Survival of the Hippest
Call it the power of Paris: Not even the Harvard set can resist the allure of pop culture lately. At least, that’s the case with Henry Tollman, the protagonist of the play Evolution, a social satire on the glitz of fame. Tollman is a Darwinian scholar whose ivory-tower upbringing leaves him ignorant of the mainstream. But when his thesis hits a snag, he abandons the Ivy League for Hollywood, pursuing a career in television instead of academia. The play, which integrates video projections and a pop soundtrack, runs Thursdays through Sundays through September 16th at the Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater (2257 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-871-3000). Tickets are $16.

And while we’re on the subject of highbrow slumming: an air guitar solo in a Shakespearean drama? Righteous! The Bard’s greatest tragedy gets a helping of pop-culture references, a reordering of scenes, and a contemporary soundtrack in the surrealist Hamlet Stooged! The show runs for one night only, 10:30 p.m. Friday the 10th, at Lakeshore Theater (3175 N. Broadway; 773-472-3492). Tickets are $10.

Best Bets for Things to Do This Week

• It’s not quite Easy Rider, but local writer Mary Scruggs documents her cross-country trip to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the back of a vet’s motorcycle in Missing Man, a monologue running as part of the Fillet of Solo Festival at Live Bait Theater (3914 N. Clark St.; 773-871-1212). The show opens Friday the 10th and runs Fridays and Saturdays through August 24th. Tickets are $10.

• Like to stay ahead of the curve? Preview eight musicals-in-progress, including three by local talent, at this weekend’s Stages 2007 festival. The kick-off gala starts at 6 p.m. Friday the 10th, followed by a 7:30 p.m. performance of Rex, about Henry VIII and his young daughter Elizabeth. The fest continues Saturday the 11th and Sunday the 12th from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Theatre Building Chicago (1225 W. Belmont St.; 773-327-5252). Single-show tickets are $15; fest passes are $95.

• See The Wizard of Oz on the big screen this weekend at its Chicago namesake, Oz Park (2021 N. Burling St.; 312-742-7529). Part of the Movies in the Park series, the free screening begins at 8 p.m. Saturday the 11th.

• Bike, don’t walk, to the Bicycle Film Festival. The film program runs next weekend, Friday the 17th and Saturday the 18th, at Logan Square’s Stan Mansion (2048 N. Kedzie Ave.), but auxiliary events including a bar party and a scavenger hunt begin Wednesday the 15th. Film highlights include Klunkerz, documenting the birth of mountain biking, and Bikecar, about a trip to the Pacific Northwest on a four-person bicycle. Visit for a full schedule of events. Tickets are $8.

Northalsted Market Days (Halsted Street, between Belmont Avenue and Addison Street; 773-836-7000) goes retro this year. Sunday the 11th at 6:45 p.m., relive the sounds of the 1980s with Taylor Dane; then, at 8 p.m., take a trip back to the Summer of Love when Cathy Richardson joins Big Brother and the Holding Company for a selection of Janis Joplin tunes. The fest runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; suggested donation, $5.

•  Meanwhile, at West Fest (Chicago Avenue, between Damen Avenue and Wood Street; 312-850-9390), local music gets the spotlight. Check out acoustic bluegrass band Tangleweed Saturday the 11th at 12:30 p.m. and energetic rockers the Waco Brothers at 6:30 p.m. The three-stage fest runs noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; suggested donation, $5.

• You know you’ve made it when Heineken sponsors your birthday party. Celebrate Buddy Guy’s 71st on Tuesday the 14th with beer, cake, giveaways, and music from the Brother John Band (you never know if Guy might jump on stage). Doors open at 11 a.m.; music begins at 9 p.m. at Buddy Guy’s Legends (754 S. Wabash Ave.; 312-427-1190). Admission is $10 at the door.

• Been practicing your bocce all summer? Show off your skills at Little Italy’s weekend-long Taylor Street Festa Italiana (intersection of Taylor and Loomis Streets; 312-458-9401), also featuring arts and crafts, plenty of Italian food, and live music. The Smithereens play Friday the 10th at 8 p.m.; fest admission is $10.

• See suburbia through the eyes of emerging photographer Greg Stimac, who has traveled across the U.S. documenting everything from mowing the lawn to gun recreation. Stimac leads a gallery tour 6:30 p.m. Tuesday the 14th at the Museum of Contemporary Art (220 E. Chicago Ave.; 312-280-2660). His work, the August installment of the museum’s 12 X 12 series, hangs through September 2nd.

• He wasn’t exactly known for his physical fitness, especially in the later years, but The King gets a nod at the Elvis is Alive 5K (intersection of Fullerton Parkway and Cannon Drive; 773-305-3338). The run starts at 6 p.m. Saturday the 11th; the fastest runner dressed head-to-toe as Elvis wins a special prize (costumes are encouraged but not required). A party follows the race in Lincoln Park. Registration is $25 before Saturday, $30 day-of; the run benefits the literacy group Rock for Reading.

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