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Show: Eels This is Eels' first tour since 2007, and it comes on the heels of three albums released over the past 16 months. "Each loosely represents a stage in the cycle of love: desire (Hombre Lobo), loss (End Times), and acceptance (Tomorrow Morning). Listening to them, you might initially feel a little creeped out, but once you get comfortable with how much Everett is willing to share, you can travel with him to enlightenment and even peace," writes Monica Kendrick.
Dinner: TAC Quick Young Andy Aroonrasameruang, formerly of Banana Leaf, and his likable staff probably make it easier than anywhere else to get traditional stuff the way it's eaten in Thailand.
3930 N. Sheridan Rd., 773-327-5253
Show: Atari Teenage Riot "Founded in 1992, Atari Teenage Riot were the leading name during the heyday of 'digital hardcore,' and their clenched-jaw collisions of bee-swarm guitars, hyperfast breakbeats, and half-rapped, half-shouted slogans provided many of the form's most sublimely punishing moments," writes Miles Raymer. For these reunion shows (and the new single "Activate!") founder Alec Empire and late-90s member Nic Endo are touring with a new MC, CX Kidtronik.
Dinner: Mac and Min's The former Jerry's is now a sandwich shop offering po'boys and muffulettas. "In contrast to Jerry's, with its blunderbuss approach to sandwich making, Mac and Min's is a focused if swooning love letter to New Orleans," writes Mike Sula.
1045 W. Madison St., 312-563-1008, macandmins.com
Lit & Lectures
Show: The Interview Show Mark Bazer's guests are architect Jeanne Gang, novelist Kevin Guilfoile (The Thousand), burlesque dancer Michelle L'Amour, and WTTW's Fear No Art Chicago host Elysabeth Alfano, with music by the 1900s.
Dinner: Sai Cafe Always-bustling sushi bar and restaurant where locals flock to squeeze in or take out; the fish served at Sai Cafe is so uniformly good that it’s hard to misstep.
2010 N. Sheffield Ave., 773-472-8080, saicafe.com
Show: Enemies of the People Veteran Cambodian journalist Thet Sambath spent more than ten years interviewing members of the Khmer Rouge, from foot soldiers to Pol Pot's second-in-command, who took part in the extermination of more than two million civilians in the 1970s. This video documentary, which Sambath directed with Rob Lemkin, combines devastating first-hand accounts with an intimate study of the journalist, whose parents and brother were among the casualties.
Dinner: Rhapsody Elegant, eclectic contemporary restaurant behind Symphony Center.
65 E. Adams St., 312-786-9911, rhapsodychicago.com
Show: Waiting for "Superman" "Distributed by Paramount, this documentary about the public education crisis isn't as smart or rigorous as Bob Bowdon's shoestring production The Cartel, which arrived in town earlier this year and quickly vanished. But the new movie is still an admirable exercise in straight talk, especially in its tough assessment of the mediocrity-enforcing teachers' unions," writes J.R. Jones.
2 pm, 4:45 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:10 pm, Landmark's Century Centre, 2828 N. Clark St., 773-509-4949
Dinner: Erwin Mark Bittman, the New York Times's minimalist, would approve of Erwin, the namesake restaurant of chef Erwin Drechsler. The emphasis is on seasonal food prepared simply, to bring out the freshness of the ingredients.
2925 N. Halsted St., 773-528-7200, erwincafe.com
Show: The Merchants of Bollywood Don't expect a strong story. The draws here are classic Bollywood tunes, sexy dancing, and loads of sequins. Hyped as having been seen by more than two million people since it premiered in 2005 in Sydney, Australia, this musical appeals to our inner toddler—that part of us attracted to shiny objects and moving parts.
Dinner: Chicago Curry House The folks behind Highwood’s Curry Hut didn’t do themselves any favors by hiding Chicago Curry House, a white table-paper Nepalese-Indian spot, on the ground floor of a South Loop building surrounded by residential permit parking. But the menu is virtually identical to the mothership’s—that is, a huge selection of familiar northern Indian dishes and a handful of Nepalese specialties, which emphasize ginger and garlic over the chiles and dairy of the more southerly regions.
899 S. Plymouth Ct., 312-362-9999, curryhouseonline.com
Show: Disgrace Three women try to escape a mysterious shared trauma in John O'Keefe's surreal 1989 play, staged here with savvy and grit by Blank Line Collective.
8 pm, Lacuna Lofts, 2150 S. Canalport, 773-325-2119, $10
2119 S. Halsted St., 312-526-3385, nightwoodrestaurant.com
Show: A Brief History of Helen of Troy The death of a parent is a normal trauma, and so is adolescence. But the two combined can yield a kind of insanity. In Mark Schultz's 2005 drama, 15-year-old Charlotte has just lost her mom. Her dad is worse than useless to her, his grief expressing itself as verbal abuse on those rare and ugly occasions when he engages her at all. So Charlotte goes a little mad.
Dinner: Great Lake You can’t say that Great Lake hasn’t nailed its niche. Operating out of a tiny Andersonville storefront, it offers pizza, in five different variations, to take out or eat in at the restaurant’s small communal table. Period. But, oh, what pizza it is. Made to order from meticulously sourced ingredients—everything on the menu has a pedigree—the pies are perfectly balanced.
1477 W. Balmoral Ave., 773-334-9270