Cyprus Thrill

Cyprus’s Akamas screens March 28 and 31.

Sure, EU membership is monumental and all, but Cyprus just scored entry to the real power club: Chicago’s 11th annual European Union Film Festival. The first-timer joins 25 other countries for this year’s fest, which features a record 61 flicks. Things kick off 7 p.m. Friday the 7th with Estrellita, a Slovenian film about a famous violinist whose instrument falls into the hands of a 12-year-old Bosnian immigrant. All screenings take place at the Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State St.; 312-575-8000); tickets are $9 per film. Check out the full schedule at

Best Bets for Things to Do This Week Commiserate

  • Take that, Sex and the City. Relationships wreak havoc on men, too. Ben Karlin—former senior editor of The Onion, producer of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report—brings his collection of essays, “Things I’ve Learned from Women Who’ve Dumped Me,” to the Lakeshore Theater (3175 N. Broadway; 773-472-3492), 8 p.m. Monday the 10th. Karlin shares the stand-up bill with Dan Savage, the columnist behind the syndicated Savage Love, among others. Tickets are $7.


  • Forgo complete sentences—and maybe threaten to close an airstrip or while you’re at it. It’s all fair game in the Mayor Daley impersonation contest, 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday the 8th at Binny’s Beverage Depot (1132 S. Jefferson St.; 312-768-4400). The winner receives a food- and liquor-stocked gift basket, and Binny’s will donate $5 to the Emerald Society of Illinois for every participant.


  • You don’t need to be able to pronounce it to enjoy it. Chicago icon and actor John Mahoney hosts Old St. Pat’s annual Siamsa na nGael (Gaelic for “good times of the Irish”). This year’s program features the North American première of Irish composer Shaun Davey’s symphony The Relief of Derry. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Monday the 10th at Symphony Center (220 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-294-3000). Tickets range from $25 to $55. Or catch the 30th annual South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade, kicking off noon Sunday the 9th in Beverly, at the intersection of 103rd Street and Western Avenue.


  • Richard Price—the screenwriter behind The Color of Money and Ransom, and a writer on HBO’s groundbreaking series The Wire—brings his acumen for detailing the dark side to his recent book, Lush Life, about the search for a murderer in Manhattan. Price speaks with Chicago contributor Victoria Lautman as part of the Writers on the Record Series, 11:45 a.m. Sunday the 9th at Lookingglass Theatre (821 N. Michigan Ave.). Attendance is free; reservations are recommended: 312-832-6788.


  • Local author Elizabeth Crane’s work gets the silver-screen treatment in the independent short comedy Bubble-Rama. Filmed in Chicago and based on one of Crane’s short stories, the flick follows the travails of a kleptomaniac artist and her chief advisor, a foul-mouthed doll. See it as part of First Fridays at the Museum of Contemporary Art (220 E. Chicago Ave.; 312-397-4010), 6 to 10 p.m. Friday the 7th. Tickets are $15 at the door.


  • It’s not summer yet, but the wait is over: Devotees of cornhole, aka beanbag toss, can get their fix at Spring Break 2008, a mixer also featuring eats, drinks, and dancing that runs 8 p.m. to midnight Friday the 7th at the Shedd Aquarium (1200 S. Lake Shore Dr.; 312-692-3363). Admission is $65 at the door; enter the beanbag tournament for an extra $20.