Show: Howl Pioneering gay filmmaker Rob Epstein (Word Is Out, The Times of Harvey Milk, The Celluloid Closet) and his frequent collaborator Jeffrey Friedman set their sights on one of the defining cultural events of the 1950s: the publication of Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems, which prompted a landmark obscenity trial.
Dinner: Tango Sur At dark, dreamy Tango Sur, an Argentinean steak house, one eats beef and not much else. And why would you want anything else? The top-notch steaks are ridiculously inexpensive for their quality and size.
3763 N. Southport Ave., 773-477-5466
Show: Lolita Keeping his misanthropic tendencies somewhat in check, Stanley Kubrick made a solid film (1962) out of Vladimir Nabokov's notorious and brilliant novel.
Dinner: La Petite Folie Michael and Mary Mastricola, both former U. of C. students and longtime Hyde Park residents, decamped to Paris in the mid-90s so Mary could attend the Cordon Bleu cooking school, then returned to Chicago to open this charming restaurant serving spectacular baguettes and a wide range of French classics with a menu that changes frequently.
1504 E. 55th St., 773-493-1394, lapetitefolie.com
Show: Nightmares on Lincoln Ave. Too—Totally Tubular Tales of Terror Corn Productions hangs ten on the rising wave of 1990s nostalgia with this smart, silly, very funny parody of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, the spooky Clinton-era television show for kids.
Dinner: Cafe 28 You could easily drive right past this Cuban-Mexican eatery, inconspicuously located near the Brown Line tracks on Irving Park, but Raters are high on the eclectic food, big portions, and reasonable prices.
1800 W. Irving Park Rd., 773-528-2883, cafe28.org
Show: Scorched "The superb Chicago premiere production, directed by Dale Heinen, succeeds completely," writes Albert Williams. "The first-rate ensemble totally invest themselves in their multiple roles, while a crack design team transforms the intimate, low-ceilinged basement theater into a convincing replica of a desert village."
Dinner: Xoco Rick Bayless's quick-service restaurant, specializing in Mexican street foods such as tortas, churros, empanadas, and hot chocolate.
449 N. Clark St., 312-334-3688, rickbayless.com/restaurants/xoco.html
Show: Herculaneum "Last year Herculaneum reedist Dave McDonnell moved to Cincinnati for grad school, but he visits Chicago so frequently that you wouldn't know it from the band's schedule," writes Peter Margasak. "And listening to Herculaneum's upcoming fourth album, Olives & Orchids (a vinyl-only release on EF, a new label run by the group's drummer, Dylan Ryan), you have to wonder whether McDonnell's commuter status has given their music an extra shot of immediacy. Both Ryan and McDonnell contribute compositions—the first time anyone but the drummer has written for the group—and the music's as tricky as ever, the tightly coiled, feverishly intense pieces flush with odd time signatures and multi-episode constructions."
Dinner: Jane's inhabits a cozy converted house in Bucktown. The reasonably priced Cal-American fare is innovative, eclectic, and especially friendly to vegetarians.
1653 W. Cortland St., 773-862-5263, janesrestaurant.com
Lit & Lectures
Show: Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods et al) presents At Home: A Short History of Private Life.
Dinner: Everest Forty stories high, with refined Alsatian cuisine and prices to match.
440 S. LaSalle St., 312-663-8920, everestrestaurant.com