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Naked Ghouls Reading
7 p.m. Friday at Studio L'Amour; $20 (reservations required)
There are so many great Halloween-themed shows this week, but we want to highlight this one because, well, what's not to like about Naked Girls Reading? The ever-popular series returns, with all the gore (and bad puns) that you'd expect from a Halloween edition of the series. This month, the unclothed literati will favor us with selections from the spooky and the gross section of the library. Don't miss Cherokee Rose, a Naked Girl who will be Reading tarot.

Bob Dylan
7:30 p.m. Saturday at Riviera Theatre; $60
Like a force of nature, Bob Dylan just keeps rolling on. A few months shy of his 70th birthday, the greatest songwriter of the 20th century remains a force to be reckoned with a decade into the 21st. His Never Ending Tour continues to live up to its name and just out are a pair of albums generating massive buzz: a collection of demos from his first years in New York City and the first CD release of his first eight mono LPs. At one point, Dylan had a rep for delivering wildly uneven results live – either transcendent or mail-it-in bad – but he's seemed more energized lately and is one of the true must-sees.

North Halsted Halloween Parade
4 p.m. Sunday starting at Belmont and Halsted; free
Find crazy costumes and even crazier behavior as the best of Boystown let their hair down for the day. This year, the theme is "Little Street of Horrors" and the event will be emceed by the incomparable Miss Floozie. Think you're creative? Test yourself in the costume contest after the parade. There will be over $5,000 in costume contest cash and prizes.
More: Find all Halloween events.

Ghostface Killah
8:30 p.m. Sunday at Abbey Pub; $20-$22
If there were ever to be a perfect performance scenario, it would have to be Ghostface Killah performing on Halloween. The veteran Wu-Tang alum has always been a fan favorite, and his crafty lyricism and vivid storytelling abilities have placed his name right up there with the legends. Lately Ghosface has kept a relatively low profile, but his last project, Wu-Massacre, with Raekwon and Method Man, has propelled him back into the spotlight. His performance at Abbey Pub will likely be in promotion of Wu-Massacre as well as last year's Ghostdini Wizard of Poetry, but as we all know it's past classics from Ironman, Supreme Clientele and Fishscale that'll turn the Abbey into a Halloween destination.

Walk of Shame Halloween Party
11 a.m. Sunday at Faith & Whiskey; $35
Shake off the Halloween party cobwebs at this catered, open bar party in Lincoln Park. All food and drinks are provided for five hours, and you get five bucks off if you show up in your costume from the night before.

Just missed the cut: JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, Watermelon Slim & The Workers, Death Toll: A Drinking Game, Clean Halloween

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So You Think You Can Dance Live Tour
7:30 p.m. at Allstate Arena; $50-$67
Past champ Russell Ferguson returns to headline the cast from the fifth season as they make a stop in Chicago during a grueling 40-city tour.

LCD Soundsystem
Riviera Theater; $41
This is happening. Producer extraordinaire James Murphy brings his dance beats and quirky rhythms to the Riv for what promises to be an upbeat, if not incredibly bizarre, show. Hot Chip opens.

Free Theater
Various locations
This is the last week of a national campaign to introduce people to the theater. Tonight, you can see a variety of shows, including a few different offerings from Comedysportz Theatre. Check out your options here.

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X Japan
7:30 p.m. at Riviera Theater; $29
The biggest band in Japan made their debut stateside with a show at Lollapalooza over the summer. Now they’re back for a national tour. It’s hard to describe their sound, other than heavy metal mixed with piano solos. You’ll just have to see for yourself.

Candide
7:30 p.m. at Goodman Theatre; $19-$58
Renowned director Mary Zimmerman breathes new life into this play about the title character, a cockeyed optimist who travels the world and gets . Voltaire-inspired philosophizing ensues.

Riot Fest
8 p.m. at Double Door; $25
The five-day punk fest kicks off tonight with performances by Naked Raygun, The Effigies, The Subverts, Steve Bjorklund, Silver Abuse, Toothpaste and Rottenfinko and The Convicts.

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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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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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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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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!

For close to 100 years, people have gone to the movies with romance in mind (the darkness, the entertainment, the talking points for afterward).

Although this prototypical date is time-honored, never-fail and always wonderful, here are two modern updates you can try this week:

3 Things To Do Today

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Movies in the Park
The summer-long Park District series features child’s-play fantasy "Where the Wild Things Are" at Cricket Hill (Montrose and Simonds). "The Longshots," about the first girl to play Pop Warner football, plays at Union Park (Ashland and Lake). For a little international flavor, see Cuban import “El Premio Flaco” at Mozart Park (2036 N. Avers Ave). All shows are free.

Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens, Bomba Estereo
6:30 p.m. at Millennium Park; free
Sultry soul singer Naomi Shelton will melt the stage with her raspy, powerful lyrics as part of the New Music Mondays series.

Hambingo
8 p.m. Hamburger Mary’s; $5 per card
This ain’t your grandmother’s bingo game. Drag queen Velicity Metropolis makes calling out bingo numbers as raunchy as possible at this adults-only game.

3 Things To Do Today

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Chicago Sidewalk Sale
9 a.m.-3 p.m. today and tomorrow at Daley Plaza; free
Shop from dozens of local stores for clothing, jewelry and accessories as the downtown event marks its fourth year.

Classic TV Re-Runs!
7:30 p.m. at Mary’s Attic; $10
Watch live interpretations of classic TV shows at this monthly series in Uptown. This month features animation domination, including “The Simpsons,” “South Park,” “Family Guy” and “Beavis and Butthead.”

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
9 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $12-$14
LA-based lo-fi mad scientist Ariel "Pink" Rosenberg will play just about anything (armpit, mouthed drum bits, etc.) to get the right sound – which should make a rather interesting live show. Fellow Tinsel Towner Puro Instinct and Memphis’ Magic Kids open.

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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!

Smoking, religion, parenting are all accepted, and obvious, deal breakers.

But if you are dating in the city, sometimes it's the quieter ones that hurt your budding romances first. In the spirit of finding the mildly bumpy but everlasting road to true love, keep these deal-breakers in mind for your next first date if you are hoping it will be the last.

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Sarah Terez Rosenblum (@SarahTerez) is an MFA-holding writer, teacher and Spinning instructor. She's also the Theater Listings Editor for Centerstage Chicago. Look for her posts twice a week.

Asked to name key life experiences, many cite a first kiss (mine had just gulped chocolate cake and Doritos … next), a wedding day (please, what’s the divorce rate now, 100%?), or the birth of a child (new life, big deal, let’s talk about that time I made the ultimate BLT).

All of the above is well and good (no it isn’t), but pales in comparison to my plans for Friday. At exactly 8:30 p.m. I will be reclining in Chase Park watching The Never Ending Story outdoors on the big screen. I challenge you to conjure a more profoundly perfect experience.

Growing up, I enjoyed a strict diet of public television and Hollywood musicals; my exposure to anything pop culture was almost nonexistent, so the movies I did see may have been unduly influential. However, I’d venture that even a kid whose mother didn’t play the autoharp and make her own yogurt could name one special movie that resonated, made a sweet home inside her, influencing her childhood games, and even her later life choices. For me, Flight of the Navigator came close, and I am still terrified of Disney’s Watcher in the Woods, but The Never Ending Story is mine.

Let me break it down:

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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Mayfest Chicago
Thursday-Sunday at Lincoln and Leland; free
We're on board for any festival that celebrates its opening by tapping a keg of beer. At this traditional German fest, you can enjoy authentic food and music, including shows by the Polkaholics and Paloma. Oh, and beer. Lots of beer.

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Boner Petite wants to redeem itself tonight at Snubfest.


Snubfest Comedy Festival

8 p.m. at Chemically Imbalanced Theater; $10
Comedians who've been rejected from other festivals will perform at this annual event (running through Sunday), which features improvisation, sketch comedy, stand-up and even comedic music. Each night will feature a "Last Snob Standing" contest, with winning performers snagging spots on stages around the country. Tonight's performers: Boyfriend/Girlfriend, Boner Petite, Mason & Mason, A Dozen Red Roses and Unfurled.

Antibalas, The Very Best
6:30 p.m. at Millennium Park; free
It's an African celebration in the first installment of this year's Music Without Borders series. Antibalas will bring the AfroBeat-esque funk, while The Very Best (Malawi singer Esau Mwamwaya and London production duo Radioclit) will branch out to include a whole range of eclectic styles.

NBA Finals Viewing Party
8 p.m. at J Bar
Whether you're a Celtics fan, a Lakers fan or just a fan of the game, this kick-off celebration for the Finals (and the beginning of The James Hotel's "Bring LeBron James to the Bulls" campaign, running through July 1). should be a good time. There will be $6 L-Train cocktails, (Jose Cuervo, lime juice, Red Bull, Triple Sec), $3 Miller Lites and a $23 Ultimate James Combo including a 40-day dry-aged burger, fries and a beer. Oh yeah, and you can watch the game on several screens throughout the space (including a big pull-down projection screen), and enjoy giveaways all night long.

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Them Crooked Vultures
8 p.m. at Aragon Ballroom; $46.75
When this trio blew up the Metro last August with their secret Lolla midnight after-party, the only thing people had time to think about was how kick-ass the combined powers of John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl and Josh Homme could potentially be. Sadly, the marketing turned out to be more of a kick than the record that dropped later that winter; it was wily and full of knee-forward bombast, but by no means on par with the members' famed pasts (Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age). A new record is on the way, though, and the live show is sure to remain hair-raising.

Indie Incubator Film Fest
7:30 p.m. at The Original Mother's; free
Once again, you'll enjoy two hours of independent short films from local filmmakers at this Gold Coast bar, with a dance party to follow the rest of the night. New to the festivities this year are the 'Eye-Con' Awards and the Image Union Awards.

Zepaltas Wine Tasting
6-8:30 p.m. at Bistro 110; $25
Winemaker Ryan Zepaltas comes to this restaurant just off the Magnificent Mile for a special event that includes unlimited tastings and paired appetizers and small plates. Featured wines include a 2007 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, a 2007 Rose of Pinot Noir, a 2006 Rosella's Vineyard, Santa Luci Highland Syrah and more.

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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.

Taste It Mondays with Charles Smith
Rockit Wrigleyville; RSVP to info@rockitwrigley.com
The rock-star winemaker will be on hand to chat and taste with oenophiles during this installment of Rockit's weekly vino celebration. You'll be able to sample a few of his wines (Boom Boom Syrah, Velvet Devil Merlot and Kung Fu Girl Riesling) and partake of the half-off special all night long (the featured wines will be available next Monday, too).

Too Much LADY Makes the Baby Go Blind
8 p.m. at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater; $25
The Neo-Futurists' famed comedy show switches things up tonight with an all-female performance, featuring ladies from the troupe's past and present -- like Heather Riordan, Diana Slickman and Megan Mercier. There'll also be a post-show roundtable ("Ladies In Your Face") hosted by Sean Benjamin and Steve Mosqueda.

Hot Chip
8 p.m. at Riviera Theatre
Scorned by the hardcore electropop community for ditching its industrial edge (despite the fact that the band was nerding out to "C-A-S-I-O" cheers and Batman references all the while), Hot Chip literally sold its soul with this year's One Life Stand. Vocalist Alexis Taylor called it the band's warmest record to date, all awash in downtempo crooners like "Slush" and "Brothers." That said, the Mercury Prize-shortlisted Englishmen still know how to command a dance floor.

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Highlights from Centerstage Chicago's latest Crumb newsletter:

Just Opened: Franks ‘N’ Dawgs
Upscale sausage stand in Lincoln Park.

Off the Beaten Path: Fox’s on the River
Fine dining and great scenery in Batavia.

Weekly Treat: You’re the boss at Uptown Lounge
U-Call-It for just $3 all night tonight.

Man We're Crazy About: Paris Cafe
Quaint River North cafe livens up with dancing at night.

For more Chicago bar and restaurant news, sign up for the Crumb newsletter.

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Nelson Algren Birthday Party
8 p.m. Saturday at St. Paul Cultural Center; $10
Celebrate what would have been the 101st birthday of the famed Chicago writer, whose gritty works about the city include The Man with the Golden Arm and Chicago: City on the Make. This year's fete is dedicated to the memory of Howard Zinn, who wrote the Algren-esque People's History of the United States. There will be a cash bar and door prizes at the event.

3 Things To Do Today

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
7:30 p.m. at Auditorium Theatre; $30-$85
The world's most respected African-American dance company kicks off a short five-day run at Auditorium Theatre tonight. The performance will include "Uptown," a new ballet set in the Harlem Renaissance era to the music of Fats Waller and Nat "King" Cole; "Dancing Spirit," a tribute to Judith Jamison set to the music of Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis and War; and the classic "Revelations."

Air
8 p.m. at Riviera Theatre; $31
With its downtempo beats and whimsical melodies, Air (Jean-Benoît Dunckel and Nicolas Godin) has entranced fans all across the globe — from backpack hip-hoppers to in-the-know hipsters. Its newest album, "Love 2" (released by Astralwerks), carries on the traditions of previous works with its heavy usage of spaced-out synths and dreamy vibes, but is in no way repetitive thanks to some well placed, romantically inclined vocals. This show is one in a handful of stateside performances for the Parisian duo.

Chinatown Dining Tour
5:30-9 p.m. beginning at Triple Crown Seafood Chinese Restaurant; $20-$25
Curious about authentic Chinese food, but don't know which restaurant to choose? With this second annual tour, you don't have to. The event includes stops at 13 different Chinatown restaurants and bakeries, including Lao Sze Chuan, Chiu Quon Bakery, Lee Wing Wah and Hing Kee.


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

Ukrainian Village is the previous category.

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