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Center Stage

Catastrophe! The Looting and Destruction of Iraq’s Past

April 10–December 31. Oriental Institute. 773/702-9514. Opening five years after thousands of Iraqis looted Baghdad’s Iraq National Museum, this exhibit highlights the war’s toll on archeological sites, museums, and human history. Iraq, the home of ancient Mesopotamia, was the birthplace of writing, the calendar, the wheel, and urbanization. The destruction of Iraqi history, the exhibit argues, is a loss for world history.

The First Breeze of Summer

May 15–June 15. Court Theatre, 773/753-4472. Director and Chicago native Ron O. J. Parson directs Court Theatre’s final production of the 2007–08 season, The First Breeze of Summer. Leslie Lee’s 1975 play—which was nominated for a Tony award and won an Obie—reveals the history and struggles of an African American family over a hot June weekend.

Seeing the City: Sloan’s New York

May 22–September 14. Smart Museum, 773/702-0200. Artist John Sloan helped define urban life in the early 20th century by focusing on the gritty details. Part of the Ashcan School of social realists, Sloan walked the city’s streets from 1904 to the 1930s, depicting both highs and lows. The show is the first major traveling exhibition of Sloan’s New York images.

University of Chicago Presents

May 22. 6:30 p.m. Oriental Institute, 773/834-7965. Cellist Matt Haimovitz performs selections from Bach’s Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello. The evening also includes new, literary-inspired works by composers Ned Rorem, Lewis Spratian, and Paul Moravec.

The World Beyond the Headlines series presents Kafka Comes to America: Fighting for Justice in the War on Terror

June 6. 4 p.m. International House. 773/834-3852. Federal public defender Steven Wax discusses civil liberties’ erosion in a talk based on his new book. Kafka Comes to America features the stories of two defendants navigating their way through America’s labyrinthine terrorism laws and procedures. Wax uses the cases to argue that America’s war on terror has eroded the rule of law.

Organ and Carillon Gala

June 7. 4:30 p.m. Rockefeller Chapel. 773/702-7059. Rockefeller Memorial Chapel celebrates the completed restoration of Rockefeller’s E. M. Skinner organ with a concert featuring new music from music professor Marta Ptaszynska.

57th Street Art Fair

June 7–8. 57th Street, 773/493-3247. More than 250 artists from around the country set up stalls in Hyde Park for Chicago’s oldest juried art fair. The fair also includes art-buying lessons—and food vendors.