Friday 20

When CBS anchor Dan Rather cut off George Bush during a heated exchange over Bush’s involvement in the Iran-contra scandal, the incident made headlines. Some believed Rather had gone too far in pressuring the VP; others thought Bush had skillfully converted the questioning into a show of his manliness, a timely maneuver given that Newsweek had just titled a Bush profile “The Wimp Factor.” Most observers, however, agree that Rather played a big role in Bush’s gambit. This incident and others are sure to come up in The Media and the Electoral Process, a conference sponsored by the Program in American Culture at Northwestern University. The two-day get-together will examine the packaging and selling of presidential candidates. All events are in Harris Hall, room 107, 1881 Sheridan Road in Evanston. Tonight’s opening lecture at 8 is “Who Elects the President, You or Dan Rather?” by Washington Post reporter Eleanor Randolph. Tomorrow’s program begins at 9 AM with a panel discussion on campaign managers and advertisements. It’s all free. For more information, call 491-3525.

Saturday 21

Of those in Harold Washington’s inside circle, Jacky Grimshaw may well have been the most interesting and toughest adviser. “I don’t remember when I met him,” Grimshaw says, although she knows she was a little girl, and he was already a bright reform legislator. Washington’s respect for her was seen in his naming her head of his Intergovernmental Affairs Office, and also in their long, hard, and loud arguments–which ended with a wink and a laugh. Even though she was technically the number-two person in the 1987 mayoral campaign, she was its spiritual leader and the glue that held many of its diverse elements together. Grimshaw, often mentioned as a possible mayoral candidate herself, will be a featured speaker today in a roundtable discussion on “Progressive Politics Citywide,” a subject on which she is a virtual brain trust. It’s part of a conference, From the Lakefront to the River: Building Progressive Power, from 9:30 to 3 at Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson. Suggested admission is $10. Call 281-3182 for more details.

As an environmental biologist, Diane Cox spent a lot of time examining the minutiae of Colorado and Wyoming, where she did environmental-impact studies for several government projects. The work brought her closer to the earth, but it also exposed the limitations of that traditional career. “It had no soul,” she says. In 1982, she left her job and took up sculpture seriously. Art gave her the vehicle for her concerns about the ecosystem and about the resilience of the human spirit. Cox’s work, which will be on display tonight through June 11 at the School of the Art Institute Gallery 2, 1040 W. Huron, combines organic and man-made materials in human-scale pieces. The opening reception starts at 6, and it’s free, of course. For more, call 443-7284.

Sunday 22

This year’s Peabody Award givers must be an eclectic bunch. Check out the TV winners: the HBO special Mandela; CNN’s live coverage of the October market crash; the Holocaust marathon, Shoah; Eyes on the Prize, in which even the incidental music (collected by Sweet Honey in the Rock’s Bernice Johnson Reagon) was incredible; the debut episode of the yup fave, L.A. Law; and Gene Roddenberry’s return to first-run TV, Star Trek: The Next Generation–The Big Good-Bye. There are also radio award winners, including former Chicagoan John Hockenberry, now the Middle East correspondent for NPR. An exhibition of the broadcasts awaits the visitor at the annual Peabody exhibition at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 800 S. Wells. The show runs through June 24. Museum hours are noon to 5 on Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and 10 to 5 on Saturday. Suggested donations are $3, $2 for students, $1 for seniors. For more information, call 987-1500.

Monday 23

“The Girl From Ipanema,” Antonio Carlos Jobim’s cool paean, introduced the sounds of Brazil to America in the early 60s. Breathily sung by Astrud Gilberto with Stan Getz’s sax blowing breezily behind, the song climbed onto the U.S. charts and gave Brazil a reputation for sophisticated, almost cerebral sounds. Nearly ten years later, Flora Purim and Airto, a hot-blooded husband-and-wife duo, finally came along and let the world know Brazilians could sweat and scream. Som Brasil, Chicago’s premier Brazilian band, will hit both ends of the temperature gauge when they perform tonight at 9:30 at the Bulls, 1916 N. Lincoln Park West. The cover is $3. Call 337-3000 for more.

Tuesday 24

Suicide by teenagers is on the rise; it’s their very final solution to alienation, loneliness, and depression, among other things. Chicagoan Jane Mersky Leder’s book on the subject doesn’t just document the phenomenon; it actually proposes strategies to help teens cope with potentially suicidal tendencies in themselves and their friends. Dead Serious: A Book for Teenagers About Teenage Suicide includes case histories, narratives, and straight facts on the issue. Leder will autograph copies and lead a discussion for teens, parents, teachers, and counselors after a showing of her film, Dead Serious, at 7:15 tonight at Women & Children First, 1967 N. Halsted. It’s free. Call 440-8824 for more.

Wednesday 25

It seems that every time a controversial confrontation occurs, the American Civil Liberties Union is there. The legal group’s strict adherence to support of the Constitution has put it in some strange positions. Not long ago, it defended the Nazis’ right to parade in Skokie, home to scores of Holocaust survivors. It has also helped atheists challenge the placing of religious symbols, such as creches, on municipal property. Recently, the ACLU took up the right of free expression for David Nelson, the beleaguered student who painted Harold Washington in lingerie. Perhaps one of the impressions that the ACLU leaves in the public mind, especially when it battles for the continued separation of church and state, is that it has a disregard for religion. Is the ACLU Anti-Religion? will be today’s 8:30 breakfast topic at DePaul University’s College of Law’s Center for Church-State Studies. Jay Miller, the ACLU director, will speak. The forum will be held at the Chicago Club, 81 E. Van Buren. It’s free. For more information, call 341-8673.

Thursday 26

Several architectural entries were recently submitted to the city’s library board and blue-ribbon jury. To choose the winner–the one firm that’ll charge millions of dollars to build Chicago’s new library–the judges must consider not just the efficiency and beauty of each design, but also how it would fit into the rest of the designated State Street block. Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for the New York Times, could certainly teach our library board a thing or two about Building Against Cities: The Struggle to Make Places, his topic for tonight’s lecture, sponsored by the New Art Examiner. Goldberger’s free talk starts at 7:30 at the Graham Foundation, 4 W. Burton Place. For more information, call 836-0330.

Ever since ads for a new miracle diet pill hit daytime TV–the ads claim it combines with fat and doesn’t allow the fat to be absorbed by the body–Ann Landers and other advice columnists have been deluged with questions about this preposterous medical miracle. Ann, Abby–even Diane and Zazz–say the same thing about dieting: forget this quickie stuff and go to a doctor for a medically supervised weight-loss program. Saint Francis Hospital offers an orientation session tonight at 7:30 for its Optifast diet, a safe way to lose weight for people who are 50 pounds or more too heavy. Tonight’s meeting is free and will give you a chance to ask questions of physicians and staff. Saint Francis is at 355 Ridge in Evanston. Call 492-3730 to reserve a spot.