Friday 3/21 – Thursday 3/27
21 FRIDAY Developmentally disabled artist Tim H. cuts images of famous African-Americans out of magazines and brings them to the Austin Special social service agency, where, says art facilitator Robin Barcus, he “executes these great portraits using oil pastels, and then very methodically tapes the clippings to the backs of the portraits.” His work, as well as drawings and paintings by other Austin Special clients, will be on display and for sale at Austin Special’s Coffee Show, an exhibit of work by the center’s art students that opens today and runs through April 18 at No Friction Cafe, 2502 N. California. There’ll be a free reception with the artists today from 10 to 11:30 and another tonight from 6 to 8; call 773-282-4744.
Brent Ritzel started his exhaustive Evanston-based Zine Guide in late 1997 as an alternative to the now defunct Factsheet Five. Currently in its sixth edition, the guide provides reviews and listings of over 1,000 independent magazines, zines, and broadsheets, as well as an index cross-referencing the bands, people, and topics they cover. Tonight and tomorrow, March 22, Ritzel, who also publishes the zine Tail Spins, and associate editor Alicia Dorr will host two nights of free Zine Guide-sponsored readings at Quimby’s, 1854 W. North (773-342-0910). Tonight’s event starts at 7:30 and features Jessica Disobedience (Safety Pin Girl), Larry Roth (1544 West Grace), Aaron Cynic (Tail Spins contributor), Grant Schreiber (Judas Goat Quarterly), and Michelle Aiello (Indigo). Tomorrow’s installment, also at 7:30, brings together Jessica Hopper (Hit It or Quit It), Liz Saidel (Caboose), Al Burian (Burn Collector), Matt Fagan (Meniscus), and Todd Dills (The 2nd Hand).
22 SATURDAY The DuSable Museum is hosting a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Harold Washington’s election as mayor today, though the actual date Washington defeated Republican Bernie Epton was April 12, 1983. The program starts at 10:30 with a screening of a documentary on the reformist mayor, who died of a heart attack in 1987, during his second term in office. At 11, longtime Washington friend Dempsey Travis will discuss the mayor’s life and legacy and sign copies of his 1989 biography, Harold, the People’s Mayor. It’s at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl., and it’s free with museum admission; call 773-947-0600, ext. 225, for more information.
Last April the Senate voted against allowing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which boasts over 19 million acres of pristine wilderness and is the only place where caribou in the Porcupine herd give birth. But just last week Senate leaders attached a provision that could open the door for drilling to a budget bill pending at press time; antidrilling activists argue that improving automotive fuel efficiency would be a better way to cover energy needs–and it’d help, rather than harm, the environment. Today at 11 filmmaker and photographer Jeff Barrie will give a presentation about the western arctic region called The Last Great Wilderness Project. He’ll be joined by Elsie Hume, a representative of the area’s native Gwich’in people, who live adjacent to the refuge, and Kim Novick of the Alaska Coalition of Illinois. It’s at the Mount Greenwood Public Library, 11010 S. Kedzie, and it’s free; for more information call 847-869-1935.
23 SUNDAY State film industry revenues were just $27.6 million last year–a sharp drop from the $85 million annual average over the past decade, according to the Illinois Film Office. Of several movies set in Illinois, only a few–Barbershop, the HBO film Normal, and Robert Altman’s The Company, for example–were actually shot here last year. The recently founded Illinois Production Alliance has chosen Academy Awards Sunday to publicize its case for bringing film, television, and commercial work back to the Windy City; they’ll hold a free rally today at noon at the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph; call 312-867-5504.
24 MONDAY Don DeLillo’s forthcoming novel, Cosmopolis, takes place over one day in April 2000 and focuses on the doings of a monstrous Manhattan assets manager who conducts his business from a white stretch limo. DeLillo will be joined by Steppenwolf artistic director Martha Lavey and ensemble member Tracy Letts for tonight’s reading from the novel, which Booklist calls “a surreal, electrifying story.” Part of Steppenwolf’s “Traffic” series, the reading starts at 7:30 at the theater, 1650 N. Halsted, and tickets are $25; call 312-335-1650.
25 TUESDAY “There’s a skin of the landscape I’m starting to peel back, and I’m finding a map of sorts in the world around me,” writes Cindy Crosby in her new book, By Willoway Brook: Exploring the Landscape of Prayer. “Symbols in the landscape beckon me further up and deeper in. When I’m on the prairie, the barriers come down.” The title refers to the recently restored waterway near her Glen Ellyn home. The book’s 14 essays weave vivid descriptions of the tallgrass prairie with meditations on the nature of God. Crosby will give a free reading tonight at 7:30 at Barbara’s Bookstore, 1100 Lake in Oak Park (708-848-9140).
26 WEDNESDAY As a press agent in the latter part of the last century, Chuck Cannon did local publicity for everyone from Frank Sinatra to Peggy Lee. He also worked several times with the Three Stooges, who he calls “kind and gentle and not at all stupid people”; he was impressed that they didn’t rely on a script. “I’d watch them sometimes during rehearsal,” he says. “They would work from the plot and interpolate.” He’ll discuss his personal recollections of the Stooges and other celebrities tonight at 7 at the Norwood Park Historical Society, 5624 N. Newark. It’s free; for more information call 773-631-4633.
In December artist Stuart Helm settled out of court with Kraft, who’d been suing him over the use of his nom de plume, King VelVeeda. The saga of the man who now calls himself “the Unknown Artist” is the subject of Brigid Maher’s new documentary, The King, the Lawyers and the Cheese–about ten minutes of which will be shown at tonight’s benefit for the film. Helm will be in attendance, and some of his King VelVeeda work will be auctioned off; the bands Busy Kids, Forgotten Four, and Cursed at Birth will also play. The event starts at 8:30 at the Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, and there’s a suggested donation of $5; call 773-281-4444.
27 THURSDAY Saint Xavier University history professor Peter Kirstein caused a furor last October when he responded to an Air Force Academy cadet who had written seeking advice about recruiting on campus with a tart E-mail that said, in part: “You are a disgrace to this country and I am furious you would even think I would support you and your aggressive baby killing tactics of collateral damage….You are imperialists who are turning the whole damn world against us.” Kirstein was suspended from teaching for the remainder of the fall semester and is currently on sabbatical while his career is being reviewed. He’ll lecture on Hiroshima and Nuclear Terrorism: The Past as Prologue at 6 at the Open University of the Left’s Lakeshore Academy Campus, 640 W. Irving Park, on the third floor; call 773-244-1480 for more.