If you sprung for the big opening-night soiree at the Chicago International Film Festival–you know, the big party with Jack Lemmon, Robert Altman, Walter Matthau, and lots of other stars–and can’t afford the baby-sitter, drop the kids off at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, starting tonight and running through October 18 at Facets Multimedia, 1517 W. Fullerton. The kids’ version has its opening-night party tonight as well, with a reception at 6:30, followed by screenings of shorts at 7:30, including Adventures of Inspector Hedgy, Great White Man-Eating Shark, and The Drakes Show Themselves (Quack-Quack-Quack Series). Admission is $5, $3 for kids and Facets members. Screenings continue daily from 10 AM through next Sunday; after each showing, kids are invited to vote for their favorites. The overall vote winner gets a “Most Popular Film of the Festival” award October 18. Call 281-9075 for more.
The Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights doesn’t like what it sees in Chicago these days: new antiloitering laws, public-housing sweeps, overcrowded jails, and police brutality. So the group has organized Civil Liberties and Racial Segregation, a forum to talk about it. Speakers will include Charles Fasano, recently appointed a monitor of Cook County Jail, attorney Lawrence E. Kennon, and Mary Johnson from the Coalition Against Police Brutality. It’s at 7 tonight at 637 S. Dearborn; admission is $5, $2 for students and the unemployed. Call 939-0675 for more.
If you haven’t yet heard of Modern Animal News Television, set the alarm for early this morning. M.A.N.–TV, as it’s called, runs on WGBO (Channel 66) at 7; while your pets might enjoy the program, its founders intend it primarily for people. The idea is to go beyond bland “nature programming” and present relatively serious journalism on various animal-rights topics. If you see the program this morning and like it, you can learn more about it at an auction the show’s sponsoring tonight at 8 at the BackBurner Clearinghouse, 167 N. Racine. Proceeds go to the activist group Animal Rights Mobilization, but reps from M.A.N.–TV and other animal fanciers will be there as well. There’s a $5 admission charge; call 278-9011.
If (a) you’ve got bad credit, and (b) you already had to get up to watch M.A.N.–TV, you might as well make it over to the All American Bank, 3611 N. Kedzie, for a free seminar on establishing good credit. It begins at 10 AM, but they’d like you to call 588-5100 first and make reservations. The session will be repeated Wednesday at 6:30 PM at the Colonial Bank, 5850 W. Belmont (call 283-3700 for reservations), and Thursday at 2 PM at Calo’s Banquet Hall, 5343 N. Clark (call 769-2100 for reservations).
We’ll probably never know what demons drove Jerzy Kosinski to commit suicide a year ago. But we can perhaps catch glimpses in his photography. The writer bequeathed his literary and artistic estate to Chicago’s Spertus College of Judaica, which has mounted a large retrospective of his photographs. The show, Being There: Photographs of Jerzy Kosinski 1950-1991, includes a great deal of travel photography never before seen by the public. The show will be up through January 9 at the Spertus Museum, 618 S. Michigan; hours are 10 to 5 Sunday through Thursday, 10 to 3 Friday, closed Saturday. Admission is $3.50 for adults, $8 for families, and $2 for students, seniors, and kids. Call 922-9012, extension 248, for more.
Between 11 and 1 today you might wander down to Lincoln Park at North Avenue, where Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and Illinois Masonic are celebrating National Head Injury Month–we don’t make this stuff up–with a Roller Rally. Experts will demonstrate proper roller-skating safety, and there’ll be relay races, a helmet-decorating contest, and lots of other head-injury-related fun. It’s free; call 337-7400 for more.
We think Columbus’s escutcheon has been sufficiently smeared by having Gerard Depardieu play him in a bloated movie epic, but if you’re still mad you can take your pick of two Columbus Day protests this morning. The Chicago Freedom Now Network plans to “Celebrate 500 Years of Resistance” with a procession at 10:30 at Michigan and Wacker, and the Women of All Red Nations will hold a vigil “honoring the victims of Columbus” at Adams and Dearborn at noon. Wear black arm bands for that one. Both events are free; call 342-8023 and 493-2791 respectively for details. By the way, the city’s annual Columbus Day parade starts at 12:45 PM heading south on Dearborn from Wacker; call 744-4691 for info.
If after the parades and marches you still haven’t gotten your fill of the man, you might try Columbus in the Age of Gold, a new play by Paul Peditto at Cafe Voltaire, 3231 N. Clark. In it, Columbus reminisces about his life, his three voyages, and the momentous events that followed. The show runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through October 25, with a special Columbus Day peformance tonight at 9; it’s $10. Call 404-8448 for tickets.
A free-lance journalist cum sleuth, a revivified Nero Wolfe, and a Catholic bishop with a Jewish ex-cop sidekick are the whodunit creations of Chicago mystery writers Barbara D’Amato, Robert Goldsborough, and William Love. The three are the featured speakers at the Society of Midland Authors program this evening; they’ll talk for an hour, then the group will adjourn for dinner. Things get going at 6 in the 410 Club in the Wrigley Building, 410 N. Michigan; it’s $30 for the talk and dinner. For restaurant reservations call 944-7600; for info call 779-3300.
Black rhinos have it tough: their distinctive horns are coveted for both medicine and weapons in Africa. Twenty years ago 20,000 of them scampered around in Kenya; now less than 400 remain. The Lincoln Park Zoo has brought in conservationist Anna Merz, who’s established a preserve for the animals, to talk about the black rhino at 7 tonight. It’s $6, $4 for members, at the zoo, 2200 N. Cannon. Call 294-4649 for more.
“I was driving to Las Vegas to tell my sister that I’d had Mother’s respirator unplugged.” That’s the first line of My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist, Mark Leyner’s second book and the one that confirmed his cult celebrity. It’s difficult to describe his work: a recent profile in the New York Times Magazine acknowledged that in a strict sense he’s a “surreal postmodern comic experimental novelist,” but got a bit closer to the mark with “the poet laureate of information overload.” Leyner’s new book is Et Tu, Babe; he’ll read from it at 7:30 tonight at Barbara’s Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells. It’s free; call 642-5044 for more.
Have you ever seen what brussels sprouts look like before they’ve been separated from their fellows in the vegetable department of your local Jewel? Well, the sprouts grow in a sort of spiral on huge stalks, and if you took a walk through a farmers’ market occasionally, you’d know this. The Daley Plaza farmers’ market is held from 7 AM to 3 PM roughly every other Thursday in the nonwinter months at Washington and Dearborn. The last two of the year take place today and October 29. It’s free to go look. Call 744-9400.
We here at Calendar bear no love for Democrats: they’re corrupt, bloated, and foolish, and if they win the White House this year it will be through no doings of their own. But there is on this green earth not a tick-ridden varmint alive lower than a Republican. In the interests of fairness, however, we have to report that the Illinois House Republican Campaign Committee is having the last Republican fund-raiser of the election season at 5:30 tonight; it’s a $200-a-person reception in the Sears Tower’s 66th-floor Metropolitan Club, 233 S. Wacker. Call 708-941-1992 for more info.