th at The Neo-Futurarium (5153 N. Ashland Ave.; 773-275-5255). Tickets are $10 to $15.

Best Bets for Things to Do This Week Look

  • On Saturday Night Live, impressions of powerful men are usually left to, well, men, but it’s SNL alum and Chicago native Nora Dunn who wears the pants in a new art exhibition. Evening Rumsfeld features 24 of her original paintings, prints, and other works commenting on the invasion of Iraq, and specifically Rummy. The show opens 7 p.m. Friday the 11th at Images Gallery Cooperative (1823 W. Wilson Ave.) and runs by appointment through Tuesday the 29th. Details: images8.com.


  • Good to know we’re not the only ones who overreact every now and then. (What, like you didn’t lose any money in your NCAA office pool?) Theater Oobleck reprises The Hysterical Alphabet, a show structured like a book of ABCs, in which each letter introduces an episode of “hysterical” behavior from the annals of medical history. Terri Kapsalis, a health educator who wrote Public Privates: Performing Gynecology from Both Ends of the Speculum, narrates the show, which runs 7 p.m. Sundays through the 27th at Chopin Theatre (1543 W. Division St.; 773-347-1041).


  • If only we could look so dewy at 100. Garfield Park Conservatory (300 N. Central Park Ave.; 773-638-1766) celebrates its first century from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday the 13th with a bash, Blues & Greens, featuring live blues by Robin Watson in the conservatory’s lush, leafy setting. Storytellers recount anecdotes about the West Side, and all attendees get free hot dogs, cupcakes, and other giveaways.


  • Also on the “green” front: Reptile Fest 2008, a hands-on display of snakes, lizards, crocs, and turtles sure to please curious—and brave—kids. The show, sponsored by the Chicago Herpetological Society, runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday the 12th and Sunday the 13th in UIC’s Physical Education Building (901 W. Roosevelt Rd.). Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for kids; details: reptilefest.com.


  • Can lounge lizards and book worms coexist peacefully? Find out Monday the 14th at Bucktown’s hipster watering hole of choice, Danny’s Tavern (1951 W. Dickens Ave.). There’s no cover, but fifty percent of all drink sales from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. will go to Open Books, an in-the-works nonprofit bookstore and literacy center. Guest DJ and WLUW 88.7 music director Michael Ardaiolo will spin funk, soul, and world beats; details: open-books.org.


  • If, economy woes aside, you’re dreaming of chucking it all and becoming an artist, don’t quit your day job just yet—at least, not until you check out the free 2008 Creative Chicago Expo, with 20 workshops on topics including “Show Me the Money! A Grantmaker’s Forum” and “How to Get Your Film Made … and Shown.” The expo runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday the 12th at the Chicago Cultural Center (77 E. Randolph St.; 312-744-6630).