A small popcorn, a cup of coffee smuggled in from a cafe on Southport, an artificial night sky illuminated by pinpoints of light, a movie by Altman, Resnais, or Rivette—if there’s a better place to spend a rainy weekend morning in Chicago than the Music Box, I haven’t found it. A budding cinephile once could cobble together a fine film appreciation class in more than half a dozen of the city’s early-20th-century movie palaces—there were double bills at the Parkway on Clark and the Varsity in Evanston, silent movies at the Gateway, and even occasional revivals at the Nortown and the Will Rogers. Most of those venues are gone now, and while there are still plenty of places to catch great movies, no working theater has the charm and history of the 1929 Music Box, which on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 AM screens some of the greatest films in history. True, there are some predictable choices—too many Hitchcocks and John Waynes for my taste. Yes, sometimes the film you want to see is not in the palatial theater but in the shoebox down the hall. And, irritatingly, sometimes the movies last longer than the time limit on the parking meters outside. But I’d still chance a parking ticket any day to sit beneath the stars and whistle along with the tune that plays as that red curtain is raised. 3733 N. Southport, 773-871-6604, musicboxtheatre.com. —Adam Langer
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