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Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2008 01:39 am

IT Picks

IT's picks for what to do this week

Since Felix Unger and Oscar Madison hit the boards in Neil Simon's 1965 production of The Odd Couple, there's been no better way to describe a friendship of polar opposites than to invoke neat freak Felix and slovenly Oscar. This Saturday, some of Springfield's favorite actors present a reading of Oscar and Felix: A New Look at the Odd Couple, Simon's 2002 update of the classic comedy. Gus Gordon of WICS (Channel 20) portrays Oscar, and WMAY (970 AM) host Johnny Molson plays Felix. Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson portrays Ynes Costazuela, the odd couple's upstairs neighbor, and Kevin Purcell narrates. Over the Moon Productions hosts the reading, and all donations benefit the group's Over the Moon Brilliance Award. The $500 scholarship is awarded each year to a local high-school senior planning to study theater in college. After the reading, the actors will discuss the play.
SaturdayAug. 9
Oscar and Felix: A New Look at the Odd Couple
Williamsville State Bank
3341 Old Jacksonville Rd.
2 p.m.
Free; donations accepted

Capital-city residents: Either you're trudging down to the fairgrounds in the next few days or you're not. You'll see the butter cow or you won't. But even for old hands, this year's fair has some new events worth braving the crowds for. ISF hosts the inaugural "Showdown at the Fair," a hip-hop step competition featuring Stomp the Yard stars Darrin Henson and Columbus Short(8 p.m. Aug. 14). Fairgoers can also watch two swashbuckling pirates duel on Skull Island during performances of "Dueling Pirates: The High Dive Show." (Aug. 8-17). And if the carnival rides, Ethnic Village, or deep-fried cheesecake isn't enough to drag you to the fairgrounds, there's always the Decorated Diaper Contest (3 p.m. Aug. 15).
Fri.-Sun.Aug 8-17
Illinois State Fair
Illinois State Fairgrounds
7 a.m.-midnight
$3 admission; kids free

The "buy local" food movement has gained major steam in the last year — why not get the kids on the eco-friendly train? This weekend the Illinois State Museum presents Super Saturday: Down on the Farm, an afternoon of hands-on learning about Illinois farming. Eighty percent of the state is farmland, producing everything from cows to horseradish to corn. During event, junior nature lovers can learn about what's growing in their own back yards and what's on their plates. The event's activities, which take 30 to 45 minutes to complete, are designed for children ages 4 to 8 years old. The event is free and open to the public.
Saturday Aug. 9
Super Saturday: Down on the Farm
Illinois State Museum, 502 S. Spring St.
10 a.m.-4 p.m.

There's something unsettling about seeing a dog behind the wheel of an automobile, yet in the new children's book by Cindy and Kirby Pringle, Happy Tails: The Call of Nature, the tale of the "dog people" makes sense. Earl and Pearl Barker, the story's protagonists (and, in real life, the authors' pets), live on a farm. When Earl realizes that Pearl has become addicted to technology, he takes her to on vacation to his twin sister's house to get back to nature. This weekend the Pringles, accompanied by Earl, will sign copies of their book at the Illinois State Museum.
Saturday Aug. 9
Happy Tails Book Signing
Illinois State Museum, 502 S. Spring St.
1-3 p.m.

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