“Imagine a battalion of Keith Moons choreographed by Busby Berkeley on a stage littered with tom-toms doing full-tilt jungle drumming with screaming guitar accompaniment.” That’s how Jellyeye, “a group whose work explores imagery and gesture involved in the motion of drumming,” describes its show Avalanch Ranch, premiering at Link’s Hall tonight. The result of a group effort by Jellyeye (playwrights Bryn Magnus and Shu Shubat), the band Family Problem, and filmmaker Ben Talbot, the multimedia work is performed by four drummers, four instrumentalists, and a main character who appears only on film. Shows are tonight and tomorrow night at 8 and Sunday at 7 at 3435 N. Sheffield; tickets are $7. The show goes into an extended run at At the Gallery, 1543 W. Division, starting February 28. Call 281-0824 for details.
Improvisation isn’t dead–it’s just difficult. In The Chris Hogan Show Hogan and pal John Lehr, both refugees from the improvisational group Ed, sit on a stage for slightly more than an hour and go where their wit takes them. It’s not always funny, but it’s well staged and frequently interesting, particularly when Hogan–who’s got pocketfuls of accents and a head for literary allusions–hits his stride. The show’s been extended through March 1 at the Organic Theater Company Greenhouse, 3319 N. Clark. Show time is 8 PM Thursday through Saturday, 7 PM Sunday. Tickets are $7. Call 327-5588.
Ndebele “praise poetry” is a species of performed verse that in its native Zimbabwe has developed from a way of honoring kings into a method of political criticism. Award-winning practitioner Elizabeth Ncube, who’s currently touring the U.S., performs tonight in traditional warrior dress along with Ndikho Xaba, who plays the piano, mbira, and drums, and Nomusa Xaba, who reads poetry, dances, and sings. They’ll all be at the HotHouse, 1569 N. Milwaukee, at 8. It’s $8. Call 278-2210 for details. Ncube will be performing around town–at the Field Museum, the UIC campus, and the African American Book Center, to name a few locations–through the end of the month. For dates and times, call Mary Pennington at 243-5111.
“Don’t watch it. Don’t play it. Think about it.” That’s the slogan the Anonymous Museum has adopted for its Day Without Basketball campaign today. The annual Day Without Art isn’t a bad way to raise AIDS awareness, say the folks at the museum–but “we have come to the sad realization that the art world can’t do it alone.” Noting that Magic Johnson’s testing HIV-positive has done more to raise the disease’s profile than almost anything else, the museum has chosen to celebrate Day Without Basketball the day before the All-Star Game. There are no scheduled events at the museum, but some suggested activities include shrouding basketball hoops in black, going to sports bars and talking about AIDS, even canceling Saturday basketball practices. Call the Anonymous Museum (226 W. Ontario, 787-1330) for further elucidation.
Cheap Trick, the band who put the rock in Rockford, doesn’t play much these days (though it’ll be at the Star Plaza in Merrillville, Indiana, February 28). But you can see the famous iconography of drummer Bun E. Carlos beating the skins tonight when the Bun E. Carlos Experience plays Biddy Mulligan’s, 7644 N. Sheridan. The show starts at 10; the Flynn Brothers Band opens. It’s $8; call 761-6532 for details.
It’s the year 4690 by Chinese reckoning. You can celebrate the new year–it’s the year of the monkey, if you’re keeping track–in Chinatown’s Chinese New Year Parade today at 1. There’ll be dancers and musicians, the requisite 20-foot street dragon, and lots of firecrackers. It starts at 24th and Wentworth and ends up at Cermak and Princeton. It’s free; call the Chinese Community Center at 225-6198.
Tee Corinne, author of the Cunt Coloring Book and Lovers, will be reading from two new books–Dreams of the Woman Who Loved Sex and The Sparkling Lavender Dust of Lust–today at 2 at People Like Us Books, 3321 N. Clark. It’s free. Call 248-6363 for details.
“The compression of this century’s time clock,” says architect Stanley Tigerman, “with the extraordinary advances in technology and communication, has had a pervasive effect on architecture. The world is moving at a faster pace; architecture (and art) are no exception.” Tigerman sees the progression of architectural movements as happening with ever-increasing speed: modernism, he says, was in for 40 years, neo-Miesianism for 20, postmodernism 10, and deconstructivism 5. His theories are behind the new exhibit Halftime: A Celebration of 75 Years of Chicago Architecture, which will be up at the Arts Club of Chicago, 109 E. Ontario, through March 11. Tigerman uses drawings and installations to remember the four above-mentioned movements; viewing hours are 10 to 5:30 Monday through Saturday, with free admission. Call 787-3997 for more.
Chanteuse Andrea Marcovicci will present the Chicago premiere of “December Songs”–a cycle of cabaret songs written for her by Maury Yeston, the composer of the Broadway shows Nine and Grand Hotel–at a single show tonight at the Goodman, 200 S. Columbus. It’s a benefit for the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago. Tix are $35, $50 if you want to attend the hobnobby postperformance reception with Marcovicci. The show starts at 8; call 443-3800.
How do you become a premier American sitar player? It isn’t easy–the great Indian masters generally started their training as tots and devoted their lives to the instrument. Allyn Miner began playing the sitar as a college undergraduate more than 20 years ago: she studied in India, receiving a PhD in musicology from Banaras Hindu University. Since 1986 she’s studied with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, the grand maestro of Indian classical music, who now lives in California’s Marin County. Miner will be performing tonight as part of the three-night International Currents: A Columbian Symposium, sponsored by the Chicago-based John David Mooney Foundation. Tomorrow the National Science Foundation’s Rolf Sinclair talks about the ancient southwestern civilization of the Anasazi; Thursday Scottish arts impresario Richard Demarco talks about the making of Edinburgh’s art scene and the cultural opportunities in the new improved Eastern Europe. All the events take place at the foundation’s offices at 114 W. Kinzie and start at 7 with a reception starting at 6. They’re free; call the foundation at 222-4119 for more.
It’s Chuck Darwin’s birthday! You can celebrate with the gang at the UIC department of biology today from 11 to 2. A look-alike of the creationist scourge will talk about the importance of The Origin of Species, plus there’ll be a birthday cake, movies and presentations, and possibly an appearance by the missing link. It’s free, in the rotunda of UIC’s Science and Engineering South Building, 801 W. Taylor. The cake cutting’s at 1. Call 996-5440 for more.
Max Maven’s impressive feats of mind reading make him one of the world’s foremost mentalist magicians; his widow’s peak and deathlike pallor make him look like Elvira’s uncle. Based in Los Angeles, he’s a well-known figure on Japanese TV as well. He’s finishing up a rare local appearance this weekend at the Double Exposure Nightclub in the Hyatt Regency Oak Brook, 1909 Spring Road in Oak Brook. Shows are tonight and tomorrow at 8, Friday and Saturday at 8 and 10:30. Tickets are $15. Call 708-573-7888 for more.
“I talk about all the important things: world peace, relationships, sex, and laundry,” says New Yorker Judith Sloan. Her act–half performance art, half stand-up comedy–hits Chicago tonight at Club Lower Links, 954 W. Newport. She’ll split the bill with Chicago’s own Lynn Book, who’ll be putting on her solo piece Tongue. The show’s at 8:30. It’s $8, $5 for students. Call 248-5238 for details.