In the Flesh: Chicago Tattoo Arts Convention
See live horror burlesque and dudes hanging from ceiling hooks in their backs as you peep your next tattoo.
Tattoo you: Enter the tattoo contest, check out a seminar, or rock the chainlink-fenced dancefloor at Exit afterparties.
Fri-Sun. Crowne Plaza O’Hare, 5440 N. River Rd., Rosemont (215-423-4780). $20-40.
Nearby: Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse; Morton’s The Steakhouse; Liberty Tavern
French Connection: Festival de la Francophonie
See award-winning, Oscar-nominated French films plus cocktails, coffee, and live performances.
Punt return: Kick things off tonight with the free Soiree Afrique dance party featuring African dancers and DJs.
Sat 1p. Alliance Francaise Chicago, 54 W. Chicago Ave., Near North Side (312-337-1070). $8-15 here.
Nearby: Gallery Bar; 25 Degrees Chicago; Café Iberico
Killer Vibes: Good Vybes Fest at Empty Bottle
Local label Eye Vybe Records (run out of a Logan Square bungalow) showcases leading indie garage/psych bands.
Out of their minds: Be sure to check out the brooding sunshine pop of local psych favorite Outer Minds (Fri 9p.)
Fri-Sat 9p. Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., Ukrainian Village (773-276-3600). $10-20 here.
Nearby: Leghorn; Bite Café; Lockdown Bar & Grill
Mtn DEW Kickstart Weekend Pick: Spring Cocktail Challenge at Chop Shop
20 leading local mixologists go head-to-head to see who can create the ultimate spring cocktail.
Swag bag: Besides booze, enjoy free City Winery vino, Shiner beer, and Chop Shop bites.
Fri 7-9:30p. Chop Shop, 2033 W. North Ave., Bucktown (773-534-4440). $45 here.
Nearby: Trenchermen; High Noon Saloon; Double Door