If the most comfortable place in your home is your bed, consider yourself part of a long-standing American tradition. The typical frontier household was pretty austere, bereft of such decorative items as rugs or curtains; frequently the only cozy spot was the bed, an intimate part of daily life. People were born in their beds, made love in them, had their children in them, and eventually breathed their last breaths in them. No wonder, then, that when folks out on the lonesome prairies first thought interior decorating they thought bed coverings. Antique American (as well as European) quilts, bed rugs, and coverlets go on display today in To Cover My Bed at Textile Conservators. The opening reception tonight runs from 5 to 8:30, and the free exhibit continues through the summer by appointment at 120 N. Green, #7S. Call 738-4002.
During World War I, most of the white male populace of the small town of Corbin, Kentucky, went off to battle. Upon their return, they faced another fight, this time to get back the lucrative railroad construction jobs obtained in their absence by the town’s black male residents. In 1919 the white men rounded up all of Corbin’s black men, women, and children, set their houses afire, and shoved them into train cars, literally railroading them out of town. Seventy years later, residents recall the event with an amazing absence of self-awareness and a surfeit of racism. White Kentucky native and documentary filmmaker Robby Henson has recorded their comments in Trouble Behind, which makes its Chicago premiere tonight at 8 as part of the “Discourse of Racism” program at Randolph Street Gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee. Salim Muwakkil, senior editor of In These Times, will lead a discussion after the screening. Reservations are recommended; call 666-7737. Admission is $6, $4 for students and gallery members.
So you’ve got concerns about solid waste but no place to put ’em? Check out the Sierra Club’s Workshop for the Occasional Activist. Full-time activists and Illinois state legislators Jan Schakowsky and Barbara Flynn-Currie walk you through the lobbying and lawmaking process and explain how you can get your legislator to listen. The focus is on environmental laws, naturally, but their advice is eminently recyclable. The free workshop runs from 9 to 12:30 today. Call 431-0158 or just show up at the Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln.
The Peace Museum originally created the Give Peace a Chance exhibit in 1983 with well-connected assistance from Yoko Ono. Full of memorabilia from musical luminaries, the show was a traveling exhibit for seven years. Now it’s back in Chicago to launch the museum’s tenth anniversary, and the updated version includes everything from John Lennon’s acoustic guitar to a storyboard from Laurie Anderson’s O Superman video. Every item is linked to the artists’ political and humanitarian efforts. It opens today and runs through September 28 at 430 W. Erie; museum hours are noon to 5 every day but Thursday, when it’s open till 8. Admission is $3.50 for adults, $2 for children, students, and seniors. 440-1860.
A couple of auctions vie today for your impulsively bid dollars. Thirty-one original 16-millimeter Dick Tracy films from the 1930s go on the block at the Movie Memorabilia Auction, which should also include Elvis and Honeymooners collectibles and plenty of other stuff. Admission is free; the auction starts at 1 at Auction USA, Inc., 1423 W. Fullerton. For information or advance viewing call 871-2000. The All Sports Celebrity Auction, to benefit the Body Politic Theatre, offers such goodies as a pair of shoes worn by Michael Jordan during a game, tickets to opening day at Comiskey Park, a personal appearance by Bulls mascot Benny the Bull, and numerous items autographed by members of Chicago teams. The $25 admission includes an open bar, buffet, entertainment, and a visit by Bulls players–but only if they win this afternoon’s game and are in a good mood. Reservations at 871-3000 are suggested. It starts at 7 at the Hubbard Street Cantina, 5 W. Hubbard.
Dr. Alejandro Bendana served as one of the principal architects of Nicaraguan foreign policy in the Sandinista government and as ambassador to the United Nations. Currently he is a columnist for the Nicaraguan daily newspaper Barricada, writing on the role of the U.S. in his country’s elections. As a guest of the Nicaragua Solidarity Committee, he speaks tonight at 7:30 at DePaul University’s Schmitt Academic Center, 2323 N. Seminary. Admission is $3, $1 for students. Call 276-5626 for information.
You’ve seen him on the 151 Sheridan bus in a plaid shirt reading a book of poetry or a volume of history. You’ve heard him on WFMT gabbing with Buckminster Fuller, Woody Allen, or Mahalia Jackson. You’ve read some of his books, perhaps the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Good War”: An Oral History of World War II. Now you’re invited to give him a hand at the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Toast to Studs Terkel. A celebrity lineup of performers and toasters includes Pete Seeger, Bonnie Koloc, Aaron Freeman, and Mike Royko. This also promises to be a reunion of old-time Chicago organizers, from Florence Scala, who led Little Italy against construction of the UIC campus in the 1960s, to former alderman and elder-Daley nemesis Leon Despres. Raise your glass from 5:30 to 8 tonight at the Bismarck Hotel, 171 W. Randolph. Tickets, $35, are on sale at the center, 2125 W. North, 278-4800, and at Guild Books, 2456 N. Lincoln, 525-3667.
Hear the sweetly plucked strains of bouzouki music and you immediately envision happy fiddlers on the roof, right? Actually, the bouzouki was originally associated with a 1920s Greek drug counterculture whose members were called Rebetes, and the music was mostly played in hashish dens, says James Stoynoff, a Chicago musician who specializes in Greek and Turkish music. The more frequently heard Greek instrument is the clarinet, which happens to be Stoynoff’s instrument in Stoynoff & Company, a bouzouki, clarinet, and percussion band that plays today as part of the Public Library Cultural Center’s “In the Mood” series, focusing on international cafe and cabaret music. The group’s repertoire stretches from Greece’s eclectic 1920s all the way to the modern day, and the accompanying narrative fills in the history behind the music. The free concert takes place at 5:30 tonight in the theater of the cultural center, 78 E. Washington; 744-6630 or 346-3278.
It’s Underwear Obsession Night at Berlin. Starting about midnight, models undulate in corsets, girdles, negligees, boxer shorts, old-fashioned union suits, and more–or should we say less?–to the accompaniment of Madonna and other underwear-related videos. Strip down to your underthings and the club checks your clothes for free. Berlin is at 954 W. Belmont, 348-4975. No cover.
There’s a lot more to astrology than furtively flipping to the back of the Sun-Times to see what Omarr’s got in store for you today. There’s the whole matter of lessons to be learned, virtues to be earned, and the lifetime after lifetime that may be required to accomplish these tasks. Dave Gunning, an astrologer certified by Western States of Astrology and a member of the Theosophical Society, goes into all this in a talk on Esoteric Astrology: Astrology of the Soul tonight, explaining the deeper karmic meanings of your ascendant sign. Aries rising, for instance, offers you the lesson of gaining control over your passions; once this is accomplished, you achieve the virtue of patience. Which you may really need, he says, considering it might take seven lifetimes in a row with the same rising sign to master that particular sign’s lesson–after which you move on to the next one. Gunning speaks at 7:30 at the Theosophical Society, 1926 N. Main in Wheaton. Cost is $6, $4 for members. Call 708-668-1571.