Friday 8/1 – Thursday 8/7
1 FRIDAY Artist Johnny Meah’s new novella, Polidore, is based on the true story of the down-and-out clown of the title. Formerly a celebrated Barnum & Bailey circus artist, the Belgian-born Polidore was living on the streets in New York in the late 50s when Meah’s first girlfriend (also a circus performer) took him in. The mentally disturbed Polidore soon became obsessed with her, and convinced himself that she was in love with him. One day, after her ex-husband stopped by for a visit, Polidore demanded that she never see him again; she laughed at him, and he killed her with a pair of garden shears. When the police arrived, he was trying to blow himself up with a fake firecracker; he later committed suicide in a mental hospital by doing backward somersaults onto a radiator until he broke his spine. Meah, who’s best known for his colorful sideshow banners, will sign copies of the book today and tomorrow from noon to 3 at Michigan Plaza (205 N. Michigan), where his artwork will be on display through Sunday. It’s part of BuskerFest ’03, a weekend of free street performances that will also feature appearances by contortionist Yogi Laser and sword swallower Thom Sellectomy. The event runs through August 2 at various sites in the area bounded by the lake, the river, Michigan Avenue, and Randolph Street, which promoters have dubbed the New East Side. For more call 773-935-3518, go to www.chicagoneweastside.com, or see the Critic’s Choice in Performance.
The lives of the leads in the two films that kick off the Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video tonight revolve around food, drink, and romance. Short on Sugar stars Lynn A. Henderson (who also wrote and produced the ten-minute short) as the shy owner of a cafe who’s out to hook the man of her dreams. Musician, painter, and actor Moussa Sene Absa’s 2002 feature, Madame Brouette, focuses on an independent divorced woman who sells food from a cart in a Senegalese shantytown. She dreams of someday opening a snack bar, but her affair with a ne’er-do-well policeman throws her off track. Opening night festivities also include a tribute to V103 host and community relations director Bonnie DeShong, recipient of the first Deloris Jordan Award for Excellence in Community Leadership. At 6 the Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago will give a free performance in front of the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. The screening starts at 7 and will be followed by a reception at Marshall Field’s, 111 N. State. Tickets are $8 and include the reception. (Both films will be shown again Sunday, August 3, at 3.) The Black Harvest festival runs through August 14; call 312-846-2800 or see www.siskelfilmcenter.org for more information. See Movies for a schedule and descriptions of the other films in the festival.
2 SATURDAY “We just wanted to do a series of creative fund-raisers that would not just be ways for us to make money, but give something cool to our listeners and potentially widen our audience,” says WLUW program director Shawn Campbell. The Loyola University community radio station, which is now under the stewardship of WBEZ, has raised $90,000 over the past eight months and must raise another $30,000 by the end of the fiscal year (August 31). Vendors at today’s WLUW Record Fair range from vinyl collectors and local labels and bands to artists and alternative book dealers. The live entertainment includes Plastic Crimewave, M.O.T.O., Tijuana Hercules, and Twang Bang, plus DJs and a live karaoke band, the Karaoke Dokies. It’s from 10 AM to 10 PM at 2156 W. Fulton; admission is $7, $5 with a coupon (available off the station’s Web site) or a copy of the ad in Section Three of this paper. For more information call 773-508-8080 or visit www.wluwrecordfair.org. On Sunday, August 10, the station will host an all-ages outdoor bluegrass fund-raiser from 2 to 8 PM at the Montrose Saloon, 2933 W. Montrose. Call 773-895-5433.
3 SUNDAY “If they had honored him 60 years ago, I wouldn’t be having this fun,” says Joan M. Pilot, who’s been working on a history of the ongoing efforts of the DuSable Memorial Society–now the Chicago DuSable League–to persuade the city to properly honor its first settler, Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, with a statue. “It is a journey. I’m discovering I’m not a bitter person.” The first volume in the planned three-volume series came out this summer; it covers the group’s history from its founding in 1928 through the 1960s. Pilot, who’s a member of the league, hopes to have the next two installments done by January. She’ll read from and discuss her project today at 2 at the Pioneer Co-Op community room, 5427A S. Dorchester. It’s free. Call 773-955-1858 for more information.
4 MONDAY The free Friday-evening concerts that are part of the city’s Chicago Blues Exchange exhibit series have drawn as many as 100 people, but audiences at the Monday lunch-hour shows are small and tend to be made up mostly of tourists. “We’re now trying to figure out how to get regular people who live in the city,” says a spokesperson. Today’s noon concert features solo acoustic Delta blues master Fruteland Jackson and free blue raspberry sorbet. It’s at the Chicago Tourism Center, 72 E. Randolph, where the free exhibit on Chicago’s blues history is running through September 21. There are also shows every Wednesday at 11:30; this week it’s Harmonica Hines. The exhibit is open today from 10 to 6; for more call 312-744-6630.
5 TUESDAY Visual artists Marcos Raya, Young Han, and Rashid Johnson will explore how much the art world has–or has not–opened itself up to minorities in tonight’s panel discussion, Minority Report: The State of the Arts Outside of the Ethnic Mainstream. “For me it’s a personal sore spot–that America doesn’t choose to grapple with this issue,” says moderator and gallery owner Carl Hammer, who organized the event. “It’s seen as a problem that’s been wrestled with. Even though it’s never been resolved, a lot of people would prefer to move on and brush it under the carpet.” The free Chicago Art Dealers Association event runs from 6 to 7:30 at Carl Hammer Gallery, 740 N. Wells (312-266-8512).
6 WEDNESDAY How to treat sprains and burns as well as how to decide whether to see a doctor for shin splints are all covered in The 2003 Body Almanac. The new book includes the top 100 things people ask bone and joint doctors about; back problems top the list. Coeditor John Sarwark, who’s interim head of orthopedic surgery at Children’s Memorial Hospital, will discuss the book tonight at 7:30 at Barnes & Noble, 1441 W. Webster (773-871-3610). Tomorrow, August 7, at the same time, he’ll be at the Barnes & Noble at Old Orchard Mall in Skokie (847-676-2230). Both events are free.
7 THURSDAY At the height of planning, there were at least 40 people working on Ladyfest Midwest Chicago, the woman-oriented extravaganza of music, art, film, performance, and workshops that took place in August 2001. This year’s Estrojam is much more focused, says filmmaker Tammy Cresswell, who helped organize both events. “Last time so many people had so many great ideas that we couldn’t say no to anything. It grew to the point where it was hard to get a handle on it. For this one we’re only having one thing going on at a time, unless it’s the workshops.” The organizers hope to make it an annual event–“We wanted to do something that women could look forward to and go to every year,” says Cresswell. The four-day festival, which benefits Women in the Director’s Chair and the Lesbian Community Cancer Project, kicks off tonight at 5 with an all-ages show featuring Bitch and Animal, Ember Swift, Girlush Figure, Panda Panda, Nomy Lamm, and DJ Mother Hubbard. It’ll be followed at 10 by an 18-and-over show with a lineup that includes Princess Superstar, Bahamadia, Lyrisis, P.M.S., and Amina. Both shows are at the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, and tickets to each are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Estrojam runs through Sunday, August 10; for a complete schedule of events call 800-594-8499 or see Fairs & Festivals in Music.