The Reader Agenda 

Literary fare, a circus party, distillery tours, and more

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Thursday, July 28

Friday, July 29

Saturday, July 30

Sunday, July 31

Monday, August 1

Tuesday, August 2

Wednesday, August 3

Thursday, July 28

Poetry in motion

Sure, there are plenty of Chicago ghost tours and riverboat tours, but for the truly nerdy, there's the Poetry Slam Double Decker Bus Tour. Hosted by slam poets Tim Stafford and Lazer Ray, the tour visits "some of the most momentous, historic poetry slam spots" in the city—and makes a few detours for performances by Marty McConnell, Robbie Q. Telfer, and Word Alert. It's part of the Poetry Slam 25th Anniversary Extravaganza, held Sat 7/30 at the Metro. 8-11 PM, starts and ends at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, 847-556-8679, $10, or free with a paid ticket to the 25th Anniversary Extravaganza.

More geeky book stuff . . .

The Newberry Library's 27th annual book fair offers more than 120,000 used books in 70 categories, most of them for less than two dollars apiece. Required reading: the book fair's blog, which has a Q&A with entries like, "Q: Are you air-conditioned? A: Yes. But don't expect to be OVERLY cool when you're surrounded by other avid bookhunters." Thu-Fri noon-8 PM, Sat-Sun 10 AM-6 PM, Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton, 312-255-3556.

Friday, July 29

. . . and yet more for lit lovers

The Whitechapel Club has been defunct for more than 100 years, but tonight's Printers' Ball is your chance to be inducted into the "late-19th-century Chicago press club that gathered journalists for general carousing in quarters connected to crime." The ball also features a larger-than-life-size Ouija board from the Chicago Underground Library, a "horrific poem-film" by Simone Muench, an animated preview of the novel Ghosts by Cesar Aira, and a literary costume competition. 6-11 PM, Columbia College, the Ludington Building, 1104 S. Wabash.

Insert hipster joke here

Starting tonight, the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival aims to transform Logan Square's commercial corridor into a full-blown arts district. In addition to art exhibitions and pop-up galleries, there will be dance performances, short plays, film shorts, kids' activities, and bands including White Mystery and the Hood Internet. Food will be served by food trucks the Gaztro-Wagon, Taquero Fusion, and the brand-new Wagyu Wagon, and Gypsy, a pop-up restaurant at Logan Square Kitchen (2333 N. Milwaukee) will feature a menu by guest chefs from La Sardine and Le Bouchon. Revolution Brewing, Lula Cafe, and Telegraph will be selling beer, wine, and sangria. Fri 4-11 PM, Sat-Sun noon-11 PM, Milwaukee Avenue between Kimball and California, $5 suggested donation.

Saturday, July 30

Some freaks to go with the geeks

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Circus-training school Aloft celebrates the opening of its new 8,000-square-foot facility with Bigger—which, they say, is "not just a party for circus freaks." There will, however, be circus freaks performing, as well as a B-52s cover band, a stilt-walking fashion show, "larger than life treats," and an open bar. The event is also a fund-raiser for the new space. 8 PM-midnight, the Aloft Loft, 2041 W. Carroll, 773-782-6662, $50.

Roller party

The Windy City Rollers host their first home interleague bout of the season; they've been on the road for all their previous national meets this year. WCR's Second Wind battles the Gotham Girls' Wall Street Traitors for the Skyline Cup (currently in the hands of the Gotham Girls), then the WCR All-Stars, currently ranked 10th nationally, face off against the 17th-ranked Steel City Derby Demons. 6 PM, UIC Pavilion, 525 S. Racine, $20, $35 VIP.

Sunday, July 31

A boy and his what?

Tonight's your last chance to catch the play A Boy and His Vagina, or Twat What You Will: One Woman's Journey to the Pulitzer at Mary's Attic. Justin Hayford writes, "Playwrights Joe Feliciano and Michelle Zlatanovski—who also star—combine transgressive smarts with vile whimsy to create a freewheeling swoon, admirably devoid of redeeming social purpose, about a cabal of accidental terrorists, billionaire lesbians, and vaginal artisans (don't ask) conspiring to thwart Kirk Cameron's plot to destroy the world." 7 PM, Mary's Attic Theatre, 5400 N. Clark, 773-784-6969, $15.

Monday, August 1

Art imitating life, with popcorn

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Confined to a storefront window at Ashland and Milwaukee, a man is required to watch films for 72 hours straight. Torture plot or performance art? According to the people behind short-film contest Windie City Shootout ("Chicago's only 72-hour film race," which takes place August 12-15), it's art. Member Jason Elewski will be on display starting at noon today, where he'll remain for three days watching movies; observers can watch the movies and chat with him via online chat. 1913 N. Milwaukee.

Tuesday, August 2

Hot laughs

In keeping with the recent weather, the theme for this month's Funny Ha-Ha reading series is Hot Stuff. Performers include "Ask Amy" columnist Amy Dickinson, Sunday Night Sex Show contributor Samantha Irby, comedian James Fritz, writer Ian Belknap (pictured), and Jezebel blogger—and the Reader's "Best twitterer who still has fewer than 1,000 followers" (an award that, at a month old, is already outdated)—Erin Gloria Ryan. 7-8:30 PM, the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433, $5 suggested donation.

Wednesday, August 3

Booze walking (er, stumbling) tour

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Chicago's first craft distillery since Prohibition, Koval, offers a look at the facility where its whiskeys (both white and aged), liqueurs, brandy, and vodka are produced. The one-and-a-half-hour tour includes tastes of the spirits and ends in the tasting room, where you can buy even more booze. Tours take place most Wednesdays at 7 PM and Saturdays at 3 and 5 PM. 7 PM, Koval Distillery, 5121 N. Ravenswood, 312-878-7988, $10, reservations required.

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