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Show: Books "On The Way Out, the recent fourth album by the Books, Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong don't alter their formula much: their meticulously produced music embeds warm melodies and gentle rhythms in a careful collage of samples and found sounds, and though they use structures that could be generously described as amorphous, everything is assembled so carefully that the tracks have the emotional impact of pop songs," writes Peter Margasak.
Dinner: Andalous Hadg Mohamad plays host while his wife, Rachida, does the cooking at this Moroccan Lakeview spot with garden seating.
3307 N. Clark St., 773-281-6885, andalous.com
Show: Shakira plays in support of her frothy new album, Sale el Sol. "I don't know another arena-level star who can pull off such a global aesthetic so naturally. And her club thumpers are as irresistible as ever," writes Peter Margasak.
8 PM, Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Road, Rosemont, 847-635-6601 or 866-448-7849, $14.80-$162.75.
Dinner: Mitsuwa Marketplace The food court presents a singular opportunity to experience the varieties of Japanese fast food locally. The sushi counter, with its plethora of prepackaged rolls, reflects the populist origins of raw fish and rice as fast food for travelers rather than the rarefied restaurant meal we’ve come to pay dearly for.
100 E. Algonquin Rd., 847-956-6699, mitsuwa.com
Show: Tamara Drewe Funny and emotionally perceptive, the cartoon strip Tamara Drewe captivated British readers with its serialized update of Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd, and this screen adaptation by director Stephen Frears (The Queen, High Fidelity) successfully re-creates the strip’s pastoral tone and cheeky humor.
2:15 pm, 4:50 pm, 7:30 pm, 10:05 pm, Pipers Alley, 230 W. North Ave., 312-642-6275
Dinner: Bistro Margot Charming, reasonably priced French bistro in Old Town.
1437 N. Wells St., 312-587-3660, bistrotmargot.com
Show: House "This incredibly odd Japanese horror feature (1977) is like a Hello Kitty backpack stuffed with bloody human viscera," writes J.R. Jones.
Dinner: Medici on 57th The quintessential off-campus hangout, complete with carved wood booths and graffiti-covered walls. The reasonable prices at this long-standing Hyde Park gem make it a favorite among students and locals alike.
1327 E. 57th St., 773-667-7394, medici57.com
Show: 26 Miles This emotionally layered tale from Tony-nominated playwright Quiara Alegria Hudes flings an estranged mother and daughter together for an impromptu road trip from South Philly to Wyoming.
Dinner: West Town Tavern Artful regional American place from Drew and Susan Goss (Zinfandel).
1329 W. Chicago Ave., 312-666-6175, westtowntavern.com
Show: The Other Cinderella Set in a black Land of Other, Jackie Taylor's musical version of the old folk tale was Black Ensemble Theater's first hit in 1976. The company revives it here for the 16th time—it's their Christmas Carol—and this fresh, energetic production is a strong argument for keeping the franchise going. "The script provides plenty of broad comedy and sly social comment, and this production's winning cast, backed by a capable five-piece R&B band, sells every moment," writes Dan Weissmann.
Dinner: Mixteco Grill "Based on the name and the looks of the place, you might take Mixteco Grill for a nicer-than-normal diner, acceptable if unambitious. Don’t be fooled: this is a restaurant set on greatness," writes David Hammond.
1601 W. Montrose Ave., 773-868-1601, mixtecogrill.com
Show: Witty Women Writers Night With Stacey Ballis (Good Enough to Eat), Claire Zulkey (An Off Year), Wendy McClure (the forthcoming The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie), and Jen Lancaster (My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict's Attempt to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass Is the New Black, or, a Culture-Up Manifesto).
Dinner: Thai Oscar Of the three Thai restaurants clustered together on the 4600 block of Western, this one, which serves Thai and Japanese food, is the best.
4638 N. Western Ave., 773-878-5922