Free lectures, swarms of art dealers, and tons o’ art will grace our world-class art fair, the Chicago International Art Exposition, beginning its eighth year at noon today at Navy Pier, Grand Avenue and the lake, and continuing through Tuesday. Lectures and panel discussions on topics ranging from architecture to abstract painting to “issues of originality” will take place tomorrow and Sunday; free with admission to the expo. Expo hours are noon to 8 PM today through Monday, and noon to 6 PM Tuesday. Admission is $10, $7 for students and seniors; also a two-day pass is available for $15, all five days for $35; 787-6858 for more.
The cast and constructed forms of sculptress Gail Simpson and the photographic constructions of Jin Lee, which “use media images to tie together individual and universal experience,” open with a reception 6-8 PM at the School of the Art Institute’s Superior Street Gallery, 341 W. Superior. Admission is free; 443-3703.
Tonight’s films by Italian avant-gardists Yervant Gianikian and Angola Ricci Lucchi will be presented with odoriferous accompaniment meant to “link the images on screen with the subconscious minds and memories of the viewers.” The biographical Lombroso: Scout of Carnation concerns a late 19th-century anthropologist and director of a home for the criminally insane, who used diluted essence of carnation to develop his theory that olfactory sensitivity was underdeveloped in those with criminal minds. The two-film program, 8 PM at Chicago Filmmakers, 6 W. Hubbard, will be followed tomorrow night by the artists’ feature-length movie, From the Pole to the Equator. Admission to each evening is $3.50, $2.50 for members and seniors; 329-0854.
Senator Paul Simon should have plenty to say about The Crisis of the American Presidency when he kicks off a Northwestern University conference on the topic–he’s been giving the office a lot of thought lately. His keynote speech takes place at 8 tonight at Leverone Hall, 2001 Sheridan, Evanston, and the conference continues with panel discussions on the courts, foreign policy, and the effects of public opinion on presidential decision making, 9-5:30 tomorrow at Harris Hall, 1881 Sheridan, Evanston. Admission to everything is free; 491-3525 for details.
The house Frank Lloyd Wright built in 1889 for $5,000 took $2 million and 12 years to restore. The home and studio (added in 1898) served as Wright’s laboratory for the first 20 years of his professional life. Festivities celebrating the completion of the restoration of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, which included the removal of up to 28 coats of paint from some walls and raising the studio onto concrete supports to excavate the basement, begin with a dedication at 10 AM today at the site, 951 Chicago, Oak Park, and will continue with free public tours throughout the day. A 6 PM reception at the Robie House, 5757 S. Woodlawn, will be followed by a Bach concert (Wright’s favorite composer) at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn. Suggested donation for the concert is $10, $100 for the concert and reception; 848-1976 for more info.
Blackjack, roulette, and craps on vintage gaming tables from Prohibition-era speakeasies will be the order of the evening at the Remains Theatre’s annual benefit at the Chicago Athletic Association, 12 S. Michigan. If the stakes aren’t high enough there, you can participate in silent and live auctions and bid for the likes of dreamy getaways, artwork, and antiques. Tickets are $40, obtainable at the Remains box office, 331 N. Clark, or at 549-7725.
The reopening of the Art Institute’s renovated Europe galleries, which have been closed for almost two years, will coincide with a new exhibit (encircling the restored Grand Staircase) of architectural fragments of terra-cotta, glass, cast iron, plaster, and wood. Fragments of Chicago’s Past presents architectural evidence of the genesis of the Chicago School and the influence of the Columbian Exposition, plus ornamentation by Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and other Prairie School architects. Admission to the museum, Michigan Avenue at Adams, will be free through May 16; hours and other info at 443-3600.
Chicago actors John Herrera, Kary Walker, Hollis Resnik, Richard Kind, and many others will participate in a cabaret evening to benefit Chicago House, a residence for AIDS victims, 8 PM at Second City, 1616 N. Wells. The $20 tickets are available at a variety of locations around the city and include the reception that precedes the show at 7; 935-4620 for details.
The Chicago City Ballet will take to the water this afternoon, when they dance down the river borne on a barge. Paul Mejia’s Joie de Vivre will be performed at half-hour intervals at various ports along the river, beginning at noon at Adams Street and continuing along to Madison, LaSalle, and Michigan. The performances are free; 943-1315.
Composer and Reader writer Kyle Gann and pianist Abraham Stokman will present a program on The Spiritual in 20th Century Music (in conjunction with the Museum of Contemporary Art’s abstract painting exhibit), featuring the work of John Cage, Charles Ives, Erik Satie, and Alexander Scriabin; 6 PM at the museum, 237 E. Ontario. Tickets are $8; $5 for MCA members, students, and seniors. Reservations are recommended and are available at 280-2697.
Last year, five peregrine falcons were brought to and encouraged to nest in Chicago as part of a nationwide effort to reestablish the endangered species in the wild. Chicago is “the wild,” as far as falcons are concerned, providing almost ideal conditions–lots of prey (rats and pigeons), no horned owls (one of the few predators the falcon has to fear), and lots of sheer “cliffs” upon which to perch. Mark Spreyer, who has been monitoring the project, and animator Paul Lempke have put together a film on the subject, which can be seen tonight at the Chicago Academy of Sciences, 2001 N. Clark, 549-0606; 6:30 snacks will be followed by the 7 o’clock presentation; tickets are $10. Call 477-HAWK for information on the falcons (an egg was recently laid on a building).
You’ll only have two hours but that should be enough to fill ‘er up with up to ten gallons of 35-cent-agallon gas, available 8-10 AM at the Shell station at Dearborn and Ontario in honor of the station’s 35th anniversary; plus 35 cents from every quart of oil sold through June 13 goes to Ronald McDonald House. 975-4049.
Have you caught polka fever yet? You can ride the newest wave in avant-garde pop music circles at a free concert by the Grammy-winning Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones, 5:30 today at the Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; 346-3278.
Successful corporate lawyer Tom Bianchi tore up his law degree and incorporated the pieces in a work of art. Then he quit his job and became an artist. You decide if he did the right thing; an exhibit of his sculptures opens tonight at Jean Albano Contemporary Art, 1032 N. LaSalle, with a free reception from 5:30 to 7:30; 440-0770.
Despite the fact that the U.S. is not officially involved in Central American military conflicts, last year alone, according to the U. of C.’s Colloquium on Latin America, 9,000 members of the National Guard trained in Central America, half of them in Honduras. In Illinois, legislation has been introduced that would prohibit the further deployment of Illinois National Guardsmen to Honduras until their exact purpose there and its implications for U.S. foreign policy are determined. The mission of the National Guard in Honduras is the subject of a forum this evening, 7:30 at DePaul’s Schmitt Academic Center, 2323 N. Seminary; on hand will be both opponents and defenders of the American soldiers’ presence. Admission is free; call 702-8420 for details.