Friday 9/10 – Thursday 9/16


by Mike Sula

10 FRIDAY The new musical Lobster Boy! is based on the life of Grady Stiles Jr., a Florida man who parlayed ectrodactylism–a condition resulting in clawlike arms and stumpy legs–into a successful career as a circus freak until his wife had him killed in 1992. It opens tonight at 8 and runs through October 31 at the Duncan YMCA Chernin’s Center for the Arts, 1001 W. Roosevelt. Tickets are $22, $18 for students and seniors. Call 312-902-1500.

No, Mummenschanz is not High German for “will mime for toilet paper” but actually means something like “mask luck.” The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade perennials will mime tonight at 8 and through Sunday at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. Tickets are $28 to $45, half price for kids under 12; call 312-902-1500. See the Critic’s Choice in Section Two for more.

11 SATURDAY “Men have enjoyed eating oysters since they were not much more than monkeys,” wrote M.F.K. Fisher. The Irish have celebrated the consumption of the briny bivalves with stout and black bread since the first Galway International Oyster Festival in 1953. A facsimile of the original fest, the Guinness Oyster Festival in Chicago, commences this morning at 11 and runs till 10 at the corner of North and Wells with bands, shucking contests, and other mollusk-related activities. It’s a $5 suggested donation for admission, but pints and oysters cost extra. Call 773-868-3010 for more.

The explosion in independent music over the last ten years nurtured a corresponding renaissance in rock ‘n’ roll poster art. Artist Bob Hartzell feels it’s time for a trip down memory lane. The first annual Chicago Independent Poster Art Show, which opened yesterday, features the work of Hartzell, Crosshair, Jay Ryan, Kristen Thiele, Archer Prewitt, Chris Ware, and other local and national artists who illustrated the indie boom. It continues through September 25 from noon to six at the Butcher Shop Gallery, 1319 W. Lake, third floor (312-666-4566). It’s free.

12 SUNDAY The Best of the Midwest Market is the Whole Foods in a cornfield of Jewel-caliber farmers’ markets. Now in its 11th year, the market features top-shelf produce, cheeses, meats, breads, and booze from over 70 sellers as well as seminars like “Green Genes: The Debate About Genetically Engineered Food” and cooking demos from Blackbird’s Paul Kahan, Gordon’s Don Yamauchi, and others. It runs from 9:30 to 4 rain or shine at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe. Tickets are $12, $9 in advance. Call 800-772-6544.

The Good Book says “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” so there’s no reason to doubt Luther Memorial Church’s claim to have built the world’s largest banana split three years in a row. The 20-to-28-foot-long confection is laid out in under five minutes in plastic roof gutters and eaten following an outdoor service and hot-dog lunch that kick off the fall Sunday-school season. The congregation will attempt to earn its fourth title today around 11:30 during the 102nd Annual Rally Day Celebration at 2500 W. Wilson. It’s free. Call 773-539-3018 for more.

13 MONDAY An 1897 Eliot Hickory bicycle with wood frame and spokes once exhibited at the Museum of Science and Industry is one of nearly 250 rare, vintage, and classic bikes and motorcycles on the block at Sotheby’s Motorcycles and Bicycles auction. It’s estimated the bike will fetch $12,000 to $15,000, but the accompanying exhibition is free–and so is registration for the auction, provided you can prove that you can pay for what you bid on. The bikes are on display through Sunday and bidding begins at 1 today at 215 W. Ohio. Call 312-396-9599.

No musician will be turned away from the Park District’s City-Wide Symphony Orchestra, though it’s looking for string, brass, and woodwind players. Rehearsals for the 53rd season begin tonight and continue every Monday at 7 at the Jefferson Park field house, 4822 N. Long. Yearly dues are $10. Call 773-774-0675 for details.

14 TUESDAY Today the Chicago Council on Urban Affairs will release the results of its $75,000 citywide survey on perceptions about youth crime and the juvenile justice system at its annual meeting aboard the Ft. Dearborn in Lake Michigan. The evening includes food, drink, and a review of the public policy organization’s accomplishments. Lu Bailey, the group’s president, doesn’t want to give away any surprises, but she will say that the survey points to a “need for more discussion regarding youth crime.” Registration starts at 5:30 and costs $30 for nonmembers. The boat leaves at 6 PM sharp from the Ogden Slip at North Pier; enter at 465 E. Illinois. Call 312-782-3511 for more.

Guitarist-percussionist Nelson Sosa’s “La Bamba” program explores the way culture and geography have influenced the music of Central and South America and the Caribbean. He’s the warm-up act for a panoply of free events taking place during Hispanic Heritage Month at Chicago Public Library branches. Sosa starts at 6:30 at the Rudy Lozano branch, 1805 S. Loomis (312-746-4329).

15 WEDNESDAY A dog can sometimes detect a body 100 feet underwater, says Theresa Stark, spokesperson for Locators of the Missing, a squad of four human and five canine volunteers trained in tracking and cadaver recovery. So far this year the Arlington Heights-based group has participated in six search-and-rescue operations; most recently it helped the Coast Guard look for seven-year-old Madeline Bull. Stark will discuss the group and its mission tonight at a meeting of the Northwest Animal League. It’s at 7 at the Barrington Area Library, 505 N. Northwest Highway in Barrington. It’s free. Call 847-550-6925 for more information.

Reader plug corner: Spot Check scribe Monica Kendrick will read tonight from her forthcoming chapbook Time Unaccounted [For…], accompanied by Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and Ken Vandermark on sax. An open mike starts at 7:30 and Kendrick and poet Simone Muench follow at the Guild Complex at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. It’s $5, $3 for open-mike participants. Call 773-296-1268, ext. 26.

Tonight new daddy Dan Savage will read from and sign copies of The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant–An Adoption Story, which was excerpted in these pages last week. He’ll begin at 7:30 at Unabridged Bookstore, 3251 N. Broadway (773-883-9119).

16 THURSDAY With millions in tourist dough at stake, there’s a high-powered cabal forming to bring the 2006 Gay Games to Chicago. The nonprofit Chicago 2006 is electing its board of directors tonight at a kickoff party and hopes to attract individuals with the marketing, fund-raising, management, and fiduciary skills to beat attempts by competing cities to land the games through bribery or influence peddling. The cash bar opens at 5:30 and the voting starts at 6:45 at Ann Sather, 929 W. Belmont. It’s free. Call 312-409-2983.