Friday 9/5 – Thursday 9/11


5 FRIDAY “I crawled back to my theater company going, ‘Oh my god,'” says Martie Sanders of her demoralizing audition for Cirque du Soleil a few years ago. “I felt like I was so out of my realm there. I’m an actor, but I’m not a clown. They put a number on your chest, like you’re running a marathon, and they had the video camera going the whole time….My piece was a flop.” But the experience did have an upside: it spawned the show Cirque du Sweat, a hit for Sanders and her partners in the Sweat Girls performance troupe this spring. The 90-minute piece examines the nature of humiliation through monologues and movement. It’ll be presented again this weekend as part of the Around the Coyote arts festival. Performances are tonight at 9, Saturday, September 6, at 8, and Sunday, September 7, at 7 at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. Tickets are $10; call 773-342-6777, see the Around the Coyote sidebar in Section Two, or go to for more information.

Now that it’s a mere 35 million miles from Earth and fully illuminated by the sun, Mars can be seen with the naked eye–even here in the city. But getting a good look at its polar ice caps and other surface features requires a good telescope. Tonight from 9 to midnight the Adler Planetarium will set up several on its south lawn and open its observatory for free tours and public viewing as part of an event it’s calling Mars Madness. Inside, the Sky Theater will feature a special presentation called “Mars Tonight”; tickets to that are $5. The planetarium is at 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr.; for more call 312-922-7827 or see

6 SATURDAY “This crowd is worse than any I have seen in Mississippi,” Martin Luther King Jr. told the Reverend Kwame John R. Porter during their 1966 Marquette Park march against segregated housing. Several thousand angry white residents responded to the demonstrators by pelting them with rocks and other objects; King himself was struck in the head. Now, says Porter, “as we celebrate the 40th year of the march on Washington, we must also celebrate Dr. King’s impact on Chicago and Marquette Park.” The area saw still more trouble from white supremacists when Latinos, Arabs, and African-Americans began moving there in the early 80s, but today’s free Unity Fest Picnic in the park celebrates the neighborhood’s diversity. Porter will speak at the event, which runs from 10 AM to 4 PM and also includes performances by the 411 Gospel Rappers, El Gallito de Jalisco, and Arab and Lithuanian dancers. The park’s at 6700 S. Saint Louis; bring your own food and lawn chairs. For more information call 773-436-7989 or 773-925-0397.

7 SUNDAY Today’s free Native Sounds by the Lake music festival honors four local women who helped found the American Indian Center in 1953. “On the charter only the men were listed,” says AIC executive director Joe Podlasek. But women “played a vital role that is sometimes overlooked. This is a tribute to our elders, our founding members, and to those women who didn’t get a lot of recognition in the 1950s because it was mostly men-driven.” The founding mothers will be presented with a plaque during the festival. The entertainment lineup includes singer Diane Dames, actress Irene Bedard (who did the voice of Pocahontas in the animated film), hoop dancer and flutist Kevin Locke, and the drum groups Crickethill, Shki Bmaadzi, and Mind Da Jay Da. There’ll also be food and crafts for sale. It starts at 11 and runs until 7 in Millennium Park at Michigan and Randolph. Call 773-275-5871 or see for more information.

8 MONDAY Controversial songwriter E.Y. “Yip” Harburg was a business owner who used losing his shirt in the stock market crash of 1929 as an excuse to devote himself fully to his art. After borrowing some money and contacts from Ira Gershwin, he had a breakthrough with the satirical lament “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”–which was almost dropped from the Broadway revue Americana and banned from the radio because critics viewed it as anticapitalist propaganda. Harburg went on to team up with Harold Arlen to write such hits as “It’s Only a Paper Moon” and “Over the Rainbow” and other songs in The Wizard of Oz. He also cowrote the musical Finian’s Rainbow with Burton Lane before getting blacklisted during the McCarthy era. His career will be remembered tonight at 7 as part of the Chicago Cultural Center’s new Monday-night “American Songbook” series. It’s hosted by the three locals behind the Words and Music radio program–vocalist Spider Saloff, jazz pianist Jeremy Kahn, and music historian Bill Sheldon. The cultural center is at 78 E. Washington; tickets are $15 (312-744-6630).

9 TUESDAY At the turn of the last century the corner of State and Madison was one of the busiest corners in the world–as many as 1,000 pedestrians typically crowded each of its four corners at rush hour. The Greater State Street Council is trying to draw attention to the revitalization of “that great street”–which includes 21 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places–with a four-month campaign called State Street Reigns Supreme. It kicks off today at 10:30 with giveaways, music, and appearances by guests such as the reigning Mrs. Illinois, Amy Yount. Ground zero is at the northwest corner of State and Madison; call 312-782-9160 or see for more.

10 WEDNESDAY The mission of the New York-based September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows is “to seek effective, nonviolent solutions to terrorism, and to acknowledge our common experience with all people similarly affected by violence throughout the world.” They’re holding a candlelight vigil tonight at the World Trade Center site in New York City, and groups in other cities, including the local chapter of the American Friends Service Committee, are organizing similar events in solidarity. Chicago’s Circle of Hope Candlelight Vigil is tonight from 5 to 9 in front of the Water Tower, on the northwest corner of Chicago and Michigan. It’s free, and you should bring your own candles; for more information call 312-427-2533 or see

In June, League of Women Voters president Kay J. Maxwell wrote to the U.S. Senate to express the organization’s concern about the sinister effects of the war on terror: “In 1942, during World War II, the League wished ‘to preserve the greatest degree of civil liberty consistent with national safety.’ That concern continued during the ‘witch hunt’ period of the early 1950s, when the League conducted a two-year, community education program known as the ‘Freedom Agenda’ that provided opportunities for Americans to discuss and learn about their freedom under the Bill of Rights.” Maxwell also wrote to League chapters across the country, asking them to provide similar community education forums on Patriot Acts I and II. For tonight’s free panel, The U.S. Patriot Act: What’s Happening to Our Civil Liberties?, the Illinois chapter has assembled a list of heavy hitters that includes American Library Association deputy director Deborah Caldwell-Stone, former U.S. congressman and federal appeals court judge Abner Mikva, U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, Judge Sandra Otaka, and Arab-American Bar Association president Rouhy Shalabi. The program runs from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State. Call 312-939-5935 or see for more information.

11 THURSDAY What did the Bush administration know and when? Why wasn’t the military able to intercept the hijacked planes? Were there plans for a war in central Asia prior to September 11? What can we do? These are some of the 11 questions posed to nine experts and activists in the Guerrilla News Network’s 35-minute documentary Aftermath: Unanswered Questions From 9/11. Tonight’s Chicago Media Action-sponsored screening of the short will be hosted by WVON’s Cliff Kelley and followed by a discussion. It starts at 6 (doors open at 5:30) at the Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington; there’s a suggested donation of $5. To reserve a seat call 866-260-7198 or e-mail