Friday 10/6 – Thursday 10/12
By Cara Jepsen
6 FRIDAY A New York midwifery practice, a Texas grassroots housing initiative for migrant farm workers, a Navajo Nation program that promotes traditional sheepherding and weaving practices, and the Southwest Youth Collaborative in Englewood are among the dozen community enterprises examined through photos and interviews in the exhibit Indivisible: Stories of American Community, which opens today (and runs through November 26) at the Terra Museum of American Art, 666 N. Michigan (312-664-3939). Admission is $7 for adults, $3.50 for seniors, and free for students, teachers, veterans, and kids under 12. Tom Rankin, exhibit co-coordinator and executive director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, will discuss his book, Local Heroes Changing America–which accompanies the exhibit–tonight at 8:30 at Barnes & Noble, 1441 W. Webster. It’s free; call 773-871-3825 for more.
This weekend’s conference Locked Away: Critiquing the U.S. Prison System Through Story and Text focuses on ways of humanizing the prison experience for the more than 1.7 million incarcerated Americans. It opens tonight with a keynote address by John Edgar Wideman, whose 1976 memoir Brothers and Keepers explores his struggle to come to terms with his brother’s murder conviction. He’ll speak tonight at 7 at DePaul University’s Cortelyou Commons, 2324 N. Fremont. The conference continues tomorrow from 9 to 4, when panelists will include Pilar Anadon, director of Ann Arbor’s Prison Creative Arts Project; Tsehaye Herbert, coordinator of the Women’s Writers Workshop of Cook County Jail; and Chiara Liberatore, youth development coordinator of the city’s Music Theatre Workshop. It’s free, but reservations are required for tomorrow’s events. Call 773-325-4580.
7 SATURDAY The Field Museum’s new multimedia exhibit “The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition” may have all the bells and whistles, but the folks at the Newberry Library say that story is just one of many fantastic tales of polar exploration. Today they’ll trot out a related exhibit, To the Ends of the Earth: Exploring the Poles, which tracks 500 years of exploration through books, maps, and artifacts. It runs through January 13 and kicks off with a panel called “Going to Extremes: The Arctic, the Antarctic, and the Himalayas,” which will include UIC librarian Sharon Hogan (who twice attempted to climb Mount Everest), Ottawa civic leader Edmund Thornton (who participated in Donald B. McMillan’s arctic expedition 50 years ago), and anthropologist James VanStone (who works with arctic and subarctic people). They’ll discuss what drives them to the so-called ends of the earth at 10 AM at the library, 60 W. Walton. It’s free; call 312-255-3510.
“When the recorder went wrong (this happened a number of times), I swore at it. During each of these instances, my companion laughed and seemed to feel more relaxed….I soon became aware that my playing Jacques Tati’s Mr. Hulot helped break whatever tensions might have existed.” So writes Studs Terkel in the prefatory notes to his 1967 book Division Street: America, a collection of revealing interviews with “ordinary” Chicagoans. Several of their stories have been adapted by playwright Steve Totland for the Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Arts Exchange Program. After today’s premiere, This American Life host Ira Glass will interview Terkel. It starts at 11 AM at the Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted (312-335-1650). Tickets are $10.
According to this month’s Harper’s Index, there are 239 federally registered presidential candidates. The College of Complexes’ Third Party Presidential Series of Speakers will cover just a fraction of their platforms, but will include speakers on behalf of Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. and the Constitution and Pacifist parties. The series kicks off tonight at 8, with Drake Beadle discussing the ideas of Reform Party candidate John Hagelin, who believes that candidates are “just plain citizens.” It’s at the Lincoln Restaurant, 4008 N. Lincoln. Tuition is $3, plus a required food or drink purchase. Call 312-326-2120 for more.
8 SUNDAY Long before European colonizers laid claim to the east African coast, Swahili city-states and villages dominated the 3,500 kilometers of coastline from Somalia to Mozambique, says Kenyan scholar Chapurukha M. Kusimba, author of The Rise and Fall of Swahili States. These days, Kenya’s Swahili society struggles with the Christian majority. Kusimba, who’s an associate curator of African archaeology and ethnology at the Field Museum and part of a team that is excavating a section of Tsavo National Park near the Kenyan coast, thinks tensions might ease if more people were aware of the Swahilis’ former dominance. He will give a free lecture and slide presentation today from 1 to 5 at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, 9525 S. Halsted (312-747-6921).
9 MONDAY Norse explorer Leif Eriksson first set foot in the New World 500 years before Christopher Columbus, but his story isn’t nearly as familiar. He stopped a few times along the coast before settling in for the winter at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, which he dubbed Vinland. The name may not have stuck because Eriksson failed to, instead returning to Greenland in the spring. Regardless, today at 10 AM the Leif Eriksson Millennium Committee will lay a wreath and hold a small ceremony at the Eriksson statue near the entrance of Humboldt Park, at Humboldt just south of North. It’s free; call 773-244-5592 for more.
10 TUESDAY After several months of battle with the Illinois board of elections and the Democratic Party, it looks as though consumer advocate and Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader (and running mate Winona LaDuke) will indeed be on the ballot next month. At tonight’s “super rally,” Nader will be joined by Michael Moore, Studs Terkel, and John Anderson (who ran as an independent in 1980). Doors open at 6; the main event starts at 7:30 at the UIC Pavilion, 525 S. Racine. Organizers are asking $10 for admission, but will settle for $7. Call 312-588-0974.
11 WEDNESDAY Filmmaker Pamela Beere Briggs says one of the most amazing days in her career was spent following mystery writer Sara Paretsky around Chicago. “Visiting various locations she set action in her books, from trendy north-side neighborhoods near Wrigley Field, through the downtown financial district, to abandoned factories in the economically depressed far south side, I filmed Sara as she climbed, poked, and prodded each location.” Paretsky and sister mystery writers Marcia Muller and Sue Grafton are profiled in Briggs’s and partner William McDonald’s new film, Women of Mystery: Three Writers Who Forever Changed Detective Fiction. Paretsky and the filmmakers will hold a Q & A after tonight’s screening, which is at 5:30 at Northwestern University’s Thorne Auditorium, 750 N. Lake Shore Drive. It’s free, but reservations are recommended. Call 312-422-5580.
12 THURSDAY Although Chinese poet Bei Dao never injected politics into his work, his “misty” poetry has been banned by the government because it doesn’t conform to their sanctioned style of political and social realism. Dao was out of the country during the siege at Tiananmen Square, but it’s still illegal to own or distribute his work in China. Tonight Dao, who is a visiting professor at Beloit College, will read his work with poet, translator, and National Book Award winner Clayton Eshleman. It’s at 5:30 at Columbia College’s Conaway Performance Center, 1104 S. Wabash. It’s free; call 312-344-8100.