Friday 7

“These amateur photographers,” writes Soviet critic Viktor Misiano, “were inspired by two global spiritual ideas: the search for truth and faith in beauty. The former gave birth to alternative reportage, with many people from all walks of life using the photo lens as an instrument for objective analysis of Soviet society. Many others followed another path and used the camera to explore purely aesthetic values. . . . A moral orientation and a spiritual aestheticism–these are the immemorial paradigms of Russian culture.” Three trips to the USSR by gallery owner Roy Boyd and associate Jeff Mercer have produced Contemporary Russian Photography, an exhibit continuing through June 26 at the Roy Boyd Gallery, 739 N. Wells. The free opening reception runs tonight from 5 to 8. Call 642-1606.

At Cabaret Metro, the New Group of the Museum of Contemporary Art–the museum’s avant-garde performance wing–is presenting Circa ’91, an evening of performance art and music. Onstage starting at about 8 will be Big Hat, which plays spacey pop music. Then come the performance artists: NEA bete noire Karen Finley, along with locals Andy Soma, Nancy Forest Brown, Brendan deVallance, Lawrence Steger, and Iris Moore. Maestro Subgum and the Whole, a very weird cabaret act, closes the show. Admission to the three-hour event is $25, $40 for reserved balcony seats; both include an open bar till 11 and admission to Smart Bar apres-show. The address is 3730 N. Clark; call 280-2673 for more information.

Saturday 8

In the Sun-Times some time ago, comedy correspondent Ernest Tucker profiled a comedian named Hugh Fink. Fink’s metier, Tucker wrote, is taking on “sacred” targets like Kasey Kasem, who the story said had “cashed in on his celebrity status to start crusading for Arab rights.” (Generally people cash in on something that can make them more money.) That Arab-bashing can even creep into innocuous entertainment coverage indicates how widespread it is in the American media; presumably, that’ll be one of the topics discussed today by a panel on The Media and the Arab World. Speakers include Erwin Knoll, editor of the Progressive, on “Enough Lies to Last You a Lifetime: How the Media Covered the War.” It’s part of the 23rd annual convention of the Association of Arab-American University Graduates held this weekend at Northwestern. The panel on the press, at 1:30, is one of four today in the Coon Forum of Leverone Hall, 2003 Sheridan Road in Evanston. Admission to the day of panels is $20, $15 for AAUG members, $10 if you’re a student. Call 708-869-7621.

Sunday 9

Kris Kristofferson was a Rhodes scholar who wanted to be a songwriter; so he went to Nashville and got discovered almost literally sweeping the floors in a studio. Turned out he was a songwriter–“Me and Bobby McGee,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night”–if not really a singer (or an actor). Now he’s cashing in on his celebrity, as Ernest Tucker might say, to promote Arab causes. He’ll sing tonight with his band Little Whispers and Rumors and the Palestinian folklore ensemble Al Fanoon Al Shabiyeh to aid Palestinian victims of the war in the gulf. The show is sponsored by the Arab Community Center of Chicago and the Palestinian Solidarity Committee. Tickets are $15-$50. The show starts at 6 at the Medinah Temple, 600 N. Wabash. Call 342-2986 or 436-6060 for details.

More music for a good cause: Ten years ago Eugene Izzi made his home on the streets; today he’s the author of several crime-fiction books, including his latest, Invasions. He’ll talk about where he is and how he got there at a $20-a-head benefit for the Uptown homeless group Residents for Emergency Shelter. Tunes are courtesy of the Old Town School of Folk Music in the form of Mark Dvorak, Catherine Hall, the Ad Hoc String Band, Tim Conway, the Old Town School Singers, and the folk group Voices. It’s all hosted by Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper. Things get under way at 7:30 tonight at the Preston Bradley Center, 941 W. Lawrence. Call 784-0909.

Monday 10

Gene Esposito has a dream–a Chicago jazz arts center, with stages, offices, rehearsal studios, and library, to better focus the city’s jazz community. The pianist, composer, and arranger, noted for his work with Woody Herman and as a local bandleader, is overseeing Second City Goes Jazz, a benefit for his proposed nonprofit jazz center, Jazz Idiom. Scheduled: Jerry Coleman’s Nineburner, the Jazz Idiom Orchestra, and Ruben Alvarez’s Sun Sounds. It’s at 7:30 tonight at Second City, 1616 N. Wells. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Call 871-5146 or 944-0948 for details.

Tuesday 11

You’d think something called the U.S.A. Executive Cleaning Show would be a fine chance to scrub down a few bosses; you might even hope to nominate a few. But it turns out that the three-day event is sponsored by Maintenance Executive magazine, and its main purpose is to let the maintenance industry show new products, advertise job opportunities, and lecture on topics like motivating employees, recycling, and cleaning trends for the 90s. The show goes from 9 to 6 daily at the Chicago Hilton and Towers, 720 S. Michigan, and it’s all free. Call 561-1931 for more information.

“Here I sit, alone in a field / pretending to be a barn. I hold / myself so still the cows could walk / right through me. Silence plants / my feet in deep, my heart deeper / than weathered wood.” That’s from the poem “Pretending to Be a Barn” by Margo LaGattuta; a selection of her work, along with drawings by Chris Reising, continues to be on display at Artemisia gallery this week. The gallery, 700 N. Carpenter, is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 to 5; admission is free. Call 226-7323.

Wednesday 12

The real cause of the $200 billion savings and loan debacle, the chances that the nation’s banks will fall into the same swamp, and what should–as opposed to what will–be done about it are a few of the questions that panelists in a free seminar at Loyola University will talk about today. Participating: Elijah Brewer, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; Continental Bank VP Richard Peterson, and Loyola econ professor George G. Kaufman. The Banking Crisis: Causes and Solutions starts at 5:15 PM in the Georgetown Room of the Marquette Center, 47 E. Pearson. It’s free. Reserve a seat at 915-7286.

Thursday 13

A West Loop office building–Gateway IV, at 300 S. Riverside Plaza–opens a summer’s worth of free music today. From noon to 2, the bluesy Vanessa Davis Band plays; next week, same time, same place, it’s the Roger Adler Band, followed by reggae from Charles Cameron & the Sunshine Festival (June 27), jazz from Sitjazzdown (July 11), pop-soul from the Chicago Catz (July 18), and oldies from Mickey & the Memories (July 25). The shows are free. Call 930-7300.

Almost 60 artists and nearly 25 galleries are contributing to Chicago for Chicago, a benefit auction tonight organized by Chicago magazine for Chicago House, an AIDS agency that runs three residential facilities for those with HIV-related illnesses. The artists include Ed Paschke, Roger Brown, and Howard Finster; there’s a silent auction scheduled from 6 to 8 and a live auction (run by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers) starting after that. Tix are $25, and all profits go to Chicago House. At the World Tattoo Gallery, 1255 S. Wabash. Call 248-5200.

Alligator Records began when Bruce Iglauer caught Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers doing their Sunday-afternoon jam at the now long-gone south-side club Florence’s. Their debut record was the label’s first album, 20 years ago. More than a hundred releases later, Iglauer has earned respect and love and even some money. Alligator Records’ 20th-anniversary party is tonight at the Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison. Lonnie Brooks, Lonnie Mack, Kenny Neal, the Mellow Fellows, and some surprise guests start playing at 9 PM. It’s $6 in advance, $8 at the door. Call 327-1662.