Joe Barbera started out doodling and ended up as an animation kingpin with his partner William Hanna. The Hanna-Barbera juggernaut, known more for quantity (its creations included everything from Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound to Tom and Jerry and the Jetsons) than quality, produced the first prime-time animated TV show, The Flintstones (a family that seems positively lifelike next to today’s current fave, the Bundys). Barbera, in town to promote his feature film The Jetsons, will make stops at two animation “cel” exhibits today; he’ll be at the Walton Street Gallery, 58 E. Walton, from 5:30 to 7 PM, and then at the Circle Gallery, 540 N. Michigan, from shortly after 7 to 9. Admission is free, though the cels aren’t; call 642-5392 for more information.
Sure nature abhors a vacuum, but what does it have against Cinema Borealis, the three nights of free outdoor film screenings put together by movie-projection wiz and School of the Art Institute faculty member James Bond (sic!)? Last year, Bond tried to show three wide-screen wonders (including Ran and 2001) on a 70-foot outdoor screen in Lincoln Park, but heavy rains dampened the weekend’s festivities. And last weekend a slightly downsized (24-foot-screen) rendition in Harrison Park got flooded out. So Cinema Borealis attempts al fresco moviegoing yet again with three classic Mexican films: tonight, Ahi esta el detalle; Saturday, Macario; and Sunday, Pedro Paramo. Subtitles Saturday and Sunday only. Harrison Park is at 1824 S. Wood; the projectors start running at sunset. It’s free. Call 666-7737.
Who says train fetishists have no perspective? They can appreciate the fact that some people are into other things. Like planes: this weekend, Chicago’s Twentieth Century Railroad Club is sponsoring The Trains to the Planes, a train trip to the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual Fly-In convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Fly-In will feature a British Airways Concorde, the world’s fastest commercial plane; the Lockheed Star of America, the first plane that flew coast to coast nonstop; and about 14,998 other planes. Trains leave Union Station at 8 AM today and tomorrow, and you get seven and a half hours on-site. Fare is $89 coach, $189 first class; the price includes air show tix. Call the club at 829-4500 for more information.
The Chicago Historical Society is “a major museum and research center for Chicago and American history.” So maybe it’s displaying its sense of humor by showing the three National LampoonVacation movies today. The original shows at 11 AM, European Vacation is at 12:45 PM, and Christmas Vacation is at 2:30 PM. The films are free with admission to the museum: $1.50 for adults, 50 cents for kids and seniors. The museum is at the corner of North Avenue and Clark Street. The number is 642-4600.
Celebrities from the world of Chicago House–an AIDS service group–will be getting dunked at the corner of Halsted and Cornelia during the Halsted Street Market Days festival today. To be featured: “Ethel Mermaid,” described by a Chicago House spokesperson as “a cross between Ethel Merman and the Bette Midler character who’s a mermaid in a wheelchair”; Gay Chicago photog Spike King; a collection of the magazine’s “Cruising for a Dreamboat Bachelors”; and maybe even some executive directors of other local service organizations. The street fair, which runs 11 AM to 9 PM, is free; chances to dunk the celebrities are three for a buck. Call 248-5200 for more information.
“Should I go ragged right or justified? Should I consider the scallop bottom design?” The answers to these and many other questions facing the office newsletter-putter-outer will allegedly be available at a two-day hands-on workshop, How to Write, Edit, and Design Your Employee Publication, offered at Le Meridien, 21 E. Bellevue Place, starting today at 8:30 AM. Participants will “learn how to place captions for maximum readability” as well as to “make use of powerful white space.” And it’s only $495, with lunch included both days. Call Chicago’s own Ragan Communications Workshops at 922-8267 for more information.
Grit and sardonicism struggle for preeminence in a typical Elmore Leonard novel. A glimpse at his newest, Get Shorty, can be had when the celebrated crime novelist reads at Barbara’s Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells, tonight at 7. It’s free. Call 642-5044.
The subject of local filmmaker Dan Dinello’s 35-minute film Rock Lobster is the strangely compelling figure of Jarry, described in one review as “a part-time rock critic whose sheer lethargy has left him with little ambition in pursuing his career, nor a great deal of romantic inclination toward his wife, an impressionable, somewhat portly Dominick’s check-out girl.” Jarry’s wife starts to find solace with an Arab oil heir who eschews rock “n’ roll for disco; the plot thickens from there. The 1980 work features contemporary music–from the B-52s’ “Rock Lobster” to the Cure’s “Killing an Arab”–and stars singer Jim Desmond (of the then-local band the Feelers). It plays–along with something by also-local filmmaker Sharon Sundusky–at 8 tonight at Cafe Tete-a-Tete, 750 N. Orleans. There’s a $5 donation; 649-9343.
Sports enthusiasts take note: the 71st annual convention of the National United Church Ushers will hold its drill competition tonight at 6 in the Palmer House, 17 E. Monroe. Watch it for free; call 324-6474 for more information.
Performance artists Matthew Owens and Nancy Bardawil are billed as “curators” for a five-week Wednesday-night series at Club Lower Links called The Monster Show. Owens is a friendly sicko currently in the midst of what later generations will recognize as his “corpse period.” Half puppeteer and half sculptor, he finds meaning in skeletons, mummies, and rotting matter. Joining Owens, Bardawil, and their “lumbering, gooey beasts” tonight are performers Seamus Malone, Douglas Grew, Kaja Overstreet, Michael Zerang, and Levon MacAllister. It starts at 8:30 and costs five bucks; Lower Links is at 954 W. Newport. Phone 248-5238.
Chopsticks and Chickadees is billed as “a close look at how birds eat.” It’s a talk for kids by resident bird-watcher Elaine Bentley at the Express-Ways Children’s Museum, 435 E. Illinois. “Bird utensils” figure in somehow, and the plan is for the kids to make a bird feeder to take home. The workshop runs from 1 to 2:30 PM today. Reservations are needed; call the museum at 527-1000. It’s free with museum admission, which is $3 for adults and $2 for children.