“Modern minstrel” John Hartford brings his banjo, guitar, and fiddle to the Old Town School of Folk Music tonight. The author of “Gentle on My Mind” and longtime folk journeyman plays at 7 and 10 on a bill with the vocal and string trio Freyda and Acoustic AttaTude, which reputedly includes flavors of Celtic, jazz, and blues. The school’s at 909 W. Armitage; tickets are $11-$15. Call 525-7793.
Everyone has a hobby: Mark Schrader’s is to sail around the world solo. He’s done two “single-handed circumnavigations,” as they say in the biz, one around the five southern capes of the globe. He’ll talk about this 27,000-mile, 200-day journey at a 7:30 slide lecture at the downtown Marriott, 540 N. Michigan, sponsored by Cruising World magazine. Tix are $10. Call 836-0100.
The man who gave a name to an era appears in town tonight. Generation X author Douglas Coupland is reading from his new collection of short stories, Life After God, at the New Town Barbara’s Bookstore, 3130 N. Broadway, starting at 7:30. Call 477-0411.
A work for “two men and a pair of pants” is one of the three dances being premiered tonight by Urban Dance Urban Music, a nine-dancer, three-musician aggregation led by choreographer Christy Bennett and composer Dan Honnold. (The other two: an ensemble work for seven women and a duet by Bennett and Honnold.) They perform at 8 tonight and tomorrow night on the second floor of Link’s Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield. Tickets are $7; call 862-4138.
Two veterans of the civil rights movement speak at the Harold Washington Library today. The Reverend Albert Sampson, ordained by Martin Luther King Jr., was an activist with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; he’ll talk about the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign. Diane Nash was a leading sit-in organizer in the early 60s; she’ll talk about the development of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. They’re appearing in conjunction with the exhibit Let Us March On! Selected Civil Rights Photographs of Ernest C. Withers, up at the library through March 5. The free talk starts at 1 in the video theater, on the lower level at 400 S. State. Call 747-4876.
The Westerners was a group of 14 Wild West buffs who originally got together in Chicago in 1944. It’s now supposedly the world’s largest organization of people “dedicated to preserving the history, heritage, and traditions of the American West.” The founding chapter is known as the “Old Corral”; they’re holding a 50th Anniversary celebration tonight at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 220 S. Michigan. Thirty bucks gets you an evening of fun starting at 5:30: happy hour, dinner, a talk by senior corral sheriff Harry Anderson, old Westerner tales, a photo display, a silent auction, and more. Call 738-1933 for details.
The classical ensemble Symphony of the Shores spotlights the “oboe of love” and collaborates with a mime tonight. The program is called An Homage to Janus in reference to the Roman god who looks forward and back. Accordingly, the program includes music both old and new, including Bach’s Concerto for Oboe d’Amore, with the unusual double-reed instrument played by Judith Zunamon Lewis. There’ll also be the Chicago premiere of Canadian composer Glen Buhr’s Double Concerto and music from Hindemith and Stravinsky accompanied by mime T. Daniel. It starts at 7 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 1977 South Campus Drive on the Northwestern campus in Evanston. A reception follows. Tix are $18-$20, $2 less for students and seniors. Call 708-869-3133 or 708-491-5441 for more.
Steppenwolf ensemble member Jim True, whose main-stage directorial premiere for the company was last year’s riveting Ghost in the Machine, this year presents The Mesmerist. The play, set in the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in India, sees the sect’s founder pursued by a young Englishman who wants to expose her as a fraud. It opens tonight at 7 at the theater, 1650 N. Halsted, with performances continuing through April 3 with shows at 8 PM Tuesday through Friday, 5 and 9 PM Saturday, and 3 and 7 PM Sunday (there are some additional matinees and some exceptions). Tickets are $26.50-$31. Call 335-1888 for details.
Jervey Tervalon’s first novel, Understand This, is a portrait of gangs, drugs, and guns in south central LA–which is where he grew up. He reads from it at Barbara’s Bookstore, 3130 N. Broadway, at 7:30 tonight. Call 477-0411 for more.
New York-based filmmaker, choreographer, and MacArthur Foundation grant recipient Yvonne Rainer helped found postmodern dance through her involvement with the acclaimed Judson Church group in the early 60s: she later began incorporating film into her work and since 1972 has directed six feature films. She speaks at a free Arts Club of Chicago event tonight at 6; the club is at 109 E. Ontario. Call 787-3997 to reserve a seat.
The debut issue of Riksha, a literary magazine featuring “Asian American notes and images,” includes poetry, fiction, photography, book reviews, fashion–even a footnote to history in the form of a brief note from William Hohri, about his unsuccessful attempt six years ago to overturn the Supreme Court case that allowed the government to incarcerate Japanese Americans during World War II. The magazine is holding readings tonight and tomorrow to celebrate its first issue: special guest is New York writer Luis Francia, who’ll be reading from Brown River, White Ocean, an anthology of Filipino literature he edited. He reads at 6:30 tonight in the East West Gallery of the Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan; at noon tomorrow in UIC’s Stevenson Hall, 701 S. Morgan; and at 7 tomorrow night at Berry Methodist Church, 4754 N. Leavitt. A $5 donation is requested at tonight’s event; the other two are free. Call 404-2443 for more.
“We know that all women can look beautiful no matter what their size or budget,” says Lynette Wood, owner of A Rubens Woman, the consignment shop at 2216 N. Clybourn that specializes in clothes for the larger woman. They’ll be holding a free fashion show for women sizes 14 to 50 today at noon at Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn. Call 477-0011 for more.
With the federal government allocating more than $50 million to the Chicago Housing Authority for redevelopment of Cabrini-Green, the Peace Museum thinks residents of the complex should have a say in how it’s done. That’s the genesis of S.H.A.P.E. (“Supportive Housing and Protective Environments”), an exhibit opening today at the museum, 350 W. Ontario. In it, residents, neighbors, artists, architects, and others with an interest in urban revitalization have proposed redevelopment concepts for the site. The show’s up through May 28. Admission to the museum is $3.50, $2 for students, seniors, and kids. It’s open 11 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday. Call 440-1860.
“I do not think our lives are lived in terms of conventional narrative, nor do we act and think with linear clarity. We hop and skip around, and our movements dont always fit our emotions. Some of it is flailing about, and some of it is poetry.” So speaketh New York dancer and performance artist Jeff McMahon. For his debut in Chicago, he’s performing the one-man show City of God, which begins with an account of his journey from LA to New York and takes off from there. He’s putting on 8 PM shows tonight through Saturday, March 5, at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 4730 N. Sheridan. Tickets are $12-$15. He’s also overseeing a free performance of pieces done by participants in a two-week workshop he’s been teaching. That’s at 3 PM Saturday, March 5, at the dance center. Call 271-7804 for details.