Newly Knighted

Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight returns

Hot off the press: We can put the speculation to bed. Heath Ledger did indeed score a posthumous Oscar nom for his much-buzzed-about turn in The Dark Knight, as announced Thursday by the Academy. If you missed the flick—costarring Chicago—during its first run, you’re in luck: The film returns to the Navy Pier IMAX (700 E. Grand Ave.; Friday the 23rd through March 6th. Bonus: At the 9 p.m. screening on Friday the 23rd only, viewers can catch a double feature with Batman Begins for $15. And be sure to pick up the February issue of Chicago magazine, on stands now, in which we take an in-depth look at the making of The Dark Knight.

Best Bets for Things to Do This Week:

Obama: Check. Chuck D: Check. Shepard Fairey—designer of Obama’s now-iconic “Hope” poster—is working his way through a string of projects attached to big names, including a new music video for N.A.S.A., the all-star band featuring M.I.A., David Byrne, and Public Enemy no. 1, Chuck D. Catch the premiere screening of “Money” 6:30 p.m. Friday the 23rd at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) as part of the Chicago Motion Graphics Festival. Admission is free, but tickets are recommended:

Xanadu was the last straw: You’ve had it with Broadway blockbusters. Instead head for Rhinoceros Theater Festival 2009, a six-week celebration of fringe theatre that’s just a smidge left of center. Highlights include Curious Theatre Branch’s Elvisbride: Some Prepared Remarks to Clarify the Impending Jubilation, a truly bizarre show in which actors discuss the fate of an Elvis impersonator, 9 p.m. Friday the 23rd at Acme Art Works (2215 W. North Ave.). And then there’s A New Nation: The American Civil War in Letters, Speeches, and Song, Jessica Wright’s adaptation of letters written by Union soldiers, in which the men complain about Lincoln’s proposal to buy all of the nation’s slaves, 8 p.m. Friday at Prop Thtr (3504 N. Elston Ave.). Tickets are $15 or pay-what-you-can; see the full schedule at

Originally adapted from transcriptions of World War II crimes trials by Peter Weiss, The Investigation gets a new staging in a production that reveals just how easily history repeats itself: French writer Jean Baudrillard has reworked the script for the Rwandan ensemble Urwintore, drawing parallels with the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The show, performed in French with English supertitles, plays only ten performances through January 31st at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (800 E. Grand Ave.; Tickets are $46 to $56.

Who says you can’t throw a block party in January? Chicago Public Radio takes the festivities indoors with Winter Block Party, an ode to local hip-hop artists, Sunday the 25th at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater (2433 N. Lincoln Ave.; Admission is free from noon to 5 p.m., when the lineup includes DJs and graffiti-in-progress by artist Revise CMW. At 7 p.m., the artist, activist, and author William “Upski” Wimsatt delivers a “State of Society” address, then talks to Trib columnist Rick Kogan about politics and art in the public sphere. Tickets are $10 to $15.

Work continues on the new Renzo Piano–designed Modern Wing, slated to open in May, but you can score a sneak peek now of the Art Institute’s newly renovated Impressionist galleries—with music, a cash bar, and performance art by Collaboraction—at After Dark: Return of the Impressionists (111 S. Michigan Ave.;, Friday the 23rd from 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $20.


Photograph: Courtesy of Warner Bros.