Thursday, July 21
What's funny? Pigs are funny.
A night of documentary radio in a city that does it really, really well: the theme of this installment of the Third Coast Listening Room is Make 'Em Laugh, with humorous radio bits on topics including pet pigs, Cheetos, sensory deprivation, and dental retainers. (This last theme should be particularly edifying for those of us who firmly believe that there is nothing funny about dentistry.) Third Coast's Gwen Macsai and the Chicago Humanities Festival's Stuart Flack cohost. 7-8:30 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln, $8-$10.
Friday, July 22
A soul train returns
The hippest trip in America comes back to Chicago: a photo exhibit about Soul Train, the musical variety show created by south-side native Don Cornelius, opens tonight and includes more than 55 pictures of musicians like Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, and Chuck Berry. The opening party features house DJ Steve "Silk" Hurley, but it isn't the only celebration planned to accompany this exhibit: Friday Night Groove parties are weekly from 4 to 6 PM, with a different guest DJ each time. The show runs through 9/5. 5-7 PM, Expo 72 Gallery, 72 E. Randolph, 312-744-6630.
Ménage à trois
Three courses each comprise three samples, each in turn paired with three sips of wine, with the end result being a full stomach—this opening party for the new near-north French joint Bistro Voltaire isn't a half-bad deal. Chef Colin Beaumier's menu, with the aforementioned food and wine available for $55, includes flan of foie gras with cassis and casada, a wafer-thin cracker; asparagus salad with black truffle vinaigrette; duck breast with passion fruit, orange, green beans, and roasted almonds; and for dessert, saffron ice cream and porcini creme brulee. Reservations required. Seatings are 6:30-8 PM and 8:30-10:30 PM, Bistro Voltaire, 226 W. Chicago, 312-265-0911, $55, $35 without wine pairings.
Saturday, July 23
Deal with it
As desires go, knitting lessons from a certified rock 'n' roller is probably one you didn't even know you had—until new Andersonville shop Sifu Design Studio opened you up to the possibility. In a two-part class, Breeders guitarist Kelley Deal teaches techniques on knitting and felting that culminate in the creation of an accessory called the Road Bag. Deal, by the way, is the author of a book on the subject: Bags That Rock: Knitting on the Road With Kelley Deal. Classes consist of two three-hour sessions; see website for details. Sifu Design Studio & Fine Yarns, 5044 N. Clark, 773-271-7438, $80.
I sing the body ironic
O, Wicker Park Fest
What souvenir should I take home?
A hangover? A corduroy hipster vest?
Or an original poem?
The poetry available for purchase today may or may not be better than this, but you can't fault 'em for trying—local poets Dave Landsberger and Kathleen Rooney versify on demand during Wicker Park Fest, with proceeds benefiting the after-school tutoring program 826CHI as well as independent publisher Rose Metal Press. You pick the topic, but be warned that the six-way intersection's already taken (by Rooney): "Across / The street, a girl / Just threw her cellphone at / A bus. Man—where can we get a / Taco?" 2-5 PM and 6-9 PM, the Boring Store, 1331 N. Milwaukee, $5 or pay what you can.
Sunday, July 24
The best thing happening in rock 'n' roll
- Thee Oh Sees
One could conceivably turn food procured at the Logan Square Farmers' Market—there's crepes from Cook Au Vin, fried pies from the Handlebar, and fruit and veggies from basically everyone else—into a total picnic blowout today: a show by Thee Oh Sees, whom Reader critic Miles Raymer called "the best thing happening in rock 'n' roll" not too long ago, immediately follows the market. The concert, part of the summerlong Logan Square Music Series: Sundays in the Park, is cosponsored by 312 Urban Wheat Ale—so beer's available for purchase. 4 PM, Logan, Kedzie, and Milwaukee.
- Zach Dodson
Chicago's no slouch in the comedy department, though the Whistler argues that the same might not be true when it comes to the world of Serious Ideas—like, say, technology. "There's nothing Silicon Valley can do that Chicago can't do in a lazier and less impressive way," is how they're advertising Kellen Alexander and Seth Dodson's NEDTalks: Spreading Worthless Ideas. The parody of highfalutin ideas conference TEDTalks includes topics like "Protecting Your Brain From Hypnotism" and "Why It's Better to be Beautiful." 9 PM, the Whistler, 2421 N. Milwaukee, 773-227-3530.
Monday, July 25
Rumble, at dusk, in Oz Park
- West Side Story
So maybe you just blew your (last six months' worth of) paycheck(s) at Charlie Trotter's or Alinea, one of those Lincoln Park temples of haute gastronomy that are so perfect for a date, but now you don't even have train fare home, much less money for a movie or something—what the hell do you do after dinner? You do not fear: simply walk a few blocks down Armitage, meander north on one of the side streets, and find yourself in Oz Park, where some kind soul will have set up a projector on an open field that will be screening the musical West Side Story, the perfect date movie, if your idea of a perfect date involves finger snapping, silent singing along, and abject sobbing. Dusk, 2021 N. Burling, 312-742-1134.
Tuesday, July 26
Impossibly wealthy gadabout Billy Dec is one of the judges at this Project Runway-style competition, where competing designers come up with an "original women's look" with a scarf they're given. The neckwear is by the Heshima Kenya's Maisha Collective, a group of refugee women from Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia who benefit from the event. Includes drinks from Grey Goose and Finch's Beer, appetizers from Pure Kitchen Catering, and a raffle. 6-9 PM, Room 1520, 1520 W. Fulton, $50-$120.
Wednesday, July 27
Keep it moving at the library
No word on whether somebody's going to yell at you to keep it down, or even stop running, at this decidedly physical event at the library: Dancing in the Library: Body Language is a show by modern dance troupe the Leopold Group that features two works, including one—Lips of Their Fingers—that incorporates pantomime and music by the Beastie Boys. This is a sneak peek of works that will premiere later in the summer. 12:15 PM, Harold Washington Library Center, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, 400 S. State.