Now in its tenth year, the International Art Exposition established this city as a world-class center of visual art. Part aesthetic experience and part high-powered marketplace, Art Expo brings together movers and shakers–and occasionally even artists–from all over the globe to rub shoulders and write checks. Located at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, Art Expo opens to the public today at noon and runs through Tuesday. Hours are 12 to 8 Friday through Monday, 12 to 6 Tuesday. General admission tickets are $10, $7 for students and seniors; a two-day pass costs $15, a five-day pass costs $35. For more information call 787-6858.
Del Shannon, Lou Christie, Danny and the Juniors, and the Chiffons–who are now part of the touring rock-and-roll revue Let the Good Times Roll–probably never thought they’d end up playing a benefit for a classical orchestra. But the revue’s Chicago debut concerts–at 7 and 10:30 at the Arie Crown Theatre at McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive–will be fund-raisers for the Classical Symphony Orchestra, a training ensemble for young performers that is planning a tour of Taiwan next month. Tickets for the rock shows are $21.50 and $23.50; they’re available by calling 842-5387.
When the Dutch financier Pieter Teyler van der Hulst died in 1778 in Haarlem, his house and private collection–which included fossils, stuffed birds, and master drawings–became the Teyler Museum, now the city’s oldest museum. Michelangelo to Rembrandt: Master Drawings From the Teyler Museum–works by 46 major Dutch and Italian artists of the 16th and 17th centuries–will show at the Art Institute today through July 30. The museum, located on Michigan Avenue at Adams, has also scheduled a series of lectures and family programs that starts May 16. Hours are 10:30 to 4:30 Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; 10:30 to 8 Tuesday; 10 to 5 Saturday; and 12 to 5 Sunday. The suggested donation is $5; $2.50 for students, seniors, and kids; free on Tuesday. Call 443-3600.
The African American Unity Ensemble–directed by Midawo Gideon Foli Alorwoyie of Ghana, a former chief master drummer of the Dance Company of Ghana and now a teacher at the American Conservatory of Music–is dedicated to sharing and preserving authentic music and dance traditions. Gideon and the ensemble will lead a workshop on African Drums and Dance today from 5 to 8 at Puszh Dance Studio, 3829 N. Broadway. The audience should come dressed to play and dance. Admission is $7; for more information call 478-3549.
Over the past year Chicago Women in Comedy has showcased funny females for audiences, critics, and promoters. The informal group celebrates its first anniversary today with a Mother’s Day show titled Smart Women, Funny Choices II at the Improvisation nightclub, 504 N. Wells. Performers include Caryn Bark, Dianne Burroughs, Sue Cargill, Lori Noelle, and Marcia Wilkie. Admission is $15 for the show and two drinks, or $30 for all that plus a buffet dinner that’ll be served beginning at 3 PM. The show starts at 5. For reservations call 782-6387.
Philip LaZebnik and Kingsley Day, known for their musical stage spoof of the Jane Byrne administration, take on another Chicago disaster in their new show, State Street: The Great Fire of 1871. Developed by the New Musicals Project at Columbia College with funding from the Paul and Gabriella Rosenbaum Foundation, State Street features more than 40 Columbia students and professional guest artists playing such historical characters as Marshall Field, hotel owner John Drake, music critic Peregrine Pickle, Mickey Finn, and of course Mrs. O’Leary’s cow (I act as the vocal coach). The show opens tonight at 7 at Columbia’s Getz Theater, 62 E. 11th St., and then runs Thursday through Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 3 PM through May 28. Tickets are $5-$10, $2-$5 for students and seniors; for reservations call 663-9465.
American workers have often had one image of themselves–and the media have often given the public another. Badges of Pride: Symbols and Images of American Labor, which opens today and continues through June 25 at the Chicago Historical Society, examines these two perspectives through a display of original graphics, photographs, buttons, badges, and advertisements from the past two centuries that was curated by the Smithsonian Institution. The historical society, located on Clark Street at North, is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 to 4:30 and Sunday from 12 to 5. Admission is free on Mondays; the rest of the week it’s $1.50, or 50 cents for children and senior citizens. Call 642-4600 for more information.
At 89, Meridel LeSueur has been a witness to the events of this century. A child of midwestern socialists, she grew up around people such as Joe Hill and Eugene Debs. She later lived in New York in Emma Goldman’s commune, became an actress and stuntwoman in silent movies, and then turned to writing journalism, poetry, fiction, and children’s books. Her admirers included Carl Sandburg, Nelson Algren, and Sinclair Lewis. Her critics included J. Edgar Hoover; she was blacklisted and put under FBI surveillance during the 1950s. Only in the last decade have her works won wide recognition. LeSueur comes to town today to give a free noon reading at the Northwestern University Women’s Center, 2000 Sheridan Road in Evanston (491-7360), and a second reading at 7 PM at Guild Books, 2456 N. Lincoln, where a $4 donation is requested (525-3667).
Since the 1950s, producer-director Bernie Sahlins has been on the cutting edge of comedy in Chicago, having been involved with Mike Nichols and Elaine May in the Compass Players and having cofounded Second City in 1959. His newest venture is the Willow Street Carnival, a permanent resident ensemble that he hopes will blend European-style carnival and street theater with a distinctly Chicago sense of comedy and political satire. The carnival’s debut production, Spring, opens tomorrow; its final preview, a benefit for the International Theatre Festival of Chicago, is tonight. The benefit begins at 5:30 with cocktails and dinner; the show begins at 8 and will be followed by a champagne and dessert reception. Reservations for the benefit are $125 and may be made by calling 664-3370. The regular show runs through June 21 at 8:30 Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday ($8.50); and 8 and 11 Friday and Saturday ($9.50). Call 327-2656 for more information. Willow Street Carnival is located at 1800 N. Clybourn.
The folks at SoundImages Productions say that everyone from punkers to yuppies will appear in the music video they’re shooting tonight for Chicago’s Gloryhounds band. The video, It’s You, will be taped at Exit, 1653 N. Wells, from 7 until the band stops playing. Anyone interested in being in the audience is welcome. Admission is $3, and advance reservations are necessary; call 777-5628.
In 1984 a troupe of young performers decided to reinvent the art of the circus. Animals disappeared completely and were replaced by a 35-member troupe of clowns, tumblers, aerialists, bicyclists, jugglers, acrobats, and tightrope walkers. Their show is presented like a play, with a simple plot–all backed up by an original jazz-rock score and elaborate MTV-style staging and special effects. The international Cirque du Soleil, which is based in Montreal, sets up 1,756 seats under a big-top tent today on a lot on Illinois between McClurg Court and Lake Shore Drive across from North Pier Chicago. The circus runs through May 28, with performances at 7:30 Tuesday through Thursday, 8:30 Friday, 4:30 and 8:30 Saturday, and 1 and 4:30 Sunday. Tickets range from $5.50 to $35.50; Call 559-1212.