There’s quite a lineup of special guests talking around town today. First off, Allen Murray, president and CEO of Mobil, will give his thoughts on President Clinton’s proposed energy tax to the Executives’ Club of Chicago. We’re just scratching our heads around here wondering which side of the issue Murray will come down on. It’s in the grand ballroom of the Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe; a reception starts at noon, lunch is at 12:30, and Murray hits the stage around 1. It’s $48, $38 for members. Call 263-3500 for more. Next you can run up to Northwestern’s Barber Theatre, 1979 South Campus Dr. in Evanston, to hear gun nut and National Review pinup Charlton Heston talk in an informal question-and-answer session with theater students. It’s free, and it’s at 2. Call 708-491-3751. Finally, back down south, the chancellor of Tehran University, Alinaghi Alikhani, talks about Court Life and Politics Under the Shah at 5 at the University of Chicago’s Ida Noyes Hall library, 1212 E. 59th St. He’ll repeat the talk in Farsi tomorrow–same time, same place. They’re free. Call 702-8297 for details.
If FDR was the first radio president and JFK the first TV one, what’s WJC? The first MTV president, the first cable president, or the first talk-show-host president? Anyway, you can relive simpler times tonight at the Museum of Broadcast Communications as it commemorates the 60th anniversary of the first Fireside Chat. Roosevelt gave his first Chat during the Depression and went on to broadcast 27 more; they’re often credited with getting him reelected three times, even though it took eight years and a world war to actually get the economy moving again. (One suspects that Clinton won’t be given that sort of time frame.) The event begins with a reception at 5:30, a listening session of the first chat at 6:30, and then a panel discussion with Studs Terkel, the Roosevelt Library’s John Ferris, and Betty Winfield, a University of Missouri professor and the author of FDR and the News Media. The MBC is in the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. It’s free, but call 629-6000 to make the required reservations.
The Dance Center hosts an evening of eco-feminist dance at 8 tonight with Jan Erkert & Dancers performing Erkert’s Forgotten Sensations, a piece that explores the connection between women and nature. Afterward activists Beatrice Briggs and Sandra Steingraber will give short talks about eco-feminism followed by an open discussion with Erkert, the dancers, and the audience. Tix cost $7, $5 for students and seniors, with some of the proceeds going toward the Great Lakes Bioregional Congress. The Dance Center of Columbia College is at 4730 N. Sheridan; call 252-6557.
After its triumphant production of The Arabian Nights, Lookingglass Theatre set to work on another adaptation of a famous literary work, opening tonight. The Scarlet Letter, translated to the stage and directed by Thomas Cox, is based on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel about the humiliations forced on Hester Prynne by Puritan townspeople–activities that, Lookingglass notes, we see recurring in our own time, from the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s to the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991. Tonight’s show is at 8; the run continues with performances Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 7:15 through April 17 at the Theatre Building, 1225 W. Belmont. Tix are $10, $7.50 for students and seniors; call 327-5252.
Looking Good, Feeling Better is the Howard Brown Health Center’s free better-living seminar for those suffering the effects of HIV infection. The center has recruited professionals to give tips on hair and skin care, diet, dress, exercise, and massage. It’s from 5 till 7:30 tonight at Ann Sather, 929 W. Belmont. Organizers suggest calling ahead for reservations, at 871-5777, ext. 350.
Magician Ron Fitzgerald describes his act as a blend of “gothic illusion, sensual performance art, outrageous comedy, and alternative music.” What he does is perform ghoulish magic tricks with decent music and lots of flash. He performs tonight at the Dome Room, 632 N. Dearborn. The show starts at 10; it’s $3, but “ladies,” as they say in clubland, get in free. Call 266-1944 for info.
Generation Xers have been meeting weekly at Ann Sather to talk about crime, AIDS, and the environment. The last meeting of the series, presented by a group called generationXamination, concerns the workplace. Turns out that the group is one Sheri Marcus, who says she just wanted to get people like her talking about issues; the first three sessions, she notes, have been fun but underattended. It’s $5, which includes coffee and pastries. Things get under way at 7 at 929 W. Belmont. Call 248-0799 for more.
Lend Me a Tenor marks its second birthday this week with a couple of special events. Tonight its cast joins forces with the cast from the Neil Simon play Lost in Yonkers for a spoof on both plays called Lend Me a Hand. The performance also includes appearances by a lot of local celebrities like Walter Jacobson, Norman Mark, and Roy Leonard along with the usual auction and raffle accoutrements. The money from the tickets–they run from $25 to $100–goes to Season of Concern and Chicago House, two AIDS service organizations. It’s at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln, and starts with a reception at 7:30. Tomorrow Lend Me a Tenor celebrates with a cake and party after the show, which begins at 8 at the Apollo. Tickets range from $29.50 to $35.50. The theater says it’s also giving out free tickets to those who can prove their birthdays are in March. Call 935-6100 for info on either event.
Hankering for some “vocal sound art–complex linguistic sound poems utilizing dental, buccal, and labial phonetic improvisations which form an unregulated but associative geographical vocal topology”? Well, get on over to HotHouse tonight, ’cause Paul Dutton is performing, and that’s what he does. The show’s at 8 at the club, 1565 N. Milwaukee; cover is $5. Call 235-2334 for details.
Only Chicago could build perhaps the largest municipal library in the country and then (a) refuse to stock it with books and (b) keep it closed half the time. If you don’t agree with Mayor Daley’s funding priorities, you can protest library cuts with the Chicago Public Library Advocates at noon outside the mayor’s office on the fifth floor of City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle. Call Joe at 436-6150 for more.
Marvin’s Room, Scott McPherson’s touching play about family afflictions, premiered at the Goodman Studio in 1990. Now it’s back on the main stage, but it’s a bittersweet affair: McPherson died of AIDS last year. Tonight the play’s director and some cast members will talk about the work at a forum called American Plays in the Age of AIDS. It’s at 6:30 at the Goodman, 200 S. Columbus. It’s $10; call 443-3757.
If the words “Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed” give you an intimidating frisson, check out the latest round of the Newberry Library’s Lyceum Seminars, which includes a ten-session class on Ulysses. That course, which starts tonight and runs every Wednesday through May 19 from 5:30 to 7:30, is taught by independent scholar Steve Diedrich and costs $85. Other seminar subjects range from genealogy to Sherlock Holmes. They all take place at the library, 60 W. Walton. Call 943-9090, ext. 482 for info.
If the names Zore, L.P. Raven, DJ 33 1/3, E, and Ang 13 mean anything to you, you’re probably an el rider who’s spent hours gazing at graffiti during train waits. These urban artistes will be on hand tonight to explain themselves as part of the Randolph Street Gallery’s ongoing project, The Graffiti Show: A Hip Hop Phenomenon. The talk will let the little vandals have their say on such issues of concern as the proposed CTA crackdown on etching, the government’s latest assault on the First Amendment. It starts at 7 and is free. The full show, which will be up through April 10, shows off a selection of local work and even includes an installation that lets visitors create their own work–BYO marker! The gallery’s at 756 N. Milwaukee; call 666-7737.