by Tosten Burks
If you lack the time, funds, or spirit to take the Great American Road Trip this summer, have no fear. You can visit nearly 50 American landmarks by train at the Chicago Botanic Garden's Model Railroad Garden. (True, it's all at 1/29th scale, but that's what imagination is for.) Tonight's the last Wednesday of the summer the trains will be running till 8 PM (open 10 AM-5 PM through 10/27).
Drinking and Writing Theater's ode to classic variety shows returns to Haymarket Pub & Brewery tonight as American Variety 2 With Alison & Carolyn (that's Alison Connelly and Carolyn Shoemaker). It's a 50-minute showcase of sketches, songs, dances, and whatever else tickles the two women's fancies.
Jack Helbig recommends checking out the Gift Theatre's house improv troupe, Natural Gas. "As in every improvisation, not every moment worked, and some actors made basic mistakes. All the same, their show contained more than the usual moments of spontaneous delight—and occasional splashes of pure inspiration," he writes.
For more on these events and others, check out the Reader's daily Agenda page.