Pet Project

Like many people in September 2005, with Hurricane Katrina looming off the Gulf Coast, Tim Maddock packed up his car for a long drive—but unlike most, Maddock headed toward the disaster rather than away. The former Chicagoan’s experiences with the post-hurricane animal-rescue effort directly informed his new play, Because They Have No Words, which tackles the chaos, grief, and bureaucratic nightmare at the heart of recovering lost pets. Maddock also stars in the show, which previews 7:30 p.m. Saturday the 10th and 2:30 p.m. Sunday the 11th, opening 7:30 p.m. Monday the 12th, at Piven Theatre Workshop (927 Noyes St., Evanston; 847-866-8049). The play runs through June 15th; tickets are $15 to $25.

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Chicago Sinfonietta
Photo by Ken Carl; composite image by MC2 Communications

Think of it as an upgrade from those old Pink Floyd laser-light shows: Chicago Sinfonietta, with guest guitarist John Primer of the Muddy Waters Band, performs Portraits of the Blues/Back into Space, a musical adventure set to images by Adler Planetarium astronomer José Francisco Salgado. Performances take place 2:30 p.m. Sunday the 11th at Dominican University (7900 W. Division St., River Forest) and 7:30 p.m. Monday the 12th at Symphony Center (220 S. Michigan Ave.). Tickets run $26 to $96; call 312-236-3681, ext. 2.

Prima ballerina Maria Tallchief, of the Osage Nation, went from Oklahoma reservation to dancing on European stages to founding the Chicago City Ballet. A new namesake documentary, screening Saturday the 10th at the Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State St.; 312-575-8000), documents her story. Tallchief and her daughter, poet Elise Paschen, will be in attendance for the 3 p.m. show; a second screening follows at 5:15 p.m. Tickets are $9.

Movies in the Park doesn’t start for another two months, but opera—make that free opera—in the pavilion seems like a fine amuse bouche. Catch a simulcast of Chicago Opera Theater performing Mozart’s Don Giovanni Friday the 9th at 7:30 p.m. in the Pritzker Pavilion (Millennium Park, Michigan Avenue and Randolph Drive; 312-334-7777; the live performance takes place nearby in the Harris Theater). The show is sung in Italian with projected English subtitles.

Tatsu Aoki’s Miyumi Project mixes traditional Japanese Taiko drumming with world percussion—and throws in jazz, contemporary, and classical rhythms, just to keep things interesting—in East Meets the Rest, part of Steppenwolf’s Traffic series, 7:30 p.m. Friday the 9th in the Downstairs Theatre (1650 N. Halsted St.; 312-335-1650). It’s a great chance to hear a different side of Aoki, who’s played bass for just about everybody in town who matters. Tickets are $40.

“Everyone laughs when fatty falls down,” Chris Farley once said, describing his proclivity for physical humor, but his brother has dug deeper. Hear Tom Farley Jr. discuss his new book, The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts, 7 p.m. Monday the 12th at Borders (830 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-573-0564). Admission is free.

A last-minute Mother’s Day alert (yes, procrastinators, it’s this weekend): The Neo-Futurists present a special performance of their long-running improv hit Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind 7 p.m. Sunday the 11th at the Neo-Futurarium (5153 N. Ashland Ave.; 773-275-5255). Tickets for the average attendee run $8 to $13, but mothers accompanied by one or more of their children get in free. No reservations accepted—but, hey, it’s probably not the first time Mom has waited in line at your behest.