Friday 9/8 – Thursday 9/14


By Cara Jepsen

8 FRIDAY For more than a dozen years, 57-year-old Bay Area artist Judith Scott has been weaving yarn and fabric into giant sculptures that have drawn the attention of the outsider art world. In fact, Scott may be the ultimate outsider–she has Down’s syndrome and cannot hear or speak. An exhibit of her work, Metamorphosis: The Fiber Art of Judith Scott, opens today at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. There’s a free reception tonight from 5 to 8 at the gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee (312-243-9088). On September 21 at 7 PM, Bruce Pepich, director of the Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts in Racine, will give a free slide lecture and gallery talk on Scott and other contemporary fiber artists. The show runs through November 25.

9 SATURDAY Valdas Adamkus has had almost as many lives as a cat. During the Second World War he joined the Lithuanian resistance movement against the Nazis and published an underground newspaper. In 1944 he fought against the occupying Red Army, but eventually his anti-Soviet activities forced him to flee to Germany, where he taught at the University of Munich. In 1949 he settled in Chicago, working at a factory and as a draftsman for an engineering firm. He graduated from IIT in 1960 and in 1970 began a distinguished career with the EPA. In 1998 he was elected president of Lithuania and is now pushing to join NATO and the European Union. He’ll give a lecture on environmental protection in developing nations today at a Chicago Humanities Festival-sponsored event. It’s at 1 at Northwestern University Law School’s Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago. Tickets are free, but reservations are a must. Call 312-661-1028.

Those annoying Survivor people are everywhere these days, and tonight five of them will invade west suburban Lisle. At press time the list of confirmed castaways included “alphabet boy” Sean and Susan, the truck driver from Wisconsin; presumably newly svelte Richard has something more lucrative to do. They’ll appear tonight at 8 at Benedictine University’s Dan and Ada Rice Center, 5700 College Road in Lisle. It’s $25; a C-note gets you into a “private, intimate” dinner with the cast members/contestants; it’s $50 to attend a postreception party. Call 630-829-6161 for more.

10 SUNDAY Prolific multimedia artist Martin Kippenberger produced a ton of work in the 1980s and 1990s and was featured in hundreds of exhibitions around the world. When he wasn’t traveling, tooting his own horn, or creating installations like his last work, which was based on Franz Kafka’s unfinished novel, Amerika, Kippenberger spent his time drawing on hotel stationery. The University of Chicago has procured both for a new exhibit, Martin Kippenberger: Hotel Drawings and The Happy End of Franz Kafka’s “Amerika.” The opening reception is tonight from 4 to 7 at both the Renaissance Society, 5811 S. Ellis (installation), and the Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood (drawings). At 5 art critic Diedrich Diederichsen, a friend of the late Kippenberger, will discuss his work in room 307 of Cobb Hall (the building that houses the Renaissance Society). It’s all free; call 773-702-8670 for more information.

11 MONDAY Three-time Tony award winner Hinton Battle will emcee this year’s Black Theatre Alliance Awards, which take place tonight at the DuSable Museum of African American History. But in spite of the big-time trappings, the alliance is still basically a one-man operation–the brainchild of actor/singer/theater lover Vincent E. Williams, who created the event six years ago as a way to recognize black contributions to local theater. It’s from 8 to 10 (with a dessert reception at 7) at the DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th. Admission is $25 and formal attire is required. Call 773-624-5729.

“The secret police told me, ‘You better leave as soon as possible, otherwise you will suffer the consequences,'” says human rights activist Mario Venegas. That was in December of 1976, after he’d been tortured and detained in concentration camps for two years by Augusto Pinochet’s totalitarian regime in Chile. Venegas landed in London, where he continued his human rights work while earning a PhD in chemistry. He came to the U.S. in 1984, and these days he’s coordinator of the Permanent Committee for Chile in Chicago, director of the Foundation for Human Rights in Guatemala, and a member of the Evanston chapter of Amnesty International. Tonight he and Reader staff writer John Conroy, author of Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People, will discuss their work at a free educational forum and introduction to AI’s upcoming worldwide Campaign Against Torture. It’s tonight from 7:30 to 9 in room 122 of Northwestern University’s Parkes Hall, at the southeast corner of Chicago and Sheridan in Evanston. Call 773-338-6020 for more.

12 TUESDAY When his editors at the New York Times asked architect Witold Rybczynski to write an essay about the most important tool of the millennium, he decided to focus on the screw and screwdriver. He’s since expanded his thoughts on the subject into a book that traces their history from the middle ages to the present. Rybczynski will discuss One Good Turn: The Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw tonight at 7 at Borders Books & Music, 830 N. Michigan (312-573-0564). It’s free.

13 WEDNESDAY Clara Schumann’s father wouldn’t let her see her mother after they divorced (when she was five) and didn’t allow her to spend any time playing. When she fell in love with Robert Schumann, he threatened to shoot her suitor and wouldn’t give permission for them to marry. But he also taught his daughter how to play piano, and she went on to become a composer and one of the most famous pianists in history, not to mention a champion of her husband’s work and that of friend Johannes Brahms. Today at noon Austrian pianist and author Elisabeth Eschwe will perform works by Schumann; afterward she’ll give a lecture on her life. It’s in Ganz Hall at Roosevelt University, 430 N. Michigan. It’s free; call 312-341-3783.

14 THURSDAY Black gay life on Chicago’s south side, the impact of the American military occupation on gays in postwar Germany and Japan, rural women’s relationships in 1950s Finland, the “pansy craze” in Prohibition-era Chicago and New York, black nationalist attitudes toward homosexuality, and the role of women’s softball and music festivals in lesbian culture and politics are just a few of the topics that will be examined by scholars from around the world this weekend at the University of Chicago’s gay, lesbian, and queer history conference. The Future of the Queer Past: A Transnational History Conference officially kicks off tonight at 8 when performance artist Holly Hughes, one of four artists notoriously stripped of National Endowment for the Arts grants in 1990, presents her new show, Preaching to the Perverted: A Tour of the Dark Side of Democracy. It’ll be preceded by a reception at 6; the conference runs through Sunday at the U. of C.’s Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th. Admission to the conference is $30 per day. It’s an additional $10 for Hughes’s performance. A weekend pass–$60 for students, $85 for faculty and the gainfully employed–covers everything, including meals. Call 773-834-4509 for more information. A related exhibit, Homosexuality in the City: A Century of Research at the University of Chicago, opens today (and runs through December 15) at the Joseph Regenstein Library, 1100 E. 57th. And tonight at 7:30 the Court Theatre, 5355 S. Ellis, presents a preview performance of The Invention of Love, Tom Stoppard’s 1997 play about gay English poet A.E. Housman’s unrequited love for a fellow Oxford student. The performance is sponsored by Chicago Free Press and will be preceded by a party at 5:30 and followed by a discussion. Tickets are $50. Call the theater at 773-753-4472 for more.