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Weekend Roundup: The Necessary Distractions Edition

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 9, 2005 8:00PM

It’s a bad sign when even watching the news makes you miserable. While the flood waters have started to recede along the Gulf Coast and positive stories are emerging about Katrina survivors reunited with their families, the 24/7 aftermath coverage and Oprah’s inspired but rather graphic reporting have worn us down. As we approach the anniversary of another tragedy, we will set aside time to reflect but still plan to get on with our weekend.

Coyote festival.gifAnd what a weekend! The Around the Coyote Festival, the Midwest's largest multimedia arts fest and one of our favorites, invades Wicker Park and Bucktown tonight through Sunday. Young visual artists have traditionally been the festival's centerpiece, and for $5 you can tour the Flat Iron Building, the Wicker Park Fieldhouse, and smaller galleries on nearby Milwaukee Avenue. Dance companies take over the Vittum Theater, while cinephiles invade Rodan. For $10, theater lovers can come and go all weekend from the Chopin Theater, Open End Gallery and Pritzker Elementary School to enjoy monologues from the Sweat Girls, learn about obscure Biblical women, and find out those 563 other things to do with a peanut. The cheaper alternative: hang around Wicker Park for the free “guerilla theater” of Tantatlus’ Pizza Box Project, the children’s verses, and puppets doing Kafka. Or just admit you’d rather hang out in Club Lucky, Cans, or Piece for local indie rock.

Midwestern lit logo.jpgWe’ve harped on the suburbs before, but we’re giving Aurora its due (and our gas money) for hosting the excellent and free Midwestern Literary Arts Festival. Lit Rock Stars Elizabeth Berg, Peter Straub, and Steve Alten will drop in, so will Trib rock critic Greg Kot and two out of town counterparts, and Friends of Chicagoist Kevin Smokler and Kevin Guilfoile.

Meanwhile back at the Pritzker Pavilion, Political Rock Star and Senator Barack Obama will channel Abe Lincoln via Aaron Copland as part of Millennium Park’s Blockbuster Weekend. Backing him up is The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, who also present Charles Ives’ patriotic tribute and a Rimsky-Korsakov classic. The Park’s “Weekend” stretches into Monday for the Steppenwolf’s rendition of Studs Terkel’s Will The Circle Be Unbroken?

Or if you’re looking for something more down to earth, consider the neighborhood fests in “Villeta” and Ukrainian Village, the Caribbean/African Festival of Life, or Lincoln Square’s German-American Fest.

Around the Coyote Fall Arts Festival
In venues throughout Wicker Park and Bucktown

Midwestern Literary Arts Festival
In venues throughout Downtown Aurora

Millennium Park’s Blockbuster Weekend
Pritzker Pavilion, N Michigan Avenue and E Washington Street

Little Village Festival
26th Street and Kostner Avenue

Ukranian Village Fest
750 North Oakley
$5 donation requested

Caribbean/African Festival of Life
Foss Park Community Center
1730 Lewis Avenue
North Chicago, Illinois
$10 admission

German-American Fest
Lincoln Avenue and Leland Street

Images via Around the Coyote and The Midwestern Literary Arts Festival