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Lurrie Bell & Mississippi Heat
7 p.m. at Fitzgerald’s; $40
Per an annual fundraiser for the Mental Health America of Illinois dubbed "Jammin' Away the Blues," Lurrie Bell (son of harpist Carry) carries on his family trade with award-winning – 2007's Living Blues magazine’s Most Outstanding Guitar Player – spiritual soul. Bell's music taps into the healing backbone of the genre to support the MHAI's "Changing Minds, Changing Lives" program. Simply Renee & The Blue Notes open.

Dracula: A Tragedy
7:30 p.m. at Redtwist Theatre; $15
Get in the Halloween spirit by cozying up to the Lord of the Night. Drac shows are often rather large affairs, but this new adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel promises a greater intimacy. In fact, given Redtwist's famously parlor-sized performance space, you might end up sitting in the bloodsucker's lap.
More: Check out our Halloween guide.

Sankai Juku
7:30 p.m. at Harris Theater for Music and Dance
Columbia College and the MCA bring this Butoh (absurdist Japanese dance style) performance called Hibiki: Resonance from Far Away.

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Saved By the Bell Trivia Night
7:30 p.m. at Ginger’s Ale House; $5
Test your knowledge about Zach, Slater, Kelly, Screech and the Bayside gang at this Lakeview pub.

Dating For Nerds Trivia Night
7 p.m. at Holiday Club; $20-$25
Keeping with the trivia theme, show all the other singles how big your brains are at this mixer, which includes one free drink.

Kent Burnside
9:30 p.m. at Buddy Guy’s Legends; $10
The grandson of blues virtuoso R.L. Burnside, Kent brandishes the same, inherent master-tweak soul, of which he dubs "cotton field disco." Equipped with a five-piece band, and strung-out on lap-steel pulls, Kent digs his Americana, as well.

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RuPaul's Drag Race

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing party
5:30 p.m. at Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club
Is there anywhere else you’d want to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race? House diva (and former contestant) Jade will make an appearance.

Joanna Connor & Lance Lewis
8:30 p.m. at Harlem Avenue Lounge, free
Slide guitar heroine Joanna Connor enlists her longtime drummer for this duet in Berwyn. Expect her to cut the frills and let her Bonnie Raitt likeness burn as bright as the judgment day guitar work that led her to both Chicago and Blind Pig Records in the late '80s.

Laugh It Up, Kid
9 p.m. at Schubas, $5
Join local funnymen Adam Burke, James Fritz and Joe Kilgallon and others as they take the stage for this joke marathon.

Here are some recent Chicago restaurant (and bar) openings and closings.

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OPEN:
Pour Drinks & Eats -- Joe Parra, the general manager of this Lakeview spot, took the garden concept up a notch with moody lighting, cozy seating, flat screens and a thought-out menu of affordable fare.
FreshBerry -- Yet another frozen-yogurt chain has set up shop in Chicago, this time in Streeterville.
Donatella Mediterranean Bistro -- Donatella Majore, owner of the now-closed La Cucina di Donatella, is back for more, opening this Mediterranean-inspired spot in Evanston.
Jimmy Green's Bar & Grill -- This self-described "all-American sports bar" serves up everything from pizza to hummus in the South Loop.
City Provisions Deli -- Gourmet catering company City Provisions (headquartered just up the street) offers up gourmet sandwiches, sides and a small selection of groceries at this shop.
Ojo de Agua Taqueria -- Get tacos, burritos and quesadillas on handmade tortillas at this taqueria on the border of Bucktown and Logan Square.
Kim & Scott's Cafe Twist -- The folks behind frozen-food brand Kim and Scott's Gourmet Pretzels now have a storefront restaurant to call their own.

CLOSING:
Marche -- Got a steak frites craving? Better get there fast. The French West Loop spot plans to close its doors on June 13.

CLOSED:
Martini Park -- No more adults will be playing at this River North lounge.
Sugar Syndicate -- One third of Lincoln Square's "Sweet Collective" has come down from its sugar high.
Purple Haze – The Northwestern-themed bar didn't last long in what seems to be a cursed space in Lakeview. The new inhabitant: Beer.
Shallots Bistro -- Apparently, gourmet kosher fare wasn't for everyone.
Shrimp Walk -- The Highwood Thai spot remains open for private parties.
Viet Bistro -- The Rogers Park restaurant stayed classy 'til the end.
En*Thai*Ce -- Andersonville just lost a favorite pad see eiw purveyor.

Check back here every week for more openings and closings, and be sure to check out Centerstage Chicago's lists of new restaurants and bars.

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The Besnard Lakes, The Ponys
6:30 p.m. at Millennium Park; free
Spurred by husband-and-wife duo, Jace Lasek and Olga Coreas, the Besnard Lakes' sound includes lots of strings and choir-tall harmonies, plus the occasional bout of guitar fuzz. As this show will be celebrating the release of the Canadians' third effort, The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, which was mixed using the same console that Led Zeppelin used for some of Physical Graffiti, you can expect some psych-rock teases, as well. The Ponys, however, are all garage scuzz, excited to kick out some new tunes they've been crafting since signing to the Matador roster.

Aftermath
7:30 p.m. at Raven Theatre; $20
Signal Ensemble rocks it out with this premiere about Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones, who, like any worthwhile musician, died mysteriously at 27. Signal specializes in a kind of hallucinatory intimacy, so if any company can make you feel what it's like to go down in a haze of smack and recriminations, it's them. With live jams from the company's versatile actors.

Commander’s Palace Guest Chef Dinner
6 p.m. at Custom House Tavern; $75
Miss out on your Jazz Fest trip this year? Tory McPhail, executive chef of the renowned Commander's Palace restaurant in New Orleans, will bring you that taste of the South you've been craving. He joins Custom House chef Aaron Deal to create a collaborative four-course dinner including modern takes on Southern cuisine along with cocktail pairings from Ransom Distilleries.


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Single City is a twice-weekly blog about the Chicago dating scene written by Sun-Times Media Wire reporter Sally Ho. Got a question? Email her!

Last week, I went home to Los Angeles where at least a few of my friends are in nearly decade-long relationships (one stemming from 8th grade!). Consequently, I began to wonder about fate, and whether there really is such a thing as "the one." Even Google couldn't answer that question, but it did tell me that the idea of "star-cross'd lovers" began with Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet some 450 years ago. Feel free to use the couple as inspiration -- minus the whole killing yourself part, of course -- on one of these astrology-themed dates.

RICH MAN: This Thursday (and every third Thursday of the month!) is Adler After Dark, the Adler Planetarium's after-hours event. It's the only time you can look through the Doane Observatory telescope, the largest telescope in the Midwest available to the public -- not to mention a chance to enjoy cocktails and appetizers amid the museum's other great exhibits, plus live music from local bands Perseus Noble, Royce and Black Umbrella Brigade. This embarrassment of riches isn't actually that expensive; a full night of romance (6-10 p.m.) costs just $10 per person in advance, or $15 at the door.

POOR MAN: If you can't get inside the planetarium for the fun, try hanging out just outside of it, in the equally dreamy and underrated man-made peninsula of Northerly Island. It's the most serene 91 acres you'll find in the busy city. Try laying out at the 12th Street Beach -- a date so simple and perfect, you'd think it was written in the stars.

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Manifest Urban Arts Festival
All day Friday at Columbia College; free
As the Columbia school year winds down, the college takes this opportunity to showcase student projects including art, music, film screenings, readings and more. Dozens of performances will take place throughout the South Loop campus, and local hip-hop duo The Cool Kids will perform (time and place TBA, learn more here).

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SCORES World FoosCup
6:30-10 p.m. at Small Bar (Lincoln Park); $20-$25
You may not make the World Cup, but you can compete in the FoosCup, a test of foosball skills taking place at Smallbar tonight. Register as an individual or as a team of two and you'll play at least three games while raising money for American SCORES Chicago's programming for urban youth. The registration fee includes two drinks, appetizers and $1 off drafts of Two Brothers brews.


Mark Hummel & the Blues Survivors feat. Rusty Zinn

9:30 p.m. at Buddy Guy's Legends; $10
There are those who have huffed and puffed their way into harp blues history, and then there's California-based (with all-star Chicago ties) Mark Hummel, who swaggered his way on in, fashionably late to the party with the uber-chill vibe of a lounge act. He lets his instrument swing, and breathe; with the help of backing band the Blues Survivors, the resulting music burns and never lets up. His latest effort, "Retro-Active," dropped late April, is a bit heavy on the swing with Hummel dedicating a bit more time to his singing.

FashionChicago 2010
5-9 p.m. at 233 W. Huron; $15-$25
Love to shop? This exclusive evening of deals from 25 of Chicago's top fashion designers is a perfect fit. You'll enjoy X-Rated Fusion cocktails, Hobnob wines, hors d'oeuvres from Nacional 27 and RA Sushi and more as your browse selections from the likes of Zamrie, Borris Powell, K. Amato Designs, Blake Standard, Paoo and more in an 8,000-square-foot gallery space. VIP tickets ($25) include a goodie bag, and must be reserved in advance.

Here are some recent Chicago restaurant (and bar) openings and closings.

OPEN:
Floriole Cafe & Bakery -- The Green City Market fixture opens up a new, two-floor spot in Lincoln Park. Don't miss the macarons.
The Shady Lady -- This punk-themed bar takes over the former Garrett Ripley's space in River North.
Flo & Santos -- Get pizza and pierogi at this Italian/Polish spot in the South Loop.


CLOSED:
Lincoln Restaurant -- No, not the diner with Abe's huge mug outside and the comedy club inside. The Korean eatery, further north on Lincoln.
Crobar -- The popular club spun its final record last weekend.


Check back here every week for more openings and closings, and be sure to check out Centerstage Chicago's lists of new restaurants and bars.

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Charlotte Gainsbourg
8 p.m. at Park West; $30
Daughter of the iconic French musician Serge Gainsbourg, Charlotte has mostly stayed out of her father's shadow by opting for English vocals and keeping songwriting company with artists like Air and Jarvis Cocker for 2006's 5:55. Most recently, she collaborated with Beck on last year's IRM, and while his ramshackle funk and baroque strings provide the backbone of the record (Beck did the songwriting, arrangement and production), it's Gainsbourg's brooding vocals that make it magical.

Audrey Niffenegger
6-8 p.m. at Columbia College Chicago Library (624 S. Michigan 3rd Floor North); free
The author, artist and Columbia faculty member -- you know, the woman behind The Time Traveler's Wife -- will be speak with fellow faculty member Ron Falzone about her success. If you're lucky enough to be a Friend of the Library (it costs), you'll enjoy a private reception with her from 5-6 p.m.

Dating for Nerds Earth Date
7-10 p.m. at Holiday Club; $20 in advance, $25 at the door
Care about the planet -- but care more about getting a date? You can handle both during this third annual eco-themed event, which includes rounds of board games and themed trivia, an organic chocolate tasting, a green fashion show, giveaways and more. A Rain organic vodka eco-tini is included in the ticket price. Tonight is for gay singles; heteros should keep Thursday night free. Find more Earth Day events.

Cubs home opener. Conan's return to TV. Oprah kerfuffle. Yep, it's just another manic Monday 'round these parts.

Manic could also describe the frenzied work of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago over the past 25 years, as it's fought the good fight against a debilitating disease. You can help toast the Foundation's work at Not Just Song and Dance, its exclusive spring gala, which returns after a four-year hiatus on May 1 at the Hilton Chicago. For $500, you'll enjoy drinks, a four-course dinner, dancing and a special performance by '80s pop stars The Bangles. Find all the details and register at aidschicago.org.


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Toast to Harry Caray
7:40 p.m. at Harry Caray's Tavern (Navy Pier); free
What better place to toast to the late Cubs announcer (he would've been 96 today) than at the latest addition to his bar/restaurant empire? Join his widow, Dutchie, plus Chicago celebrities like Ernie Banks, Bobby Hull, Ron Kittle, Rick Nielson, Bill Kurtis, Richard Roeper, Joe Piscopo and more for a special toast to a special man. It's just one of many events happening at the new location today, which celebrates its grand opening with a full schedule including a Mascot Toast, the unveiling of the Chicago Sports Museum and raffles and giveaways every half hour. WGN Radio will broadcast live from 4-9 p.m.

Common Threads World Festival
6-9 p.m. at Soldier Field; $250
Celebrate Art Smith's 50th birthday with the celebrity chef and dozens of his culinary superfriends at this annual charity event. Expect a wide array of food samples from the likes of Graham Elliot Bowles (Graham Elliot), Jimmy Bannos Sr. (Heaven on Seven, The Purple Pig), David Burke and Rick Gresh (David Burke's Primehouse), Christophe David (NoMI), Gale Gand (TRU), Stephanie Izard (The Girl & The Goat), Koren Grieveson (Avec) and more. The event benefits Smith's Common Threads foundation, which introduces low-income children to the world of cooking. A $500 VIP ticket gets you access to exclusive pre- and post-parties.


Jimmy Burns

9:30 p.m. at Buddy Guy's Legends; $10
The longtime host of The Jam is dealing with some sadness, as his wife, Dorothy, just passed away. That's just one more reason to go and support the Delmark stalwart who took a two-decade hiatus from his career to raise his family. He mounted a comeback in the late '90s with Leaving Here Walking, which won accolades for its explosive John Lee Hooker tightness and the Sunday-mass soul retained from his choirboy youth.

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El Perro del Mar performs at Lincoln Hall tonight.

El Perro del Mar, Taken By Trees
8 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $15
Otherwise known as the female tease on Peter, Bjorn and John's whistle-smash, "Young Folks," fellow Swede Victoria Bergman shows her spacious side on her solo project, Taken By Trees. Bergman's Chan Marshall-esque voice shares tracks with bare-bones glockenspiel and piano pokes, evoking a creaky Nordic forest. She likes to warm it up with some strings, though. Another Swede, El Perro Del Mar, goes about her business much more digitally – think The Cure when happy. Her new album, "Love Is Not Pop," should get more cred than it does.

Wiggerlover
7:30 p.m. at Studio Theater (Chicago Cultural Center); $15-$20
The politics of Chicago's racial divide and neighborhood hierarchies burst onto the stage with James Anthony Zoccoli's engaging performance of "Wiggerlover [white boy + black dad = grey areas]" in association with DCA Theater. A hilarious myriad of music, comedy, history and memoir, the hour-long retrospective delves into touchy topics with wit and heart.

Louder Than A Bomb: Preliminary Bouts
10 a.m.-6 p.m. at 623 S. Wabash and 1104 S. Wabash; $3-$6
Young slam poets kick off the 10th annual competition with this initial round of action (which runs through Sunday). We can't think of a more inspiring way to spend your lunch break.

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Blues Kids of America
3:30 p.m. at Columbia College Theatre/Music Center
The leader of the nation's first collegiate blues ensemble at Columbia College, Fernando Jones leads this instructional course in bridging public school achievement gaps with the blues. Targeting everyone from parents to school council members, Jones shows how literacy, attendance, discipline and overall academic success can increase ten-fold via harmonica workshops and musical-theory courses. In other words – keep cool in school with the blues, kids.

Pre-Valentine's Day Cooking Class
6:30-8 p.m. at Sabor Saveur; $25
The Mexican-born, French-trained chef behind this Wicker Park spot will show you how to create two of Sabor Saveur's signature dishes: lobster enchiladas with hazelnuts and tropical chutney, and figs-and-coconut ante with lemon, blueberry cream and glace sauce. You'll then get to sample the items, along with two champagne cocktails each. If you like the preview, stick around for dinner; class participants get 25 percent off their dinner bill. Sabor Saveur is BYOB, so make sure to grab a bottle at D&D Liquors across the street (2006 W. Division). Wondering what to bring? Check out Centerstage's guide to pairing wines with ethnic foods.


Flirting for Disaster

6-9 p.m. at Close Up 2; $20 in advance, $25 at the door
The latest installment in the networking series offers the chance to find a potential date while also doing some good. Proceeds from the Valentine's Day-themed event, which includes hors d'oeuvres, $5 Effen martinis, tarot-card readings, raffles and more, benefits the American Red Cross.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the South Loop category.

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