The presents have been exchanged; the Champagne has been drained; all that remains on your holiday to-do list is embarking on those lofty New Year’s resolutions—to which we say, let the procrastination commence! One handy time filler: the seventh annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival. Featuring 125 sketch-comedy acts from across North America, Sketchfest gives you plenty of excuses to put off until tomorrow what you could do today. Highlights include a musical bit, Sex, Cubs & Rock ’n’ Roll, from local pH productions, Friday the 4th at 8 p.m., and the no-holds-barred festival closers, Suspicious Clowns, Sunday the 13th at 7 p.m. Performances take place at Theatre Building Chicago (1225 W. Belmont Ave.; 773-327-5252); ticket prices vary, though most shows run about $12. Visit chicagosketchfest.com for a full schedule.
Best Bets for Things to Do This Week
- Trekking to Canada in the heart of winter: Frigid. Letting Canada come to you: Fabulous. Ontario’s acclaimed Shaw Festival hits the road for its Chicago début with Saint Joan, George Bernard Shaw’s dramatic take on the life of Joan of Arc. The play opens Tuesday the 8th at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (800 E. Grand Ave.; 312-595-5600). Tickets run $54 to $70, and the show continues through Sunday the 20th.
- If you missed its sold-out run in 2005, ignore our procrastination plan above; pick up the phone now and get tickets to Hephaestus: A Greek Mythology Circus Tale. This remount from Lookingglass Theatre Company (821 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-337-0665) pairs myth with mind-boggling athleticism; performers include acrobats from Ringling Bros. and Cirque du Soleil. The show opens Wednesday the 9th and runs through February 24th. Tickets are $30 to $60.
| Tara Rosling as Saint Joan
photo by David Cooper
- A new contender for the title of the hardest working man in showbiz: Grammy winner and septuagenarian Buddy Guy, who headlines his namesake club most nights in January. Weekend gigs are sold out, but tickets, $40, for many weeknight shows are still available. Call Buddy Guy’s Legends (754 S. Wabash Ave.; 312-427-0333) for more information.
- With his signature beaten-down-but-not-broken tunes, Nashville singer Bobby Bare Jr. could write the soundtrack for January. Catch him, backed by Young Criminal’s Starvation League, 10 p.m. Saturday the 5th at Schubas (3159 N. Southport Ave.; 773-525-2508). Tickets are $12.
- Late mayor and library namesake Harold Washington gets the pictorial treatment in Harold! Photographs from the Harold Washington Years. Hear the story behind the book when author Salim Muwakkil, photographers Antonio Dickey and Marc PoKempner, and editor Ron Dorfman present a slide show and talk, 1:30 p.m. Sunday the 6th at the Woodson Regional Branch (9525 S. Halsted St.; 312-747-6900). Admission is free.
- This weekend marks your last chance to catch a couple of major exhibitions, both closing Sunday: the Museum of Contemporary Art’s ode to guitar licks and skin-tight pants, Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967 (220 E. Chicago Ave.; 312-280-2660), and the Art Institute’s exploration of one iconic artist’s favorite color, Jasper Johns: Gray (111 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-443-3600). Bad news if you were planning on wandering into the Museum of Science and Industry’s love letter to a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars: Where
Science Meets Imagination, also closing Sunday, is completely sold out.
- You say you’ll be glued to the TV for the next three months while the drama that is collegiate basketball unfolds? Get some socializing in before the madness begins—without abandoning any hoop dreams. Artist Paula Henderson tackles basketball courts in six abstract, tapestry-like paintings, on view as part of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s monthly First Fridays mixer, 6 to 10 p.m. Friday the 4th (220 E. Chicago Ave.; 312-280-2660). Tickets are $15 at the door.
- Some folks spend the holidays with family, then say adios until next year’s filial duties roll around. Not so for Katerina Sedá, a Czech-born artist who puts her family to work in her conceptual art projects. Her current exhibition at The Renaissance Society (University of Chicago, 5811 S. Ellis Ave.; 773-702-8670) features more than 500 drawings done by Sedá’s grandmother, depicting items sold in the hardware store where she worked for 30 years in Communist Czechoslovakia. Catch a 5 p.m. talk with Sedá as part of the show’s opening, 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday the 6th. Admission is free.