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The Sun-Times Mix — Cool Things to Do: Dec. 12-14, 2014

No weekend plans yet? Here are some suggestions that just might fill the bill:

Winter Solstice Craft Beer Festival

3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13

Blarney Stone Pub, 15400 S. Cicero Ave., Oak Forest

A hundred beers from more than 40 breweries plus live music might just equal one helluva good time. Plus, it’s a seemingly fair-priced $25 in advance, $35 at the door. That includes 10 beer and two food samples. Extra brew samples are only a buck, and the vast lineup includes concoctions from Small Town Brewery, Westmont’s Urban Legend Brewing Company, Chicago’s Bucket List Brewing and Revolution Brewing, Warrenville-based Two Brothers Brewing Company, Munster, Indiana’s 3 Floyds Brewing Co., and more.


Dave Koz is celebrating the holidays with a brand new Christmas album and a new holiday tour, which comes to the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, on Dec. 13. Special guests include Jonathan Butler, Christopher Cross and Maysa. Tickets, $35.50-$99.50. (312) 462-6300; —Miriam Di Nunzio

Ellen Holtzblatt’s paintings explore tension between the physical and spiritual

The Josef Glimer Gallery, in the heart of the River North gallery district, is a lovely, intimate space for viewing art. Glimer’s taste tends toward the subtly narrative, with the current show of paintings, “From Birth to Memory,” featuring the stormy works of Chicago-based artist Ellen Holtzblatt, a perfect example.

Holtzblatt’s work is fueled by an exploration of the connection between the physical and the spiritual, “the forgetfulness of the earthly body, and the memory that resides in the soul.” She examines her own identity by reaching into a collective ancestral unconscious, often blurring boundaries between dream and reality.

Holtzblatt, who holds a BFA and a Graduate Certificate in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, including the Museum of Biblical Art in New York, Inselgalerie in Berlin, The University of Illinois at Chicago and the Harold Washington Library. She was most recently featured in the solo exhibition, “Memory and Birds,” at the Chicago Cultural Center. Her work is in key public and private collections including the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection in Chicago and The Center for Book Arts in New York.

“Ellen Holtzblatt: From Birth to Memory,” will be on display through December at Josef Glimer Gallery, 207 W. Superior. For more information call (312) 787-4640 or visit —Hedy Weiss

Soho House Chicago this weekend is launching an art installation with JC Rivera, seen above. Rivera’s live public installation will have a viewing from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec.13. The artist, known for his thought-provoking murals, toys and designs, will be painting the exterior of the building. Soho House Chicago is located at 113-125 N. Green Street. —Adrienne Samuels Gibbs


<em>Arthur Agee as a teenage player in “Hoop Dreams.” | Kartemquin Films</em>
Arthur Agee as a teenage player in “Hoop Dreams.” | Kartemquin Films

Chicagoans who have never seen “Hoop Dreams,” one of the true classics of local filmmaking, soon will have a couple of fresh chances. The Gene Siskel Film Center will present a new digital restoration of the 1994 documentary at 7 p.m. Saturday and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Arthur Agee, one of the two local basketball players whose NBA aspirations are the subject of the film, will attend both screenings along with directors Steve James, Peter Gilbert and Frederick Marx. Tickets:: —Darel Jevens


“Parks and Recreation” star Nick Offerman expounds on his favorite topics — meat eating, woodworking, love — in his concert film that starts streaming on the subscription video service Netflix on Friday. Taped last year at Town Hall in New York City, “Nick Offerman: American Ham” has the Minooka native and University of Illinois alum offering 10 tips for prosperity, as told through dead-panned anecdotes, scripted vignettes (including appearances by wife Megan Mullally) and his own original songs. — Lori Rackl