Friday 11/15-Thursday 11/21


By Cara Jepsen

15 FRIDAY Racism and class struggle, female genital mutilation, the living-wage campaign, the 1996 elections, and political correctness are just a few of the topics to be covered at the Midwest Radical Scholars and Activists Conference. The two-day event also includes a book fair and a screening of the documentary Staggerlee, an interview with Black Panther leader Bobby Seale. Tonight Nation writer Christopher Hitchens joins Sharon Matthews of the Public Welfare Coalition and labor leader Jose LaLuz in a panel on The New Class War: Prospects for the Right, the Liberals and the Left. The conference is today from 1 to 10 and tomorrow from 10 to 9:30 at Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan; register at the mezzanine area. The panel takes place at 7:30 in the Congress Room. The conference is $25, $15 for students and low-income participants. Call 773-384-8827 for more.

In 1969 Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrapped the old MCA in more than 3,000 square feet of heavy fabric; when the Chicago Fire Department demanded that the museum dismantle the work, the museum refused. Now the two are having trouble getting permission from NYC officials to hang giant gold panels above 26 miles of Central Park walkways. Today they”ll discuss that project and Over the River, Project for Western U.S.A., which will consist of fabric panels suspended high above water level and following the configuration of an as-yet-unnamed river. They speak from 5 to 7 in S.R. Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology, 3360 S. State. It’s free; call 312-567-5777. The two will give another free lecture on the same topic tomorrow at 1 at U. of C.’s Biological Sciences Learning Center, 924 E. 57th. It will be followed by a free reception at the Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood; call 773-702-0200.

Derek Jarmen’s last film, Blue, shows a blue screen while the sounds of urban noise, activist demonstrations, Gregorian chants, and people talking in a doctor’s office are heard. Jarmen is among the eight artists, architects, and filmmakers whose work is included in Disappeared, an exhibit examining loss and survival in the AIDS crisis. Also featured are Jurgen Mayer’s temperature-sensitive painted walls and Black/Cross’s temporary tattoos of a Catholic priest who recently died of AIDS. Running in conjunction with the exhibit is Sao Paulo artist Iran do Espirito Santo’s installation of geometric wall paintings, which depict such functional objects as doors, windowpanes, and boxes to show the constraints of space in all institutions. A free opening reception for both exhibits–which run through December 21–is tonight from 6 to 8 at Randolph Street Gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee. Call 312-666-7737.

Performing no-holds-barred street theater, holding demonstrations without permits, and taking over billboards are among the types of direct action engaged in by the three groups participating in tonight’s Direct Action Divas’ Righteous Anger Ball. The feminist fund-raiser for the Women’s Action Coalition, the Lesbian Avengers, and the Radical Activists Zeroing in on Rape (RAZOR) includes a kissing booth, raffle, silent auction, and a performance by the WAC Drum Corps. It’s at 9 at the Rainbow Room (formerly Winners), 4530 N. Lincoln. Tickets are $5; call 773-918-9161.

16 SATURDAY Five decades are surveyed in a new MCA exhibit, Art in Chicago, 1945-1995, which showcases the work of more than 150 artists, beginning with Ivan Albright, Harry Callahan, and Gertrude Abercrombie and concluding with Jeanne Dunning, Kerry James Marshall, and Adelheid Mers. The companion exhibition Time Arts Chicago looks at the time-based art forms of film, video, sound, and performance and the interplay between the various media. Throughout its run the exhibit will include screenings of experimental films by such artists as Laura Dunphy, Tom Palazzolo, and Kartemquin Films as well as performances by Paula Killen, Lynn Book, Goat Island, and Miroslaw Rogala. Both exhibits open today from 10 to 6 and run through March 23 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. Admission is $6.50, $4 for students and seniors. Call 312-280-2660.

17 SUNDAY Pinball fans get their choice of old-school analog or modern-day digital machines when they take a shot at the Flip-Out ’96 Pinball Tournament. Winners receive a machine from their favorite era. The contest is part of this year’s Pinball Expo ’96, which shows off the latest machines and includes an auction and appearances by game designers Joe Kaminkow (Twister) and Pat Lawlor (The Addams Family). It’s today from 10 to 3 at the Ramada Hotel, 6600 N. Mannheim in Rosemont. Admission is $10. Call 847-827-5131.

18 MONDAY Though educator Marva Collins spent 14 years in the Chicago public school system, founded Garfield Park’s Westside Preparatory School, and was asked to be Ronald Reagan’s secretary of education, she’s best known for her ability to teach “unteachable” students. Her latest book on the topic, Values: Lighting the Candles of Excellence, a Practical Guide for the Family, details how her methods can be applied in the home. She’ll discuss her work tonight at 7 in the auditorium at Woodson Library, 9525 S. Halsted. It’s free; call 312-747-4054.

19 TUESDAY Would a pusher try to get his clients off drugs when they could no longer afford to pay for them? Or would he try to find a way to keep them hooked and solvent? At tonight’s Citibank-sponsored Solving a Credit Card Crisis seminar, people who are “uncomfortable with their current amount of personal debt and are concerned with managing their spending and credit use over the upcoming holiday season” will be shown how to manage their money, reduce their debt, and improve their credit. Yeah, right. It’s from 6:30 to 8 at Salon 1 at the Marriott, 540 N. Michigan. It’s free; call 312-409-2958 for reservations.

20 WEDNESDAY With more people working out of their homes, what’s the future of the office building? Will the city’s downtown become a theme park for tourists? Do we need a new Burnham plan? These and other urban-planning questions will be addressed at today’s American Institute of Architects forum Chicago 2020, which includes former CTA chief Robert Belcaster, Global Business Network VP Jay Ogilvy, and Elizabeth Hollander, executive director of DePaul University’s Egan Urban Center. It’s at 5:30 in the second-floor theater of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. It’s free; call 312-670-7770.

“Entertain the kids with a game of plastic surgery: take a picture of Michael Jackson when he was a kid and have the children throw cut-outs of other people’s eyes, ears, and nose at it,” advises performance artist Karen Finley in her new book Living It Up: Humorous Adventures in Hyperdomesticity. The month-by-month parody of Martha Stewart-style do-it-yourself projects also includes a how-to on making a John Wayne Bobbitt centerpiece and suggests that “on Independence Day, celebrate the things you are totally dependent on, like fat-free ice cream, pizza delivery, and microwaves.” Finley will discuss her book tonight at 7:30 at Unabridged Bookstore, 3251 N. Broadway. It’s free; call 773-883-9119.

21 THURSDAY Senator Paul Simon’s work enacting education and job-training legislation and his censorious drive to curb TV violence have gotten him named Peacemaker of the Year by the Peace Museum. Vigil Against Violence, the Spry Peace School, the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, and Attorney General Jim Ryan are among the others who will receive awards at tonight’s Community Peacemakers Award Benefit. It’s from 5:30 to 9 at La Borsa restaurant, 375 N. Morgan. Tickets are $75 and benefit the museum’s programs. Reservations are required. Call 312-440-1860.