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Oscar Schmoscar: Alternatives for Academy Award Haters

By Marcus Gilmer in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 22, 2008 5:45PM

More fascinated by Kelis' milkshake than Daniel Plainview's? Is the only Oscar you'll watch living in a garbage can? Then this Sunday probably means nothing to you. You're burnt out on the "glitz" and "glamor" of the night, not to mention the drama surrounding that writers strike.

Of course, it's never too early to make alternative plans! While all your friends and compulsive gamblers are setting up their Oscar pools and getting ready to check out what celebrities look best in clothes that cost more than we make in a year, busy yourself with one of these five alternatives this weekend

1. Eager to try one of the restaurants you've heard so much about from friends or read about on this site? Check out this list and see if that restaurant is participating in Chicago Restaurant Week, featuring special dinner menus and deals.

2008_02_secondcity.jpg2. Haven't scoped out Second City in a while? The Main Stage will be performing their current hit showcase "Between Barack and a New Show." Still haven't seen the e.t.c. stage's excellent "Pratfall of Civilization" which concludes its run on Sunday? Both shows start at 7pm, cost $19, and still have available tickets.

3. If performance art is your thing, check out the Red Rover experimental reading series at The Spareroom in Humboldt Park. This week's show features Cris Cheek and David Buuck. It's BYOB, starts at 7pm, and admission is a $3 suggested donation.

4. Missed out on Wilco's Riv Residency? Well, occasional actor Jon Bon Jovi is hitting town with his band for a two-night stand. Sunday's show at the United Center starts at 7:30pm. Tickets range from $19.50 to $129.50 (before service charges) and are, shockingly, still available. American Idol has-been Daughtry opens the show.

5. Read a damn book! While we're partial to anything written by Beverly Cleary, there are several books at your local library about Chicago you haven't read yet. Recent Chicago-centric releases include Frank Nitti: The True Story of Chicago's Notorious Enforcer by Ronald Humble, Sudhir Venkatesh's account of befriending a Chicago crack gang Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets, and the collection The People Are the News: Grant Pick's Chicago Stories. So go check 'em out! (See what we did there? "Check 'em out?" Yeah?)

Second City image taken from the Second City website.