More than 100 kids’ films from around the world will be shown over the next ten days as the tenth edition of the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival takes up residence at Facets Multimedia. The opening night gala tonight includes six films saluting “the rights of the child”; they include Sour Death Balls, by American Jessica Yu, and Girish Rao’s The Threads, from India. There’s a reception at 6:30; the films start at 7:30. Admission tonight and for any festival event is $5, $3 for kids and Facets members; there are discounts for multiple ticket buys. The fest continues through October 17 with shows daily at 10 AM and noon and through the afternoon on weekends. Facets is at 1517 W. Fullerton. Call 281-9075.
The London Observer called it “an immensely enjoyable pop Hamlet”; the Manchester Guardian said it was “expressionistic, thrilling . . . operatic and emotional [with] a theatrical dynamism and energy which is usually lacking from our own cerebral, austere and word-bound stages.” They’re all talking about the Theatre of Moscow-Southwest’s Russian-language version of the lonely prince’s story, which along with their Romeo and Juliet (both translated by Boris Pasternak) will be at UIC for two weeks of repertory performances. Hamlet shows tonight and next Saturday, October 16, at 7:30, and next Sunday, October 17, at 2:15 PM. Romeo and Juliet shows tomorrow night at 7:30, Sunday at 2:15, and next Thursday and Friday, October 14 and 15, at 7:30. Tix are $18, $30 for both plays; $12 or $20 for UIC faculty and staff; and $6 or $10 for students. The shows are at the UIC Theatre, 1040 W. Harrison, and headphones will be available for the simultaneous translation provided by UIC Russian students. Call 996-2939 for more info or reservations.
Air-It-Out, a new four-on-four flag-football tournament sponsored by the National Football League, allows participants to raise money (in this case, the $25-per-player contribution goes to the Chicago Sun-Times charities) and lets spectators watch them make fools of themselves in this no-contact, no-tackling game. Deadlines for playing today are past, but you can register by October 8 for games October 16 and 17, or watch the games near the baseball diamonds in Grant Park (11th Street and Lake Shore Drive) from around 9 to 6 today and tomorrow and next Saturday and Sunday. There will be passing, kicking, and running contests for spectators, too. It’s free to watch. Call 883-0194 for more.
The Chicagoland Discussion Group, the north side’s most active leather and bondage fetish organization, sponsors two events this week: First a Leather Festish Bar Nite from 6:30 to 9 at the AA Meat Market, 2933 N. Lincoln; scheduled is a talk on ways to come out of the closet. Leather attire is optional, and it’s $5. On Tuesday night from 8 to 10, the group has its monthly “open program meeting” in the Monte Vista Banquet Hall at Heck’s Catering Mall, 5145 N. Milwaukee. This month’s program is called “The Kevin E. Show: B & D on a Budget.” Admission is $5; dress casual. Call the group at 281-1097 for more.
E.E. Cummings’s diverse but always outre work–several plays, a novel, paintings, and a ballet besides his typographically challenging poems–will be celebrated today at the Cultural Center in a program sponsored by Lost and Found Productions. Fans professional and amateur will perform an afternoon of poetry, theater, music, and dance beginning at 1 and followed by a discussion and a reception. Among those participating in For Love (of E.E.) Cummings are composer William Russo, soprano Diane Ragains, choreographer Jan Bartoszek, actor Patrick McNulty, poets Paul Hoover and Lee Roloff, and many others. The whole shebang, at Randolph and Michigan, is free. Call 338-4340 for more.
In Len Jenkin’s Limbo Tales “Two guys, an anthropologist and an encyclopedia salesman, give a vitriolic assessment of their pasts, and a dry and acerbic view of whatever future they might have.” Or so says Empty Houses Productions, which is putting on the show. It opens tonight at 9 at Cafe Voltaire, 3231 N. Clark, and runs Mondays and Tuesdays through November 2. The cast includes J. Michael Brennan, Craig Bryant, Julie Cohen, Victor D’Altorio, and Stephen Spencer. Tix are $7. Call 528-3136 for more.
Today you can brush up on your 50s- and 60s-era avant-garde film history at the Film Center, Columbus Drive at Jackson, with a free screening of three seminal works by filmic bad boy Kenneth Anger, who besides making weird movies wrote the torrid Tinseltown tell-all Hollywood Babylon. The films are Rabbit’s Moon, Eaux d’Artifice, and Scorpio Rising. It starts at 4:15 and lasts an hour. Call 443-3733 for more.
You can take your pick of two interesting free readings tonight. At 7:15 at Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark, Carleton College prof Jane Taylor McDonnell will discuss the familial ordeal she recounts in News From the Border: A Mother’s Memoir of Her Autistic Son. Call 769-9299. At 7:30 at the Old Town Barbara’s Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells, Bharati Mukherjee will read from her new novel, Holder of the World, which, say the folks at Barbara’s, tells “the story of two extraordinary women and the collision of two cultures, of the past and the present, and of historical and imaginative realities.” Call 642-5044.
If you’re interested in the Theatre of Moscow-Southwest’s Russian takes on a couple of Shakespeare plays, currently in production at the UIC Theatre (see Friday), the Friends of American Writers have a companion event to offer. Valery Romanovich Beliakovich will deliver a talk on Shakespeare and the Modern Theater Through Russian Eyes. It’s at noon in the Wedgewood Room on the seventh floor at Marshall Field’s, State Street and Randolph; $14 gets you lunch and the talk. Call 708-587-5446 for reservations.
More than property was threatened by the floods of 1993; four French historical sites along the Mississippi, including Sainte Genevieve, Kaskaskia, Prairie du Rocher, and Fort de Chartres, were flooded as well. To raise money for damage assessment and rehabilitation of the sites, the local consul general of France and several state governments have formed the French Heritage Relief Committee–Operation Mississippi. They’re having a do tonight at the State of Illinois Building, Randolph and La Salle. WBBM TV newscaster Mike Flannery emcees a concert of Quebecois folk music, which begins at 6:30 with refreshments. They’re asking for a contribution of $25, $12 for kids under 12. Call 664-3525 for more.
It’s Water Quality Awareness Week, as per proclamations handed down by both Mayor Daley and Governor Edgar. To celebrate you can check out the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s displays of scale models of treatment facilities and an interactive cooling pond, and even some hands-on (ugh!) experiments involving “good stream bottoms” and “bad stream bottoms.” You’ll also get to see the messy results of pouring oil down storm drains. It’s all on view from 10 to 4 today through Sunday at the Shedd Aquarium, Roosevelt Road and Lake Shore Drive. It’s free with regular admission, $6, $4 for kids. Call 939-2426 for more.
We didn’t know that Thousand Island dressing was invented in Chicago, nor that Chicago-style pizza originated in London. The Culinary Historians of Chicago seek to remind us of such things in a newly established effort to educate us through seminars and publications. Their debut get-together is tonight in the Congress Lounge of Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan. Chef Louis Szathmary will speak on the history of restaurants and dining in Chicago at 6:30. A reception begins at 5:30; $5. Call 708-866-7809 for reservations.