Friday 10/15 – Thursday 10/21


By Cara Jepsen

15 FRIDAY A lifetime of sexual abuse is at the center of artist Mary Ellen Croteau’s new installation, Mercy, based on radical feminist Andrea Dworkin’s 1990 novel of the same name. Individual pieces include A Doll That Pees, a baby doll pierced with pins, and Blood on Cement, which confronts the question of why there aren’t more women artists. A free opening reception is held tonight from 6 to 9 at Woman Made Gallery, 1900 S. Carpenter (312-328-0038).

Peter Dunne, director of New Jersey’s Cape May Bird Observatory, is often called “the bard of birding” for his amusing avian tales. The Chicago Audubon Society has imported him to give a talk tonight to benefit the society; it’s at 6 at Kenyon Oppenheimer Gallery, 410 N. Michigan. Admission is $45, which includes wine and snacks. Call 773-539-6793 for tickets.

Identity, assimilation, and “other mysteries of the Oriental-Asian-American mystique” provide the fodder for Stir-Friday Night!’s new comedy revue, The Lunar Conspiracy: Birth of an Asian, which opens tonight and runs Fridays and Saturdays through November 13. Show time’s 10:45 at the Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark. Tickets are $10, $8 for students. For reservations call 773-973-4533.

16 SATURDAY More bird news: Hawks are heading south for winter, and one of the best places to spot them is along the western shore of Lake Michigan–provided the conditions are right. “A good day is any time there are west winds that stack the birds up against the lakefront,” says David Johnson of the Evanston North Shore Bird Club. He’ll lead a search for Merlin and sharp-shinned hawks today at Illinois Beach State Park. Meet at 7:30 AM in the parking lot of Mathon’s restaurant, 6 E. Clayton in Waukegan. It’s free, and even if the hawks don’t show up, “we’ll have plenty of other fall migrants, including lingering shorebirds, to look at.” Call 847-578-2713 for more information.

Vladimir Nekola and Else Hamayan use a photovoltaic panel to help generate electricity for their three-story apartment building at 1433 W. Chicago. The building is one of the local solar homes on display at this weekend’s free National Tour of Solar Homes, which also includes houses at 849 W. Armitage and 4807 N. Hoyne as well as a number of suburban and downstate locations. Doors are open from 10 to 4; call 630-420-1118 for a map.

Joyous voices will raise the roof of the Chicago Historical Society today at the opening of That’s Good News! Chicago and the Birth of Gospel Music, a 100-year retrospective focusing on the career of gospel legend Thomas A. Dorsey. Today’s events include performances by the Liberty Baptist Church Gospel Chorus and the Voices of Saint Sabina as well as a musical workshop led by Dr. Lena McLin and the McLin Singers. It starts at 11 at the society, Clark at North (312-642-4600). Admission is $5, $3 for students and seniors.

Video artist Bill Viola got his start in fifth grade, as captain of the TV squad at P.S. 20 in Queens. Since then the former AV geek has generated an impressive output of images combined with amplified sound. The new exhibit Bill Viola: A 25-Year Survey includes video installations and a changing program of videotapes made by the artist between 1972 and 1994. It opens today (and runs through January 9) at the Art Institute, Adams and Michigan; admission is $8, $5 for students and seniors. Call 312-443-3600. There are also a couple of pieces being shown off-site, including Nantes Triptych, an installation at the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn (773-702-2100). Admission to that is free.

Rogers Park’s Community Arts Center works with local schools to fill holes in their curricula; its after-school enrichment program includes choral and fine-arts components. Tonight the center will hold a benefit with Craig Sjogerman, aka Dr. Gesundheit, who will present his local-history show, Our Kind of Town, in which audience members “become” the Sears Tower and Buckingham Fountain. It’s at 7:30 at the CAC, 6554 N. Rockwell. Tickets are $9 in advance ($4 for children), a buck more at the door. Call 773-465-3973.

17 SUNDAY French writer Colette lived full throttle–the contemporary of Proust and Cocteau married three times and had a number of affairs with both men and women. Porchlight Theatre’s premiere of Colette Collage, a musical based on her life and work, will run through November 28. Today’s show is at 3 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. Tickets are $18, $15 for students and seniors. Call 312-902-1500.

Pauline Pang’s performance piece Bride’s Disease is based on a purportedly real letter from a hypercontrolling bride to her ushers and bridesmaids that was printed in Harper’s in 1991. She’ll perform it tonight at 8 at Beast Women ’99, an annual event featuring different combinations of performers who hit the stage at least three times during the four-week run. Tonight’s installment is hosted by Lori Lee. Other performers include Janel Horvath, Kelly Anchors, Judith Harding, Louise Cloutier, and Barrie Cole. It’s at SweetCorn Playhouse, 5113 N. Clark. Tickets are $8. Call 312-409-2876.

18 MONDAY The folks behind Terry Abrahamson’s play Doo Lister’s Blues have come up with a unique way to raise money–for a C-note guys can play a cop in the show, which takes place in Chicago during the riots of the late 1960s. It opens tonight at 7:30 (and runs through December 6) at the Performance Loft, Second Unitarian Church of Chicago, 656 W. Barry. Tickets cost $12 to $20. Call 773-327-7166.

19 TUESDAY Not too long ago Kathy Kane quit a good job at Motorola to start her own consulting business. The change allows Kane to juggle five children and her work; today she’ll explain how you can do the same at a seminar called Finding Balance Between Work and Family. It’s from noon to 1:15 at Women Employed, 22 W. Monroe, suite 1701 (312-782-3902), and costs $20.

20 WEDNESDAY In 1945 Decatur native Shirley Luster changed her name to June Christy and joined the Stan Kenton Orchestra. The voice of “Shoo-Fly Pie” and “How High the Moon” later defined “cool jazz” singing in the 1950s and had a string of top-selling albums. Tonight Cory Jamison and Reader contributor Justin Hayford will perform a tribute to Christy called A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening. It’s at 8 (and runs through Sunday) at Davenport’s, 1383 N. Milwaukee (773-278-1830). Admission is $8, $10 for the Friday and Saturday shows.

21 THURSDAY In the late 1800s the city was home to five Polish neighborhoods–the lower west side, Bridgeport, Back of the Yards, South Chicago, and the Milwaukee-Ashland-Division area, then known as “the Polish downtown.” Today Loyola University professor Helena Znaniecka Lopata will discuss The Poles in Metropolitan Chicago: Their Settlement Patterns. It’s the October installment of the library’s “Geography Chicago Style” series and starts at 12:15 in the video theater of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State (312-747-4050).