From a Show About Nothing to a Show About Everything
Carol Leifer has a pretty cool claim to fame. The Emmy-nominated comedy writer and producer was the inspiration for the character Elaine Benes on a little show you may have heard of called Seinfeld. Leifer’s years in TV with Seinfeld and The Larry Sanders Show were preceded by stand-up, and she returns to her roots for her new one-woman show, When You Lie About Your Age, the Terrorists Win, also the title of her forthcoming book. Subject matter includes aging as a Baby Boomer, the tragedy of her father’s death, and adopting a baby at 50. Leifer performs 8 p.m. Saturday the 4th at Lakeshore Theater (3175 N. Broadway; 773-472-3492). Tickets are $15. Bonus: Attendees receive a free copy of Leifer’s book with paid admission to the show.

Best Bets for Things to Do This Week

• If you missed Rebecca Gilman’s landmark play Spinning into Butter, about the dean of a New England college who must deal with racism on campus, when it debuted at the Goodman Theatre in 1999, catch it this time around. Eclipse Theatre reprises the play at Theater on the Lake (2401 N. Lake Shore Dr.; 312-742-7994) Wednesday the 8th through Sunday the 12th. Tickets are $17.50.

• High theatre works in progress at bargain-basement prices: Steppenwolf hosts its third annual First Look Repertory of New Work, a rotating roster of three plays running through Sunday the 26th-with a special performance of all three plays back to back Sunday the 5th starting at 1 p.m. Works include Gary, a play about a violent night in the city from Melinda Lopez, author of the recent Sonia Flew; Tranquility Woods, a dramedy about a woman caring for her comatose husband from Joel Drake Johnson; and When the Messenger Is Hot, an adaptation by Laura Eason of Elizabeth Crane’s stories on grieving. All performances take place at Steppenwolf Garage Theater (1624 N. Halsted St.; 312-335-1650). Tickets are $15 per show or $45 for all three plays this Sunday; seating is limited.

• Here’s a chance to enjoy silent films-without total silence. The Silent Summer Film Festival at Portage Theater (4050 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-205-7372) pairs music with silent classics. Friday at 8 p.m., see the watershed film Battleship Potemkin set to a score performed by the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra. Tickets range from $9 to $19.

• Sure beats running for a cause. The Buffy/Angel Slay-A-Thon screens 13 hours of the two cult TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel on Saturday the 4th from 11 a.m. to midnight at Dave & Busters (1030 N. Clark St.; 847-317-8877). The event benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation; to participate, register at, then enlist friends and family to sponsor your marathon couch-potato session. 

• Those early-bird tickets are long gone, but pricey as Lollapalooza is, it’s hard to find fault with the fest’s musical lineup. On Friday the 3rd, see The Polyphonic Spree at 2:30 p.m. On Saturday the 4th, Snow Patrol plays at 6:30 p.m. and Interpol at 8:30 p.m. And on Sunday the 5th, Amy Winehouse takes the stage at 2:15 p.m., and Pearl Jam performs at 8 p.m. The fest runs in Grant Park (300 E. Balbo Dr.; 888-512-7469) all weekend. Tickets are $80 per day, or $195 for a three-day pass at

• Can’t afford Lolla? Opt for a weekend of cover bands at Retro on Roscoe (Roscoe Street from Damen Avenue to Leavitt Street; 773-665-4682), featuring musical highlights from the seventies, eighties, and nineties. Saturday the 4th at 8 p.m., catch Trippin Billies covering Dave Matthews and Elevation taking on U2. Sunday the 5th at 8 p.m., check out Hairbangers Ball singing the best of the hair bands. The fest runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Suggested donation, $5.

•  Even cheaper still: The Old Town School of Folk Music is aiming to break the current record for the World’s Largest Guitar Lesson. Players of all skill levels are invited to the free event, 7 p.m. Tuesday the 7th in Welles Park (2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.; 773-728-6000), to help topple Switzerland’s puny-sounding 539 participants. Register at

• Skating meets stripping (don’t worry-it’s not quite as revealing as it sounds; you can keep those clothes on) Friday the 3rd at Dare to Bare, a group street skate organized by the Road Rave crew. Meet at Daley Plaza (at the intersection of Clark and Washington Streets) at 7:30 p.m. to swoosh through the streets, stopping at health clubs and dance studios to learn about the trend of stripping and pole dancing as exercise. Helmets, water bottles, and skates are required. Visit for more info.

• Graze with gusto at Chefs and the City, a benefit featuring eats and top toques from more than 20 restaurants (Schwa, Opera, Avenue M), plus wine tastings, and live and silent auctions. The party starts 6:30 p.m. Friday the 3rd at The Peninsula (108 E. Superior St.; 312-948-2785). Tickets are $200; proceeds go to the AIDS charity Vital Bridges. For an additional $75, stay for a dessert- and Champagne-filled afterparty.

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