The killing spree of Londoner John Christie is believed to have started in 1949 with the wife and children of a next-door neighbor. It continued with his own wife and several prostitutes–he’d kill his victims and then rape them–until 1953, when he was finally caught. The story of this mild-mannered necrophiliac (who was eventually hanged, despite his plea of insanity) was first brought to the stage in the early 60s by playwright Howard Brenton and director David Hare. Christie in Love is receiving its Chicago debut at a particularly apposite time in this production by La Barraca ’90 and actors Mark Talley, Tim O’Shea, and Brian Jude Leahy of the Feral Theatre. It opens tonight at the Blue Rider Theatre, 1822 S. Halsted, for an open run. Shows are at 8 PM Friday and Saturday, 7 PM Sunday. (There’ll be a signed performance April 12.) Tix are $10. Call 243-8891 for details.
A burst of contemporary Argentine dance hits town tonight as part two of Columbia College’s 1991-1992 dance program gets under way with performances by Nucleodanza. This company is reputedly tough, political, and never dull; they dance tonight and tomorrow at 8 at the college’s dance center, 4730 N. Sheridan. Tickets are $12. Call 271-7928 for details.
“When you select heroes about which black people should be taught, let them be black heroes who have died fighting for the benefit of black people.” So spoke Malcolm X; perhaps those words were the impetus for today’s free daylong conference at the Harold Washington Library, Malcolm X and Afrocentricity: Education for Liberation. Three panels of local scholars and activists will look at Malcolm X’s continuing relevance at 9:30, 12:30, and 2:30; conference registration starts at 9. The library’s at 400 S. State. Call 663-0839 for details.
There are about 50 arguments you could make against the study of Esperanto: part of the point of learning a new language is getting a dose of new culture as well, and Esperanto doesn’t provide that; Esperanto’s simplified grammar and sentence constructions don’t give you insight into a real language’s complexity, which also helps you tackle additional languages; the language is so based on Western languages that it can’t really claim to be a genuine worldwide language. Still, the Esperanticists keep at it, and they’ve even persuaded Mayor Daley to issue a proclamation encouraging people to study Esperanto in honor of International Friendship Week. If you feel the call you can join the Esperanto Society of Chicago today as they write letters to pen pals in foreign countries; they’ll provide info on learning Esperanto there as well. The session runs from 1 to 4:30 today at the Margate Park field house, 4931 N. Marine Drive. It’s free. Call Kent Jones at 751-3259 or 271-8673 for details.
Poet, author, conceptualist, and composer John Cage is in Chicago this week to promote his joint exhibition with Robert Rauschenberg at the Museum of Contemporary Art; the first of his several local appearances is today at a benefit for the Poetry Center of Chicago. Cage will read from two new works, The First Meeting of the Satie Society and Overpopulation and Art, at the Rubloff Auditorium of the Art Institute of Chicago at 3. Tickets are $10, $4 for students and senior citizens. Enter on Columbus near Monroe; call 443-3711 for details. Tomorrow at 6 PM Cage will be at the Arts Club of Chicago, 109 E. Ontario, for a discussion of his work. It’s free, but reservations are required; call 787-3997. Further readings, discussions, and concerts are scheduled at the Northwestern University campus (home of the John Cage Archives) through March 7; call 708-491-5441.
Those with a taste for salmon can go wild tonight at a three-species salmon-tasting party sponsored by the Chicago chapter of the American Institute for Wine and Food, the national organization founded by Julia Child and Robert Mondavi. There’ll be a school of salmon experts on hand to discuss the cuisine, along with a bottle or two of pinot noir to wash the fish down. The two-hour affair starts at 5:30 at Bub City, 901 W. Weed. It’s $25, $15 for institute members, $5 for students. Call 527-2722 for more.
The Illinois CPA Society is sponsoring a free call-in tax-info service tonight. A phalanx of CPAs will be at the phones–993-0393 or 800-572-9850–from 6 to 8:30 to dispense advice on both Illinois and federal tax matters.
“If a man publicly denounces poetry, his shoes will fill with urine. / If a man gives up poetry for power, he shall have lots of power.” Those are items 10 and 11 from “The New Poetry Handbook,” a 1970 poem by Mark Strand, the outgoing U.S. Poet Laureate. Strand writes about a lot of things, but one of the things he writes about best–and most humorously–is poetry itself: “Ink runs from the corner of my mouth. / There is no happiness like mine. / I have been eating poetry.” Strand’s currently working on a book about Edward Hopper, so while he’s in town he’ll probably be spending a lot of time gazing at the Art Institute’s Nighthawks. But tonight he’ll read from both old and new work and have a conversation with TriQuarterly editor Reginald Gibbons in the Fullerton Auditorium of the Art Institute, Michigan and Adams. Things get under way at 6; it’s $5, $3 for students and museum members. Call 443-3680.
Crosses adorn floors, walls, and each other in an installation called The Stations of the Cross by sculptor Louis Zoellar Bickett, opening today at the Artemisia Gallery, 700 N. Carpenter. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 to 5, and there’s an opening reception Friday from 5 to 8. Admission is free; call 226-7323 for more.
The Museum of Broadcast Communications is opening its archives for a series of “best of” retrospectives to run through the end of March, with a different theme every week. Today through next Sunday, March 15, is The Best of the 70s, with screenings from such kitsch-laden Me Decade stalwarts as The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, and The Sonny and Cher Show. Admission is $3, $2 for students, and $1 for seniors and kids under 13. The museum’s still at 800 S. Wells, open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5, Saturday from 10 to 5, and closed Monday and Tuesday. Call 987-1500 for details.
New arrivals to Chicago might be forgiven for thinking Irv Kupcinet is just another broken-down old daily-newspaper columnist with a fossilized sense of humor and a lock on Pleistocene-era gossip; decades ago, it seems, he was a respected writer and TV personality. He’s been a fixture at the Sun-Times for more than 50 years, he has a bridge named after him, and now he and his wife, Essee, are being presented with the Chicago Film Critics Association’s special Commitment to Chicago Award at its awards reception this afternoon. Of course, the event’s main business will be the dispensation of the other awards–best picture, best director, etc–and most of the recipients will supposedly be on hand, so there may be some stars to see. Tix are $60; it runs from 2:30 to 6:30 at the Pump Room of the Ambassador East, 1301 N. State. Call 944-2600 for details.