Let the Games Begin
Bust out the comfy sneakers—and maybe a little bravado. City Chase, an urban adventure race that’s hugely popular in Australia, Canada, and Europe, comes to Chicago Saturday the 25th. Teams of two compete in challenges throughout the city, with tasks ranging from an obstacle course to hugging a stranger. “People should expect to get wet, expect to get dirty, expect to get off the ground, expect to eat gross things, and [expect] some kind of nudity,” says Jason Erkes, president of Chicago Sport & Social Club, which helped bring the event to Chicago.

Participants take off with a clue sheet and a CTA pass; GPS units and cell phones are optional. The five-hour race is “intended to push people’s limits,” Erkes says, “to see how far people will go.” The winning team receives a trip to compete in the international competition in Rome. Sign up at citychase.com; registration is $175 and closes Friday the 24th at 4 p.m. The race starts and finishes on Weed Street, between Fremont Street and Sheffield Avenue; check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday the 25th, and the chase begins at 10 a.m. Just want to watch? Stops along the route are top-secret, but Erkes says Navy Pier is a good bet for spotting participants who might solicit your help in solving clues.

Best Bets for Things to Do This Week

• Imagine finding out at the age of 32 that you’re not who you think you are. In the solo show Incognito, Michael Fosberg recalls growing up in a white family before learning he is black. The one-night-only performance, 8 p.m. Tuesday the 28th at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater (2433 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-871-3000), will be filmed for a future documentary. Tickets run $15 to $20.

• The Cold War and the space race get a satirical send-up—with a little B-movie treatment mixed in—in Zombies from the Beyond, a musical about aliens invading Milwaukee from playwright James Valcq (The Spitfire Grill). Performances run Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m., through September 1st at Athenaeum Theatre (2936 N. Southport Ave.; 773-935-6860). Tickets are $18 to $20.

• For those who think cracking open a bag of tortilla chips and stocking the cooler with PBR makes a block party: Your neighbors beg to differ. Get a lesson in bash production at The Block Party Party, put on by the community-minded organization Neighbors Project. Tasks include lawn-chair testing and grilling 101; there’s also a cornhole tourney and free food. The event takes place Saturday the 25th from 1 to 4 p.m. at Mystic Celt (3443 N. Southport Ave.; 773-529-8550). More information: neighborsproject.org.

• Coming up on Katrina’s two-year anniversary, musical outfit The New Orleans Social Club—featuring Ivan Neville, among others—makes its Chicago debut 6:30 p.m. Friday the 24th at Pritzker Pavilion (Millennium Park, 100 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-742-1168). Chicago’s Koko Taylor and Mucca Pazza, among other guests, will join the Club onstage for the free performance, part of the city’s ongoing Made in Chicago: Home Cooked Jazz series. 

• So you think you can dance? Chicago’s summer-long outdoor dance party Summerdance hosts a ballroom-dancing contest Friday the 24th in Grant Park (601 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-742-4007). For those who need a refresher, lessons start at 6 p.m.; the contest starts at 8:30 p.m. Amateurs (sorry, no pros) can sign up at chicagosummerdance.org; first prize is two roundtrip domestic tickets from United Airlines.

Nefertiti—A Concert in Dance and Music doesn’t make its Chicago debut until October, but you can catch a sneak peek of the Deeply Rooted Dance Company production this weekend at HAMSA-Fest, a celebration of dance, art, and food from the Middle East and North Africa in Lincoln Park (south of the zoo farm and north of LaSalle Drive, just off Stockton Drive). The Nefertiti preview goes on at 1:30 p.m. Saturday the 25th; dance and music performances run from 12:15 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. There’s a $5 to $10 suggested donation; call 773-929-0224 for more information.

• We’ve been fans of the Bucktown Arts Fest for some time; turns out we’re not the only ones. The art-meets-meets-performance community bash is up for the title of “Best Arts Fest in America” in AmericanStyle magazine. Go to bucktownartsfest.com to vote; then visit the real deal for two days of art and craft browsing, film programming, and music, poetry, dance, and theatre performances in Senior Citizens park (intersection of Oakley Avenue and Lyndale Street; 312-409-8305). The fest runs Saturday the 25th and Sunday the 26th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Entry is free.

• Not to be outdone, Rogers Park hosts the sixth annual Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest and Open Studio Walk (Glenwood Avenue, between Farwell and Lunt Avenues; 773-262-3790). Browse paintings, fiber arts, jewelry, and pottery; then head into local artists’ studios for an insider’s view of the creative process. The free fest runs Saturday the 25th and Sunday the 26th from noon to 8 p.m.; a smaller party kicks things off Friday at 6 p.m.

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.