1. GIRL POWER
The “Invincible” gal herself, Kelly Clarkson, brings her Piece by Piece tour to the Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim, Rosemont. The show kicks off at 7 p.m. Aug. 1 with 18-year-old country phenom Abi Ann, followed by singer-pianist Eric Hutchinson and Grammy winners (and season three winners of NBC’s “The Sing-Off”) Pentatonix. Tickets for Clarkson & Co. ($29.50-$99.50) are available at ticketmaster.com.
2. LAUGH TRACKS
With film roles in “Ride Along” and “Get Hard” (among others), hosting “SNL” and roasting Justin Bieber on Comedy Central to his credit, comedian Kevin Harthas returnedto the road. He brings his What Now Tour to Chicago with two nights of stand-up at the United Center, 1920 W. Madison, July 30 and 31. Show times are 7 and 11 p.m. Tickets, $70.50-$150. Visit ticketmaster.com.
3. ALL’S FAIR
Hard to believe — back-to-school is just around the corner. But there’s still plenty of time to enjoy a family weekend trek to the annual Bristol Renaissance Faire, just off I-94 at the Illinois-Wisconsin border. Plenty of jousting, costumed minstrels, Medieval games, arts & crafts, food and fun for the whole family. This weekend’s fun includes a Fantasy Costume Contest on Saturday (one for kids, one for adults). Sunday features a Fantasy Masquerade ball. The fair runs weekends through Aug. 7. Details, tickets ($10-$23.95) at www.renfair.com/bristol.
4. THE BOYS OF SUMMER
They may have only one album under their belts, and they may like to party (and take the heat for it), but there’s no denying Australian power popsters 5 Seconds of Summer (Luke Hemmings, Michael Clifford, Calum Hood and Ashton Irwin) remain one of the hottest boy bands ofthe ‘tween (OK, and beyond) set. The guys bring their Rock Out with Your Socks Out tour to the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park for shows at 7:30 p.m Aug. 1 and 2. American all-girl rock band Hey Violet is also on the bill. Visit livenation.com.
5. FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Chef/author/television personality/travel expert and raconteur Anthony Bourdain brings his one-man evening of candid conversation to the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress on July 30. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets, $56.50-$211.50, are available at auditoriumtheatre.org.
6. FLICKERING IMAGES FROM FRANCE
Back for its fifth year, the Chicago French Film Festival kicks off Friday with the Chicago premiere of the new thriller “SK1,” about the hunt for a Paris serial killer in the 1990s. The weeklong fest at the Music Box Theatre also includes three films from director Abdellatif Kechiche — “Black Venus,” “Games of Love and Chance” and “Blame It on Voltaire” — and the 1952 Oscar winner “Forbidden Games.” For details, see http://www.musicboxtheatre.com/festivals.
7. THE FULL ’54’
In praising the Studio 54 drama “54” in 1998, the Sun-Times’ Lloyd Sachs also noted, “The film seems to have been softened in other ways in being conspicuously edited down to 92 minutes.” It was indeed, stripped of much of its gay content by its distributor, Harvey Weinstein, after poor scores from test audiences. The film was a bust. Recently, with Weinstein’s blessing, director Mark Christopher went into the archives and put back much of that material, and the restored version had its premiere in February at the Berlin film festival. It’s now available on demand and screens at 8 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Sunday at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Ryan Phillippe stars as a busboy in a love triangle with a bartender (Breckin Meyer) and a coat-check girl (Salma Hayek). Mike Myers appears as the disco’s owner, Steve Rubell.
8. GET ON THIS ‘SOAP BOX’
Jimmy Gronen was 14 when he was exposed as a cheater in the Soap Box Derby, the driver of a car discreetly equipped with an electromagnet in the nose. The resulting scandal is the subject of “Soap Box Derby King,” a new musical from the team that last year mounted the “Waiting for Guffman” homage “Red, White & Blaine.” The first preview starts at 8 p.m. July 30 at the Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont. Tickets: theannoyance.com