Friday 17

The National Center for Freedom of Information Studies at Loyola University is sponsoring a talk this morning to call attention to problems with state and federal freedom of information laws, from lack of speedy compliance by some governmental agencies to the failure of some laws to cover info stored in computers. Nancy Monson, coordinator of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, will talk about these issues from 9:30 to noon today in room L14 of Loyola’s Water Tower campus building, 25 E. Pearson. It’s $5, free to Loyola students. Call 915-8662 for more.

According to the National Commission for Democracy in Mexico, “Over 20,000 indigenous refugees are dying in the mountains from dysentery, starvation, pneumonia and dehydration” and “the list of disappeared, tortured and imprisoned . . . continues to grow.” To raise consciousness of the dire situation, they’re holding a press conference featuring the rebel governor of Chiapas, Amado Avendano, and hunger striker Cecilia Rodriguez at 2 this afternoon at the Quality Inn, 1 S. Halsted. It’s free. Call 772-8383 for info and for details on related activities, including a march starting at 2 on Sunday at 26th and Albany.

The circus is in town, i.e., The Dime Circus, an exhibit of the evocative etchings by Tony Fitzpatrick that grace the pages of the Reader. Fitzpatrick and gallery owner Edward Varndell have pledged to give 40 percent of the net proceeds from tonight’s opening to Project: Protect, which provides legal assistance and housing for abused women and children. The opening starts at 6 at 2153 W. North. The exhibit remains up through April 1. Call 486-2052 for more.

The Last Bolshevik, Chris Marker’s video look at the life and work of Russian director Alexander Medvedkin, took the number nine spot on the 1994 top-ten list of Reader film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, who called it “a guarded self-portrait of Marker himself, trying to bear witness to his own communist dreams and what he, Medvedkin, and history itself made–or didn’t make–of them.” It shows tonight at 8 at Kino-Eye Cinema at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Division. Tomorrow you can see Medvedkin’s surreal 1934 comedy, Happiness, banned in the Soviet Union for many years, on a double bill with Marker’s Letter From Siberia. Each night’s admission is $5, $2.50 for members. Call 384-5533 for more.

Saturday 18

Celebrated Bay Area performance artist Ruth Zaporah hits town today for two weekends of workshops and performances. The founder of Action Theater, Zaporah teaches “concentration, commitment, and rapid emotional shifting” to “actors, dancers, vocalists, performance artists and all people interested in consciousness.” Workshops today and tomorrow run from noon to 5 and cost $35 each or $60 for both. A Tuesday night session from 6 to 8:30 costs $20. Tickets for Zaporah’s solo performances next Friday and Saturday, March 24 and 25, at 8 are $7. All events are at Link’s Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield. Call 281-0824 for more.

From Plains to Pueblos, an evening of Native American folk music at the Field Museum tonight, features the Cellicion Traditional Zuni Singers from New Mexico, Lakota flute player and hoop dancer Kevin Locke, Yup’ik Eskimo singer, dancer, and artist Chuna McIntyre, and Cherokee storyteller Gayle Ross. Sponsored by the National Council for the Traditional Arts and the Old Town School of Folk Music, the show starts at 8 in the James Thompson Theatre of the museum, Roosevelt Road and Lake Shore Drive. Tix are $18, $16 for school or museum members, $14 for students and seniors. Call 525-7793 or 322-8854.

Sunday 19

As a child, artist Samuel Bak survived the Nazi occupation of his hometown of Vilnius (then a part of Poland, now the capital of Lithuania). In his dark, fractured, almost surreal landscapes he’s attempted to “tell about a world that had been destroyed.” Myth, Midrash and Mysticism–The Paintings of Samuel Bak, a survey of his work, opens at the Spertus Museum, 618 S. Michigan, at 1 this afternoon. At 2 Bak and curator Michael Fishbane, a professor of Jewish studies at the University of Chicago, will speak. It’s free with regular museum admission–$4, $2 for kids, students, and seniors. Call 322-1747 for more.

Monday 20

After being expelled from three colleges for his practical joking, literary journalist Eugene Field (1850-1895) brought his act to the Chicago Daily News, launching the nation’s first daily newspaper column. Though some felt he played fast and loose with the facts, the public loved him for his whimsical take on human nature and for his contributions to children’s literature, including the poems “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod” and “Little Boy Blue.” Today’s your last chance to learn more about him at Eugene Field and His Books, a free exhibit of Field’s manuscripts, correspondence, and personal book collection mounted by the University of Chicago’s Joseph Regenstein Library, 1100 E. 57th. It’s open weekdays 8:30 to 4:45 and Saturday 9 to 12:45. Call 702-8705.

A series of lectures on how artists are responding to challenges like censorship, racism, and sexism–collected under the rubric Legitimate Territory–continues at the School of the Art Institute with a talk by Glenn Ligon, whose technique involves using stencils to reproduce fragments of text. One of his untitled works, which used the Zora Neale Hurston line “I remember the very day that I became colored,” made it into the 1991 Whitney Biennial. He speaks today at 6 in the school’s auditorium, Columbus Drive at Jackson. The series continues April 17 with performance artist Ron Athey (he’s into body piercing and scarification) and April 24 with Diane Torr (she’ll discuss the “politics and practice of female drag”). It’s $3, free to students, seniors, and staff. Call 443-3711 for more.

Internationally acclaimed Irish poet Desmond Egan, the author of Poems of Peace and A Song for My Father, talks tonight at 7 in Columbia College’s Ferguson Theater, 600 S. Michigan; a reception, complete with Irish folk music from Jamie O’Reilly and Peter Swenson, follows. It’s free; call 663-1600, extension 250.

Tuesday 21

At I Am No Good at Love, the first in a quarterly series of performance nights at the Gerber/Hart Gay and Lesbian Library and Archives, actors from the cosponsoring City Lit Theater will read ruminations on eros from the disparate likes of Noel Coward, Rita Mae Brown, W.H. Auden, and Janet Flanner. The show’s at 7 at the library, 3352 N. Paulina. Admission is $5, free to members. Call 883-3003 for more.

The only man standing between Richie Daley and a third term as mayor of Chicago is Roland Burris, who speaks tonight at 7 at the monthly meeting of the Chesterfield Community Council. It’s in the field house of Tuley Park, 91st and King Drive; admission is free. Call 224-2860.

Wednesday 22

The Guild Complex salutes Ireland tonight with Ancestors: The Other Ireland, an evening of music and poetry featuring singer Jeanne Bishop, who’s also an attorney and human rights activist, and readings from Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Bobby Sands, and Liam O’Flaherty. It’s at 7:30 at HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee. Admission is $4, $2 for those who participate in the open-mike session that starts things off. Call 235-2334 for details.

Thursday 23

For Return to Our Roots, a survey of how Greek music has informed the immigrant experience in Chicago, the Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center has amassed instruments, photographs, old 78-RPM platters, and sheet music and put out a CD anthology of Greek folk songs played on original instruments. The show, which documents the Greek music recording industry that once thrived in Chicago and takes note of Greek singing stars of yesteryear, opens tonight with musical performances and refreshments from 5:30 to 8 at the museum, 400 N. Franklin. Admission is $5, free to members. Call 467-4622.

Baffler editors Tom Frank and Dave Mulcahey, the authors of a recent Reader cover story on the debilitating strikes in Decatur, speak at a Staley Workers Solidarity Committee-sponsored free event tonight at 6:30 at the New World Resource Center Bookstore, 1476 W. Irving Park; 549-3147.