Dancing with the All-Stars
Think of it as the Pro Bowl of Chicago dance—with extra calf muscle and a better cause. A selection of the city’s top troupes team up for the 16th annual Dance for Life benefiting HIV/AIDS organizations. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet, River North Chicago Dance Company, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, BAM!, and Luna Negra Dance present styles from ballet to contemporary, with WGN’s Dean Richards emceeing. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday the 18th at the Harris Theater (205 E. Randolph Dr.; 312-922-5812). Tickets range from $75 to $150, with the high end including a buffet at 5 p.m.

Don’t know first position from fifth? Chicago Dancing Fest showcases choreography to woo the dance virgin and aficionado alike. The greatest-hits lineup features favorites from seven national troupes. See Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre’s performance of the signature dance “Cry,” Lar Lubovitch’s “Elemental Brubeck” performed by Ballet Florida, and Joffrey Ballet performing founding father Gerald Arpino’s “Light Rain.” The evening is free and begins 7:30 p.m. Wednesday the 22nd at Pritzker Pavilion (Millennium Park, 100 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-742-1168).

Best Bets for Things to Do This Week

• How much creativity can one sofa inspire? Find out at the Brown Couch Theatre Company’s festival of 10-minute plays, How Now, Brown Couch. Playwrights wrote scripts with one brown couch as the main prop; settings range from a Chicago alley to the middle of the desert. The fest opens Friday the 17th and runs Thursdays through Sundays through September 2nd at Theatre Building Chicago (1225 W. Belmont Ave.; 773-327-5252). Tickets are $15.

• The beast is back. After a five-year hiatus, the acclaimed, estrogen-charged variety show The Beast Women opens Friday the 17th with a rotating roster of ladies performing everything from standup comedy to hula hoop. The show plays 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through September 22nd at the Peter Jones Gallery (1806 W. Cuyler Ave., 2nd floor; 773-914-3330).

• It says a lot about the partnership of alcohol and literature that The Neo-Futurists’ Drinking and Writing series is on its third volume, To Cure a Hangover. Sean Benjamin and Steve Mosqueda have crafted an homage to morning-after works from the likes of John Cheever and Charles Bukowski. And what better place to debut the show than the new bar at the Victory Gardens Theater at the Biograph (2433 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-871-3000)? The opening night performance begins at 8 p.m. Thursday the 23rd. Tickets are $15.

• It’s no secret that television is lily white; to address who’s responsible, the Black Harvest International Festival of Film, Video and TV presents a free panel discussion. “Ratings, Race, and Ramifications” begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday the 17th, with a screening of The Paper Trail: 100 Years of the Chicago Defender at 10 p.m. Both take place at the Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State St.; 312-846-2600). Screening tickets are $5.

• The local indie-rock group My My My has been garnering serious attention since forming in March. Band members describe their sound “as if Cat Stevens was in The Shins.” Can’t quite imagine it? Hear for yourself Tuesday the 21st at Martyrs’ (3855 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-404-9869); the band goes on at 9 p.m.

• One of Chicago’s top divas, Dee Alexander, pays tribute to two of her blues and jazz predecessors, Nina Simone and Dinah Washington, in Sirens of Song, part of the ongoing series Made in Chicago: Home Cooked Jazz. The free concert begins 6:30 p.m. Thursday the 23rd at Pritzker Pavilion (Millennium Park, 100 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-742-1168).

• There’s no better justification (maybe we should say “no other justification”) for gorging on gigantic portions than doing so for a cause. Bright Pink, a nonprofit that supports women at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer, hosts the Bright Pink Family Brunch Benefit at Manny’s Coffee Shop and Deli (1141 S. Jefferson St.; 312-939-2855) from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday the 19th. A donation of $35 includes a buffet meal.

PLEASE NOTE: Events may be postponed or simply canceled. Please call ahead to make sure they are still scheduled to take place. Send tips or comments to marquee@chicagomag.com.