Voices STD (Stuff to Do) (October 3 – 9)

Music, biking, plays

By Christine Yang

Friday / October 3

The Messiaen Music Festival, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Olivier Messiaen’s birth, opens with a special performance of Debussy’s Petite Suite by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. There will be a pre-concert conversation with conductor Pierre-Laurent Aimard and British composer Gerard McBurney. The festival continues through October 11 with performances, lectures, master classes, and symposia on campus and downtown. (Mandel Hall, 6:15 pre-concert conversation, $5 for students, for more information go to chicagopresents.edu)

Saturday / October 4

The South Side History Bike Ride takes advantage of the not-so-cold weather, treating participants to a tour of the South Side with guides Dean of the College John Boyer and Dean of the Social Sciences J. Mark Hansen, among others. Highlights include the house of former mayor Richard J. Daley, the Hull House, and historic Bronzeville. (Bartlett Quad, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., free)

The Gene Siskel Film Center kicks off its 19th annual Festival of Films from Iran with Reza Mir-Karimi’s As Simple as That. With the kind of dry wit typical of an American sitcom like Desperate Housewives, the film unfolds a day in the life of Tahareh, an Iranian housewife struggling with a failing marriage. (Gene Siskel Film Center, 6:15 p.m., $7 for students)

Taking a page from other “where are they now” pop groups that have made comebacks this year, early ’90s sensation New Kids on the Block rolls into Allstate Arena tonight on the back of their recent album The Block. Even though some date the extinction of the boy bands to the breakup of *NSYNC, NKOTB are poised to make a killing from their die-hard fans. (Allstate Arena, 8 p.m., $35)

Sunday / October 5

Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac’s original manuscript for his autobiographical novel On the Road makes its Chicago stop of a grand world tour. The 120-foot manuscript includes Kerouac’s original edits as well as the real names of the characters before they were changed for publication. (600 South Michigan Avenue, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., free)

Monday / October 6

Eccentric folk artist and feminist Ani DiFranco graces the Chicago Theatre as part of her tour to promote both her new album Red Letter Year and her political views. (Chicago Theatre, 8 p.m., $38)

Tuesday / October 7

Japanese writer Haruki Murakami’s novel Kafka on the Shore, about teenage runaway Kafka Tamura and “cat whisperer” Satoru Nakata, is brought to the stage in a world premiere adaptation at the Steppenwolf Theater. Director Frank Galati also adapted and directed Murakami’s earlier work after the quake in 2005, although unlike that show Kafka will be noticeably devoid of giant frogs. (Steppenwolf Theater, 7:30 p.m., $20)

Wednesday / October 8

Ever since its construction in 2003, the Three Gorges Dam in China has opened the floodgates to both environmental and social controversies. The Smart Museum’s latest exhibit, Displacement, features work addressing these issues by four contemporary Chinese artists. The displacement of millions of people and the destruction of scenery and Chinese antiquities is vividly, and chillingly, on display. (Smart Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., free)

Thursday / October 9

Bay Area band the Matches brings its sugary and upbeat music to Chicago as they go on tour with equally poppy bands Bayside, The Status, and Valencia. Expect this to be an evening of pre-pubescent giddiness. (Metro, 6 p.m., $17)

As part of its Andy Warhol Thursday night specials, Doc shows Haircut No. 1, Eat, and Blowjob. These three films put a new perspective on three seemingly ordinary and (somewhat) mundane activities. Perhaps most controversial of the three is Blowjob a 35-minute film featuring a close-up of a man’s face as he receives fellatio. (Max Palevsky Cinema, 9 p.m., $5)