A quartet of out-there artists have openings at two out-there galleries tonight. Over at Beret International, 2211 N. Elston, there’s work by Sonya Baysinger, who carves wood, so the folks at the gallery say, “into reductive abstractions that intertwine contemporary expressionism with traditional craft.” On the bill with her is Max Adams Trefonides, whose exhibit of photo-booth art will include an open wall so viewers can add their own. The free opening reception starts at 6 and goes to 11; the show runs through February 26. Call 489-6518. Down at the Ten in One Gallery, at 1510 W. Ohio, they’re offering new works by Hiroko Saito, who’s said to use Japanese comic book imagery to comment on American pop culture, and John “Bud” Spear, whose oversize paintings feature “a variation of haiku style poetry written vertically on the page in a faux-Japanese and pointedly humorous fashion.” That reception is from 7 to 10, and it’s free too. The show continues through March 19. Call 850-4610.
Not only can you see “five world premieres in two hours” at the Chicago Dramatists Workshop, but if you see ’em this weekend you can also do it for half price. The workshop’s sixth annual Playwrights for the ’90s showcase includes: Mary Had, by Roger Rueff, Strangers in the Night, by Evan Blake; Sub Rosa, by Marv Bonnett, Anchors of Love, by Mark Guarino, and Luna for Short, by Johannes Marlena. The five plays’ 20 roles are handled by a ten-actor ensemble; the showcase runs through February 27. Previews tonight, tomorrow, and Thursday, all at 8, are $6; after the opening next Friday, January 28, tickets are $12. Chicago Dramatists Workshop is at 1105 W. Chicago. Call 633-0630 for details.
The Field Museum is striking a blow against arachnophobia today with what’s billed as a “family workshop” called Spiders: The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful. There’ll be everything from specimens of all sorts of the beasts themselves, both benign and poisonous, to storytellers versed in Indian, African, and Japanese spider myths and folklore. It runs from 10 to noon at the museum, Roosevelt Road and Lake Shore Drive, and costs $9, $7 for museum members. Advance registration is required; call 322-8854.
Artist types are notorious for not keeping their books straight. Hence today’s workshop on record keeping and income taxes for artists, sponsored by the Chicago Artists’ Coalition and the art department of Loyola University, from 1 to 5 at the school’s Edward Crown Center, 6525 N. Sheridan. It’s $20, $15 for members, $5 less if you register in advance. Call 670-2060.
The Emergency Clinic Defense Coalition–an activist prochoice group–is marking the 20th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and protesting moves in the Illinois statehouse to impose a parental consent law on kids getting abortions with a rally at 1 PM outside the State of Illinois Building, 100 W. Randolph. They’re going to march to Harold Washington College, at 30 E. Lake, for a program of speeches and poetry at 1:45. It’s free. Call 845-6838 for more.
If you’ve got Dr. Kevorkian on your Friends and Family account, you might want to attend Coming to Terms With Suicide: Religious and Personal Crossroads. The talk’s sponsored by the Catholic Charities, so be prepared for some proselytizing, but it does feature insights from Mary Stimming, a teacher at Saint Xavier University and a “survivor,” which means that she’s had someone close to her commit suicide. Admission’s $6, $3 for seniors and students; it starts at 2 in the fourth-floor boardroom of Saint Xavier, 3700 W. 103rd St. Call 655-7283.
Documentarian Robert Flaherty, says critic David Thomson, “had the defects of a romantic faith in the noble savage and an eye for the picturesque.” But he also “asked all the intriguing questions about documentary. Is it enough to film actuality? Or is actuality modified by the filming process?” You can savor this paradox in a showing of Flaherty’s first and most famous film, Nanook of the North, a seminal example of its genre. It shows at 2 today at the Chicago Historical Society, Clark and North. It’s free with admission to the museum, which is $3, $2 for seniors and students, $1 for kids. Call 642-4600 for more.
If you don’t know about novelist Roddy Doyle from his Barrytown trilogy, you’ve probably at least heard of the films that have been made from two parts of it: Alan Parker’s 1991 version of The Commiments and Stephen Frears’s new movie The Snapper. Doyle’s latest elucidation of the psyches of Irish youth is called Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha; the book follows Clarke as he tries “to make sense of a world full of triumphs and indignities, love and slaps across the face,” say the folks at Barbara’s Bookstore. London’s Sunday Times says it’s “Doyle’s darkest novel so far, and his best.” He’ll read from it at the New Town Barbara’s, 3130 N. Broadway, at 7:30 tonight. Admission is free. Call 477-0411.
A Memorial is the utilitarian name given to the installation by artist Anita Jung featuring 281 wax-dipped apple-shaped ornaments nailed on the wall over an otherwise unadorned chalk grid. She’s using it to illustrate the bleak statistic that 281 women are raped each day in the United States. It’s up at the Peace Museum, 350 W. Ontario, through January 29. It’s also the focus of a fund-raising party tonight for Rape Victim Advocates called “Winter Apple Picking.” Your $35 donation gets you food, drinks, entertainment, and one of Jung’s apples. It runs from 6 to 9 at the museum; call 440-1860 or 733-6954 for details.
Winston Damon, who plays music from around the world on instruments both obscure (like the kalimba, didgeridoo, dumbec, and bendir) and familiar (the trombone), is known around town for not only his solo shows under the “One World Band” moniker but also his collaborations in all sorts of settings. Tonight he provides the musical backing for a poetry night sponsored by the Guild Complex at the HotHouse; the group’s looking for poems with international themes. It starts at 7:30 at 1565 N. Milwaukee; admission is $5, $2 if you’re going to be reading your poetry. Call 278-2210 for more.
The “property rights” movement–just another way for landowners to keep government off their backs–is the subject of the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois’ elaborately punctuated winter lecture, The Current Property Rights Revolution: Good or Bad News for the Public!?! The speaker is David Doheny, who’s VP of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in D.C. It’s $30, $25 for members, at the offices of Schiff Hardin & Waite, on the 66th floor of the Sears Tower, 233 S. Wacker. A reception begins at 5:30; the lecture starts at 6. Call 922-1742 for more
It’s not just writers who need protection in the free-lancing penumbra of publishing: designers and editors often get screwed as well. Northwestern business law prof Sandra Ferguson McFee will cover that territory in her talk Contracts and Other Legalities for Independent Contractors and Small Business Owners, organized by Chicago Women in Publishing. It’s from 6 to 8 tonight at the O’Hare Plaza Hotel, 5615 N. Cumberland, and costs $20 at the door, $15 in advance, $10 in advance for members. Call 645-0083.
While the Lorena Bobbitt trial is increasing public awareness of the plight of battered women who fight back, the Illinois Clemency Project for Battered Women doesn’t want to forget about all the women who are already incarcerated. The project pursues clemency petitions for women who were convicted of killing or injuring their batterers without getting any consideration for the extenuating circumstances. The group is holding a fundraiser tonight at the HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee, starting at 7. A couple of hours of cocktails will be followed by performances by bands Sabalon Glitz, Falstaff, and Stamen. Tix are $9 in advance, $12 at the door, $10 with a student ID “or a good excuse.” Call 583-8016.