Once you've gone to the trouble of writing and publishing a book, wouldn't it be great to go work in a bookstore for a few hours to make sure people buy it? Christine Sneed, author of the critically-acclaimed novel Little Known Facts, will be doing just that at City Lit Books today. Bryan Gruley, who wrote the mystery Starvation Lake, will be on the job Monday.
Society makes us feel weird and bad for sitting around in bars while the sun is still up (unless sports are on TV—then anything goes). On the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, you can feel good about hunkering down at your neighborhood bar when it's only four in the afternoon, because it's probably dark out. And you can't really be depressed about it when you're wasted! Check our neighborhood bar guide for locale suggestions: chicagoreader.com/barguide.
To all you hard-core fans who took second mortgages and third jobs so you could afford to attend performance after performance of Wicked when it played Chicago from 2005 to 2009: the answer is yes, you'll be pleased with this touring production. To all you snoots who've disdained every opportunity to see the blockbuster musical since its Broadway premiere ten years ago: Give up. Now. Surrender, Dorothy, it's time. Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman's stage prequel to the 1939 movie version of The Wizard of Oz finds sophisticated themes in the tale of how Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, earned her defining adjective. Certainly, the show looks at the psychic effects and political uses of intolerance as it follows Elphaba's Bernardine Dohrn-esque evolution from honors student to outlaw. But viewing it this time around, I was especially affected by the way Schwartz and Holzman deal with experience—with the simple, difficult fact that what we do determines who we become, marking us permanently in ways we can't imagine even as the process is taking place. The witty book and songs are sharply realized here by a cast starring Alison Luff as Elphaba and charming Jenn Gambatese as the putatively "good" witch, Glinda. [Note that Gina Beck replaces Gambetese as of December 16 --TA.] (Singer/game show host John Davidson sneaks in there, too, as the Wizard.) And the visual effects are every bit as stunning as they should be—especially during the moment of Elphaba's transfiguration into, well, what experience makes of her. —Tony Adler $37-$107
Moore, the author of The Sherlockian and screenwriter for the forthcoming film adaptation of The Devil in the White City, leads a discussion following a performance of Raven Theatre's Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose. $20
A party for "lesbians and their friends." Festivities include an ugly Christmas sweater contest and solstice ritual. Also, eggnog. Sarah's Circle, a shelter for homeless women, will be on hand accepting donations. $7-$10
In the grand tradition of Medium, an ever-changing local collective of noise and drone devotees that's convened every New Year's Eve since 97 for a 24-hour drone, Solace is an abbreviated 12-hour drone. Participation is encouraged as long as you (1) do not disturb the drone, (2) enter and exit the drone undetected (i.e. fade in/fade out), (3) create no distortion or noise, and (4) do not disturb the drone. Libations served throughout.
The Logan Square bakery sets up shop at Quimby's. Gingerbread and dulce de leche cookies are for sale. Cupcakes, too. Vegan and gluten-free goodies can be preordered at papermoonpastry.com.
Danztheatre Ensemble brings together a diverse group of performers and directors to perform well-known theater scenes against type. Each scene will be followed by a brief Q&A. $20, $15 in advancehttp://danztheatre.org
LivingSocial hosts this craft brew celebration. Participating brewers include Evil Twin Brewing, Emmett's Brewing Company, and Speakeasy Ales & Lagers. $39-$59
All right, it's crunch time. Christmas is in three goddamn days and you still haven't finished shopping. Bitter Betty Bazaar Holiday Pop-Up Shop is giving you one last chance to shop local. There'll be loads of leather goods, spices, home decor, candles, bath products, prints, vintage stuff, and more. Bonus: they're serving boozy hot chocolate. Maybe procrastination isn't so bad.http://facebook.com/thebitterbettybazaar
It's now Day 22 of the Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas-movie siege. The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, which former Reader critic Dave Kehr described as "Preston Sturges's affably blasphemous version of the Nativity," is the antidote to all those sugarplums and saccharine. "Caustic and chaotic in the arch Sturges manner," Kehr wrote, "it's probably his funniest and most smilingly malicious film." $11
One of the highlights of Christmas in Chicago is this annual Redmoon event, this year featuring a cast of 40 dancers, acrobats, clowns, one aerialist, and an "epic surf instrumental band." Inspired by an allegory by the Persian poet Farid ud-Din Atta, the tale centers around a Pigeon (the magnificent Fernando Córdova Hernández), a Raven (Jay Cullen, assisted by Brennan Stacker), and lots of forest animals. Director Will Bishop keeps it cohesive, and often thrilling, with layer upon layer of spectacle: a stilt-walking Queen of the Forest, shadow puppets, skeleton masks, and a confetti-spouting cannon. The result is a community-building feat of artistry. It's a short run, though, so buy your ticket ASAP; this is one of the best things you'll see this year. —Suzanne Scanlon
I've been looking over the list of plays presented by Goodman Theatre's New Stages initiative since its inception ten years ago. Pretty impressive. The roughly annual festival offers staged readings and—since 2011—workshop productions of new work by interesting playwrights, and some of the free performances have that retrospective shoulda-been-there mystique theatergoers both love and dread. Just for example: the 2005 New Stages featured an early look at Elliot, a Soldier's Fugue, the Pulitzer Prize-nominated first third of a trilogy by Quiara Alegría Hudes (who went on to win a Pulitzer for the next third, Water by the Spoonful); 2006 saw The Brothers Size from Tarell Alvin McCraney's great "The Brother/Sister Plays"; and the 2007 edition gave us Lynn Nottage's devastating (and, yes, Pulitzer-winning) Ruined. This time around New Stages is concentrating entirely on Latino playwrights, which seems to have changed the dynamic somewhat. One play is returning for a workshop production after having already received a staged reading in 2012; two of the participating playwrights are a lot better established than has been the norm. There's a smaller pool, in short, with fewer wild cards. Continue reading >>
More than 60 artists present print works available for purchase on cards, books, T-shirts, and posters.
This outdoor market features seasonal produce, local crafts, and authentic Irish entertainment.http://montrosegreen.com