Friday | March 30
Benjamin Busch, best known for his portrayal of Anthony Colicchio on HBO’s The Wire, is a photographer, an actor, an indie film director, and now also a writer, following in his novelist father’s footsteps. Busch will be at The Book Cellar signing copies of his new memoir Dust to Dust, which chronicles his childhood in upstate New York, his experience as a Marine Corps officer, and the deaths of his parents. 4736 North Lincoln Avenue. 7 p.m., free.
Chicago Careers in Journalism and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies will host a conference on recent events in the Middle East in the East Lounge of Ida Noyes. “The Arab Spring: One Year Later, A Series of Panel Discussions on the Middle East” begins shortly after a lunch at noon and will include two Pulitzer Center reporters who have covered the Arab Spring. 1212 East 59th Street. 12 p.m.–4:30p.m., free.
Saturday | March 31
If you’re an impatient, eco-friendly individual for whom Earth Day (April 22) can’t arrive soon enough, then you’ve got a big green tease coming your way this weekend. Participate in Earth Hour 2012, a worldwide event that begins in New Zealand, then wends its way around the globe by turning off your lights for 60 minutes. It’s the least you can do until the real thing comes along. Everywhere. 8:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. Local time, save on electric bill.
Winter blues make way for springtime brews at the first ever Chicago Beer Festival at Union Station. There, you will sample yeasty delicacies from dozens of breweries including 5 Rabbit, Pipeworks, Brewery Ommegang, Spaten, Liefmans, and Abita. Make sure to get your tickets in advance and to eat a good meal beforehand (food sold separately). 210 South Canal Street. 1 p.m.–4 p.m.; 6 p.m.–9 p.m., $40 per four-hour session, 21+.
“And what’s the deal with airplane food?” This question may finally be answered at the Logan Square Library where Michael Branigan, whose new book is called A History of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, will be giving a talk on how your favorite international airport, all the way at the end of the Blue Line, came to be. 3030 West Fullerton. 3 p.m.–5 p.m., free.
As if you needed reminding, the 25th Annual SASA Show is taking over Mandel Hall this Saturday. 10 skits and 11 song and dance acts (Chicago Raas, PhiNix Dance Crew, and Apsara, to name a few), will follow a tasty catered meal in Bartlett. If you haven’t picked up your ticket yet, you can still get them online or at Reynolds Club this Friday before 4 p.m. 1131 East 57th Street. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m; show starts at 7:30 p.m., $10–$20.
Sunday | April 1
Why is this lecture different from all other lectures? Because David Stern (University of Pennsylvania), speaking on “The Haggadah and the Jewish Imagination,” will be kicking off a series of four talks on Haggadahs, as well as an exhibit on this book of Passover prayers, pictures, and stories, to be held in the Special Collections Research Center. That’s why. 1100 East 57th Street. 5 p.m., free.
Chicago Neighborhood Bike Tours has organized a special 10,000 mile Liar’s Ride this weekend, approximate time three hours, no passing out allowed. If this seems odd to you, then you are well prepared for what is sure to be a fib-fueled journey this April Fool’s Day afternoon. The ride begins in front of the Ciclo Urbano bike shop, but the exact plan of the route will remain a secret until the day of, since, as Bike Tours’s website gently warns, “If you saw it, your eyes would leap from your skull in order to destroy themselves.” 2459 West Division Street. 6 p.m., free (no joke).