Everyone knows about Gulliver’s adventures among the tiny Lilliputians and the giant Brobdingnagians; yet in the final sections of Swift’s timeless and much-loved satire, Gulliver goes out once again and meets up with various other strange peoples, most of them metaphors for unattractive human tendencies, like relying too much on rationality or brute force or desiring immortality. Reader theater critic Lawrence Bommer has revived these tales in a play called Gulliver’s Last Travels. Originally written for the Organic Theater a dozen years ago but never produced, it finally opened there this week with Gary Houston, cast 12 years ago, in the lead. It’s running at the Organic, 3319 N. Clark, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 3 through April 10. Tix are $15, $7.50 for kids. Call 327-5588 for more.
Here’s another shameless plug for a Reader contributor: From the Delta to the Windy City: The Evolution of the Blues, a Newberry Lyceum class, sees blues writer David Whiteis tracing the evolution of the music from its beginning as an “indigenous southern African American folk art” to influential progenitor of rock ‘n’ roll and a still vibrant genre. The class meets from 1 to 3 today and every Saturday through May 22 at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton. It’s $85; call 943-9090, ext. 482.
What defines an arts community? That’s the question under discussion today at Randolph Street Gallery, where artists exhibiting in the gallery’s current show, Profiles, and RSG staff will examine ways to build and improve the city’s arts infrastructure. They’ll also focus on systems of artist support, financial and otherwise. The free open discussion starts at 2 at the gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee. Call 666-7737 for details.
Time’s running out to see what the Joffrey came up with in Billboards, its well-publicized new four-part ballet choreographed by Laura Dean, Charles Moulton, Margo Sappington, and Peter Pucci and featuring a score by Prince. Though there’s actually very little new Prince music in the piece (only an expansion of the Diamonds and Pearls song “Thunder”), the Purple One did work with the company on the project. The company performs it tonight at 8 and tomorrow at 3 at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker. Tickets run $10 to $45; call 902-1500 for more.
Book collectors from all over the midwest will converge on DePaul’s Stuart Center to peruse the offerings of 65 dealers who specialize in rare, out-of-print, and used books. The Midwest Bookhunters Spring Fair annually brings together booksellers from a seven-state area. More than 30,000 books, maps, comics, magazines, journals, and posters will be up for sale from 10 to 5 at the center, 2313 N. Clifton. Admission is $3, $2 for students and seniors. Call 708-442-0667 for more.
The folkie Chenille Sisters (they’re not really related) amuse kids with songs like “Chocolate Is Love,” “Big Hair,” and “I Want to Be Seduced.” (“I Want to Be Seduced”?) The trio perform two shows today at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 909 W. Armitage. The kids’ show is at 1 and costs $5, and the second show is at 4 and costs $8. Call 525-7793 for info.
Chicago’s not-for-profit New Art Examiner, the largest national art magazine not based in the Big Apple, moves into its third decade this year. It’s strapped for funds nonetheless, so tonight there’s a benefit party for the magazine at Big Chicks, the Uptown bar. There’s a requested donation of $3 at the door; inside you’ll get eats courtesy of Oo-La-La and Deborah’s Catering. Some of the drink proceeds go to the mag as well. The party runs from 6 to 9; Big Chicks is at 5024 N. Sheridan. Call 786-0200.
The Jewish Community Centers of Chicago kick off their Literary Series ’93 tonight with a talk by The Beauty Myth author Naomi Wolf at 7:30 at the Anshe Emet Synagogue, 3760 N. Pine Grove. The program continues March 28 in Skokie with Susan Sontag and May 2 in Northfield with Erica Jong. The lectures are $15 each or $40 for all three. Call 708-675-5070 for details.
Ornery about the Oscars? Or do you look forward each year to Hollywood’s biggest night? Facets film programmer Reid Schultz will give a talk entitled The Oscars: Fair or Foul? as a special guest of the Skokie Public Library tonight. He’ll analyze this year’s Oscar nominee crop, go over who got left out and why, and talk about the worth of the awards generally. It’s free and gets under way at 7:30. The library is at 5215 Oakton in Skokie; call 673-7774.
Alasdair Gray calls himself “a stout, elderly, balding Glasgow husband,” but others know him as a novelist and short-story writer. The author’s new book is Poor Things, a retelling of the Frankenstein myth that involves two Scottish doctors and a young–and female–“monster.” Gray will read tonight at 7:30 at Barbara’s, 1350 N. Wells. It’s free; call 642-5044.
In California, when you wander up to the wine country to spend the day tasting at various wineries, you pose a definite threat to society as you tipsily wend your way back to San Francisco and its environs. With a battalion of Sonoma County wines on hand for a tasting at the Union League Club tonight, however, you can sip your fill, hop on the el, and get home without hurting anyone. The black-tie-optional event is a benefit for several charities; the $50 ticket gets you the right to sample more than 40 California vintages. It starts at 5:30 at the club’s HQ, 65 W. Jackson, and runs till 8. Call 427-7800, ext. 266.
Damned in the USA, British filmmaker Paul Yule’s account of some of the more colorful recent censorship controversies in America, focuses on the American Family Association’s Donald Wildmon, self-appointed guardian of American morals. (Wildmon, arguing that he hadn’t given his permission to Yule to use footage of him in general worldwide release, sued to stop the film’s distribution in the U.S., but lost.) The film tracks the flaps surrounding Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ, Robert Mapplethorpe’s photos, and the obscenity trial of 2 Live Crew’s Luther Campbell. Comedian Jimmy Tingle, currently performing his one-man show What’s So Funny? locally, supplies commentary in the film. He and Playboy’s Christie Hefner will host a benefit screening of the film for the ACLU tonight. Twenty-five dollars gets you the movie and a wine-and-cheese reception afterward. It all starts at 7 tonight at the Halsted Theatre Centre, 2700 N. Halsted. Tix are $25; call 348-0110 for more.
Literacy Chicago, which says it’s the nation’s largest “volunteer-based direct-service adult literacy agency,” is holding its fifth annual Celebrity Book Auction tonight. They’ll put more than 150 books and other items on the block in auctions both silent and live. The affair runs from 5:30 to 8 in the Mid-City National Bank, 800 W. Madison. Tickets are $50, $90 per couple. Call 236-0341 for details.
Providence-Saint Mel School, the private west-side school that prides itself on its strict but open procedures, sends nearly all of its graduates, many of them from underprivileged homes, on to college. The school’s junior board hosts a fund-raising party from 5 to 9 this evening at Butch McGuire’s, 20 W. Division. Ten dollars gets you a buffet, discounted drinks, and the ability to help inner-city kids attend the school. Call 722-7756 for info.
Whitewalls: A Journal of Language and Art, dedicated to “the support and presentation of artwork that explores relationships between language, visual art, and contemporary culture,” has a new issue out. You can get it and check out a corporate collection of architectural drawings and contemporary art at a cocktail party this evening. The $25 ticket gets you the magazine, the party, and a tour of the collection, all starting at 6 at the Linc Group offices, on the tenth floor of 303 E. Wacker. Call 616-8780 for details.