Friday 11/30 – Thursday 12/6


30 FRIDAY Since 1989 the Illinois Campaign for Better Health Care has helped pass a managed care consumer bill of rights, launched outreach and organizing campaigns for children’s health care access, pressured hospitals to end discrimination against medicaid recipients, and created hot lines for the uninsured. The coalition of over 300 organizations is still working toward its ultimate goal–universal health care. Syndicated columnist Will Durst and Michigan congressman John Con-yers, who chairs the Universal Health Care Task Force, will speak at today’s ICBHC annual meeting, which also includes lunch, an awards ceremony, a strategizing session, and a panel discussion. It’s from 11 to 4 (registration starts at 10) at the Congress Plaza Hotel, 520 S. Michigan. Registration is $40; call 312-913-9449.

“Design is very client based; you have to constantly perform for the client. Sometimes those are happy collaborations, but sometimes it’s kind of constraining,” says School of the Art Institute professor Maud Lavin, author of Clean New World: Culture, Politics, and Graphic Design. Her book tour has attracted a lot of design people, so she’s added a miniseminar to each event that she calls “Winning the Design Lottery,” in which participants imagine they’ve come into a pile of money to finance a design project of their choice. “It usually ends in a fun discussion,” says Lavin. She’ll give a talk and sign books tonight at 7 at Quimby’s Bookstore, 1854 W. North (773-342-0910). It’s free, and there will be snacks.


1 SATURDAY Shortly after September 11, the Crossroads Fund helped create a “critical response” fund to assist community groups experiencing backlash from the attacks. “A lot of immigrant communities were feeling particularly nervous and frightened,” says a spokesperson for the public foundation. One of the first grants went to three groups–Video Machete; the Coalition of Asian, African, European, and Latino Immigrants of Illinois; and the Southwest Youth Collaborative–which put together a set of public service announcements about discrimination. The PSAs will be presented by Video Machete’s Tammy Ko Robinson at today’s free forum on Understanding Operation Enduring Freedom. Also on the docket are Arab-American civil rights attorney Abdeen Jabara, whose keynote speech will address some of the factors that led to the attacks and possible political solutions; media analyst Ali Abunimah, who’ll discuss alternative media coverage of the conflict; and Camille Odeh of the Arab-American Action Network and Southwest Youth Collaborative, who will examine the impact of U.S. military action on the local Arab community. UIC professor and Crossroads Fund board member Barbara Ransby moderates. It’s from 3 to 5 at UIC’s Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted. Call 773-227-7676.

2 SUNDAY In today’s lecture, Can Arabs Be Anti-Semites? Some Reflections on Jewish-Muslim Relations, Northwestern University professor of Jewish civilization Jacob Lassner points out that the term “Semitic” was invented by a 19th-century German scholar to denote the family of Afro-Asiatic languages that includes both Hebrew and Arabic, as well as a host of other ancient and contemporary tongues. “In the 19th century it came to describe a racial group, though such a group never existed in the course of history,” says Lassner, who notes that anyone who speaks a Semitic language is by definition a Semite. He’ll discuss the mythology–and history–of Jewish-Muslim relations today at 2 (following a 1:15 reception) at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, 618 S. Michigan. It’s free, but reservations are required. Call 312-322-1769, or E-mail

3 MONDAY Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film Blowup is about a fashion photographer who accidentally shoots what may be a murder and uses his pictures to find out the truth. In Brian De Palma’s Blow Out (1981), a soundman is recording when a presidential candidate is killed in an “accident” caused by a bursting tire–and later hears a gunshot on his tape. De Palma’s film is an homage to Antonioni’s, which in turn is based on a short story by Argentine novelist Julio Cortazar. Filmmaker and turntablist Christian Marclay’s Up and Out pairs the visuals from the first film with the audio from the second. “Film is an illusion,” Marclay has said. “The sound is added later–very often, all the sound effects are added later. Yet we allow ourselves to believe everything. With [Up and Out] I attempt to disrupt those habits and force us to be a little bit conscious about them.” His movie will be screened tonight at 6 at Columbia College’s Hokin Auditorium, 623 S. Wabash, in conjunction with the Museum of Contemporary Photography exhibit “Audible Imagery: Sound and Photography.” It’s free; for more information call 312-663-5554.

4 TUESDAY Controlled Demolition Incorporated president Mark Loizeaux told New Yorker writer John Seabrook that he knew immediately that the twin towers would collapse after they were hit on September 11, and he tried to call the FDNY to warn them. The Port Authority’s chief engineer, Frank Lombardi, another expert interviewed by Seabrook for his November 19 piece on the buildings’ collapse, suggested that a structural engineer should be called to the scene of every high-rise fire to make the “cold, objective decision to send people in or not send them.” Tonight experts from the WTC Building Performance Study Team will give their Preliminary Impressions of the World Trade Center Disaster at a panel discussion sponsored by the Structural Engineers Association. The program starts with a reception (with cash bar) from 5:30 to 6:30, followed by the discussion, which runs until 8 at the Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson. It’s free, but a dress code (suit and tie for men, comparable attire for women) will be enforced. To reserve a spot, log on to; no phone calls, please.

The original McCormick Place was touted as “fireproof” because all of its structural members, including interior nonbearing walls, were noncombustible. But on January 16, 1967, the exhibition hall succumbed to a major blaze. What started as a small fire became uncontrollable after the roof collapsed from the intense heat. “Flames shot 100 feet into the air,” says firefighter David Cowan in his new book, Great Chicago Fires: Historic Blazes That Shaped a City. It took 500 firefighters to put out the blaze. Cowan will discuss his book tonight at 7 at the Maze branch of the Oak Park Public Library, 845 S. Gunderson in Oak Park. It’s free; call 708-386-4751 for more information.

5 WEDNESDAY Before 1865 some blacks were free, some Native Americans were slaves, and some Native Americans owned black slaves; there was also a lot of marriage between the two groups. Today at noon, University of California at Berkeley ethnic studies professor Tiya Miles will examine how these circumstances affected racial identity both then and now in a lecture entitled Uncle Tom Was an Indian: Tracing the Red in Black Slavery. It’s at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton, and it’s free. Call 312-255-3700.

6 THURSDAY Tonight’s free Hurray for Hanukkah celebration at the Chicago Cultural Center–which will be repeated Saturday night at the Hideout–might as well be called “Hipster Hanukkah.” The bill includes hosts Ellen Rosner and John Greenfield, musical guests Kim, the Tuffets, Patty Elvis, Al Rose, Vernon Tonges, the Young Fathers, and Carlos and Patty Ortega, as well as spoken-word and performance artists Cheryl Trykv, Cin Salach, and Greg Gillam. It starts at 7 at the Randolph Cafe at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; call 312-744-6630.