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Puppetropolis Chicago

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Jiminy Cricket! The city of Chicago has teamed up with a slew of local agencies, cultural institutions, and theater companies to produce a puppetry festival whose offerings range from family oriented to adult in nature and display a wide variety of styles and cultural sensibilities. Puppetropolis Chicago officially opens June 14 and runs through June 24, though activities actually begin June 12. The following schedule lists performance descriptions, venues, times, prices, and phone numbers for tickets; for general festival information (including details on the workshops and exhibits that complement the performances), call 312-744-3315 or visit www.cityofchicago.org/specialevents.

Here's the schedule for June 12 through 14.

TUESDAY, JUNE 12

Urban Dream Capsule

You've heard of reality TV; get ready for reality window displays at Sears's new Loop outlet, which is hosting the U.S. premiere of this "interactive window theater" piece from Australia. For two weeks beginning today, four artists from down under will take up residence in the department store's street-level windows, where they'll be visible nonstop, unguarded by shades or shutters from the eyes of passersby. (Not that anything they do could be as odd as what you can see on State Street any day of the week.) Sears on State, 2 N. State, starting at noon today and running 24 hours a day through June 25. Free; call 773-722-5463.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13

Urban Dream Capsule

See listing for Tuesday. Sears on State, 2 N. State. Free; call 773-722-5463.

THURSDAY, JUNE 14

Urban Dream Capsule

See listing for Tuesday. Sears on State, 2 N. State. Free; call 773-722-5463.

Opening Celebration

Chicago's Redmoon Theater, a local pioneer in combining puppet techniques with experimental theater, officially launches Puppetropolis Chicago with this open-air event. The evening will showcase performers on portable "Street Stages" designed by veteran Chicago puppet-theater artist Blair Thomas. International puppet pros will be joined by local youngsters who developed original shows this spring in workshops at community centers and parks around the city. The celebration also includes free admission to the Field Museum and its two puppet-related exhibits, Julie Taymor: Playing With Fire and Kinetosaurs: Putting Some Teeth Into Art and Science. Field Museum of Natural History, north lawn, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., 6 to 9 PM. Free; call 312-744-3315.

Teatro Hugo & Ines

In their new production, Short Stories, Hugo Suarez and Ines Pasic combine puppetry with mime and dance, turning their knees, hands, feet, and elbows into puppet characters with the aid of ingenious miniature costumes and their own fabulously flexible joints. Suarez, a onetime street mime born in Lima, Peru, teamed up with Pasic (who hails from Bosnia and Herzegovina) in the mid-80s; the duo is well-known from their appearances at festivals around the world (they were last in Chicago in 1996). This charming and imaginative family show is presented by Performing Arts Chicago in association with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E. Washington, 7 PM. $15; call 773-722-5463.

Tedium

Chicago's experimental, directorless Theater Oobleck presents a puppet play created by playwright Mickle Maher and puppet designer Shoshanna Utchenik, about a small theater company whose terrible show turns into a surprise hit. Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark, 8 PM. $10, "more if you've got it, free if you're broke"; call 773-561-3039.

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