The Art Institute’s Pillow Talk: The Erotic in Art, a series of talks by artist James Faulkner, takes on “the birds and the bees in the history of art from ancient times to the present,” as the folks there put it. Today’s installment, “Splendors and Miseries,” is at 11 AM in the Morton Auditorium of the museum, 111 S. Michigan. It’s $12, $9.50 for members; the series continues, same time and place, for two more weeks. Call 443-3680 for details.
The organizers of Chicago’s FreeFest pointedly note that the fifth edition of their three-day music fest falls on the same dates as Woodstock ’94, a music festival that is anything but free. The true-to-its-name FreeFest promises to deliver at least 60 bands today through Sunday at Cricket Hill, which is east of Lake Shore at Wilson. Performances begin each day at 11 AM, with the last band each day scheduled to go on at 9 PM. Special guest master of ceremonies is Wild Chicago’s Will Clinger. Friday’s headliner is Sex With God, Saturday’s is Demented Ted, and Sunday’s is Hairball Willy. Maestro Subgum and the Whole take the stage Sunday at 4. Call 973-0806 or check the music listings in Section Three for the complete lineup.
“Indeed the time has come for the women of Wicker Park and the surrounding city to bare their collective breasts and tell their personal stories through the mediums of paint, photo, ceramics, installation, spoken word and anything else their ovarian energy chooses to utilize at a given moment.” The organizers of a show called Juicy Fruits may write a bit grandiloquently, but they promise an “energy-thick evening of music, beverage and booty bumping” starting at 6 PM at Art Attack, 1937 W. North. Spoken-word performances start at 9 PM. No word on who’s actually going to be performing, so call 276-4513 for details. There’s no cover, but donations are welcome.
Experts in the fields of Akashic records reading, trance channeling, crystal Chakra reading, and other more, um, conventional forms of delving into the wacky world of the psychic and unprovable will ply their wares at the Barrington Ice House today from 10 AM to 4 PM. The Ice House, a shopping mall on the site of a onetime dairy and ice factory, is at 200 Applebee in Barrington. Call 708-381-6661 for details. Admission is free; private readings are available at a nominal charge.
If you’re looking for a street fair with a distinct ethnic identity, the tenth annual Fiesta on the Green happens today from 10 to 6 in Victor Arrigo Park, 800 S. Loomis. The event’s sponsors, Concerned Hispanics of the Near West Side, urge you to come indulge in authentic Mexican food and browse among the arts and crafts. Admission is free. Exhibition soccer games played by neighborhood kids start at noon, and Ballet Folklorico will perform at 3 PM. Call 421-2633 for further info. If you’re looking for a street fair without a distinct ethnic identity, you might try the fifth annual Taste of River North, which takes place today and Sunday from noon to 8 on Superior between LaSalle and Wells. No chance of mariachis at this one, but the organizers do promise an appearance by Garfield the cat, and admission is also free. For details on the acts scheduled to appear on the music stage, call 645-1047.
The Chicago Association of Black Filmmakers puts out a newsletter–Up to the Minute News–and hosts events featuring the more successful in its field. This afternoon they’ve snared director Bill Duke. Perhaps best known for the unblinking and moody undercover cop tale Deep Cover, he recently filmed Sister Act II. He’ll be talking and hanging out at Facets Multimedia, 1517 W. Fullerton. The reception begins at 12:30 PM, and a question-and-answer period starts at 2. Tickets are $30, $20 for members. Call 935-6533 for more.
Celebrate the 17th anniversary of the day the drug-soaked and bloated king of rock ‘n’ roll fell dead off his toilet. The actual anniversary’s Tuesdays, but Rick Saucedo, who calls himself the country’s number-one Elvis impersonator, plays at 8 tonight at the Improv, 504 N. Wells. It’s $15. Call 527-2500 for details.
A four-month experiment by Little City, the social agency for mentally retarded adults and kids, culminates today with the opening of an art exhibit called Great Doings! The plan was to take three established Chicago artists–Laurie Palmer, Michael Piazza, and John Ploof–and put them together with a couple dozen of Little City’s clients. Their collaboration has produced the art on display at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, 5811 S. Ellis, from 10 AM to 4 PM weekdays through August 26. It’s free. Call 708-358-5510 for more.
African pop singer Manu DiBango has recorded about 20 albums in the years since his single “Soul Makossa” made him an international star; similarly, Hugh Masekela, the South African trumpeter, has enjoyed worldwide popularity since his first big song, “Grazing in the Grass,” hit in 1968. Both are playing tonight at the New Regal Theater, 1645 E. 79th, as part of the African Hedonist World Music Series. The series takes its name from its sponsor, the African Hedonist music store, which specializes in jazz and world music out of its 8501 S. Cottage Grove location. Proprietors Mawuena and Alecia Danku also publish HedoNews magazine. The show’s at 8 PM tonight; tickets, which are $30, can be had through Ticketmaster or the Regal box office. Call 651-8511 for details.
Kevin Rechner, who presented Among Others in 1992, has a new one-man show called I Am Hugo, which he describes as “a movement theater work where visual images, as well as the spoken word, explore many of the facets of everyday life, turning them into events.” OK . . . Rechner and director Noel Olken are putting on a free preview performance tonight at 8 at Facets Multimedia, 1517 W. Fullerton. The show opens officially tomorrow night and continues Thursday through Saturday at 8 through August 27. It’s $10; call 862-5804.
Here’s another way to observe the anniversary of the King’s demise. Tonight at Berlin’s Women Obsession Night, the special guest star is Patty Manning, doing her distaff Elvis impersonation after 11:30 PM. Women Obsession Night, Berlin’s every-other-week lesbian party, is free. Berlin’s at 954 W. Belmont; call 348-4975.
What’s Chicago’s New East Side? It’s the cluster of office and residential high rises east of Michigan and south of the river. The New East Side ArtWorks street fair, tries to showcase the ‘hood as it brings in more than 100,000 people to check out paintings, ceramics, jewelry, photography, sculpture, and all manner of other objets. The free event runs from noon to 7 PM today, 10 to 7 tomorrow, and 10 to 6 Saturday on Lake east of Michigan. For details, call 551-9290.
Grand Ole Opry: Mother Church of Country Music is the latest seminar put on by the Museum of Broadcast Communications as part of its Country Music: On the Air series, which runs through September 30. The events begin with a 3:30 PM taping of the nationally syndicated radio show “Country Flashback.” The panel starts at 5:30. Participants include bona fide star Porter Wagoner, a member of the Opry for 37 years; Opry prez Hal Durham; and Jack Hurst, the Trib’s longtime country music correspondent from Nashville. Your host is US-99’s John “the Kat Man” Katzbeck. After the talk, local country rockers Church Key will perform an “unplugged” set. The museum is in the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. The day’s activities are $5, free to museum members. Call 629-6023 for more.
Minneapolis’s acclaimed New Music-Theater Ensemble hits town today to perform a show called Dante’s View, a collection of pieces by writers and musicians as diverse as Laurie Anderson, Meredith Monk, and Gunnar Madsen and Richard Greene, writers for the San Francisco noveltyesque a cappella group the Bobs. The show plays at the Goodman’s studio theater, 200 S. Columbus, tonight at 7:30 and tomorrow and Saturday at 8. Tix are $15, $10 for students and seniors. Call 443-3800 for more.