STD (Stuff to Do)—May 2, 2008

By Ben Rossi

Friday / May 2

Reputed by the Chicago Reader’s Jonathan Rosenbaum to be the greatest film ever made, Alain Resnais’s 1961 Last Year at Marienbad was a landmark of the French New Wave and has remained a critical darling 40 years after. The premise of the feature is simple: Did a man have an affair with a woman he just met? Not to be missed. (3733 North Southport Avenue, 7:20 p.m., $9.25)

A probing new documentary by that king of documentaries, Errol Morris (director of Fog of War, an unsettling interview-based account of Robert MacNamara’s career), opens tonight at the Landmark. In Standard Operating Procedure, Morris again explores the exigencies of war with interviews of the principle actors. The film covers the events at Abu Ghraib using interviews of the soldiers involved. (2828 North Clark Street, 10:20 p.m., $10)

Featuring hundreds of artists and performances by dozens of bands, the second annual Looptopia is an all-night party that fills downtown Chicago with hundreds of thousands of people and lots of weird art. It’s sheer madness for 14 hours—a Hobbesian state of nature in which the moral laws binding society are temporarily revoked. Not really, but it’s still pretty exciting. (The Loop, 5 p.m., free)

Saturday / May 3

The third annual Progressive Gala: Women in Washington features renowned feminist Gloria Steinem speaking to students at Ratner Athletic Center tonight. Steinem has been an advocate for women’s rights since the 1970s, when she first went undercover to write a story about how Playboy bunnies were treated at the Playboy mansion. Two panels on women of color in politics and reproductive rights will follow at the Smart Museum. Female spoken word artists will perform as well, and dinner will be served. (Ratner Athletic Center and the Smart Museum, 5:30 p.m. at Ratner and 7 p.m. at Smart, $5 in advance, $7 at the door)

The Life of the Mind, a play by fourth-year Zack Hill, shows tonight at the Third Floor Theater of the Reynolds Club. The show, a UT spotlight directed by Deena Heller, is a satire of life at the University of Chicago that pokes fun at activities, the administration, “that kids,” Scav Hunt, and Student Government. According to Hill, it’s a real corker. (Francis X. Kinahan Third Floor Theater, 9 p.m., free)

Sunday / May 4

Catch a brilliant re-imagining of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s 1979 musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in its last run at the Cadillac Palace Theatre tonight. Stripping down the cast to 10 performers and greatly simplifying the orchestration, this production ain’t nothing like the movie. This Sweeney has the same obsessive quality as its main character, focusing single-mindedly on his insanity. (151 West Randolph Street, 7:30 p.m., $25–$75)

Monday / May 5

Dudley Nicholas’s 1947 adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s epic Mourning Becomes Electra screens at Doc tonight. Though panned when it opened, it has undergone significant critical reevaluation, and is today considered a masterpiece by some. See what you think. (Max Palevsky Cinema, 7 p.m., $5)

Tuesday / May 6

See Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors in previews at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre tonight. This farce about mistaken identities has been transported to a 1940s English movie set in this production. You might have to eat candy bars for dinner for the rest of week, though. (800 East Grand Avenue, 7:30 p.m., $54–$70)

Wednesday / May 7

Felt, an improvised puppet show playing at iO, finds rejected puppets—who have been edged out of the spotlight by Elmo, Chewbacca, McGruff the Crime Dog and the like—gathering in a dark alley near Sesame Street to deliver a smackdown. A different kind of improv, this one. (3541 North Clark Street, 8 p.m., $5)

Thursday / May 8

Examining the boundaries between animal, vegetable, and mineral with sculptures and painting, Paul Nudd and Casey Ann Wasniewski’s new exhibition at the Hyde Park Art Center, Dirty, demonstrates that—aesthetically speaking, at least—there’s not much of a difference between a rock ture natural, even grotesque textures, while Wasniewski’s sculptures…well, they resemble teratomas. Cool. (5020 South Cornell Avenue, 9 a.m.–8 p.m., free)