This weekend's Fest for Beatles Fans celebrates the Fab Four's American conquest. WXRT's Breakfast With the Beatles host Terri Hemmert emcees, and guests include Pete Best, the drummer famously replaced by Ringo Starr just before the group made it big, and broadcaster Larry Kane, who traveled with the band on its U.S. tours in 1964 and '65. Tonight's opening ceremony kicks off at 5 with remarks from Hemmert and features the Beatles cover band Liverpool at 9. The fest continues from noon to midnight Saturday and Sunday, August 21 and 22, with video screenings, auctions of Beatles paraphernalia, trivia contests, and a "Battle of the Beatles Bands." Tickets are $26 for tonight's show, $37 Saturday and Sunday. It's at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, 9300 W. Bryn Mawr in Rosemont; call 866-843-3378.
Talisman Theatre continues its alternating productions of Macbeth (set in the Middle East) and The Tempest (staged as it might have been by surrealist Rene Magritte) in Schaumburg this week, with a bonus before tonight's performance: Brush Up Your Shakespeare, an irreverent 40-minute introduction to the characters and plots of both plays, conducted by cast members. The intro begins at 6:30, Macbeth at 7:30 at the Prairie Center for the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Court in Schaumburg. "Brush Up" tickets are $5 and can be applied to the cost of admission to one of the plays; tickets for those are $16 in advance, $20 at the door; a two-show pass is $28. Macbeth also plays Thursday, August 26, at 7:30, The Tempest at 7:30 Wednesday, August 25, and Friday, August 27. Call 847-895-3600.
The two dozen artist-decorated benches that have been lining the entrance to the Highwood city hall since last month were scheduled to be redistributed along the town's two main arteries, Sheridan and Green Bay roads, between Bloom and Washington by this weekend. The benches, all by local artists, will be auctioned off in the fall, but until then you can park your buns on original art like Corinne DiGiovanni's wistful cowgirl or Audrey Langer's subterranean landscape while taking in the town's recent extreme makeover. (Not to worry: the great restaurants are still there.) Free maps of bench locations are available at Street Level Gallery, 9 Highwood Ave. in Highwood. Gallery hours are 10 to 5, Tuesday through Saturday; call 847-432-8340.
At today's free open-water swim clinic certified triathalon coach Sharone Aharon attempts to make lake swimming less intimidating for beginners and more experienced triathletes alike, covering topics like assessing bodies of water and currents and getting in and out of the water quickly. It's this morning from 8 to 10 at the Ohio Street Beach, just north of Navy Pier in Chicago. Call 773-944-5128 or see www.chicagotriclub.com.
Today architecture aficionados get a chance to nose around Oak Park's Erwin House, designed by George Washington Maher circa 1905 in a bold take on the Prairie School. The Sneak a Peek Empty House Tour runs from 10 to 3 at 530 N. Euclid in Oak Park. It's $5; call 708-848-0528.
Chicago musician Eric Bailey fronts a band playing classic rock of the 60s and 70s at today's fund-raiser for the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, American Music in Vietnam. Historian and Vietnam vet Robert Arnoldt will provide running commentary on the performance, which will be followed by a panel discussion featuring other vets. The event starts at 3 with a Vietnamese buffet; the performance and talks begin at 4:15. It's in the courtyard of the museum, 1801 S. Indiana, Chicago, and it's $25. Call 312-326-0270 for info or tickets.
Marlon Brando's performance as a bad-boy biker in 1953's The Wild One is worth watching if only as a reminder of the legendary actor's onetime physical charms. It shows tonight at 6:15 (and tomorrow, August 24, at 8:15) as part of the Gene Siskel Film Center's tribute to Brando, who died July 1. Also on tonight's bill: 1969's Queimada (also known as Burn!), in which Brando plays a British adventurer embroiled in a slave revolt in the Caribbean; former Reader critic Dave Kehr called Brando "mannered and very funny as the professional revolutionary who changes sides according to the cash flow." This is the first time the original uncut print has been shown in the U.S. Queimada starts at 8 tonight and plays again at 8:30 tomorrow. The Film Center is at 164 N. State, Chicago, 312-846-2800. Tickets are $9, $5 for members.
While improv players were working for laughs at Chicago SketchFest this past January, videographer Blake Hollon was busy behind the scenes, gathering material for SketchFest: The Documentary, which premieres tonight at a very early preview party for next year's fest. It starts at 7:30 at Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago, and it's $15 in advance, $20 at the door. See www.chicagosketchfest.com or call 773-539-4596.
With selections from the likes of Maya Angelou, Wendell Berry, Marge Piercy, and Alice Walker, Paul Rogat Loeb's new anthology, The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear, dishes up chicken soup for the aging lefty's soul. The Seattle-based author and activist gives a pep talk today at 5 in Roosevelt University's Congress Lounge, 430 S. Michigan, Chicago, 312-341-6360. It's free.
Yesterday DJ Frankie Knuckles got a stretch of Jefferson near Adams renamed in his honor. Tonight the godfather of house--the genre named after the old Warehouse nightclub, where Knuckles spun from 1977 to '83--presides over the last installment of the "DJ Wednesdays" series, part of the city's SummerDance program. It's from 6:30 to 9:30 at Grant Park's Spirit of Music Garden, on Michigan Avenue between Harrison and Balbo in Chicago, and it's free. Call 312-742-4007 or see www.cityofchicago.org for more on SummerDance, which runs through August 29.
For some the answer isn't Bush or Kerry--or Nader. Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About gives us two talks by Revolutionary Communist Party USA chair Bob Avakian that outline his party's vision of an alternative. The documentary has its local premiere tonight at the 3 Penny, 2424 N. Lincoln, Chicago. It's $10; call 773-489-0930.
No need to nod along uncomprehendingly as a waiter describes that 1999 Brunello di Montalcino as "chunky, with a complex nose": the class Wine Speak: Learning How to Taste and Talk About Wine demystifies oenophile-speak and includes a sampling of wines to help illustrate terms. It's tonight at 6:30 at Bin 36, 339 N. Dearborn, Chicago, and it's $36; you can reserve a spot at 312-755-9463.