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Jul. 15 2010 - 11:37 pm | 306 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Chi-Town Countdown: 16 things to do in Chicago, July 16-31, 2010

A Vince Vaughn show, free concerts, record release gigs and one of the biggest music festivals of the year are all on tap for the rest of the month. Chicago Beat’s 16 picks for things to do are:

1. “The Girl Who Played With Fire” (Ongoing) — The film version of the second installment in the late Stieg Larsson’s wildly popular “Millennium” trilogy is one of the biggest foreign hits to play this year. No surprise there. But you can think local movie distributor Music Box Films for bringing the Swedish flick stateside. Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport. Click here for showtimes.

2. “Inception” (Ongoing) – One of these days, Chicago-born cinematographer Wally Pfister, the man who shot out city like never before for “The Dark Knight,” is going to pick up the Oscar. Could it be for this seemingly gorgeous new sci-fi thriller, directed by “Dark Knight” director Christopher Nolan? At either rate, the film should be a feast for the eyes, especially in IMAX. (For more on Pfister, check out this great interview over at Cinematical). Navy Pier IMAX Theater, 700 E. Grand. $13-17. Click here for showtimes and to buy tickets.

3. Pitchfork Music Festival (July 16-18): If you scored tickets for one of the most anticipated fests of the summer, make sure you show the local acts some love. Friday features Chicago native comedian Hannibal Buress (4:45 p.m. at Stage B); Saturday includes psych pop band Netherfriends (1 p.m. Stage B), garage rockers Smith Westerns (5:45 p.m. Stage B); and on Sunday Spanish psychedelic ensemble Alla (1 p.m. Stage A) and improv heavy, ambient-leaning Cave (1 p.m. Stage B). Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph. Friday, 3:30-10; Saturday and Sunday 1-10.

4. Jenny Gillespie (July 17) – Singer-songwriter Gillespie lends her lovely voice to a new album “Kindred,” celebrated at this record release show. Martyrs’, 3855 N. Lincoln. 7 p.m. $7. Tickets available here.

5. Dylan Rice Band and Milhous (July 17) – The Dylan Rice Band is finally celebrating its album released in March, while Milhous, a pop and country-influenced Chicago act, reunites for the first time since 1999 for one night only in celebration of a newly released best of album. Martyrs’, 3855 N. Lincoln. 9:30 p.m. $10. Tickets available here.

6. Welcome to Ashley (July 17) – Local post punk act has a welcoming sound and a solid new effort, “Beyond The Pale.” Quenchers, 2401 N. Western. 9 p.m. $5 donation.

7. “Les Enfants Terribles—Prom Night” (July 19-August 14)Red Tape Theatre presents a show packed with commedia, improv and circus, and boasts that folks who love 500 Clown and sensations Blue Man Group will dig this show, claiming its “unlike anything you’ve seen on the stages of Chicago.” One way to find out. The second floor at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 621 W. Belmont. $10-20. Tickets and schedule available here.

8. Kid Sister (July 19) – If you haven’t had your chance to lend an ear to one of Chicago’s most talented, original hip hop stars, here’s your chance to see what will undoubtedly be an electric show for free on what looks to be a beautiful evening. Part of the Downtown Sound free concert series. Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park (Michigan and Randolph). 6:30 p.m. Free.

9. “Planet Earth Live” (July 21) – No doubt the breathtaking cinematography made the landmark nature series “Planet Earth” so special, but it was George Fenton’s sweeping score that made it cinematic. Fenton conducts the Grant Park Orchestra at this show, part of the Grant Park Music Festival, alongside clips from the series. Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park (Michigan and Randolph). 8:15 p.m. Free.

10. The Faint (July 23) – The synth is the new guitar, and dance music the new alt rock. But given its harder edge and addictive beats (and yes, some guitar), The Faint, despite working in a crowded field, is one of the finest acts of its kind out there. Metro, 3730 N. Clark St. 9 p.m. $20. Tickets here.

11. Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show (July 23) — Chicago guy and future father Vaughn resurrects his solid stand-up comedy tour from 2006 for one night in Chicago. Kevin James, his co-star in the film being shot in Chicago this summer (directed by Ron Howard), co-hosts. Park West, 322 W. Armitage. 9 p.m. $50. Tickets available here.

12. The Backyard Film & Music Festival (July 24) – Local filmmaker Fred Koschmann moves his three-year-old homegrown film fest (complete with live band performances) from his own backyard to a 12-acre site that once housed a railcar factory. Among the highlights on the bill: “A Sip from a Certain Fountain,” a “Twilight Zone”-style short from local filmmakers Christian Gridelli and Hunter Norris. Pullman State Historic Site, 11057 S. Cottage Grove. 12 p.m. $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Tickets available here.

13. In, Flew Ants (July 25) – With a challenging experimental sound, this is bound to be the strangest record release show in Chicago. Schubas, 3159 N. Southport. 7:30 p.m. $10. Tickets available here.

14. Jump Smokers (July 27) – Jump Smokers brings old school, funktastic dance music for its new album “Dance Rock Shake Pop,” celebrated at this show. Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln. 9 p.m. $5, free admission if you show up before 10 p.m. Tickets available here.

15. Todd Carey (July 29) – If Carey keeps releasing cheery, frothy pop songs like “After the Morning After,” expect to hear him more on the radio. Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln. 8 p.m. $10. Tickets available here.

16. Reds and Blue (July 30) – Dreamy psychedelic band plays in celebration of its album “Son of the Stars.” Schubas, 3159 N. Southport. 10 p.m. $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Tickets available here.


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    About Me

    I came to Chicago for college because I liked the look of fire escapes snaking down alleyways, because I wanted to see what this Second City comedy thing was all about, because "The Blues Brothers" and "The Untouchables" made it look like the coolest city ever. And while I've never been chased down by hundreds of cop cars or involved in a slow motion shootout on the steps at Union Station, I still find Chicago to be the greatest city in the world. Architecture, food, Midwestern values and people aside, it's the arts scene that really makes Chicago come alive, be it the witty and wonderful wordplay over at The Second City and Steppenwolf, or the stirring sounds of the city's orchestra or rock bands at Schubas and Metro, or the mind-blowing flicks I've caught at the Music Box (including David Cronenberg's classic "Scanners," in which a mind does literally blow).

    I've lived in Chicago on and off since 2001, and having done the entertainment reporting thing ever since, it's my honor to report on the city's movie, music and performance scenes for True/Slant. I consider it a mission from God.

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