Today is the Willow Books Lit Fest at the Gwendolyn Brooks Center at Chicago State University, 9501 S. King Dr. Most events are free and open to the public but require registration [PDF]. Events include workshops, manuscript sessions, panel discussions, an open mic and a Willow Brooks Literature Awards finalists reading and ceremony. Event runs 8am-5pm; see full schedule of events here [PDF]
The Chicago Improv Festival runs April 1-7 at a variety of venues throughout the city. See the schedule for a list of today's shows, workshops and other events, or view a list of everything. Each show is ticketed separately.
AIA Chicago's "Working with an Architect" session brings together residential architecture specialists to the talk about choosing an architect, navigating zoning and permit regulations, and avoiding costly surprises. Following the session, attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a 15‐minute one‐on‐one consultation with an architect. Homeowners are encouraged to bring along photos, plans or drawings of their homes. The session is from 10am to noon today at the Chicago Center for Green Technology, 445 N. Sacramento Ave., and costs $10; register online.
YarnCon, "Chicago's indie fiber fair," runs today and Sunday at the Journeymen Plumbers Union Hall, 1340 W. Washington St. Shop for yarn, patterns and accessories, or take a workshop. The show is open today from 11am to 7pm. Admission is free; some workshops have a registration fee.
Gapers Block hosts the second-ever Microbrewery (& Distillery!) Crawl, a tour through some of Chicago's best microbreweries and small distilleries, today beginning at noon at Metropolitan Brewery, 5121 N. Ravenswood Ave. (entrance on Winona), and continuing to Koval Distillery, Begyle Brewing, Spiteful Brewing and Atlas Brewing, 2747 N. Lincoln Ave. For $45, you'll get samples of beers and spirits at each stop, and learn about the inner workings of some very different operations. Capacity is capped at 60 people; get your tickets now! Note: Note: Transportation is provided from stop to stop, but will not be returning to Metropolitan. You'll probably want to leave your car at home. 21+
A reception featuring artists Stacy Peterson, Pei San Ng, and Amie Sell will be held tonight from 6pm-8pm at Art on Armitage, 4125 W. Armitage. Stop by to check out their new nebulous work/ window exhibit inspired by a trip to Creative Reuse Warehouse. The cloud of up-cycled industrial hardware and metal wires plays on modern communication and acts as a visual representation of how people work together to create communities, social networks, and how molecular structures build. Meet these artists and better understand their new installation's subject and inspiration.
The Arie Crown Theater, 2301 S. Lake Shore Dr., hosts comedian/actor Mike Epps (Sparkle, The Hangover), along with fellow comedians Dominique ("The Tom Joyner Morning Show") and Gary Owen (Think Like A Man), for two shows tonight at 7pm and 10:30pm. Tickets are $43-$125 and are on sale online. For more information, call 312-791-6190.
The Sex Workers Project Chicago and SexFest present a screening of The Scarlet Road, a documentary about Australian sex worker Rachel Wotton and her work with people with disabilities, tonight at 7pm at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum, 800 S. Halsted St. Admission is free.
Jamie Lidell's career has gone from experimental electronic to soul and all over in between. His new self-titled album takes influence from late 70s/early 80s funk and electronica with songs that sound a step away from Chic or Giorgio Moroder. No matter what's on his albums, though, his performances are always a smorgasbord of beatboxing, knob-twiddling, top-notch showmanship and a hell of a lot of fun. Jamie Lidell headlines Lincoln Hall. Empress of and Ludwig Persik open. The show's $15, 21+ and starts at 10PM. Lincoln Hall's at 2424 N Lincoln.
Facets Cinematheque presents Facets Night School,a cult film paired with a discussion of the film, tonight at midnight. Tonight's film is the 1963 sword-and-sandal epic Hercules, Samson & Ulysses, paired with a lecture by film critic Jef Burnham. Facets Night School screenings run Saturdays at midnight through May 11, and admission is $5. See the Facets Website for a complete schedule. Facets: 1517 W. Fullerton. (800) 331-6197.