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Weekender with Alison Cuddy: Hug trees, cluck with chickens and head bang to black metal art!

Buenos Aires Trees (Alison Cuddy/Flickr)

I've never literally hugged a tree, but I've sure spent a lot of time in, under and especially falling out of them. 

And I gotta say I love 'em - whether they're inspiring one of the greatest bands of all time or just getting badass in The Lord of the Rings movie series (oh yeah, I'm a nerd!).

I'd thought Chicago was a bit of a leader when it comes to developing and sustaining its trees. After all we've established the Chicago Trees Initiative, a public-private partnership to increase our tree canopy (the area covered by foliage) to 20 percent by the year 2020. 

We're also planting trees suitable to our coming New Orleans-style climate (we caught a glimpse of that future this past week - an unpleasant reality check embedded in the recent spell of warm weather). 

Plus who would have imagined that even in tough and corrupt Chicago you could make one call and the city would come plant a tree on your street. Hey, we don't want no swamp oaks nobody sent!

But according to this recent article, Chicago is merely holding ground when it comes to urban coverage.

So start doubling down on those calls, peeps!

And if you're culturally inclined, there are other ways to show your appreciation for our city's trees.  You could indulge in a little neighborhood yarn bombing (Rogers Park undertook a massive knit-in last summer). 

Or you could head to the Chicago Botanic Garden and participate in Tree Whispers, a traveling collaborative effort (since 2000 - talk about rooted!) to document our collective tree craze. I like how the finished product resembles a tall slim stand of birch trees. If you bike there you'll be doing trees an even bigger favor.

That's just one of Weekender's picks. The rest are below.  So get out there, and enjoy a good tree hug!

1. Black Thorns in the Black Box

Friday 7pm

Extreme, raw and fast films and videos, just like the black metal music genre. Bring earplugs!

The Nightingale

1084 N Milwaukee Ave


2. Rahsaan Patterson

Friday 8pm

The former child star (he played "The Kid" in the '80s TV show Kids Incorporated) lays down some smooth R+B beats.

The Shrine

2109 S Wabash



3. James Murphy

Friday 10pm

The former member of LCD Soundsystem brings his hot self and cool electronica to town.

The Mid

306 N Halsted



4. 47th Annual European Folk Festival

Friday - Sunday

A blast of Balkan fun - music, dance and more!

International House, Assembly Hall, University of Chicago

1414 E 59th Street



5. Basic Backyard Chicken Care

Saturday 10am-1pm

Could a chicken coop be in your future? Find out from a self-described Midwestern chicken consultant.

Christy Webber Landscaping's Rancho Verde

Behind 445 N Sacramento



6. Third and Delaware: The Ultimate Roseanne Dance Party

Saturday 10pm

She's a force to be reckoned with - and danced to!

Parlour on Clark

6341 N Clark St



7. Of Dolls and Murder

Sunday 7pm

A documentary about the doll-house dioramas depicting true crime scenes made by local heiress Frances Glessner Lee. Oh and legendary filmmaker John Waters narrates!

Glessner House Museum  

1800 S Prairie Ave


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