The 125th anniversary of the Nation gives you the chance to celebrate a century and a quarter of turgidly written leftism. You can hear editor Victor Navasky and deposed Pantheon Books capo Andre Schiffrin–along with special guests like Studs Terkel–toast the mag at a gala tribute at 6:30 tonight in Preston Bradley Hall at the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Admission is based on a sliding scale of $8 to $25. There’s more: tomorrow, it’s a roundtable discussion on “the role and responsibility of the media” that will include the above luminaries as well as the Chicago Reporter’s Laura Washington, In These Times’s Salim Muwakkil, and the Reader’s own Michael Miner. That’s at the Guild Complex (Guild Books’ literary adjunct) at the Edge of the Lookingglass, 62 E. 13th St. It starts at 3 PM, and it’s $3. Call Guild at 525-3667 for more info.
The Chicago International Film Festival (644-3456) closes down tonight with a star fest. Queens Logic, the new film by Steve Rash, features localites Joe Mantegna and John Malkovich, and premieres tonight at the Fine Arts, 410 S. Michigan, at 7:30. A $10 ticket gets you the film and the postscreening party at Shelter, 564 W. Fulton, where you’ll hobnob with stars Kevin Bacon and Chloe Webb and producer Taylor Hackford.
The University of Chicago’s Humanities Open House is a yearly cultural lagniappe for the community; it’s a day filled with lectures and tours designed to give folks an idea of what the heck goes on behind those Gothic facades–on the humanities side, anyway (the sciences remain a mystery). This year’s principal address is by Sheldon Pollock, an expert on ancient Indian intellectual history; he speaks on “Sanskrit and Civilization: On Studying a Premodern Language in a Postmodern World.” That’s at 11 AM; nearly 50 other lectures and tours go on during the course of the day, with sessions starting at 10 AM, and 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 PM. Notable: “The Mother in the Cross: Gertrude Stein and Spiritual Feminism” (Professor Lisa Ruddick, at 10:30); and “Vintage Hype and Noble Rot: The Sociolinguistics of Wine Talk” (Professor Michael Silverstein, at 2:30). It’s all free, but you have to register, which you can do beginning at 9 AM at the Reynolds Club, 5706 S. University. Details? Call 702-3206.
If you liked The Phantom of the Opera, you’ll love The Phantom of the Opera. The original is silent, noncolorized, and extraordinarily artful–all things that the musical is not; it stars Lon Chaney to boot. The 1925 classic plays at midnight tonight at the Music Box, 3733 N. Southport; 871-6604. Tickets are $7. Organ accompaniment is by Jeff Weiler.
“Sugar skulls will be served” at a Dia de los Muertos art exhibition at Oak Woods Cemetery; the juried exhibit features submissions from a variety of artists who dwell on the twin themes of death and the cycle of life. And it’s all in the grand six-story Tower of Memories mausoleum, with the ghosts of the dead, from Jesse Owens to Harold Washington, flitting around. The show opens today from 1 to 4, and runs daily from 11 to 4 through November 16. The opening, the exhibit, and the sugar skulls are free. Call 252-5166 for more info; Oak Woods Cemetery is at 1035 W. 67th St.
If “Route 66” were rewritten as “Lincoln Avenue,” the enterprising cover artist would have to find rhymes for the communities of Lincoln Park, Northcenter, Lincoln-Belmont-Ashland, Lincoln Square, and Budlong Woods. Mighty Lincoln, stretching from just above North Avenue to the city limits at Lincolnwood, is the focus of a guided tour by the Ravenswood-Lake View Historical Association. The three-hour trip, beginning at 1 PM, will be led by Pat Butler and Richard Bjorklund. The same affair last year was a sellout, so make reservations now; it’s $12.50 per person. For more information or reservations, call Becky Tousey at 728-8652.
One of the most otherworldly things about psychics is their self-descriptions. Michael Joseph Kurban describes himself as a reverend, “Chicago’s foremost psychic,” and the host of “America’s most popular TV show”–no, it’s not The Simpsons, silly, it’s The Mike Kurban Psychic Show. He’s also the author of 26 books, and he’ll be giving a free lecture on Psychic Phenomenon (sic) at the Eisenhower Library, 4652 N. Olcott, in Harwood Heights, at 7 PM. Call 478-2410 for more information.
Penn & Teller are, respectively, a musical and political radical and a mute; they bear roughly the same correspondence to their field, which is magic, that the Sex Pistols did to theirs; ostensible debunkers, demystifiers, destroyers, they wind up, paradoxically, remystifying and rejuvenating their field in the process. They perform at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, tonight through Saturday, with shows at 7:30 nightly except for Friday and Saturday, when they give two shows, at 7 and 10:30 PM. Tickets are $27.50, $23.50, and $18.50, three bucks less for students, plus the usual exorbitant Ticketmaster charges. Call 559-1212.
A bunch of tall people playing wallyball is what the Paramount Tall Club is offering tonight. The club is for Taller (their cap) than average people–at least six-foot-two for guys, five-foot-ten for gals; wallyball is like volleyball, only on a raquetball court. That’s 7 PM at 1203 N. 24th, in Melrose Park. Call 708-853-0183 for more information.
Who is killing the great theaters of Chicago? Rogers Park’s Granada was torn down earlier this year; now, the North Lakeside Cultural Center is memorializing the palace with “Granada: A Theater Remembered.” On exhibit are videos and photos–even sections of the theater’s terra-cotta ornamentation. It’s at the center, 6219 N. Sheridan, through November 23. They’re open 9 to 5 Monday through Friday. It’s free; call 743-4477 for details.
Three things to do on Halloween: (1) Express-Ways Children’s Museum’s Halloween Hoopla!, where kids can check out live bats and spiders. There’ll be a juggler and a parade and a raffle as well; 5 to 8 PM. The museum is in North Pier, 435 E. Illinois. It’s $3 for kids; their parents and members get in free. Call 527-1000 for details. (2) Shedd Aquarium’s Fright Night Bash, a scarifying tour through the Aquatic Science Center, specially rigged up with slimy nets and scary monsters. It’s $7 and goes from 6 to 9 PM at the aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive. Call 939-2426 for details. (3) Lill Street ceramics studios’ Halloween party; $5 gets you music, dancing, food, 25-cent beer, and spooky tours. It’s from 9 PM to 1 AM at the center, 1021 W. Lill. Call 664-4949.
(ART)n–read “art to the nth power”–the group of cutting-edge artists devoted to forging syntheses of art and science, are showing a new medium called PHSColograms (pronounced “skol-o-grams,” the “ph” being silent, as in “phthisis”). PHSColograms, according to (ART)n Laboratory, three-dimensional photographs similar to holograms, are actually a fusion of photography, holograms, sculpture, and computer graphics. On the one hand they’re photos, but on the other they change as you approach or pass them; see them and judge for yourself. Free, at the Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive. The museum is open 9:30 to 4 weekdays, 9:30 to 5:30 weekends and holidays; 684-1414 gets you details.
Deee-lite is a pan-everything internationalist trio–one member from the USSR, one from Tokyo, one from New York–that makes cartoony dance music out of house, disco, and incandescent sound sampling. They’re making their Chicago debut at Shelter (564 W. Fulton) tonight sometime after 11:30. Tickets are $12; 648-5500.