Friday 11/10 – Thursday 11/16
By Cara Jepsen
10 FRIDAY Fluxus artist Dick Higgins’s early-1960s “Danger Music” series of performance pieces consists of 43 unconventional instructions for artists that address notions of risk taking: grab on to a hoist hook and be lifted three stories in the air, says one; volunteer to have your spine removed, says another. “They’re not saying to have your spine removed but to volunteer to have it done and think about what it would be like if that happened. The pieces are the forerunners of what we think of as conceptual art,” says Columbia College professor Jeff Abell, who organized the performance segment of tonight’s opening of Betwixt and Between: The Life and Work of Fluxus Artist Dick Higgins. Cocurator Simon Anderson of the School of the Art Institute and Higgins’s widow, Alison Knowles, will perform Danger Music Number Two, a piece based on a list of five words–“hat, rags, paper, heave, shave”–that Knowles used to perform with Higgins, who died in 1998. Higgins’s daughter Hannah–an artist, UIC faculty member, and the retrospective’s other curator–will also perform. The free opening reception is from 5 to 7 at Columbia College’s Center for Book & Paper Arts, 1104 S. Wabash. The free performance starts at 7:30 in the Columbia College Music Center, 1014 S. Michigan. Call 312-344-6630.
“I’ve made up a myth in my life that anytime you push yourself through something uncomfortable, say a snowstorm and you don’t have boots on, then you will get the job, because you have been so doggedly good or so stupid or you just know when to push on,” says the protagonist of Eileen Myles’s debut novel, Cool for You, shortly after landing a job in a mental ward. Myles, who ran as an “openly female” presidential candidate in 1992 and published the hip short story collection Chelsea Girls in 1994, will read from her new book tonight at 7 at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th. It’s free (773-684-1300).
11 SATURDAY When they were implemented in 1990, the UN’s economic sanctions against Iraq were touted as an alternative to war that would hasten the downfall of Saddam Hussein. A decade later, he’s still in power and over one million people have died from malnutrition and disease because they’re not getting enough food and medicine, say the folks at the American Friends Service Committee (which initially supported the measures). Today’s cultural bazaar Building Bridges With Iraq is designed to drum up support for ending the sanctions. It will include Iraqi food, music, and art as well as educational exhibits. It’s from 1 to 4 in the social hall at Saint Gertrude’s Church, 1401 W. Granville. The suggested donation is $5. Call 312-427-2533, ext. 14, for more.
Developers are slapping up buildings all over town, but most of ’em are not exactly on the cutting edge of design. Today’s public forum Where in the World Is Chicago? The Current State of Architecture and Innovation will examine how these new buildings do–or do not–fit in with the city’s architectural heritage. The architects’ panel will include Joseph Valerio, Carol Ross Barney, Helmut Jahn, and Jack Hartray. On the critics’ panel, the Sun-Times’s Lee Bey and the Tribune’s Blair Kamin will be joined by the New York Times’s Herbert Muschamp and the Boston Globe’s Robert Campbell. The free forum will be moderated by Architectural Record editor Robert Ivy. It’s from 1 to 4 at the Art Institute’s Rubloff Auditorium, 210 S. Columbus (312-670-7770).
12 SUNDAY The idea behind today’s Bar Art tour is that people who visit taverns don’t go to look at art (and it’s usually too dark to see what’s on the walls anyway), while collectors and connoisseurs tend to stick to galleries and museums. “The message is that art by Chicago artists is at all sorts of unexpected places, like bars, restaurants, airports, and on the street,” says a spokesperson for the tour, which runs from 3 to 6 and departs from the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. The $40 fee includes transportation, drinks, and snacks; all ages are welcome. It’ll include stops at Rainbo, Webster’s Wine Bar, and Gold Star. Space is limited and reservations are required; call 312-744-4405.
Steve Cushing recently celebrated the 20th year of his public radio program Blues Before Sunrise, but after falling out with WBEZ four years ago he lost his funding–and his job as engineer. Cushing, who now works as a tour guide in the Museum of Science and Industry’s coal mine exhibit, has been finding his own underwriters and producing the show himself; it’s now heard on 70 stations nationwide. But he says he needs to raise $1,000 for annual broadcast liability insurance, which is required by law. Tonight he’ll get help from retired blues guitarist Jody Williams (in his third appearance in 35 years), Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Howlin’ Wolf imitator Little Wolf, and a bevy of old-school blues bands (including Cushing’s own Ice Cream Men) who will play a fund-raiser for the show. It starts at 6 at Rosa’s Lounge, 3420 W. Armitage. Admission is $10; call 708-771-2135.
13 MONDAY The novelists invited to participate in the European Union-sponsored New European Literature reading and discussion had to be relatively young, speak English, and have at least one book published in the U.S. Austrian writer Marlene Streeruwitz (Seductions), Danish writer Ib Michael (Prince), and French writer Martin Winckler, who has sold “truckloads” of 1998’s The Case of Dr. Sachs (which was recently made into a film), all fit the bill. They’ll read from and discuss their work–in the original language and in English–tonight at 6 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Tomorrow night at 6 German author Alissa Walser (The Lesser Half of the World), Italian au-thor Sandra Petrignani (The Toy Catalog), and Dutch writer Philibert Schogt (The Wild Numbers) will do the same. Local critic Andrew Patner will mod-erate both free events; call 312-664-3525 or see www.france-consulat.org/chicago/europe/literfestival.htm for more.
14 TUESDAY The American Cancer Society predicts that by the end of this year some 6,300 Illinois women will die of lung and bronchus cancer; women who smoke are six times more likely to have a heart attack than their nonsmoking peers. Tonight’s panel Clearing the Air: The Tobacco Epidemic in Women and Youth is aimed at lowering those numbers. Panelists include Carol R. Southard, a registered nurse at Northwestern University Medical Center’s Wellness Institute, discussing the effects of secondhand smoke; Janet Williams, director of the Cook County Department of Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Control program, on tobacco advertising targeting women and youth; and Donna Grande, codirector of the AMA’s SmokeLess States program, explaining how to develop local tobacco-control strategies. The event, sponsored by the Soroptimist International of Chicago, runs from 6 to 8:30 and includes dinner. It’s at the American Medical Association, 515 N. State. It’s $10, and reservations are suggested (312-527-3099).
15 WEDNESDAY Belen–A Book of Hours, a multimedia collaboration between theater artists in Mexico City and New York City, links the oppression of poor women today to that of the women who lived in Mexico City’s Recogimiento de Belen, an 18th-century Catholic “sanctuary” for impoverished single women. Their days were filled with a strict regimen of work and prayer, and they were never allowed to leave. (Appropriately, Belen became a prison in 1860.) The show, produced by NYC’s Mabou Mines, drew rave reviews and a Special Citation Obie award for performer Jesusa Rodriguez during its New York run. It opens here tonight at 7 and runs through November 19 at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, 1852 W. 19th. Tickets are $12, $10 for students and seniors; call 312-738-1503.
16 THURSDAY Adam Parfrey’s 1987 book Apocalypse Culture focused on what were once provocative subjects–occultism, extreme body modification, deviants, and criminals–and are now more or less part of the cultural currency. So his follow-up, Apocalypse Culture II, had to up the ante. The new book includes essays by Ted Kaczynski, Crispin Glover, Boyd Rice, John Hinckley, and others on topics such as necrophilia, Satanism, cannibalism, and Jonestown. My favorite essay? “The Fecal Sorcerer,” by Michael Moynihan. Parfrey and contributor Peter Sotos (who wrote an unblinking piece on child molestation and is best known for his arrest for publishing the pornographic zine Pure) will present a slide show and discuss the book tonight at 7:30 at Quimby’s Bookstore, 1854 W. North. It’s free (773-342-0910).