Friday 10/20 – thursday 10/26


By Cara Jepsen

20 FRIDAY The Stolen Lives Project says there have been 2,000 police slayings of civilians in the U.S. in the last five years, and organizers want participants in today’s rally and march against police brutality to wear black “to honor the people who have been murdered by the police.” Family members of several victims will speak at today’s event, which is part of a national day of protest taking place in 80 cities. It starts at noon at the Federal Plaza, Adams and Dearborn. It’s free. Call 773-528-1701.

Playwright John Susman spent several years researching the on-again, off-again romance of Simone de Beauvoir and Nelson Algren. His new play, Nelson and Simone, draws on their correspondence and other writings, as well as interviews with people who knew them. Preview performances start tonight at 8; the play opens on Monday and runs through December 17 at the Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark. Tickets are $15 Thursdays and Sundays, $20 Fridays and Saturdays. Call 773-871-1212.

21 SATURDAY Thirty-nine years ago, Margaret Burroughs founded the DuSable Museum of History and Art on the first floor of her South Michigan Avenue graystone, with the pantry serving as its library. The museum was relocated to Washington Park in 1973 and renamed the Du-Sable Museum of African American History in 1976. Today it will honor the octogenarian printmaker, sculptor, painter, and poet with her first retrospective. Margaret Burroughs: A Lifetime in Art opens today and runs through March 31 at the museum, at 740 E. 56th Place (773-947-0600). The museum is open from 10 to 5; admission is $3 for adults, $2 for students and seniors, and $1 for children.

Can monthly visits from Aunt Rose be harmful to a woman’s health? Some scientists think so, and they’ve developed a pill to keep her at bay for months at a time. Today UIC’s Alice Dan, Truman College biology chair Yvonne Harris, and poet Susan House will take up the question at a panel called Periods…Who Needs ‘Em? It’s part of today’s Menstrual Madness 2000 festival, sponsored by the women’s performance collective the Empress Has Red Clothes. This and other free menses-themed workshops and panels are from 1:30 to 3:30, followed by a two-hour performance ($10). It all takes place at Columbia College’s Ferguson Theater, 600 S. Michigan. Call 773-665-4749.

Heather McAdams and Chris Ligon will screen trailers for blaxploitation films like Foxy Brown and Black Gunn, old commercials featuring Joe Namath hawking Noxzema and Cybill Shepherd shilling for Cover Girl, performance clips of Cab Calloway, the Collins Kids, George Jones, and the Beatles, and other rare treats, “projected on a sheet, the way God intended,” at tonight’s benefit for Chicago Filmmakers. They’ll be joined by musicians Scott Ligon and Gina “the original Roly-Poly Girl,” Matt Miller, Cath Carroll, Gentleman John Battles, Vernon Tonges, and Patty “Elvis” Manning, plus Brigid Murphy, Darren Hacker, and Cynthia Plaster Caster. It all starts at 9:30 at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia. Tickets are $12; you must be 21. Call 773-293-1447.

22 SUNDAY Iranian student leader Gholamreza Mohajerynejad has been arrested and imprisoned several times since entering Tehran University in 1993, most recently for six months after spearheading last summer’s prodemocracy demonstrations. “During this period I was savagely tortured,” he says. “I was in a small cell for 130 days–so small that I did not have enough space to lie down and sleep normally.” Today at 4:30 he’ll give a talk on Iran’s new freedom movement (in Farsi, with simultaneous English translation) at the News & Letters Library, 36 S. Wabash (room 1440). It’s free; call 312-236-0799.

23 MONDAY Sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh was denied a lease by the CHA when he was researching his dissertation on the Robert Taylor Homes–so he stayed off and on for 18 months with families who lived there. Venkatesh, who was born in Madras, India, and grew up in the U.S., saw his share of gang violence and drug activity, but downplays the risks his research entailed, saying, “The fact that I wasn’t white, or a middle- or upper-class African-American, helped to defer a lot of that political antagonism.” He earned his PhD from the U. of C. in 1997 and last year landed a job at Columbia University, but despite his secure position in the ivory tower says he hopes to follow the example of his mentor, Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson, in reaching outside academe to actively engage in public debates. Venkatesh, the subject of a 1997 Reader cover story, will discuss his new book, American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto, tonight at 7 at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th. It’s free; call 773-684-1300.

24 TUESDAY Asia is the most vibrant–and perhaps unstable–part of the world today, say Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas D. Kristof in their book Thunder From the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia. The couple, who were journalists there for 14 years and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for their New York Times coverage of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, also argue that the 1997 financial crisis has generated positive results, clearing away some of the totalitarianism and corruption that was impeding Asia’s rise. They’ll give a lecture tonight called Portrait of a Rising Asia at an event sponsored by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. There’s a reception at 6:30; the lecture starts at 7 at the Wyndham Drake Hotel, 2301 York Road in Oak Brook. Admission is $29; call 312-726-3860.

25 WEDNESDAY Tim Steil’s straightforwardly titled Route 66 focuses on the people and places that are there now, rather than, he says, “tracking down the waitress who worked at a restaurant that burnt down in the 1950s.” Steil, who interviewed some 30 people who live and work along the route, recently quit his day job to focus on a new endeavor–a book about unusual gas stations. He’ll give a free reading at 7 tonight at Hit the Road travel store, 3758 N. Southport (773-388-8338).

26 THURSDAY On November 14, 1960, Ruby Bridges’s mother told her to behave herself and be brave when she went to school that day. What the six-year-old didn’t know was that she would have to be escorted by U.S. marshals through an angry crowd chanting “Two-four-six-eight, we don’t want to integrate”–thus becoming the first African-American to attend her New Orleans elementary school. All but one faculty member refused to teach her, and she and that teacher spent over a year together in the classroom alone. Bridges, whose ordeal inspired Norman Rockwell’s painting The Problem We All Live With, will discuss her memoir, Through My Eyes, tonight at 6:30 in the Rubloff Auditorium of the Chicago Historical Society, 1601 N. Clark (312-642-4600). It’s free.