Everything you wanted to know about Vienna, musical modernism, and cult hero Karl Weigl (rhymes with “inveigle”) but were afraid to ask will be answered this weekend at the U. of C. A two-day conference, Viennese Crosscurrents: Karl Weigl, Neo-Romanticism and the Modernist Movement, sponsored by the university’s music department, begins at 4:30 today and runs through 10 PM tomorrow. A lecture by Stephen Toulmin, author of Wittgenstein’s Vienna, kicks things off today in the Goodspeed Recital Hall, 1050 E. 59th St. The entire conference is free to the public, but its organizers request advance registration; call the music department at 702-8068.
Intellectual history too down-to-earth for you? There’s always space aliens. It has always struck me as curious that while most people go through life without meeting an extraterrestrial and without even thinking much about aliens, the people who think about them the most are the ones who seem to find one beneath every rock. A case in point is Michael Schuster, who claims to have had not only several extraterrestrial encounters but also “vivid reincarnational insights” and out-of-body experiences. He also claims to be a “recognized spokesperson on the Seth material.” Schuster speaks tonight on the Orion Energies, which “explain the Earth’s evolution into a deeper conscious appreciation of our connectedness to one another, the planet, extraterrestrials, and ‘All That Is.'” It seems like a lot for only $15. Schuster appears from 7:30 to 10 PM at the Unitarian Church of Evanston, 1330 Ridge. For more info call 708-864-1330.
Barriers for handicapped people are breaking down all the time; we can only marvel at the achievements. A demonstration of blind tae kwon do is a highlight of the American Tae Kwon Do Association’s Fall Nationals, held this weekend at the Holiday Inn O’Hare, 5440 River Road in Rosemont. The demonstration is cosponsored by Chicago’s Guild for the Blind; it starts at 7 PM. Admission is $5, $3.50 for children. For more info call 708-236-8569.
For a librarian, there’s no escaping death, taxes–and the annual deluge of youngsters intent on winning their school’s science fair. The Chicago Public Library is holding two special workshops today to help the kids out: grades four through six start at 10:30 AM, grades seven through nine at noon. The workshops take place at the Conrad Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln. They’re free, but the library requests preregistration; call 728-8652.
What motivated Ted Bundy–porn or cheerleaders? That provocative question is at the heart of Ted Bundy–The Phantom Stranger, a Canadian documentary on the man who might be described as a serial killer’s serial killer. The film contains footage of Bundy claiming that it was pornography that did the deed, but also footage of prosecutors relating that Bundy actually collected cheerleader magazines. You be the judge! The film, a presentation of the Psychotronic Film Society, shows tonight, along with some shorts, at 7 PM at the 950 Club, 950 W. Wrightwood. Admission is $3; call 738-0985 for more information.
December, not April, is the cruelest month. Procter & Gamble–having finally persuaded the nation that it is not, repeat not, a company associated with satanism–is now working to undermine American values in a new and insidious way. The non-devil-worshiping toothpaste conglomerate is the sponsor of a two-day stand by Barry Manilow, which closes tonight at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. Luckless attendees will, according to high-level information I obtained, be subjected to anecdotes and stories, an alleged state-of-the-art device called a “magic screen,” and finally a heart-stopping 30-minute medley of Barry’s greatest hits. Tickets are $33.50, $28.50, and $21, plus the usual outlandish Ticketmaster charges. The show starts at 8 PM, for information call 559-1212.
Cross Ornette Coleman with Silly String and you’d get something approaching Hal Russell and the NRG Ensemble. Dissonance vies with melody, and serious ventures into free-form jazz vie with goofiness as this finely tuned five-man jazz attack mechanism makes its monthly appearance in the near pitch-black environs of Club Lower Links. Jazz legend Russell plays mostly saxes, but dips into trumpet, vibes, and drums; he’s joined by Brian Sandstrom on guitar, Steve Hunt on drums, Kent Kessler on bass, and the very cool Mars Williams on tenor sax. And the odds are good that all five will be blowing water bubbles at some point. The ensemble starts playing at 8:30 PM and does several sets. Lower Links is in the basement of Links Hall, 954 W. Newport; admission is $5. The club number is 248-5238.
The Chicago premiere of Roseanne Barr’s major film debut will be a benefit for the Midwest Women’s Center. At a preshow reception, the cream of Chicago’s women caterers, chefs, and “restaurateuses” will display their best work in the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress; the gathering is being billed as an opportunity for women to network and share their successes with others. Tickets start at $40 a head and include the reception and admission to She Devil, starring Barr and Meryl Streep, which will be shown at the Fine Arts, 418 S. Michigan. Things get under way at 5:30 PM; call the women’s center for more information at 922-8530.
Asa Baber, Marcia Froelke Coburn, Lisel Mueller, James Park Sloan, and Eugene Wildman have two things in common: they’re all writers and they’ve all been faced with writer’s block at one time or another. They will be joined by psychologist Ann Rochelle Cohn to talk about writer’s block at a PEN Midwest panel discussion at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton, at 5:30 PM. Admission is $3. You can call Chris Newman at 222-8999 for more information.
The Chicago Historical Society’s “A Proper Lady” exhibit–a look back at the demands and constraints of turn-of-the-century ladyhood–now has a gustatory spin-off: a proper afternoon tea served on Wednesdays. High tea features scones with whipped cream and jam, assorted finger sandwiches, tea cookies, and of course tea, it’s $7.75, and is served from 3 to 4:30 PM. (A smaller menu–minus the sandwiches and cookies–is available for $4.50.) Tea is served in the Society Cafe inside the museum, 1601 N. Clark; the number is 787-8858.
Chicago’s silly flag-desecration ordinance was overturned on Halloween, but the state of Illinois still has one on the books. So the Chicago Committee for Artists Rights “Inalienable Rights/Alienable Wrongs” censorship series goes on, presenting a ratatouille of flag art at the Lannon Gallery, 119 N. Peoria. The attitude toward the flag of the almost 30 artists involved ranges, we are told, from the patriotic to the confrontational. Today’s opening is from 6 to 9 PM. The show runs through next Wednesday; regular viewing hours are 11 to 7 Monday through Saturday. Admission is free. Call 670-2521 for more information.
The monthly brown-bag luncheon of the Friends of Downtown will include a free discussion on The Chicago Skyline: Aesthetics and Economics. Appropriately, representatives of an architecture firm, Kim Goluska of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and a developer, Mary Lambert of the Lambert Property Group, will do the discussing. The Friends of Downtown promises that the pair will touch on the subjects of the skyline as a symbol, changes in the skyline over time, the effect on the skyline of floor-area controls, and how design affects leasing. The noon luncheon takes places in the fourth-floor meeting room of the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; call 977-0098 for more information.