Monroe by Milton H. Greene

Everyone Prefers Blondes
The camera loved her; men swooned for her; and ladies are still mimicking her iconic style. Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe traces the definitive blonde bombshell from Norma Jean to screen queen in an exhibition of 300 Marilyn-centric works by more than 80 artists and photographers, including Andy Warhol and Richard Avedon. The blockbuster show opens Saturday the 19th at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.; 312-744-6630), with a free talk by curator Alexander Sairally Sunday the 20th at 12:15 p.m. Admission is free.

Best Bets for Things to Do This Week

The plot might sound familiar: A male nurse goes home with his fiancée to meet her overprotective ex-CIA father; misunderstandings ensue. Screenwriter and Chicago-area native Greg Glienna’s locally shot indie film Meet the Parents first screened at the Music Box Theatre back in 1992, long before it was remade as the broad slapstick flick starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro. Those who missed the dark and deadpan original, which is no longer in distribution, can catch a rare screening 8 p.m. Sunday the 20th at Lakeshore Theater (3175 N. Broadway; 773-472-3492), followed by a Q&A with Glienna. Tickets are $10.

Stay Up
There’s one other movie opening this weekend you may have heard a little something about. The Dark Knight, the first film shot in part using IMAX cameras—in Chicago, no less—plays for 72 hours straight at Navy Pier’s IMAX Theatre (700 E. Grand Ave.; 312-595-5629). Screenings begin at the stroke of midnight Friday the 18th (aka late Thursday night); weekend festivities include prizes for the best Batman costume and the viewer who sits through the most screenings of the flick. Many showtimes are sold out, but some tickets, $13 to $15, are still available:

Remember when Tracy Letts was just another starving playwright? No? Never heard of him pre-Tony? Maybe it’s time to beef up on local theatre knowledge. See shows by Steppenwolf’s next generation of up-and-comers at the theatre’s annual plays-in-progress showcase, First Look Repertory of New Work. Participating playwrights include Keith Huff, whose A Steady Rain earned much love from local press last year. The fest runs July 23rd through August 10th in the Steppenwolf Garage Theatre (1624 N. Halsted St.; 312-335-1650). Tickets are $20.

More homegrown talent takes the stage at Great Performers of Illinois, a statewide roundup of 50-plus musicians and performers with serious chops. If you can only catch one show, make it Jimmie Vaughan and Lou Ann Barton’s tribute to local legend Buddy Guy, 8 p.m. Sunday the 20th. The free fest runs Friday the 18th through Sunday the 20th in Millennium Park (Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street; 312-742-1168); find a full lineup at

Pitchfork, meanwhile, will be camping out in Union Park, but the three-day sweatfest is practically sold out. One alternative: The Silver Room’s sixth annual DJ-driven Sound System Block Party (Milwaukee and Evergreen Avenues; 773-278-7130), featuring top turntablists Ron Trent and Julius the Mad Thinker, among others. The party runs noon to 10 p.m. Saturday the 19th; admission is free.

Milton H. Greene, Marilyn Monroe, New York City, “Ballerina” sitting, 1945/2003, Inkjet print, 101.6 x 101.6 cm. © 1994 Hilton H. Green Archives, Inc.