The best things to do in Chicago week of Aug. 24 – 10 Things To Do News

on Aug23

23 August 2017 | 1:00 pm

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus folded its tents this past spring, but circus still lives in forms other than the biggest-of-big-top extravaganzas that rent out the United Center, moving into theater, workouts and dance a la Cirque. Another still-roaring, old, romantic type—the kind kids fantasized about running away to join—is the small, familial, vagabond circus that took its act from town to town. Ten years ago, Jeff and Julie Jenkins started Midnight Circus in the Parks by gathering their acrobatic and aerialistic friends to put on a show to raise money to save their threatened neighborhood playground at Welles Park, a story that sounds like a forgotten movie starring Mickey Rooney. The Midnight Circus, including the Jenkinses and their two kids, tours eight parks, always starting in the child-friendly afternoon rather than midnight, wrapping its run at Welles. Aug. 26-Oct. 15. Free-$20. Various locations.

The 1992 movie “Honeymoon in Vegas,” starring Nicolas Cage, Sarah Jessica Parker and most memorably, the parachuting impersonators the Flying Elvises, conceived a musical adaptation on Broadway in the 2014-15 season. The writer Andrew Bergman did the book for the musical, keeping close to his own script for the movie. On Broadway, the honeymoon ended prematurely as ticket sales lagged the enthusiastic reviews, which fashioned it old-fashioned—like the ad phrase “good old-fashioned”—in its tuneful score, unironic hijinks and underlying conception of the world (Vegas turned more “The Hangover” during the past 25 years). The show’s original director, Gary Griffin, shacks up with it again here. Aug. 23-Oct. 15. $50-$60. Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire.

Anyone who happened to see a coming-attractions list in a playbill earlier this summer, where titles and short synopses of upcoming plays ran in tight spaces of unvarying size, might have wondered about the plot of “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City,” because the title filled the whole box. This less space-constrained column is happy to tell you that the play concerns a raunchy female comedian and a divorcing middle-aged man meeting cute when their mothers share a hospital room. Or maybe “meet gross” rather than cute, as the play slops the rom-com framework with lewd and inappropriate jokes and situations. Aug. 24-Sep. 23. $20-$35. Route 66 Theatre Company at the Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Just like the poor saps now realizing they’ve got only two more weeks before the world falls back into its not-summer groove, SummerDance, the season-long learn-to-dance-then-dance event, crams an entire dancing day Saturday into the spaces of Millennium Park. Steppin’ and footwork competitions, Central and Eastern European circle dance lessons, and a sort of live-danced amateur encyclopedic quiz contest lead up to a stage show at the Pritzker Pavilion and a DJed party at the Bean. Dance like school’s not just about to start. Aug. 26. 12-9:30 p.m. Free. Millennium Park, Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue.

The twin sisters Christina and Michelle Naughton, both dual graduates of Curtis and Juilliard, rank as one of the world’s top piano duos—and that’s not a backhanded compliment that depends on the dearth of piano duos. By any standard, the good-separately, great-together twosome jointly roll out 20-fingered masterworks such as Debussy’s “En Blanc et Noir” and Chopin’s Rondo for Two Pianos with geminian coordination. At their Ravinia recital, the Naughtons participate in the festival’s season-long birthday celebration of the contemporary composer John Adams in twinned fashion by bookending their concert with “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Hallelujah Junction,” two tough pieces they premiered and recorded, respectively. Nope, not a backhanded compliment. A four-handed compliment. Aug. 24. 6 p.m. $10. Ravinia, 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park.

The conversation about the laws surrounding food trucks has reached detente, where the trucks have limited places to park and the novelty of chasing them on Twitter has worn off. Some have, according to the foodie Horatio Alger vision, built a reputation (5411 Empanadas, Bruges Brothers, Fat Shallot, DonerMen). Going riches to rags, some stationary restaurants have countered the entrepreneurial narrative and launched their own trucks (Carnivale, Da Lobsta, Giordano’s). And the limitations on locations have spawned periodic wagon-circlings under the name Food Truck Social, alighting this weekend in Logan Square with more than 20, including all the rolling restaurants mentioned above. The Empty Bottle booked the music to graze by. Aug. 25-27. $5 suggested donation. Humboldt Blvd. between Armitage and Bloomingdale.

Critical theory tells us that scarcity or irreproducibility diminishes the ineluctable aura around a work of art*—that is, if you can watch it on Netflix any time you want, it’s automatically less special. Behavioral economics says we derive more happiness from experiential purchases than material purchases,** or, as it’s often summarized, “experiences, not things.” The short-film event Destroy Your Art, appropriately one night only on Friday, gibes with those principles by screening new shorts and then immediately obliterating all record of them by running discs and hard drives through a metal shredder, because it’s fun to watch stuff get smashed up.*** Just know that if you leave to go to the restroom, what you miss, you miss forever. Aug. 25. 8 p.m. $5. Lost Arts, 1001 N. North Branch St.

*Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” **Van Boven, Leaf and Gilovich, Thomas. “To do or to have? That is the question.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 85 (6): 1193–202. ***See the oeuvres of Bay, Michael; Townshend, Peter; and Gallagher (no first name).

The avant-garde new-music group Mocrep’s “Pants, Pants, Pants” is a musical-theater work posing as a deranged variety show. It begins as a talk show that comes apart at the seams, and then patches in singing, dancing, comedy and video. The group aims to comment on real versus fake in the media environment of reality TV and Facebook, and so they want to keep some of Pants buttoned up. Aug. 25-26. 8 p.m. $17. Athenaeum Theatre Studio Three, 2936 N. Southport Ave., 3rd floor.

Moving the pictures’ focus away from lonely gumshoes, femmes fatales, byzantine plots and endless cigarettes, this year’s Noir City film series at the Music Box is hijacked by heists, capers and schemes. The highlights this year, if you can have noir highlights, come in the opener “L.A. Confidential” (Aug. 25, 7 p.m.) with writer James Ellroy making a live appearance, “High Sierra” (Aug. 27, 2:30 p.m.) and “The Asphalt Jungle” (Aug. 31, 5 & 9 p.m.). Sneaky quiet ones—the ones you have to look out for—include the Argentinean epileptic-breaks-bad thriller “The Aura” (Aug. 26, 9:15 p.m.) and the best train movie not made by Hitchcock, the 1974 original “The Taking of Pelham 123” (Aug. 30, 7:15 p.m.). Aug. 25-31. $9-$12 per film, $70-$85 fest pass. Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave.

The Carl Sandburg Literary Awards , a big-shouldered fundraiser for the Chicago Public Library Foundation, this year bestows its laurels on Margaret Atwood (who is trending as the novelist wagging “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the dystopian Hulu series) and North Shore native Dave Eggers (“A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”), snagging NPR’s Scott Simon to interview them for the event’s climactic chapter. In keeping with its successful author-at-every-table formula, this year’s edition has booked Margo Jefferson, Gillian Flynn, Stuart Dybek, Greg Kot, Blair Kamin and reams of others, including the secondarily authorial, such as chef Fabio Viviani, harmonica player Howard Levy and photographer Paul Natkin. Oct. 11. 6 p.m. $1,000-$2,500 individual tickets. $10,000-$100,000 tables of eight. The Forum, University of Illinois at Chicago, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd.

Event schedules and availability change; phone ahead. Send your weekend tips in an email (without attachments) with the date in the subject line to 10things@chicagobusiness.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of submissions makes it impossible for us to respond individually to emails.Would you like to be notified via email of our weekly “10 Things to Do” column? Click here to sign up.



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