Friday 4/19 – Thursday 4/25


19 FRIDAY He hasn’t put out a rap CD and won’t be joining the Harvard posse at Princeton, but Olive-Harvey College professor Armstead Allen has been a driving force in African-American studies ever since he hosted the field’s first get-together back in 1977. Today the school’s 25th annual black studies conference (which started Thursday, April 18) offers a range of panel discussions and a lunchtime session on “Black Intellectuals in the American Academy and Lessons of the Harvard University/Cornel West Encounter” with Ricky Hill, Cathy J. Cohen, Mack Jones, and Maulana Karenga, the creator of Kwanza. The luncheon’s from 12:30 to 2:30 at the college, 10001 S. Woodlawn, and is $30 at the door; on-site registration for the conference, which continues tomorrow, is $30 a day. See for a complete conference schedule or call 773-291-6280 for info.

Sculptor and curator of “pet-chewed objects” Todd Slaughter will give a talk in connection with his Protected Comforts exhibit today at 5:30 in the Sidney R. Yates gallery on the fourth floor of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. The show’s deadpan takes on domesticity include Comfort Zone–a living room suite cast in salt and slowly dissolving in a steam-filled chamber–and a collection of the aforementioned gnawed-upons: a pair of gloves masticated by a beloved dog dead some 17 years, a chair completely mauled by four weimaraners, et al. The talk and exhibit (which runs through June 16) are free; viewing hours are 10 to 6 Friday, 10 to 5 Saturday, 11 to 5 Sunday, 10 to 7 Monday through Wednesday, and 10 to 9 Thursday. Call 312-744-1424 for more.

20 SATURDAY Today is Chicago Earth Day, brought to you by the festival-mad mayor’s office and “corporate steward” ComEd. The Chicago Greens (312-593-0996; are sponsoring a protest at the festival site, in Lincoln Park at Fullerton and Cannon Drive, but if neither event appeals, you’re invited to hurt your back with Friends of the Parks, organizers of a mass cleanup at 100 public greens from Garfield and Grant to McKinley and Humboldt parks. The litter crusade runs from 9 to noon, and Streets and San tackle–gloves, garbage bags–will be provided. The cleanup will be followed by a free Earth Day Education Fair from noon to 3 at Nichols Park, 1300 E. 55th. Call 312-857-2757, ext. 13, for more information.

“The old man,” wrote Papa, “was salao, the worst kind of unlucky”–an evocative bit of Cuban slang that provides the title for Redmoon Theater’s newest spectacle. Inspired by the Hemingway chestnut The Old Man and the Sea, the production combines the company’s signature shadow puppetry and Bunraku wooden puppets with ambitious new elements: a vertiginously pitching dinghy suspended from a 20-foot-high metal truss; live music derived from traditional sea chanteys; and stage design informed by Joseph Cornell boxes and the work of Cuban maritime artist Kcho. Salao: The Worst Kind of Unlucky opens at 8 tonight upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand, and runs Thursday and Friday at 8, Saturday at 3:30 and 8, and Sunday at 3:30 through June 8. Tickets are $25; call 312-595-5600.

21 SUNDAY According to Genesis House, a local organization devoted to helping women break out of prostitution, it costs Cook County $26,000 to incarcerate a woman for a year, and an additional $20,000 to provide for each of her children while she is locked up. In contrast, a residential rehabilitation program such as that offered by the 19-year-old agency costs about $21,000 over 18 months. Today the organization hosts “A Single Step,” a benefit photo exhibit and silent auction featuring work from over 50 photographers. Proceeds will go to help fund a 20-bed program at the group’s new south-side facility, for which 80 women are currently on the waiting list. The event runs from 1 to 5 at the Treasure Trove, 2025 W. Fulton, and there’ll be music and refreshments. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the door; call 630-371-6238 for reservations.

22 MONDAY The dance floor at HotHouse is said to be crowded with hepcats during this cruel month of Mondays–and it’s not like we’re talking Brian Setzer or the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. Yoko Noge & Jazz Me Blues feature strong local jazz gadabouts–bassist Tatsu Aoki and saxophonists Jimmy Ellis and Sonny Seals, among others–and promise to pass over “Minnie the Moocher” for lesser-known tunes. Seven bucks (five for students) gets you swing dance lessons tonight at 7 and the show itself at 8; HotHouse is at 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707.

23 TUESDAY Photographer Janice Rubin once scoffed at the practice of mikvah–the Jewish ritual cleansing required of women after menstruation or childbirth–as perpetuating “the religious myth that women in general and menstruating women in particular are unclean.” Then “Munya’s Story,” a piece of short fiction by her friend Leah Lax, herself a mikvah-observant Lubavitcher, led her to reconsider the ceremony. The two went on to collaborate on the Mikvah Project, which combines essays by Lax with Rubin’s striking black-and-white underwater portraits of women in mikvah’ot and the women’s own accounts of their attitudes toward the rite. Today from noon to 2 PM Rubin and Lax will discuss their work at a luncheon program in Bederman Auditorium at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, 618 S. Michigan, where the exhibit runs through October 31. The lunch is $15 and reservations are requested; call 312-322-1769. Museum hours are 10-5 Sunday through Wednesday, 10-7 Thursday, and 10-3 Friday. Admission is $5, $3 for children, students, and seniors; Fridays are free. Call 312-322-1747 or visit

24 WEDNESDAY Maureen Seaton’s villanelle, Nostradamus Predicts the Destruction of Chicago, imagines Fermilab as the site of radiation bubbling “beneath the skin / in Batavia, top quarks and a boson / so wraithlike and belligerent they claim / a small bang might sicken the earth with neon.” “Oh no, another hysterical end-of-the-century Nostradamus poem!” she writes in an accompanying note. A Columbia College artist in residence and the author of several collections including Furious Cooking, Fear of Subways, and the National Book Award-nominated Little Ice Age, Seaton will give a poetry reading with Brooklyn-based poet and publisher Jim Elledge today at 5 as part of Columbia’s Collegiate Pride Month. The free event’s at the college’s Hermann D. Conaway Center, 1104 S. Wabash; call 312-344-8594 for more information.

Funny, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling never seem to get blisters. It’s a different story for Kerry Wood–and for the woeful Cubs, who tonight at 7:05 face the San Francisco Giants in the second of a three-game series. The war was in Vietnam the last time the north-siders had back-to-back winning seasons, and if you believe that things will be different this year you probably buy the official story about the “security” tarp. Barry Bonds is the reason to brave the April winds at Wrigley for this game: now sixth in career home runs with 574, the four-time MVP’s on pace to break the underheralded single-season home run record of 73 he set last October. He’s smiling. Maybe he’ll spark Sammy. Tickets at Wrigley Field, at Clark and Addison, range from $12 to $26; call 800-843-2827 (you’ll wait on hold) or go to

25 THURSDAY Talk about dusties–tonight’s performance by the six-person Schola Antiqua of Chicago Foundation showcases music unheard for nearly 800 years. Neumes From Newberry: A Concert of Liturgical Chant features a 13th-century composition unearthed from the Abbey of Saint-Denis in Reims, France, and selections from a Portuguese processional from around 1300. Notre Dame music professor and medievalist Calvin M. Bower, the group’s director, did the deciphering–and God knows how, since nothing in neumes, one of the earliest forms of music notation, indicates how long a note should be held. The concert’s at 7:30 at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton; it’s $20, $18 for seniors, and $10 for students. For tickets call 312-255-3700.