A Dan Savage
author Dan Savage is the best sort of gadfly – in his weekly column, “Savage Love,” he dispenses advice to the sexually curious with a sort of no-horsecrap cantankerousness that has made him one of this country’s favorite social commentators; lately he has been a regular on This American Life, and, most recently, he published Skipping Toward Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America. This book is an all-out assault on politicians and moralists who would seek to legislate behavior that they find offensive. Savage tackles each of the seven deadly sins by seeking out people who celebrate their sinfulness – swinger’s clubs, gay pride activists (Savage, himself openly homosexual, has more than a few pointed words about the concept of “gay pride”), celebrants of morbid obesity. He is heir to that most American of philosophies, live and let live, and he makes a solid – and often laugh-out-loud funny – case that this philosophy should be extended as much as possible to protect people’s private lives. 8 p.m. at Ruminator Books: 1648 Grand Ave., St. Paul; (651) 699-0587.

Waiting to Be Invited
The Illusion Theater has an appealing – if sometimes overearnest – taste in socially responsible theater; sometimes there productions feel like lectures by likeable sticks-in-the-mud, But their newest production, S.M. Shephard-Massat’s Waiting to Be Invited, is just good fun. This despite the play’s rather heady plot, which follows four terrified Atlanta-area black women on their way to integrate a department store cafeteria at the height of civil rights activism. But this isn’t simply a preachy history lesson, it is a rich character piece: The four women in question are bickerers, and their bickering is often quite funny. This is a very satisfying approach to telling history, which is too often simply a document of large events and oversized characters. Shephard-Massat realizes that history is also in the hands of those who acts are never documented and never celebrated, and she makes a good case that this is pity – these lost stories and historical footnotes are often grand tales. 8:00 pm Thursday-Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. Every Thursday-Saturday through Nov. 9 at the Illusion Theater: 528 Hennepin Ave., St. 704 (Hennepin Center for the Arts), Mpls.; (612) 339-4944.