Ballad of the Ballot

Election Day
Photo: Kristen Johnson

Those who missed snagging tickets to Obama’s blowout in Grant Park—i.e., just about everybody—can still catch a screening on Tuesday, November 4th of local filmmaker and producer Maggie Bowman’s Election Day. The documentary, shot entirely on November 2, 2004, weaves together the stories of 11 citizens, from a factory worker to an ex-felon to a busy mom. Admission is $10 and includes the movie, a preshow reception with a cash bar, a postshow Q&A with Bowman, and an afterparty at Forno Diablo (433 W. Diversey Pkwy.)—and we wager you’ll still get home to the TV long before all returns are in. The festivities kick off at 6 p.m. at Landmark Century Centre Cinema (2828 N. Clark St.) as part of the ongoing Midwest Independent Film Festival. Visit for details and tickets.

Best Bets for Halloween

Been so preoccupied by the election you forgot about Halloween? Multitasking has its merits—candidates are excellent fodder for jack-o-lanterns and costumes—but there’s something to be said for slowing down and savoring the simple things in life (you know, fake blood and cheap thrills). A few suggestions for last-minute treats:

• Seats are still available for Friday’s screening of the 1935 Boris Karloff/Elsa Lanchester classic The Bride of Frankenstein, accompanied by the CSO in a world-premiere live performance of Franz Waxman’s original score. (Bonus: a screening of Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein follows.) Showtime is 8 p.m. Friday, October 31st at Symphony Center (220 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-294-3000). Tickets are $29 to $103.

• You’ve seen it a million times, and it keeps getting weirder every single time. The Rocky Horror Picture Show plays at 11:59 p.m. Friday, October 31st and Saturday, November 1st at Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave.; 773-871-6604). Costumes are encouraged; tickets are $10.

• The initiated know October 31st isn’t only Halloween; it’s also National Magic Day and the 82nd anniversary of Harry Houdini’s death. Mark the occasion with The Vanishing Art, a show by local magician Ryan Lawrence featuring a Houdini séance. Showtimes are 6, 7:30, and 9 p.m. Friday, October 31st at Ossia Fine Arts Space (The Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 537). The show is recommended for ages 12 and up. Entry is $10 at the door; visit for details.

And the rest of the week

Chicago native George Saunders blew away no less discriminating an audience than that of The New Yorker with his 2003 short story “Jon,” a truly brilliant satire of corporate America, about a boy reared in a market-research lab with TV commercials standing in for parents. Through sheer pluck and persistence, the local theatre troupe Collaboraction scored the rights to adapt the story for the stage, with Saunders’s cooperation. Jon premieres at Building Stage (412 N. Carpenter St.; 312-226-9633) 7:30 p.m. Monday, November 3rd and runs through December 14th. Tickets are $25.

If you haven’t stopped by Columbia College (1104 S. Wabash Ave., 2nd floor) to ogle the 120-foot-long original manuscript of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, which turns 50 this year, mark your calendar for Wednesday, November 5th. Drop by between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., and you can catch a marathon reading of the entire novel one floor below the exhibition. Admission is free. The event is part of Columbia’s . . . And the Beat Goes On, a roundup of Beat-related screenings, lectures, music, and more; see the full schedule at

Margaret Garner, with music by the Grammy winner Richard Danielpour and libretto by the Nobel winner Toni Morrison, makes its Chicago premiere this week. The opera is based on a character from Morrison’s 1987 book Beloved, which in turn was based on a true slave story set in the antebellum South. The show opens 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 1st and runs through November 9th at Auditorium Theatre (50 E. Congress Pkwy.). Soprano Denyce Graves, for whom the opera was written, sings November 1st and 2nd. Tickets are $40 to $150 at

Deal of the week: The legendary soul and gospel singer Mavis Staples is coheadlining a bill with Booker T. and the MG’s, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers and one-time house band for the inimitable Stax Records, and tickets just got cheaper. Seats for the show, a benefit for the Old Town School of Folk Music, are now two-for-one (originally $75 to $250 each). The concert begins 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 1st at the Harris Theater (205 E. Randolph Dr.; 312-334-7777).