Show: Lynda Barry Lynda Barry stopped drawing her beloved strip, Ernie Pook's Comeek, in 2008, after about 30 years. But she didn't stop drawing, and her new book is an ode to the joy of putting pen (or brush) to paper. Picture This: The Near-Sighted Monkey Book (Drawn & Quarterly) is less a how-to than a why-not.
Dinner: Henri New contemporary American restaurant and bar from the people behind the Gage. "If the food and drink at a place like this were to suck, we'd call it the whole thing antiquated, inauthentic, or even cynical. I'm going to call it neoclassical—and a pretty fun place to eat," writes Mike Sula.
18 S. Michigan Ave., 312-578-0763, henrichicago.com
Show: The Devilish Children and the Civilizing Process Jeremy Menekseoglu's brief new play starts with a supremely creepy dialogue between a little girl and her genially abusive ventriloquist's dummy, then transitions to a horrific passage in which an unfeeling father deposits his three-year-old son, Karl, at a school for incorrigible children. Based on Heinrich Hoffmann's 1845 German bestseller, Struwwelpeter, Devilish Children's main attraction is a series of grotesque cautionary tales in which bad children get far worse than they deserve.
Dinner: Lawrence's Fisheries In the shadow of a trestle bridge spanning the Chicago River, this family-run fried seafood emporium has been around since 1971, and its rickety steps show it. Inside there’s a wealth of options: fried shrimp, scallops, frog legs, catfish, perch, cod, oyster, clam strips, popcorn shrimp, and something called “seafood nuggets,” all served with your choice of house-made cocktail or hot sauce.
2120 S. Canal St., 312-225-2113, laurencesfisheries.com
Show: The Dialogues Series The premise reads like a rejected game show pitch: the audience don headphones and listen in on an improvised phone conversation between two performers separated from each other by an onstage screen. But under Dexter Bullard's direction, a show that could've slipped into kitsch or avant-garde frippery instead stuns with its simple humanity.
Show: The Outlaw Josey Wales Clint Eastwood's fifth film as a director (1976) shows an almost equal balance between his two main influences, Sergio Leone and Don Siegel. As the title character, a Confederate guerrilla out to avenge the murder of his family by Union redlegs, Eastwood combines the cold pragmatism of a Leone hero with the strident Old Testament morality of a Siegel protagonist.
Dinner: Maravillas may have been displaced from Harper Court, but the food at its new location remains authentic—there's posole, chicken mole poblano, and menudo—and still attracts a regular clientele.
5506 S. Lake Park, 773-643-3155, maravillasres.com
Show: Inside Job Press materials call this documentary by Charles Ferguson "the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008." Not exactly—it follows and in many ways echoes Andrew and Leslie Cockburn's excellent American Casino (2009). But as Ferguson proved with his Iraq war documentary No End in Sight (2007), he can get to a story later but provide so much more context that his film seems definitive.
Dinner: Uncommon Ground Popular Wrigleyville coffeehouse with a dinner menu that changes seasonally. Eclectic entrees such as pistachio-crusted tilapia with Israeli couscous, pumpkin ravioli, and a three-cheese pesto pizza are reasonably priced for being on the side of upscale.
3800 N. Clark St., 773-929-3680, uncommonground.com