Chicago photographer and Reader contributor Lloyd DeGrane’s shots of prisoners are photojournalistic in nature–the work of an outsider looking in. Robert Saltzman’s portraits of prisoners, on the other hand, are collaborative: he mounts them and returns them to their subjects, who cover them with artwork and poems. Their photos are art of a new exhibit, Discipline and Photograph: The Prison Experience, which examines life in prison through different photographic approaches–everything from anonymous PR style photos of chain gangs to a video documentary in which the subject–a woman who killed her parents after years of abuse–turns the tables and starts asking the questions. Tonight’s opening reception coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Attica prison rebellion; it’s from 5 to 7 at the Peace Museum, 314 W. Institute. Afterward from 7 to 9 will be poetry readings by Tyehimba Jess, Hando, and former prisoner Larry Patterson. The reception is free but admission for the event following is $3.50, $2 for students and seniors. Call 440-1860.
Doorika–the avant-garde theater collective that describes what it does as a “borderless, saturated meta-linguistic theatre experience”–is putting on an actual play: Bathe Me , Gertrude Stein’s Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights! is a performance of Stein’s 1938 play, written after her return to a newly i industrialized U.S. Combining everything from videos to ballet to sing-alongs (from a score created in part by Jon Langford of the Mekons), the play examines the nature of time and tells the stories of several characters, including a young Faust, the devil, and a talking dog. It plays tonight at 8 and runs through September 28 at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Division.
Tickets are $10. Call 409-2617 for more info or reservations.
Since the early 1930s the Mexican Independence Day Parade has celebrated the uprising against the Spaniards that took place on September 16, 1810. This
year’s parade is today at noon, and starts at Dearborn and Wacker and continues south to Van Buren. The festivities continue tomorrow night at 7 at Grant t Park, Columbus Drive at Jackson, with four hours of musical entertainment and the symbolic ringing of the bell at 10:30 Both events are free; call 744-3315 for more.
Rapper, activist, and mother Yo Yo performs at this year’s Back to School Kick-off and College Rectruitment Fair. More than 30 schools will be represented at the event, which drew several thousand students and their families last year. The fair starts at 1 (music begins at 2) at the
DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place. It’s free. For more information call 947-0600
Last year Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen and guitar maker Paul Reed Smith crashed Guitar Center’s High-End Acoustic Guitar Show. This year the event promises “special surprise guests” as well as more than 100 new vintage guitars–the expensive, unique axes that only the elite can afford. Among the named guests will be designers Chris Martin IV of the Martin Guitar Company and Todd Wright of Gibson Flatiron, and the show will also feature performances by Chuck Yamek and Greg Bennett. You can bring your own steel-string acoustic guitar and have it restrung for free (one guitar per person, no 12-strings or classical guitars). It’s tonight at 8 at the Guitar Center, 298 W. Roosevelt in Villa Park, Tickets are free, but they must be picked up in advance; call 630-832-2800.
With predominantly African-American performers, Universal Big Top Circus started three years ago when its Atlanta-based founders decided to address the shortage of family entertainment aimed at a black audience. It features all the usual circus stuff–elephants, tight ropes, clowns– as well as performers from around the world, including Trinidad South Africa, and Spain. The circus runs through September 22; performances today are at 1:30, 4:30, and 8 at Washington Park, 51st and Payne (across ss from the armory). Tickets are $15.50 to $30; call 559-1212.
Fans of the artist formerly known as Prince can come out of the closet at tonight’s A Night of Prince. Hosted by Chicago Prince Nation fan club, this special evening is devoted to the music of the name-challenged singer and includes a screening of his seminal Purple Rain. It’s at Berlin, 954 W. Belmont; doors open at 6, film starts at 8. There’s no cover Call 348-4975 for more.
In the 1994 film Mujeres insumisas (“Untamed Women”), the women of a Mexican town question their lives and the grip their husbands have over them. It’s just one of a series of free films being shown as part of the Chicago Public Library’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month–which includes concerts, crafts, storytelling, poetry readings, lectures, and dance performances. The film screens tonight at 6 at the Toman Branch Library, 4005 W. 27th. Call 747-8114 for more about the film, 747-4300 for info about the series or other events.
The adventures in Lisa See’s new book, On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family, seem like they could only be the stuff of fiction. But the exhaustively researched biography tells the story of See’s family as they struggle to make a living on Gold Mountain (the Chinese name for the U.S.)–from her herbalist great-great-grandfather’s 1866 arrival in Sacramento to her great-grandfather’s four marriages (including an illegal one to a Caucasian woman and a legal one to a 16-year-old Chinese girl) to the author’s recent visit to China to meet the other side of her family. See will read from her book tonight at 7 at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th Street. It’s free; call 684-1300.
Perhaps learning in part from the mess that was made after the University of Illinois at Chicago ignored public protest and pushed the Maxwell Street market outside of its confines, the Illinois Institute of Technology is working with grassroots groups and the city to help revitalize the
once-thriving Bronzeville neighborhood. Tonight architect and IIT professor Dirk Denison will speak on Bronzeville: Retaking a Neighborhood, a Collaboration Between the University and Its Community as part of the American Institute of Architects’ “Building the City–Rebuildng the City” lecture series. It’s at 5:30 in the second-floor theater of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington (Randolph Street entrance). It’s free. For more information call 670-7770.
Longtime Chicago River guide Joan Lindsay received so many requests for printed versions of her popular tours that she finally decided to write a book. Filled with both current and historical photos of the river–many taken by Lindsay herself–Chicago From the River traces the city’s architectural history as well as the story of the river itself. Lindsay will discuss her book tonight at 7 at Borders Books and Music, 830 N. Michigan. It’s free; call 573-0564 for info.
“I’m so poorly utilized. I’m ridiculously single, I’m broke, I’m poor and I lack health coverage”–so says one of the characters in filmmaker George Hickenlooper’s new film The Low Life. Chronicling the postcollege years of three Ivy League graduates–an alienated aspiring novelist and his two buddies –this film is the latest to tackle slacker ennui. This time around, our loser-heroes all want to make a splash in LA but end up in dead-end temp jobs and unhealthy relationships. Angst alumni Kyra Sedgwick and Rory Cochrane of Dazed and Confused star. It screens tonight at 7 and 9 at Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 Fullerton. Tickets are $7, $5 for members. Call 281-9075 for more.
For the last five years TeenStreet Theater–a division of Free Street Programs–has been helping inner-city youths prepare for careers in theater by having them write and perform works a professional environment. Mad Joy is the company’s latest production–a movement-theater piece that tells the story of a woman in reverse chronological gical order, beginning at her death and ending with her birth. A short run of the play–which will officially premiere next month–starts tonight at 7:30 at the Steppenwolf Studio Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted, and runs through September 29. Tickets are $10 to $15; student matinee prices and group discounts are available. Call 335-1650 for tickets or info.