An English beer tasting led by beer specialist Anthony Norkus offers ales, stouts, bitters, and beers from all over the UK, including hard-to-find bottles such as the Welsh bitter Thomas Watkins OSB and Scotland's Skull Splitter Orkney Ale. a 7-8:30 PM, House of Glunz, 1206 N. Wells, 312-642-3000, $20.
To kick off its weeklong Pumpkin Festival, featuring specials like pumpkin risotto and arctic char with a pumpkin seed crust, Mon Ami Gabi is sponsoring a tour of the Great Pumpkin Patch, in Arthur, Illinois, which boasts more than 400 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds. After lunch at a local Amish restaurant (included in the price), attendees can pick cucurbits (i.e., squash) with chef Larry Tio, explore the straw bale maze, and take a wagon ride. Participants will receive a goody bag with pumpkin treats and a $25 gift certificate to Mon Ami Gabi. a Noon, Vera's Family Meals, 115 N. Circle, Arthur, 217-543-2933, $25, thegreatpumpkinpatch.biz.
Halloween comes early at Viand's Fantasy Ball--costumes required--hosted by drag queen Miss Foozie and featuring go-go dancers and a DJ. There will also be a Brazil-ian tapas buffet and fresh juice bar. Price includes the buffet and three martinis. a 8 PM-midnight, Viand, 155 E. Ontario, 312-255-8505, $75 in advance, $95 at the door.
Alleviate someone else's hunger by eating a meal prepared by top Chicago chefs including Gale Gand (Tru) and Susan Goss (West Town Tavern). The 14th annual Bag Hunger Auction and dinner raises money for the Chicago Food Depository; among the goods to be auctioned off are travel packages, gift certificates, and other prizes. Last year's event provided more than a million meals for the needy. a 6-10 PM, Hyatt Regency, 151 E. Wacker, 312-565-1234, $125, chicagosfoodbank.org. --Julia Thiel
Fresh from an overseas stint with the USO, Henry Rollins is pushing his punk-rock populism stateside. Tonight the tattooed talk-show host brings Provoked: An Evening of Quintessentially American Opinionated Editorializing and Storytelling to the Vic. a 7:30 PM, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, $27.50. A
Photographer Abby Banks hits Quimby's on a book tour for PunkHouse: anarchist Interiors, which at $27.50 may cost more than a month's rent in some of the squats and warehouses pictured. The event includes a movie and slide show and acoustic sets by Johnny Hobo & the Freight Trains and Jerk Off Jack Off Frig Face. a 7 PM, 1854 W. North, 773-342-0910. F
In the documentary Bling: A Planet Rock, about hip-hop's obsession with diamonds in light of the bloody conflicts the diamond trade fuels in Africa, the Wu-Tang's Raekwon, reggaeton star Tego Calderon, and MC Paul Wall (who sells a line of iced-out grills) visit Sierra Leone and witness the ravages wrought by its civil war. a 8 PM, Piper's Alley, 1608 N. Wells, RSVP at scion.com/route. F --Areif Sless-Kitain
This week brings an avalanche of outstanding commercial releases. In addition to the movies noted as Critic's Choices in this section, there's Jorge Gaggero's Argentinean domestic drama LIVE-IN MAID and four features we've recommended highly over the past two weeks as they played at the Chicago International Film Festival: Susanne Bier's penetrating family story THiNGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE, Ben Affleck's harrowing crime flick GONE BABY GONE, Craig Gillespie's weirdo comedy LARS AND the REAL GIRL, and Charles Burnett's new cut of his landmark 1983 ghetto drama MY BROTHER'S WEDDING. And remember, if you snooze, you lose--the glut of releases may result in some of these closing sooner than they deserve.
UNIVERSAL'S CLASSIC HORROR MONSTER MASH features screenings of Frankenstein (1931), Dracula (1931), The Wolf Man (1941), and Phantom of the Opera (1925), with live introductions by Sara Karloff (daughter of Boris), Ron Chaney (great-grandson of Lon), and Bela Lugosi Jr. a Fri-Sun, Hollywood Boulevard, 1001 W. 75th, Woodridge, 630-427-1800, $8.
Reader contributor DAVID WHITEIS will introduce a screening of Tom Palazzolo's 1984 documentary At Maxwell Street, with Palazzolo attending. a 8 PM, Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark, 773-293-1447, $8. --J.R. Jones
Reader critic Don Druker called Ingmar Bergman's The Magician--based on Magic, a play by G.K. Chesterton that Bergman had mounted at the Gothenburg City Theater in 1947--one of the director's "most tightly structured and frightening films." Now National Pastime Theater artistic director Laurence Bryan has adapted the film back to the stage. The press release for THE MAGICIAN, opening tonight, promises "lurid events of seduction, deceit and magical amazement." Rest in peace, Ingmar. a 8 PM, National Pastime Theater, 4139 N. Broadway, 773-327-7077 or npt2.com, $25.
The four leads of the touring production of JERSEY BOYS (see Critic's Choice), the musical based on the careers of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, sign copies of the cast CD and the accompanying book--full of backstage photos of, uh, the New York production. They'll also be autographing glossies from their show. a 6 PM, Borders, 150 N. State, 312-606-0750. F
Northlight begins its second season of INTERPLAY, a series of staged readings of new plays, with a couple of big guns. Star Trek's George Takei, now a TV star all over again in Heroes, joins France Nuyen for a reading of Kenneth Lin's Po Boy Tango, about two lonely souls coming together through the foods of their different cultures. On December 17 John Mahoney joins Mike Nussbaum in reading a new romantic comedy by Larry Gelbart and Craig Wright. a 7:30 PM, Northlight Theatre, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, 847-673-6300, $15. --Patrick Daily
There's now poetry and music at iO. After branching out with stand-up earlier this year, the comedy institution has added A Moment Alone, a revue written and directed by Seth Weitberg, which includes poems, monologues, and "60s-era soul ballads" performed by a ten-member ensemble. a 9 PM, iO, 3541 N. Clark, 773-880-0199, $7.
You don't have to wait till April for a Chicago Improv Festival production. For the second straight year, CIF has teamed with the Chicago Park District to present Teen Comedy Fest, a showcase of CIF-trained local high school groups. a Fri and Sat, 7 and 9 PM, South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Dr., 312-742-7529 or 312-747-2001, $10. --Ryan Hubbard
Think dance is important but have trouble putting that into words? Kairol Rosenthal offers "25 techniques for transforming written brainstorms into well-crafted compositions" in her workshop English 101: Writing for Artists, intended to boost the appeal of grant proposals and marketing materials. a 2:30-5 PM, Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield, 773-281-0824, $25.
As part of a partnership with the Chicago Public Schools, Zephyr Dance teaches kids math and Spanish through dancing. You can do these do-gooders some good by attending their fund-raiser, which includes food, drinks, dancing, and a silent auction. a 7:30 PM, Cortelyou Commons, DePaul University, 2342 N. Fremont, 773-489-5069, $75.
The city hosts Dance for the Camera, two evenings of dance films. Chicago filmmakers include John Boesche and Logan Kibens, Susan Aldous, and Daniele Wilmouth. Among the out-of-towners are New Yorker David Rousseve and Benoit Dervaux of France. a Reception Wed 6 PM, panel discussion Thu 6 PM, screenings 6:30 PM both nights, Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630. F --Laura Molzahn
The artist zine Works Cited hosts the Works Cited Photo Studio. Have your photo taken, then defaced. The results will be compiled into a "yearbook" at eyerocketbooks.com, but you can take a copy of your pic home. a 7 PM, Quimby's Bookstore, 1854 W. North, 773-342-0910. F
Explore Literary Chicago in a tour of neighborhoods and sites that have appeared in works by well-known authors, playwrights, and poets. It's led by historian Albert Walavich; lunch at a local restaurant is included. a 10 AM-3 PM, departing from the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-742-1190 or chicagoneighborhoodtours.com, $45-$50, reservations required.
StoryStudio Chicago launches its Saturday Salon Series. Each installment focuses on a different aspect of the craft of writing. First topic: "About Character." a 10 AM-12:30 PM, 4043 N. Ravenswood #222, 773-477-7710 or storystudiochicago.com, $40.
Best-selling novelists John Grisham and Scott Turow, both of whom are also lawyers, speak about their opposition to the death penalty at a benefit for Northwestern University School of Law's Center on Wrongful Convictions. Trib editorial writer Cornelia Grumman moderates; state appellate defender Theodore A. Gottfried receives a lifetime achievement award. a 7 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 312-503-2391 or centeronwrongfulconvictions.org, $50-$100. --Jerome Ludwig