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September 2010 Archives

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BY SARAH TEREZ-ROSENBLUM
At 15, each moment poised and crucial, I could devote an afternoon to interpreting the tone of my crush’s voice when he said hi … to the girl standing next to me. Once, he wrote this incredible song about me, well, I thought it was about me, but it turned out to be an ode to his car. This other time, my friend almost OD’d, but she didn’t and on like, a daily basis, my other friend got beat up, just cause he hung out in the girls’ room, even though he’s a boy.

And sometimes? When it was like, physically impossible to like … stop … tucking my hair behind my ear, I just wished I had an outlet. I wished for the Bard.

So, maybe those aren’t my memories. Maybe those are plot points from “My So-Called Life” (which, by the way, I’m still petitioning ABC to resurrect). Although slightly less eventful than Angela Chase’s, my teenage years included one thing hers lacked: Shakespearean study at a Wisconsin theater school. Enmeshed in hormone-fueled drama, Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers and mistaken identity twists seemed, not implausible or melodramatic, but reflective of my day-to-day ups and downs.

A decade later, who knows if my alma mater survived? But right here in Chicago, Reina Hardy is offering teens an outlet – teenage girls, that is. She founded The Viola Project, an all-girls Shakespeare workshop company, to allow girls to “take a break from the stresses of adolescence, move their bodies around, play pretend, get ugly. Plus, it's the perfect way to reclaim the Western canon, and own a part of [their] cultural heritage.”

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A Chorus Line
1 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Marriott Lincolnshire Theater; $45-$55
Kick your way out to Lincolnshire to watch this classic story of 17 dancers trying to make their dream come true. Got the day off? Catch the Wednesday matinee show for a discounted price.

Bonnie “Prince” Billy
7 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $20
Dubbed an "Appalachian post-punk solipsist," Bonnie "Prince" Billy, otherwise known as Will Oldham, notched his eighth record of folk benders under the "Prince" imprint. He took collaborators the Cairo Gang out on the road to showcase The Wonder Show of The World (Drag City), a rather dynamic sweep through everything from jazz to Spanish guitar, harmonies intertwined by the Cairo Gang's lead man, Emmett Kelley.

Beer School
7 p.m. at Sheffield’s
Learn about beers from Warrenville’s Two Brothers beers with a brewery representative available to talk and answer questions. And flights of six beers are just $12.

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BY SARAH TEREZ-ROSENBLUM

I’m old enough to remember when the Lucite columns of floating Barbie shoes at FAO Schwartz were shockingly innovative. Now, with the old warhorse bankrupt and shuttered, we’re on to Toy Store 2.0; the first redesigned Disney Store in the Midwest, opening today in the Loop at the Block 37 Shops on North State Street. Seemingly a theme park-meets-iPhone application, if The Disney Store were a teenager, it would play soccer, do gymnastics, sing in choir and take gourmet-cooking classes – and that’s only on Tuesdays.

“Baby,” its mother would say, “You can’t be everything to everyone. You just gotta be yourself.”

“But mommy,” blond, dimpled Disney Store would confide, “I don’t know who that is anymore!” And… Scene.

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Ricky Gervais
7:30 p.m. at Park West; $39-$50
The British funny man behind “The Office” brings his stand-up show to Chicago for the first time. Catch him tonight through Friday at Park West.

Serena Maneesh, Wovenhead
8 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $12-$14
Norwegian outfit Serena Maneesh take the wall-of-noise sound predecessors like Sonic Youth and The Jesus and Mary Chain bled ears with and slather it something frantic, cutting angular guitar jabs over crunchy, distorted samples in their shadows. Then they turn on a pop dime with main songwriter Emil Nikolaisan handing over vocal duties to his sister, Elvira, coming off ambient and dreamy in her wails, that reveal their chill-wave influences. Openers Wovenhand rally some judgment day folk rock, footstomp and all, led by former 16 Horsepower lead singer David Eugene Edwards.

Free Lunch
11:30 a.m. at Roti Mediterranean Grill
Celebrate Roti’s one-year anniversary with free sandwiches and salads until 1 p.m. Feeling guilty about a free lunch? Make a donation to Common Threads while you’re there.

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Oktoberfest Chicago
Friday-Sunday at St. Alphonsus Church (Lincoln and Southport); $5
As the festival season winds down, we now enter Oktoberfest season in Chicago. Find beer, brats and more. Music acts include locals 16 Candles and Rock Candy alongside traditional German acts like Die Musikmeisters Band. The area also has a lot of German history, and you could stand to learn a thing or two ... over a beer or two.

Lincoln Square Applefest
8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at Gidding's Plaza (4700 block of N. Lincoln Ave.); free
This family friendly fest offers live music, cooking classes, plus an appearance by Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine. And don't forget the pie-eating contest (as if you won't be staging an unofficial one throughout the day).

Sonnets and Striptease
4 p.m. Saturday at The Spot; free
This sex-and-literature themed variety show features new writing, Shakespearean burlesque acts and something audience-participatory called "Strip Sonnet." The totally free event celebrates the publication of "Erratica," a play by local writer (and Centerstage contributor) Reina Hardy. After a reading of the first act, stick around for striptease, a bad poetry contest, naked librarians, and more. It's a lot of entertainment for exactly zero dollars.

Hyde Park Jazz Festival
All day Saturday at various venues in Hyde Park; free
This jazz marathon (over 30 performances in 13 venues) offers 12 hours of non-stop music. Performers include Orbert Davis, the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Reginald Robinson, John Burnett Orchestra and Dana Hall. See the full schedule here.

The National
7:30 p.m. Sunday at Riviera Theater; $29
There's so much baggage in sharp-dressed New Yorkers The National and their ocean-deep LPs of despair. But when the lights hit the stage, front man Matt Berninger turns their quintessential brood into fierce lashes uncommon to what he and the band lay down in the studio, which almost always tears up his vocals, but surprises all who think they're solely a sad-sack set. The artist formerly known as Final Fantasy, currently known as Owen Pallet, opens, teasing Andrew Bird violin backbones with digi landscapes and a bit of Rufus Wainwright lull.

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Animal lover and writer Anne Calcagno never intended her new book “Love Like A Dog,” for a young adult audience, yet since publication, it’s been hailed as a cross-over book in the vein of classics “Catcher in the Rye” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Ultimately a love story, her novel depicts a boy torn between his love for a pit bull and a desire to please his money-hungry father. Chosen by the Rolling Meadows High School as a featured book for their students, “Dog” marries animal cruelty education and riveting familial conflict, creating a reading experience both informative and engaging. Below, Calcagno discusses her novel’s inception and what it means to “Love like a Dog.”

Our Town: Describe your book’s genesis.
Anne Calcagno: I wanted to write a love story. My past writing explored the silencing of women; the human struggle to maintain any relationship at all. I wanted to know if I could write about hope and love and responsibility and trust. But I didn’t have a love story – yet. Then we got our first dog, a 6-month-old Mastiff. My son, Lucien, was a lively 6-year-old. He wanted a dog more than anything, and we didn’t realize Dee was fear-aggressive toward children. One evening, she attacked my son, from behind, splitting his arm open down to the bone; I was there and saw he had done nothing to provoke her. Right away, that night, bandaged up, Lucien began begging, “Dee didn’t know. It’s not her fault, mommy. Don’t get mad at her!” His love for her was greater than his fear or pain; that is what dogs can bring out in us. This became my love story.

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Oktoberfest & Pumpkin Beer Festival
5 p.m. at Delilah’s; free
What better way to celebrate the beginning of autumn than with some pumpkin beer? This tasting claims to have “every possible version” of pumpkin beer around, with tasting portions, full pours or complete samplings available.

Shecky’s Girls Night Out
5 p.m. at Union Station; $20-$30
Take the girls and shop from local and national apparel vendors while you sip complimentary cocktails. There will also be plenty of raffles and trivia contests for this ladies-only event.

Soul Summit Dance Party
9 p.m. at Double Door; free
Get your dance on at this swingin’ monthly event as DJ Meaty Ogre spins soul classics sure to make you move your feet.

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BY SARAH TEREZ-ROSENBLUM

I know enough to have been appalled at Avril Lavigne’s 2003 Grammy gaffe,, but my data on David Bowie begins and ends with the correct pronunciation of his name. I’m an embarrassment, especially to my sister, who, visiting my college dorm at age 10, heard “Time of Your Life” blasting from across the hall and sneered, “Green Day sold out.”

At her age I reserved that level of scorn for broccoli, sometimes my mother.

I don’t bring up Green Day because they and Bowie have anything in common (or maybe they do; I found out about The Rolling Stones last year), I’m merely demonstrating the dearth of my musical education.

But burlesque, I know, and when I heard about Chicago queer troupe Girlie-Q’s Sept. 24 David Bowie burlesque tribute, it seemed a perfect opportunity to expand my Bowie comprehension. It’s easy to pay attention when sequins and garters are involved. I spoke with Girlie-Q founder, Miss Bea Haven, about Girlie-Q’s history, and what to expect from Friday’s 9 p.m. show.

Our Town: Your tribute is part of Dirty Mary’s, a monthly series at Mary’s Attic. What other themes have you used?
Bea Haven: We just started Dirty Mary’s six months ago, [but] we've been performing for about seven years as a troupe, so we've also done loads of themes: a Bettie Page tribute show, a country show called "Burnin' Down the Trailer Park,” a punk show at Exit, "The Breast Show Ever!" (a breast-themed show benefiting LCCP and Bright Pink), "To All the Girls We've Loved Before,” a tribute to our ex-girlfriends. We love themes. Can you tell?

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Land of Talk, Suuns
9 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $12-$14
Broken Social Scene alum Elizabeth Powell’s baby, Land of Talk, broke in '06 with the aggressive pseudo-feminist EP Applause Cheer Boo Hiss, with Powell leading a trio of Dinosaur Jr. grungy guitars through cut-the-skin tales rooted in shaking her tom-boy youth. Montreal prog-rockers, Suuns, lead.

Rock of Ages
8 p.m. at Bank of America Theater; tickets start at $27
Broadway in Chicago serves up a giant flaming ball of cheese. This touring show combines the guilty pleasure of '80s rock with the guiltier pleasure of jukebox musicals and the nauseatingly guilty pleasure of American Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis.

Pup Crawl
6 p.m. at Matchbox; free
We’ll spare you a joke about sniffing butts and just tell you to bring your best friend to this weekly pub crawl in West Town, featuring drink specials and a park stop for the pooches. Participating bars: The Matchbox (6 p.m.), J. Patrick’s (7 p.m.) and Mahoney’s Pub (9 p.m.). Don’t have a dog? You can look into adoption with the folks from ArfHouse.

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A couple of football specials to pass along, in case you’re looking for somewhere to watch the game tonight:

Longtime radio personality-turned podcaster Steve Dahl takes his show on the road to Trader Vic’s for Aloha Monday Nights. He’ll be hanging out with everyone at the Gold Coast bar offers up $3 domestic and import bottles, $5 Bear Bombs and a $12 Pigskin buffet.

Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap is running a season-long “coin toss” special. Each table will get a chance to flip a special Melnick’s coin to win prizes like food specials and discounts. You can also get half price Rogue bottles all night long.

Looking for more? Find plenty of NFL game-day specials here.

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Margot & The Nuclear So and So's
8 p.m. Sunday at Lincoln Hall; $12-$15
Another representative of the orchestral pop genre that has become the flavor of the month, Margot stands out from the crowd by virtue of its quirky, energetic live shows. Though the band's members hail from various corners of Indiana, they've found a second home in Chicago, recording the sessions for their "Animal" and "Not Animal" albums here. The Lonely Forest and Cameron McGill & What Army open.

Lebowski Fest Chicago
Friday-Saturday at various locations
Creedence, bowling, White Russians, purple jumpsuits and lots more will be present at the third annual Chicago fest celebrating the 1998 cult classic film, "The Big Lebowski." The first night of the event takes place at Portage Theater, featuring a special screening of the film with some special guests making appearances. On Friday and Saturday, there will be bowling, trivia, costumes and more at Diversey River Bowl.

Viva! Chicago Latin Music Festival and Art Fair
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday at Millennium Park; free
A true fiesta with music, food and art from the Latino community. The art fair will give you an opportunity to bring some love for all things Latin into your home. Local merchants will be selling artwork in addition to jewelry and clothing.

Harvest Jam
Friday-Sunday at Queen of Angels Church (2330 W. Sunnyside); $5-$10 (tickets)
Celebrate autumn at this Lincoln Square fest featuring live entertainment, carnival games (Skee-ball, anyone?), food vendors, dancing and more. The usual suspects on the festival scene (Too White Crew, Wedding Banned) try to make you forget summer is just about over.

Love! Valour! Compassion!
6 p.m. Sunday at Mary's Attic; $5-$10
Get gay-friendly with Harry Osterman, our beach-cleaning, parade-waving 14th District rep. Osterman will host the fourth installment in the "Great Plays of Terrence McNally" reading series: "Love! Valour! Compassion!" This bittersweet look back at summer follows the adventures of eight men over three holidays in one lake house.

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BY SARAH TEREZ-ROSENBLUM

It’s that time of year again, and The Chicago Art Department is trolling for funds. Dedicated to the watering and feeding of burgeoning Chicago artists, CAD was founded in 2004, and since has generated exhibitions, artist residencies, classes and workshops.

This year their telethon-themed benefit will feature a tuxedo-clad host wrangling all manner of entertainment, including Paper Machete, a live magazine focused on political and cultural commentary. A guest of Paper Machete, Chicago jack of most trades Robin Okrant will perform.

I’ve known Robyn since, as students in The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s masters program, we met in some forgettable performance-related class. Robyn proved more memorable. Not only does she remind me of everyone with whom I made Challah at Jewish day camp, but endlessly creative, she always seems to have some new endeavor up her sleeve.

Our Town: You’re perhaps most recognized for your “Living Oprah” project. How did that come about?
Robyn Okrant: My inspiration for “Living Oprah” was a burning desire to learn why the media and celebrities have such a strong influence over women. I decided to be a crash test dummy for a whole year and see what would happen if I lived according to Oprah Winfrey's Best Life advice. I thought of my project as part social commentary, part fascination with Oprah's fervent fans, part honest investigation. Is it even possible to live according to someone else's ideals and find happiness? And if it's not, why are we knocking ourselves out trying to live up to a bar that's set impossibly high?

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The Airborne Toxic Event
7:30 p.m. at Park West; $25
This LA-based band counts Adam Clayton among its fans, and it's not hard to understand the connection. There's a hint of U2 and a pinch of Arcade Fire in Airborne Toxic Event's anthemic sound and epic tales of love won and lost, delivered with rare passion by frontman Mikel Jollett. (Mike Clark)

Berghoff Oktoberfest
11 a.m.-9 p.m. at Berghoff; free
This three-day German party kicks off today with great food and beer, raffles and live music from Maggie Speaks.

Gay-la 3.0
7:30 p.m. at Mary’s Attic; $10
Cameron Esposito and Ben Lerman headline a night of laughs to benefit Equality Illinois and PFLAG.

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BY SARAH TEREZ-ROSENBLUM

So what if my Significant Other is in Italy? I can have a good time right where I am. Sure S.O. is drinking fantastic cheaper-than-soda wine, wandering through lemon groves, getting yelled at by nose-less beggars and walking the Spanish Steps. But my big-shouldered city can top all that.

Not only are those china-doll-tea-party-bottles of booze on sale at Jewel cheaper than a liter of soda, but this morning when I went to run the dishwasher, I spilled lemon-scented detergent all over the floor. Mmmm. Heavenly. Plus I barely have to leave the house to witness a homeless person urinating, and the steps at the Grand Red Line stop are hella steep.

Still, sometimes stuck in Chicago, I yearn for the true Italian experience, but even then, the Windy City delivers. Sure, I could visit the well-known little Italy neighborhood, but S.O. spent yesterday lost near Pompeii before relaxing on her balcony overlooking the Mediterranean. So in the spirit of competition, I mean adventure, I took myself out of my comfort zone too.

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Windy City Wine Festival
Friday-Saturday at Buckingham Fountain; $10-$35
Expect plenty of wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and live entertainment in Millennium Park. Bone up on wines from around the world (Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and Argentina will all be represented in addition to various regions of the U.S.) and you can impress your friends at the next dinner party. Also: the Wine Discount Center will be offering 10 percent off any wine ordered at the festival.

Renegade Craft Fair
Saturday-Sunday on Division between Damen and Paulina; free
Now in its eighth year, the fair features cool crafts like jewelry, knitting, t-shirts and 'zines in a D.I.Y. environment with over 300 artists, plus music from independent artists. This juried craft fair has a true renegade spirit, and was one of the first of its kind.

Mexican Independence Day Parade
11 a.m. Saturday on 18th Street from Newberry to Wolcott; free
While you may think of Cinco de Mayo as the Mexican Independence Day, it's actually widely celebrated on September 16. Mariachi bands, exotically decorated floats, Mexican flags, handmade crafts and games make this parade a family fiesta.

Daredevils' Hamlet
Friday-Saturday at Neo-Futurarium; $10-$15
A rollicking meditation on manhood, boyhood and all points in between, the Neo-futurists' latest reinterprets Shakespeare through a combination of soul-searching and dumb stunts. The daredevils, five vastly charming male actors playing (more or less) themselves, confront what scares them most, whether it's a famous monologue, an accurate self assessment, or a flaming hoop. The results provoke thought and laughter, both in generous measure.

Wavves
7 p.m. Sunday at Lincoln Hall; $12-$14
He was chewed and spit out by the blogosphere for his trash guitar distortions and indiscernible lyrics, culminating in some odd drug cocktail-exiting career hiatus at a Spanish music festival. But San Diego's Nathan Williams is riding a new comeback wave with sophomore release King of the Beach. "Laugh, I beg you laugh, right behind my back," he shreds in glistening pop clarity, heel-kick crunching, "I won't ever die. I'll go surfing in my mind." Hipsters do forgive, it's true. SD tour-mates Christmas Island strip it down lo-fi, but still glimmer from the beach as openers.

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BY SARAH TEREZ-ROSENBLUM

I’m thinking of a cultural object: Bigger than a breadbox and founded by Caroline Picard, The Green Lantern harkens to Chicago’s grassroots literary history and DIY philosophy.

Despite coincidental Trekkie and comic book connotations, The Green Lantern has nothing to do with GenCon and everything to do with art. Simultaneously a non-profit paperback press and gallery, GL publishes and distributes emerging and/or little-known works.

Additionally, as a venue, it showcases emerging and mid-career artists of all media. Begun out of Executive Director Picard’s Wicker Park apartment, GL was recently shut down for lack of a business license due to improper zoning. Now, however, the ambitious and newly relocated GL is back with a parade of upcoming projects and Gallery Director Abby Satinsky on board. Picard took a seat in the captain’s chair (ba-dum-bum) to discuss her multifaceted brainchild.

hallogallo-450.jpg Hallogallo 2010 9 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $20 Krautrock founding father Michael Rother has rallied Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley, Tall Firs’ Aaron Mullan and the Secret Machine’s Ben Curtis to jam the ambient glory days of Rother’s immediate step outside of Kraftwerk. Neu! opened the floodgate to experimental guitar sounds and all of the new noises we so adore today. Chicago’s garage rock set, Disappears, gets the privilege of opening. Rick Shapiro 9 p.m. at Schubas; $12-$14 The New York City funnyman headlines a night of comedy presented by Laugh It Up, Kid. Local funnymen Junior Stopka and Drew Michael join Jersey’s Prescott Tolk to help get the crowd warmed up. Hot Mikado 1:30 p.m. at Drury Lane; $31 Take the afternoon off and check out David Bell's smokin’ hot adaptation of "The Swing Mikado," a 1938 African-American version of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Go ahead, you’ve earned it.

KerryMaiorca-250.jpgBY SARAH TEREZ-ROSENBLUM

African-American history month, I get. Women’s history month too; both represent necessary and legitimate reactions to the white male-centric hetero-normative hegemony of antidisestablishmentarianism. (Editor’s note: That was just a cavalcade of big words. She has no idea what she’s talking about.)

But sometimes I question the American impulse to devote finite periods to specific groups or activities. Example: National Talk like a Pirate Day. “Trendy” in the way of mustaches, haiku and Betty White, the Sept. 19 holiday devoted to (what else?) speaking like a pirate seems in bad taste given the recent rise in Somali piracy. But I’ve buried the lead in a shallow grave; this blog’s topic is actually National Yoga Month. More justifiable than Pirate Day, perhaps of less socio-politically supercalifragalisticexpialadosious (Editor’s Note: Ignore her; she’s doing it again) than all those history months, NYM was conceived by California organization Yoga Health Foundation to attract novice yogis to the spiritual and physical practice.

Here in Chicago, studios like Bloom Yoga are bending over backward and then binding to offer special deals and events. Owner Kerry Maiorca (above), who was inspired to open Bloom in 2004 to “create a yoga studio that would be welcoming and unintimidating to all students, regardless of their fitness level or previous yoga experience,” says NYM has spurred a surge of new students.

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I just got my first taste of the Gaztro-Wagon, Matt Maroni’s much-discussed venture into mobile food options in Chicago, as the wagon made a visit to the Merchandise Mart for lunch today. First reaction: Well worth the hype.

What struck me most was how low-key the operation really is. It’s just Maroni and an assistant slinging sandwiches out of a truck. A hand-written menu lists the half-dozen or so “Naanwich” (basically sandwiches made on homemade naan bread) options on a chalkboard, you pick one, and 30 seconds later, it’s yours.

(More photos after the jump)

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BY SARAH TEREZ-ROSENBLUM

For once I felt certain my feelings were reciprocated. Genuinely interested in my plans, he beamed when I approached, anticipated my needs, and let slip tidbits about his private life. The most significant sign? He never once forgot my drink order. Obviously, our love flowed pure and true.

Then one day he was gone, no more a barista, instead a full-time musician, and September’s Chicago Crush of the Month: Ian Westerfer, speaking on behalf of his band.

Name: Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press. Sorry bout that...

Hometown: Chicago is where we hang our collective hat (a large, awkward, oddly-shaped hat), but we play wherever the good lord takes us, as long as there's a couch to crash on and some decent cheese curds.

Profession: Rocking out!

Hobbies: Little known fact: The Bench Press invented the sport of Nutball. It's too detailed to explain in full; suffice it to say Rod won't play with us because he wants to have kids someday.

What inspired you to create a cover band? It all started when a friend wanted Rod to play at her wedding. Cue Hollywood montage of Rod chomping on a cigar, racing around Chicago in a red Lamborghini to beat the clock and recruit a ragtag band of music-playing mercenaries with funny names just days before the wedding – time's running out, gotta learn these songs, OH GOD not one of us owns a decent suit! And then we learned a bunch of songs and had fun and got paid and ate wedding cake.

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North Coast Music Festival
Friday-Sunday at Union Park; $40 daily tickets
This inaugural festival promises to be "summer's last stand." With a lineup that includes such eclectic acts as The Chemical Brothers, Nas & Damian Marley, Umphrey's McGee, Moby, De La Soul and Chicago's own Lupe Fiasco, there should be something for everyone.

Naperville's Last Fling
Friday-Monday at Naperville Jaycees (Naperville Central High School); free
Naperville gives one last hurrah to summer by celebrating with a beer garden, dozens of food vendors, wine tasting and a rib cook off. Other events include a Big Wheel Race for kids (9-11 a.m. Saturday), a lip-sync contest, and a pie eating contest (11 a.m.-noon Sunday). The Parade will take place on Monday at 10 a.m. in downtown Naperville, preceded by a mile-long run. Musical acts include Buddy Guy (Friday), Collective Soul (Saturday) and Clint Black (Sunday), all $15 for tickets.

African Festival of the Arts
Friday-Monday at 5100 S. Cottage Grove; $5-$10
This year's theme is "Creating and Keeping the Culture," and features a live performance by legendary R&B singer Chaka Khan (Monday). You can also see performances by West African born Angelique Kidjo, a Grammy-award winning recording artist, and Tito Jackson from the famed Jackson 5 (Saturday).

Chicago Jazz Festival
Saturday-Sunday in Grant Park; free
Jazz Fest is certainly one of Grant Park's best festivals, a weekend teeming with the best in local and national acts on three stages. Performers include Nicole Mitchell, Henry Threadgill, Brad Mehldau, Kurt Elling, The Either/Orchestra, Brian Blade and more. The Young Jazz Lions Stage is also back this year, featuring high school and college ensembles.

Vampire Weekend
6 p.m. Sunday at Aragon Ballroom; $38
When these New York City preppies played Pitchfork two years ago, they seemed a little overwhelmed by the initial acclaim and ensuing critical backlash for their sprightly self-titled debut. What resulted were faithful-to-the-record renditions of those songs, highlighted by Ezra Koenig's earnest singing and Chris Tomson's always spot-on drumming. Now playing the tunes from this year's more far-ranging "Contra," the boys should be a little more at ease on stage.

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Ahmad Jamal
7:30pm at Millennium Park; free
As a pianist, composer, arranger, theorist and teacher, Ahmad Jamal's influence has echoed for well over five decades. His innovation as a composer has stretched the boundaries of music, and has influenced everyone from Miles Davis and John Coltrane to De La Soul and Jay-Z. At 80, he is still touring regularly, and his stop at Millennium Park will be a nice warm-up before this year’s Jazz Fest. Hopefully the rain will stay away long enough to make an enjoyable show.

Nerd Fest 4th Anniversary Celebration
7 p.m. at Holiday Club; $10 in advance, $20 at the door
Help Nerds at Heart celebrate all their geeky glory with this mixer for single straights and GLBTs, featuring video games, board games, comedy performances and maybe some brainy romance.

Back to School Toga Party
10 p.m.-2 a.m. at Y Bar; $20
Get in the college spirit with a hosted Belvedere Vodka reception, jungle juice and jello shots at this River North hot spot. Toga! Toga! Toga!

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Beach Boys
8 p.m. at Ravinia; $40-$65
If you're more into "California Girls" than "California Gurls," this is the show for you. The quintessential boys of summer aren't boys anymore, but expect all the sunny harmonies Mike Love and Co. have been belting out since the early '60s. Consider this an appetizer for the 50th anniversary reunion show that former member Al Jardine recently said was in the works for 2011.

Jazz Club Tour
Various locations around the city; $30
Get ready for this weekend’s Jazz Festival by hitting up 15 different clubs around the city, all aided by a convenient trolley service. Spots include Andy's, Backroom, Buddy Guy’s Legends, Green Mill, Jazz Showcase, M Lounge and Reggie's Music Joint.

Stimulus Social Club
5:30-9 p.m. at Market; $10
Mix and mingle for a good cause at this monthly event benefiting a new charity each month. This time around, proceeds go to ARFHouse. RSVP required.

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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