Friday 11/1 – Thursday 11/7
1 FRIDAY For the past month, the Pilsen Arts Partnership has been helping children prepare for the neighborhood’s annual Day of the Dead celebration with its afterschool arts workshops covering everything from crafts to music to theater. Tonight the young artists will display their work in a procession featuring skeleton costumes and homemade lanterns and instruments. They’ll also act out the transformation from life to death in their sound-and-movement-based performance Teatro de Calaveras (“Theater of Skeletons”). The celebration kicks off at Dvorak Park, 1119 W. Cullerton, with face painting for the procession at 4 and the performance at 5. The procession, which begins at 5:30, will wind through the neighborhood and end at Casa Aztlan, 1831 S. Racine, for traditional food and music. It’s free, but children must be accompanied by an adult; call 312-226-2990.
Poet Angela Jackson will read from her work tonight as part of this year’s Women Writers Conference, which runs today and tomorrow. Her reading will be followed by a performance of Running Towards Ourselves–A Tribute to Lucille Clifton by Kuntu Drama Players. Tomorrow’s events include workshops and panels as well as a Q&A on women and writing with Jackson–an alum of Northwestern and U. of C.–and Kai El Zabar, editor of N’Digo. Jackson will read at 7 in the recital hall at DePaul University School of Music, 804 W. Belden. Tickets are $10, $7 for students; call 773-907-2189 for more.
2 SATURDAY Though Swiss artist Meret Oppenheim is perhaps best known for her Breakfast in Fur of 1936–in which she covered a teacup, saucer, and spoon in fur–she considered it one of her least important pieces. Closer to her heart were such works as The Couple, which consisted of a pair of women’s boots sewn together at the toe representing the restricted freedom of women in a patriarchal society. The work is among nearly 100 objects–including sculpture, photography, jewelry, paintings, and works on paper–featured in Meret Oppenheim: Beyond the Teacup. The exhibit opens today from 10 to 6 and runs through January 12 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. Tickets are $6.50, $4 for students and seniors. Call 312-280-2660 for more.
According to the folks at Hyphen magazine, saloons are the foremost gathering place of Chicago’s cultural “literati/drinkaloti.” In other words, you’re just as likely to find poetry readings and performance art in a bar as in someone’s salon. That’s why they’re calling their first annual benefit auction and performance Saloon. Since 1991 the mag has featured interviews with such art luminaries as Andres Serrano, the Last Poets, and Ron Athey as well as stories about local artists. Tonight’s benefit includes performances by poet-actor Gregorio Gomez, monologist Diana Slickman, performance artist Mariko Ventura, playwright Dwight Okita, and slam master Marc Smith. It’s from 4 to 8 at the Rainbo Club, 1150 N. Damen. It’s $20; $30 also gets you a subscription to the magazine. Call 773-465-5985.
Chicago is a Leo and Illinois is a Sagittarius. At least that’s what the Friends of Astrology say. Tonight they and the College of Complexes will present Astrology: What It Is–How It Works, which will include a horoscope of the United States, and, as a special election bonus, Bob Dole’s and Bill Clinton’s horoscopes. It’s at 8 at the Lincoln Restaurant, 4008 N. Lincoln. It’s $3; call 773-549-0246.
3 SUNDAY The Chicago Cultural Center’s monthlong festival Original Voices/Languages of the Land celebrates indigenous cultures with readings by Native American authors Eddie Two Rivers and William Yellow Robe, a Hawaiian knife dance, demonstrations of classic East Indian and Australian aboriginal dance, and an African showcase featuring the Muntu Dance Theatre. It kicks off today with a Native American welcoming ceremony led by Carlos Peynetsa and the Red Sand Drum and Dancers. It’s from 3 to 5 at Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. It’s free. Call 312-744-6630 for more.
Experimental architecture and jazz meet tonight when the Sun Ra Arkestra performs at Oak Park’s Unity Temple, the last remaining public building from Frank Lloyd Wright’s early prairie period. Not only is it a rare Wright building, but no seat is farther than 40 feet from the stage. The musicians, who are slated to play two 75-minute sets under the direction of Marshall Allen, will lead a preshow workshop where they’ll discuss improv and the late Sun Ra. The workshop starts at 5:30 at the temple, 875 Lake in Oak Park, and costs $3. The performance starts at 7:30; tickets are $15. Proceeds from both go toward restoration of the building. Call 708-383-8873.
4 MONDAY Imagine three money-hungry misfits sharing an office at an apartment-finder service with only one phone. That’s the premise of Beatnik Theatre Company’s The Junkie of Lincoln Park, a one-act play that satirizes people who, desperate for money, battle over clients, space, and ideals. Performances start tonight at 7:30 and run through November 19 at Cafe Voltaire, 3231 N. Clark. Tickets are $7. Call 312-409-3354.
5 TUESDAY According to the movie Ed Wood, Bela Lugosi loathed the younger, more successful Boris Karloff. The two appeared as onscreen enemies in 1934’s The Black Cat–Karloff as the leader of a group of devil worshippers who keeps a woman imprisoned in a glass cage, Lugosi as the woman’s pissed-off husband. The film shows tonight at 6 at the Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson; a discussion will follow the screening. It’s $6. Call 312-443-3737.
6 WEDNESDAY In its heyday around the beginning of the Christian era, Mexico’s Teotihuacan was the urban center of the western hemisphere, rivaling Rome in size and prospering for seven centuries before faltering and disappearing. Archaeologist Linda Manzanilla is part of a team from the National Institute of Anthropology and History that’s conducting ongoing excavations of the ancient civilization. She’ll discuss her findings tonight at 7 at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, 1852 W. 19th, as part of the museum’s Sor Juana festival. Tickets are $7, $6 for students and seniors. Call 312-738-1503.
7 THURSDAY Who has the shortest butt and the longest ash? Find out at the Three-Day Cigar Party–complete with cocktails, stogies, cigar-rolling demos, and the heart-stopping butt contest (last year’s winning butt topped out at three-eighths of an inch). The party will be graced by famous tobacco pushers, er, cigar makers, including Avo Uvezian, creator of the Avo cigar, and runs today, tomorrow, and Saturday from 2 to 6 (the contest runs from 2 to 5 each day, with the Grand Butt Finals at 5 on Saturday). It’s at Up Down Tobacco, 1550 N. Wells. It’s free; call 312-337-8025.
The idea for one of author Garnett Kilberg Cohen’s stories came to her after seeing a promo on the Jenny Jones Show for a luxury hotel where the show puts up guests. Cohen, who chairs Columbia College’s English department, says she tried to imagine how low-income guests would feel staying there; her story “Guests” details the experience of an underprivileged couple who appear on a daytime talk show. It’s included in Cohen’s new collection of short stories, Lost Women, Banished Souls, which explores how women from different backgrounds cope with pivotal moments in their lives. She’ll read excerpts tonight at 7:30 at Women & Children First Bookstore, 5233 N. Clark. It’s free; call 773-769-9299.