Friday 9/12 – Thursday 9/18
12 FRIDAY Tony Fitzpatrick is primarily known as a printmaker, but after his father died in 1998 he started making collages as a way of dealing with his grief. Inspired by Joseph Cornell’s “Penny Arcade” series, the former bouncer and boxer has compared the process to quilting, “where your hands are all over it and it functions as a psychological map or diary of ourselves.” Several of his collages will be featured in Remembered City: Prints and Drawings by Tony Fitzpatrick, a comprehensive look at his career that opens today at the DePaul Art Museum. There’s a free opening reception tonight from 5 to 7 at the museum, 2350 N. Kenmore; the show’s up through November 26. Fitzpatrick will lecture on his work on October 22 at 3:30 (and there’ll be a related panel discussion on “Art and Life in the City” at 3:30 on October 30) in DePaul’s student center, 2250 N. Sheffield, room 314. For more information call 773-325-7506.
13 SATURDAY Executive director Bruce Robbins compares the 1975 founding of Lincoln Park’s Lillstreet Art Center to the old Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney movies. “They’d say, ‘Let’s put on a play.’ Two scenes later they’re having a full production,” he says. “We said, ‘Let’s have an arts center,’ and two months later we were an arts center.” The center’s old digs–a former horse barn on Lill Street–started out with one classroom and 12 studios, but over the years it grew to include 12 classrooms, 40 studios, and two galleries. Feeling squeezed, Robbins and his board started looking for a new home, and now they’ve got one. Lillstreet’s new $3 million, 24,000-square-foot space in Ravenswood, which celebrates its grand opening today, features 14 classrooms, 20 studios, a gallery space twice as large as the old one, a shop, and a cafe; they’ll also rent out studios elsewhere in the building to local artists. Today at 10 AM a procession will set off on foot from the old building at 1021 W. Lill (which will shortly be torn down to make way for three $2 million houses) to the new one at 4401 N. Ravenswood, about three miles away, where there’ll be food, music, and tours of the new facility. From 2 to 5 there’ll be an opening reception for an exhibit of work by Lillstreet faculty and students; it’ll be followed by a hands-on “Art-a-Thon,” which runs from 6 to midnight and includes workshops on clay, painting, drawing, and metalsmithing. Those are $5 a pop, plus a small fee for supplies; the rest of the event is free. For more information call 773-769-4226 or see www.lillstreet.com.
“It makes you feel connected to everyone and everything in the world,” says Peace Day coordinator Gregory Garrett, who was on hand when Chicago’s Peace School launched the event on September 7, 1978. Peace Day is now celebrated in over 500 U.S. cities, and in 1982 the UN picked up the ball, naming September 21st the International Day of Peace. Mayor Daley has declared September 7 through 21 “Peace Days in Chicago,” and today the Peace School will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Peace Day, observing a moment of silence and then holding up flags for every nation on the planet–starting with Afghanistan and ending with Zimbabwe–and chanting a wish for peace in each of them. It’s from 11:30 to 1:30 at the school, 3121 N. Lincoln. Organizers are encouraging those who can’t attend to observe a moment of silence at noon. For more information call 773-248-7959 or see www.peaceschool.org.
On a recent episode of Sex and the City, Carrie and the gang marveled at the different ways men manage to dump their girlfriends–harrumphing in particular over one who had his doorman tell his date he wasn’t coming down. Ever. That anecdote came from show writer and producer Cindy Chupack, who writes in her new book, Between Boyfriends: “Men are good at a lot of things. Breaking up is not one of them….They’ll say they’re going to the restroom and never return. Then they’ll meet friends for drinks and say, ‘She just doesn’t get it’ or ‘What do I have to do, spell it out for her?’ It’s not that we don’t get it. After about three weeks of shampooing with the water off–just in case he calls–we get the picture.” She’ll read from and discuss the book today at 2 at Borders Books and Music, 830 N. Michigan. It’s free; call 312-573-0564.
14 SUNDAY “The Israeli occupation has disastrous health care consequences for the Israeli and Palestinian populations alike,” says Jennifer Bing-Canar, program director of the American Friends Service Committee’s Middle East Project. “Communities are under curfew and closure, and hospitals are empty because people can’t get to them. What happens when you’re in labor or are a kidney dialysis patient or are having a heart attack and there are trenches dug all around your village?” The AFSC hopes to send an initial delegation of volunteer health care professionals to the occupied territories in January. “What we hope to provide,” says Bing-Canar, “is a real connection between Americans here and people working on the ground–Israeli medical activists and Palestinian physicians–to personalize the story.” A benefit to help launch the Palestinian Medical Relief Project takes place tonight at 7 at Grace Place, 637 S. Dearborn. Tickets are $25 and must be reserved in advance by calling 312-427-2533, ext. 18.
15 MONDAY “Showed a Czech film” and “Dresses like a Communist” are just two of the notes the FBI took on Arnold Mesches between 1945 and 1972. Three years ago the artist, activist, and teacher, who’s now 79 and lives in Manhattan, used the Freedom of Information Act to request a copy of his files and received a large box of reports with blacked-out names and other details. “Not only did they have the dates my kids were born, they also had how much they weighed,” he told the New York Times last year. “I can’t tell you how nonsensical it was.” Mesches combined the files with newspaper clippings, paintings, drawings, photos, and handwritten text to create a series of “illuminated manuscripts” juxtaposing the documents with images of, among others, Marilyn Monroe, Nikita Kruschev, and Malcolm X. The resulting exhibit, Arnold Mesches: FBI Files, opens today and runs through October 31 at Columbia College’s Glass Curtain Gallery; hours today are 9 to 5. It’s at 1104 S. Wabash; Mesches will give a lecture on October 17 at a reception running from 5 to 8. For more information call 312-344-6650 or see www.colum.edu/glasscurtain.
16 TUESDAY Last April, 80-year-old Chicago writer Harry Mark Petrakis–who just published his 18th book–told Poets & Writers Magazine how much he loves to give readings. “Writing tends to be, as you know, a lonely, solitary occupation. You don’t really know what response you’re getting until the book or the story is published, and then a few people may talk to you, a few people may write to you. But to be able to read your work and speak of your work before an audience and get an instantaneous reaction–that’s been enormously rewarding and fulfilling for me.” And he’s good at it, having spent years lecturing to make ends meet. Tonight at 6 he’ll read from and sign copies of Twilight of the Ice, his new novel set in 1950s Chicago, at the Newberry Library, which will formally induct his papers into its Midwest Manuscript Collection at the same event. It’s at 60 W. Walton, and it’s free; call 312-943-9090.
17 WEDNESDAY “Never come give it up, whatever you may squander / The figs in the pockets and the cousins down under / By blood are the passions passing us up / By pill is the poison feeling / The heat it kills me everyday / By graveyard vigil and candles I bake / And kitchens are aching for archangel falls / Of soft baby bottoms and polished skulls, amen.” Those eight lines are all that’s available so far from former Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan’s forthcoming book of poetry. He’ll reveal more when he kicks off the Poetry Center’s annual reading series tonight with a benefit multimedia performance of his verse at 6:30 at the Art Institute’s Rubloff Auditorium, 111 S. Michigan (enter on Columbus). Tickets are $35; call 866-468-3401 or go to www.ticketweb.com. For more, see www.poetrycenter.org.
18 THURSDAY “I wanted people to gain an understanding, not only on the local level but also on the national level, of how mural art can be used as a way to cause social change and create environments that are influential in the public eye,” said Heather Becker earlier this year in a Reader feature on her 2002 book, Art for the People: The Rediscovery and Preservation of Progressive- and WPA-Era Murals in the Chicago Public Schools, 1904-1943. “Chronicle [Books] picked up on the fact that it not only was a local story about Chicago. It was also about a grassroots project that started out small and struggled through many hurdles to end up being the largest mural preservation project in American history.” The book covers the eight years Becker and the Chicago Conservation Center (of which she’s the CEO) spent locating and restoring 438 battered murals in the storerooms, basements, and hallways of 68 local schools. She’ll discuss the project today at a free Landmarks Preservation Council brown-bag-lunch lecture at 12:15 in the southwest meeting room on the fifth floor of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington (312-744-6630).