A select list of end-of-the-year festivities, completed by Kristine Sherred, Jonas Simon and David Wicik.
New Year’s Eve on the S.S. Poseidon
Camp Midnight presents “The Poseidon Adventure” at The Music Box. Pre-show hosted by Dick O’ Day, plus an audience interactive guide and running commentary by the Camp Midnight players. The screening of the film will be timed so that theater patrons and their celluloid counterparts will celebrate midnight at the same time. Admission includes a complimentary champagne toast, drink ticket and party favors. 70s cruise wear preferred. Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport. 11pm. $22 in advance, $27 at the door.
Big Freedia and the Divas
Empty Bottle scores high marks for originality this year in booking Big Freedia (pronounced “free-duh”), the undisputed “Queen Diva” of bounce music for their New Year’s Eve blowout. An energetic, call-and-response hip-hop style with roots in Mardi Gras Indian chants, bounce has been a staple of New Orleans music and party culture since 1992 when MC TT Tucker and DJ Irv implored audiences to “shake that ass like a salt-shaker” over the now boilerplate “Triggerman beat” in their breakout single “Where Dey At.” Now, in 2010, Big Freedia is at the top of the game, and the butt-shaking chant is still standard operating procedure. Her hit singles, like “Gin in My System” and “Azz Everywhere,” paint a pretty fair picture of what bounce is all about. Moreover, this luscious queen has a reputation for turning even indifferent crowds into spectacles of sweat-dripping, booty-bouncing melee. With Freedia and her Divas at the helm, you can be sure that you’ll get some action…on the dance-floor anyway. Also performing is garage-punker Nobunny (aka Justin Champlin), whose on-stage histrionics are all the more pronounced thanks to his signature costume: bare-chest and bunny mask. Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, (773)276-3600. 10pm, $25.
This show is definitely a spoiler—the kind of affair that makes you wish your friends hadn’t already snookered you into shilling out for some gaudy nightclub extravaganza. Cave, in case you didn’t know it, are one of the best reasons to say you’re from Chicago. Sure the band’s core formed in Columbia, Missouri, but they’re here now and that’s what counts. Together since 2006, Cave’s sound really only solidified with the release of their second full-length, 2009’s Psychic Psummer. 2009 also saw Cave’s debut to indie-rock high-society at SXSW. The group has honed a dynamic psych meets krautrock sound with maybe just a dash of proto-punk à la Television. As a topper, Cave is playing at the quintessential “out-of-the way” venue, Hideout, which can be found, tucked into a tiny industrial corridor across the river from Goose Island, between a municipal motor pool and an Ozinga Concrete depot. This is definitely your anti-glitz NYE option. Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, (773)-227-4433. 10pm, $10.
Stay true to Chicago this year with hometown heroes Flosstradamus. The duo, comprised of J2K (Josh Young) and Autobot (Curt Cameruci), have been a menace to the dance floor since first teaming up to DJ a house party in 2005. Combining a breadth of styles from hip-hop, to Baltimore house, to juke, Flosstradamus have drawn diverse crowds across the country, being invited to perform in such top-tier festivals as SXSW, Pitchfork, CMJ and Pop Montreal. These ambassadors of body percolation are more than qualified to make New Year’s Eve at Lincoln Hall a sweat-soaked rager. Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln, (773)525-2501. 18+, 10pm, $30 (advance), $35(door).
If you’re looking to purge a little post-teenage angst before beginning the new year, then you won’t want to miss the Japandroids (JPNDRDS). The Vancouver duo of Brian King and David Prowse will bring their signature brand of stripped-down, propulsive rock—which might best be described as a little more on the DFA 1979 side of the rift between emo and punk—to Schubas this New Year’s Eve. It’s just one guitar, one set of drums, two vocalizers and a whole lot of dirty laundry. Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, (773)525-2508. 10pm, $30.
Chicago’s Mucca Pazza, a marching band that succinctly describes themselves as “20-30 grown-up dorks with too much energy and too little restraint, stupefying their audience with music that should never be performed by a marching band,” headline the New Year’s Eve lineup this year at Logan Square Auditorium. Dressed to the nines in a motley rainbow of vintage marching band outfits (including miniature amplifiers and loud-speakers duct-taped to helmets), this ensemble’s flair is only matched by their verve in delivering up everything from Balkan brass to sixties television show themes to Shostakovich and Bartok arrangements with an in-your-face attitude that has caused many to reference their music as “circus-punk.” In their six odd years of performance they have made their way to the McCarren Park Pool Party, Lollapalooza, the Rothbury Music Festival, and Late Night With Conan O’Brien. But as if that weren’t enough, this show also features the androgynous pop sensation Ssion (pronounced “shun”) whose anchor, Cody Critcheloe, fronts like a diva while subtly jabbing subcultural “cult.” Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, (773)252-6179. 17+, 10pm, $25.
Homegrown Chicago punk super-group Pegboy headlines a New Year’s Eve bill at the Abbey Pub featuring lots of local color. Comprised of members of former punk and hardcore groups Naked Raygun (John Haggerty and later Pierre Kezdy), Bloodsport (Joe Haggerty), and Bhopal Stiffs (Larry Damore and Steve Saylors), this crew has been propping up the local punk scene since the early nineties. The music here is fast and cutting while still managing to be melodic—useful comparisons might be Husker Dü or Mission of Burma. Accompanying Pegboy on the bill are retro-punkers Mannequin Men, Sabbath disciples Sweet Cobra and local scene-stealers White Mystery, so prevalent in Chicago venues today as to often seem like twin ginger stains on the retina. Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, (773)478-4408. 8:30pm, $25 advance, $30 door.
Definitely the underdog show for the night, local grit-rockers Tight Phantomz once again tear a fat gash into the new year at Quenchers with the awesome power of their rocking. To get some idea of what Tight Phantomz sounds like, imagine the best battle of the bands band you’ve ever heard of and then crank the amplitude up to eleven. The Chicago quartet breath new life into classic rock while delivering a live show that takes grisly guitar machismo to the edge of havoc. How many New Year’s Eve shows do these hard-rock journeymen have to play before people sit-up and take notice? Quenchers Saloon, 2401 N. Western, (773)276-9730. 9pm, $10.
Is there any name today that evokes the sparkling revelry of club life better than T-Pain? Maybe, but who cares, this is freakin’ T-Pain we’re talking about here. The Tallahassee born “rapper turned singer” probably gets as much hype as he does flak for his lilting, auto-tuner-inflated ballads, but with a Grammy, two gold records, and three platinum and two triple-platinum singles, T-Pain has no problem brushing his shoulders off, probably by using fat wads of cash as brushes. The ebullient performer is so passionate about his material that he was once nearly arrested in Miami for playing over his time. So you won’t have to worry about getting an exciting show (maybe this time he’ll actually get cuffed). Oh, and did we mention that he’s performing at the Official Playboy New Year’s Eve Celebration. That’s right, this is your chance to be the ultimate playa, see T-Pain on stage then go into the Comandon Playboy VIP Lounge for your chance to meet and greet eight actual Playboy Playmates. Plus, for $100, you get a chance to meet T-Pain and have your picture taken with him and two Playmates (but, get’em while they’re hot because this offer is limited to the first 100). Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan, (312)922-4400. 9pm, $165, $50 Comandon Playboy VIP lounge upgrade (must already have ticket), $100 T-Pain meet and greet ticket, table reservations also available for larger groups.
Yeasayer have started off this decade with redoubled gusto. After rocketing to instant and near-universal acclaim with the 2007 release of “All Hours and Cymbals,” anybody would have said the Brooklyn art-pop group were top contenders for indie canonization. 2010’s “Odd Blood” seems to have been the fulfillment of this speculation, with only the perennial sourpusses at Pitchfork giving the sophomore record a less-than-enthusiastic review. It must be conceded, however, that “Odd Blood”’s elaborate production is occasionally at odds with its inventiveness, causing it to come off sounding a little muddy, even retrograde at points. Nevertheless, the album, while not as tightly focused as “All Hours and Cymbals,” sees a plethora of interesting experimentation, whether it be the creep-swing amalgam of Mondegreen, the witch-house industry of “The Children,” the transient world-psych of “Strange Reunions,” or the New Wave meets Timberlake sleekness of “Love Me Girl.” Perhaps the point is best capped by Will Dean’s comment, in The Guardian review, labeling “Odd Blood” “a masterclass in modern, multicultural, weirdo-pop music.” In case you haven’t see the posters papering coffee shops across town, Yeasayer’s New Year’s Eve show at The Metro is the show of the night. And in a pairing of clever symmetry, LA noise rockers HEALTH, fresh off their own very un-slump-like sophomore album will be opening. Metro, 3730 N. Clark, (773)549-4140. 18+, 10pm, $56 advance, $66 day of show, $500 table.
Music commentary by David Wicik
Ciroc, The New Year Party at The Shrine
Join Hosea Sanders and ABC 7 for a live broadcast of this New Year’s Eve celebration, featuring the R&B styling’s of Chico DeBarge in a performance with funk-jazz-fusion outfit Zzajé and DJ Zebo. For $40 you can score general admission which includes buffet and a champagne toast, or for a more exclusive experience you can reserve either Gold or Platinum level VIP tables for you and your friends which get you express entry and a personal server. The party is sponsored by Cîroc and Don Julio. The Shrine, 2109 S. Wabash, (312)753-5700. 7pm, $40 general admission, $500 gold table, $600 platinum table.
This underground speakeasy is located below River North’s Mercadito and offers a specialty cocktail menu created by the team of Tad Carducci and Paul Tanguay the Tippling Bros. They experiment with rare or unorthodox ingredients–fiddlehead ferns, squash, baby purple avocados. Double A’s New Year’s Eve party ends at 11pm though, so you’ll need to find somewhere else to watch the ball drop. Double A, 108 W. Kinzie, [email protected]. 9pm, $125, table reservations for 8+ starting at $1000.
Extreme New Year’s Eve 2011
Join Excalibur & Vision Nightclub for their grand opening to the new year. Enjoy five dance floors, 25 bars, some 100 bartenders. Miami-inspired house beats will be provided by DJs Second Sun (Antoine Becks and Adam White. There will also be other music ranging from club anthems to hip-hop to retro, multiple balloon drops, an indoor snowstorm of confetti and arctic nitrogen blasts. Excalibur & Vision Nightclub, 632 N. Dearborn, (312)266-1944. $40 general reserved admission, $49 gold reserved admission, $99 platinum penthouse admission.
Faith & Whiskey
Serving over 100 whiskeys, bourbons and scotches, Faith Whiskey’s New Year’s Eve fête includes a five and a half hour open bar, catered buffet, champagne toast, coat check, party favors and more. The spin-craft of 103.5 KISS FM resident DJ Special K will supply the tune-age. Faith & Whiskey, 1365 W. Fullerton, (773)248-9119. 8pm, $75.
West Loop’s Market Bar invites you to usher in the new year with friends at this second home for the sport-obsessed. The four-course New Year’s Eve dinner, can be reservde with open bar privileges for $110 or by itself for $65. For $85, you can reserve a drink-only package. All packages include a complimentary bottle of champagne for every four people booked in a party. Market Bar, 1113 W. Randolph, (312)929-4787. Two seating’s available, at 7pm or 9:30pm, $110 dinner and drinks, $65 dinner only, $85 drinks only.
Veteran house DJ Bad Boy Bill will provide the atmosphere this New Year’s Eve at this recently opened West Loop music venue. The Mid offers live music with private table service available, mezzanine gallery and private lounge area. Their New Year’s Eve package includes a premium open bar from 9pm to 12am, interactive countdown with champagne toast, balloon drop and confetti. Sets by Nathan Scott and Inphinity will round out the night’s entertainment. The Mid, 306 N. Halsted, (312)265-3990. 9pm, $90 general admission.
Pandora at Enclave
The 15,000 square foot River North nightclub will be transforming its interior for the night into a reproduction of Pandora, home world to the Na’vi, giant, blue cat-people, of James Cameron’s CGI epic, Avatar. The New Year’s Eve package, includes premium bar, champagne, Red Bull and an appetizer buffet from 9pm-1:30am. In addition, get $50 off a stay at the Palmer House Hilton, New Year’s Day unlimited brunch at Mercadito, a free month of membership from David Barton with one week free personal training, $50 off limo and salon services by Studio 110 and HALO for men and Akira. Enclave, 220 W. Chicago, (312)654-0234. 9pm, tickets start at $100 and increase in price as NYE approaches.
Let the tastes and sounds of Spain wash over you this New Year’s Eve at Meze Tapa lounge in the West Loop. The tapas lounge is offering a range of packages. For $85, get access to a top-shelf open bar, gourmet Mediterranean buffet and passed tapas like bacon-wrapped dates and imported salami, olives and cheese. Or opt for the $99 dinner package, a prix fixe which comes with your choice of wine or sangria. The Andaluz dance troupe will entertain with Flamenco choreography and DJ Funky Couture will spin Spanish house. Meze Tapa, 205 N. Peoria, (312)666-6625. $85 drinks, $99 dinner, VIP ticket packages available for larger groups.
Red Dog New Year’s Eve
Red Dog New Year’s Eve party, hosted at Wicker Park’s Ohm Nightclub, offers a $20 package. You’ll get two drink tickets, free buffet, a champagne toast, party favors and access to two party rooms blasting hip-hop and house music until 4am. The line-up includes sets by Paul Johnson, Gene Farris, Psycho Bitch and Teri Bristol, Lego, Mr. Wonderful, Gabriel Rodriguez and DJ Payback. Ohm Nightclub, 1958 W. North, (312)371-8755.
PARTIES AT HOTELS
The Chicago Scene 10th Annual NYE Gala at The Drake
Four ballrooms of entertainment with Hey Champ, DJ Dani Deahl (Lollapalooza 2010), Kalendr (Spybar and Proof) and DJ Jernell Geronimo (Y-bar, Cuvee). The Drake Hotel, 140 E. Walton, (312)787-2200. 9pm-2am. Purchase tickets at chicago-scene.com/new-years-eve-chicago.htm.
Ciroc, The New Year Party at Hard Rock Hotel
Featuring Ciroc Ultra Premium vodka signature cocktails, a spread from China Grill, champagne toast, and music by DJ E-Six from Crossfader King, DJ Megan Taylor of Fig Media and DJ Scotty Styles. E! Entertainment will be on hand to film the party, which includes a VIP suite hosted by the one and only Pete Wentz. Hard Rock Hotel, 4th floor Celebrity Suite, 230 N. Michigan, (312)345-1000. 9pm-2am. $175 per person, tickets can be purchased online at cirocthenewyearhardrock.eventbrite.com. Book a room for NYE and receive two tickets plus in-room CÎROC bottle service and be automatically entered to win a stay for two at Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana. Only 150 tickets will be sold for the event.
Hotel Allegro’s Hangover Package
Deluxe accommodations for two at Kimpton’s Hotel Allegro on New Year’s Eve followed by brunch for two including two bloody Marys at 312 Chicago, located adjacent to the Hotel Allegro. Hotel Allegro, 171 W. Randolph, (312)236-0123. Book online or call (877)731-0505 and mention rate code HANGVR. $189.
Jump Jive an’ Wail at Hotel Allegro and Encore Liquid Lounge
Deluxe accommodations for two at Kimpton’s Hotel Allegro on New Year’s Eve, eight signature New Year’s Eve cocktails plus unlimited New Year’s Eve cocktail cuisine and complimentary midnight champagne toast at Encore Liquid Lounge, located adjacent to the Hotel Allegro. Hotel Allegro, 171 W. Randolph, (312)236-0123. Book online or call (877)731-0505 and mention rate code JUMPJV. $189.
The Modern Day Romeo’s and Jaktripper at Hyatt Regency O’Hare
Live music plus a dance club with DJ Spin and access to the Rat Pack-influenced Red Bar with Tony Ocean. Champagne toast, party favors, fantasy casino, and open bar. Hyatt Regency O’Hare, 9300 Bryn Mawr, (800)233-1234. 8:30pm-1am. $59 per person. Deluxe overnight accommodations for up to two adults with two party tickets, early check-in December 31 and late check-out January 1, with the option to add on a prime rib dinner at O’H American Grill for an additional $40 each, totalling $219.
Palmer House Hilton NYE Soiree
This multiple ballroom event includes top shelf open bar, hors d’oeuvres, specialized martinis, champagne all night, live casino gambling benefiting UCP Foundation, celebrity DJs, live video mixing, midnight confetti storm, table service and more. including a complimentary pre-party at Sound Bar and post-party at Le Passage and Drawing Room and discounted hotel rooms. Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe, (312)726-7500. 9pm-2am. Purchase tickets at chicagonye.com.
The Wynn NYE Soiree
Multiple rooms of entertainment, four-hour top shelf open bar, hors d’oeuvres buffet, champagne all night and live music with free pre- and post-parties included (location TBA). Wyndham Chicago, 633 N. St. Clair, (312)573-0300. 9pm-1:30am. Purchase tickets at nye-chicago.com/.
Zoot! New Year’s 2011 at Sable Kitchen & Bar
Swing era-themed party with a nine-piece swing band, bottomless champagne bar all night, unlimited small plates from 8pm-11pm, unlimited dessert from 11pm-1am, favors and a balloon drop, midnight toast, live music and cash bar. Guests are invited to come in swing-era attire. Deluxe hotel accommodations for two are available at Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Chicago with two tickets to Sable’s Zoot! New Year’s 2011 celebration, plus complimentary late check-out–$419 hotel package. Sable Kitchen & Bar, 505 N. State, (312)755-9704. 8pm-2am. $125.
Zoot! New Year’s 2011 at Sable Kitchen & Bar VIP Sable Swing Lounge and “Anti-Prix Fixe” Dinner
Enjoy personalized service and a menu of your own creation from Sable’s executive chef Heather Terhune and head bartender Mike Ryan. Minimum 10 people. Sable Kitchen & Bar, 505 N. State, (312)985-0734. 8pm-2am. $250. Reservations by phone or contact Freida Huggins at [email protected].
312 Chicago “Capo D’Anno 2011” Four-Course Prix Fixe
Italian-inspired four-course including capesante seared scallops, pappardelle roasted pork shoulder, Dentice roasted red snapper and crespelle di cioccolata chocolate crepes. 312 Chicago, 136 N. LaSalle, (312)696-2420. 5pm-10pm, last seating at 10pm. $55 per person, $70 with wine pairings.
33 Club New Year’s Day Brunch
Family-style, all-you-can-eat brunch. Menu items will include: pancakes or french toast, scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, bacon, sausage and fresh fruit. 33 Club, 1419 N. Wells, (312)664-1419. 11am-3pm. $10.95 adults, $6.95 children 12 and under.
Atwood Cafe “Champagne and Caviar” Three-Course Prix Fixe
Foie torchon, grilled bison filet, and strawberry “caviar”with champagne syrup are among the dishes served. Atwood Cafe, 1 W. Washington, (312)368-1900. 5pm-11pm, last seating at 10:30pm. $50 per person, $70 with wine pairings.
Chicago Cut Steakhouse New Year’s Day Breakfast and Brunch
“Power” breakfast and weekend brunch including citrus smoked salmon bagel, Chicago cut corn beef hash and vanilla challah french toast. Full menu available upon request. Chicago Cut Steakhouse, 300 N. LaSalle, (312)329-1800. 10am-3pm. A la carte.
Chicago q “BBq” New Year’s Eve
Three-course prix fixe including smoked diver scallops; BBq black-eyed peas salad with red bell peppers and Creole vinaigrette; smoked prime 18 oz. porterhouse; and a triple chocolate cake with ganache and gold flakes. Chicago q, 1160 N. Dearborn, (312)642-1160. 4pm-1am. $59.75 per person. Reservations required.
Go Roma “Pre-Game” Italian Buffet
All-you-can-eat Italian buffet of starters, salads, pastas, pizzas, Italian classics and dessert. Diners can look forward to specialties like Go Roma’s chopped salad, chicken limone and country style rigatoni along with wine and beer specials. Go Roma, 848 N. State, (312)252-9946. 6:30pm-8:30pm. $12. Reservations required.
ItaliAsia New Year’s Day Brunch
Italian-Asian inspired New Year’s Day brunch buffet featuring cinnamon french toast and waffles, tomato basil soup, Asian slaw with fried tofu, and risotto with lobster. Full brunch menu available upon request, lunch and dinner service from the regular menu also available. ItaliAsia, Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, 15th Floor, 350 W. Mart Center, (312)529-1157. 10am-3pm. $17.95 adults; $10.95 children 12 and under.
Lobby Lounge at ShowPlace Icon Theatre New Year’s Day Brunch
Truffled egg and bacon pizza as well as mimosa and Bloody Mary specials featured. Lobby Lounge at ShowPlace Icon Theatre, 150 W. Roosevelt, (312)564-2104. 11am-1pm. A la carte.
Markethouse Seven-Course Tasting Menu
Shigoku oyster, warm ono carpaccio, veal short rib and lobster risotto with black trumpet, roe and winter truffle are among the dishes offered. Markethouse Restaurant and Bar, 611 N. Fairbanks, (312)224-2200. 5pm-10pm. $65 per person.
MK Restaurant 13th New Year’s Eve Party
Four-course tasting menu featuring Maine lobster, wild turbot, Waygu-style kobe beef and more. MK Restaurant, 868 N. Franklin, (312)482-9179. Early seating 6pm-7pm, $70 per person. Late seating 8:30pm on, $90 (includes Champagne toast and party favors). Guests can choose a fifth course for an additional cost.
North Pond Prix Fixe
Prix fixe menu including salt-roasted lobster tail, squab breast pastrami, venison loin and warm bandaged cheddar soufflé, seafood menu available upon request. North Pond, 2610 N. Cannon, (773)477-5845. Open seating from 5:30pm-10pm, credit card required to reserve; 72-hour cancellation policy. $120 per person, $60 optional wine pairing. Reservations strongly recommended.
Sepia Four and Five-Course Prix Fixes
Michelin-rated Sepia offers two Prix Fixes, with an early and a late seating, featuring lamb carpaccio, porcini mushroom sformato, and pistachio biscuit, with a cocktail and amuse; lobster ravioli and petit fours offered during the second seating. Optional wine pairings include a 2009 Riesling Spätlese Trocken Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Karthäuserhof, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, 2009 Acústic Cellar Acústic Blanc, Montsant (Garnatxa Blanca/Macabeu/Garnatxa Roja/Pansal) and Taylor-Fladgate 10-year Tawny, Douro. Sepia, 123 N. Jefferson, (312)441-1920. First seating four-course: 5:30pm-6:45pm. $65 per person, optional wine pairings additional $55 person. Second seating five-course: 8pm-9:30pm, $85 per person, optional wine pairings additional $70 per person.
South Water Kitchen “New Year’s Americana” Three-Course Prix Fixe
Americana-inspired dishes including “PB & J Foie Gras” made with tourchon of foie gras, peanut macaroon and concord grape, “Pork & Beans” made with Berkshire pork chop, crispy pork belly, and a flageolet bean cassoulet and Baked Alaska. South Water Kitchen, 225 N. Wabash, (312)236-9300. 5pm-11pm, last seating at 10:30pm. $50 per person, $70 with wine pairings.
SushiSamba rio Révellion White Party
Samba dancers and drummers, a live DJ, live broadcast of the Times Square countdown and special New Year’s menu items combine to create a ” Carnaval-style celebration.” Special menu items include duck croquettes of shiso, avocado and garlic ponzu and Kanpachi tiradito with yuzu, sea salt and black truffle oil. Two seatings will be offered. In keeping with the theme, guests are requested to dress in white. SUSHISAMBA rio, 504 N. Wells, (312)595-2300. “Celebration” seating: 6pm-10pm. No minimum charge. “Premier” seating: 10pm-2am. $30 surcharge, added directly to bill. A la carte.
West Town Tavern Holiday Dishes
Pear tart with double cream blue cheese, pan-seared East Coast haddock and a dark chocolate cappuccino and marshmallow ice cream sandwich are among the holiday specials offered in addition to West Town’s standard seasonal winter menu. West Town Tavern, 1329 W. Chicago, (312)666-6175. 5pm, last seating at 10pm. A la carte.
Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre’s space in No Exit Cafe provides the setting for T.S. Eliot and Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical, directed by Brenda Didier. The party package includes hors d’oeuvres, the show, a post-show cabaret performance and a midnight champagne toast. Tickets include parking at Morse and Ravenswood. No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood, (773)347-1109. Doors and dinner 6:30pm, show 8pm. $75 ($100 if purchased after December 20). theo-u.com.
Chemically Imbalanced Celebration
Enjoy a homemade dinner buffet with draft beer and wine during CIC’s “Seasonal Disorder,” where audience and cast members tell their holiday tales and the actors improvise those scenes on stage. After a drink break, the ensemble goes into “Game Night,” a “Whose Line Is It Anyway”-style segment. Champagne toast at midnight, music and dancing into the new year. Chemically Imbalanced Theater, 1420 W. Irving Park, (773)865-7731. Doors 8pm, show 9pm. $40. cicomedy.com.
Corn Productions offers up two and a half hours of sketch, improv and stand-up comedy with several hiatuses for imbibing both drink and food. The show culminates in the dicey improv game, the Double Bucket, followed by a champagne toast at midnight and dancing ’til the huskers kick you out. Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln, (312)409-6435. Doors 8pm, first set 8:45-10pm, second set 10:30-11:45pm. $50 ($90 per couple). cornservatory.org.
E. Faye Butler and Co.
The multifaceted actress and her musicians premiere their new show inspired by America’s favorite women of song, including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Dinah Washington, with jazz, pop, blues and show tunes. Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, (847)673-6300. 8pm. $55. northlight.org.
Homer’s epic poem, adapted from Robert Fagles’ translation and Ian Strachan’s “The Iliad,” comes to life with the all-female cast of A Red Orchid, directed by Steve Wilson. The special New Year’s Eve performance includes a champagne toast with the cast. A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells, (312)943-8722. 7pm. $30. aredorchidtheatre.org
It’s A Wonderful Life: A Radio Play
American Theater Company brings the holiday classic to the new year with an evening performance and a champagne toast. Audiences may be recorded for broadcast on WBEZ. American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron, (773)409-4125. 7pm. $35. atcweb.org.
MIllion Dollar Quartet
Join Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley—their impersonators, of course—for the Tony-nominated musical, throwing “Auld Lang Syne” and a toast at midnight into the rock’n’roll mix. The musicians will also perform live on ABC7’s Countdown Chicago 2011. Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln, (773)935-6100. 6pm, 9pm. $75-80. milliondollarquartetlive.com.
My Name Is Hannibal
Former “Saturday Night Live” and current “30 Rock” writer Hannibal Buress does two New Year’s Eve stand-up shows. The late show includes party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Zanies Comedy Club, 1548 N. Wells, (312)337-4027. 8pm, 10:30pm. $40 ($50 late show). chicago.zanies.com.
The Other Cinderella
Black Ensemble Theater continues its tradition of a New Year’s Eve hors d’oeuvres and champagne meet-and-greet with the company’s members, followed by a performance of “The Other CInderella” by Jackie Taylor. The story is similar to the classic fairy tale, but here the characters spin a more soulful tune. Post-show open mic and dancing on stage. Black Ensemble Theater, 4520 N. Beacon, (773)769-4451. 8pm. $100. blackensembletheater.org
Imagine a New Year’s in Never Never Land with Tinker Bell and Captain Hook with Amanda Dehnert’s haunting original adaptation of the classic tale. Plus, ticket holders get $10 parking at the Hancock Center, valid for six hours. Complimentary champagne available at the evening show. Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan, (312)337-0665. 2pm, 7:30pm. $40-$54. lookingglasstheatre.org.
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind
The Neo-Futurists celebrate 22 years of their signature show, in which the actors play out 30 plays in 60 minutes, ending right at midnight for a toast and pizza. Hors d’oeuvres and non-alcoholic refreshments provided by Whole Foods Market Sauganash. Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland, (773)275-5255. Doors 9:30pm, show 11pm. $40. neofuturists.org.