Best bets: Zoom into the Chicago Auto Show
Drive on down
The nation's largest and longest continual assemblage of new cars, concept cars and more returns this weekend when the 103rd edition of the Chicago Auto Show parks into McCormick Place, 2301 S. Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago. See the latest design trends and other efforts to make greener cars. Open to the general public from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, through Saturday, Feb. 19, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20. $11 daily admission; $7 seniors and kids ages 7 to 12. Visit drivechicago.com or chicagoautoshow.com or call (312) 791-7000.
Get a glimpse of the latest bikes, gear and more at the International Motorcycle Show this weekend at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road, Rosemont. Hours are 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13. $15 one-day pass; $22 two-day pass; $30 three-day pass. (847) 653-2918 or motorcycle shows.com.
Mud will fly and cars will be crushed when the massive trucks of "Monster Jam" return this weekend to the Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 12 and 13. Tickets cost $10-$57. (800) 745-3000 or allstatearena.com.
If you love comedian Steve Rannazzisi from TV's "Punk'd" and "The League," then don't miss him do standup at two Zanies locations. First at 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles, (630) 584-6342. Then at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, at 230 Hawthorn Village Commons, Vernon Hills, (847) 549-6030. $25 plus a two menu-item purchase. Visit zanies.com.
Joy of sax
Funk saxophonist Maceo Parker has performed with great artists like James Brown and Ray Charles. Hear Parker and his band groove it out at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. Tickets cost $29-$59. (630) 587-8400 or oshows.com.
River North Chicago Dance heats up the Valentine's Day weekend with the premiere of the tango suite "Al Sur Del Sur" among other repertory works at Millennium Park's Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive, Chicago. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 11-12, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13. Tickets cost $30-$65. (312) 334-7777 or harristheaterchicago.org.
Music meets international diplomacy when the Metropolitan Opera screens the John Adams/Alice Goodman opera "Nixon in China" to movie theaters around the world via a live high-definition simulcast at noon Saturday, Feb. 12. See this operatic take on President Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to help open up Red China. It will be screened in area movie theaters ranging from Gurnee to Naperville. Prices vary from $18-$24. Visit fathomevents.com for participating theaters.
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of Elgin Opera at "Elgin Opera Goes Hollywood!" Maestro Francesco Milioto will lead the New Millennium Orchestra, Elgin Choral Union and soloists in operatic music heard in major motion pictures at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin. Tickets cost $20-$35. (847) 931-5900 or elginopera.org.
Continue on your Lunar New Year celebrations by catching the amazing acrobatics of the New Shanghai Circus at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, at the Paramount Theatre, 8 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. $35.50; $25.50 kids. (630) 896-6666 or paramountaurora.com.
The Joffrey Ballet unveils the Chicago premiere of Ronald Hynd's critically acclaimed 1975 ballet adaptation of the beloved operetta "The Merry Widow" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago. Other performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays (also Thursday, Feb. 24), 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 27. Tickets cost $24-$145. (800) 982-2787.