Friday 10/17 – Thursday 10/23
17 FRIDAY After smallpox nearly wiped out several Haida Indian villages in Canada at the turn of the last century, anthropologists sold the victims’ remains and other artifacts to museums around the world. Since 1995 the Haida, who still live on the Queen Charlotte Islands off the coast of British Columbia, have been struggling to recover their ancestors from institutions in Britain, Canada, and the United States. Last spring four Haida Nation representatives visited the Field Museum, where they inventoried the 132 bones and burial artifacts collected there in preparation for the largest repatriation ever of Haida remains from the U.S. Once back where they belong, the remains will be wrapped in button blankets and buried in bentwood boxes decorated with family crests. Today at 10 AM more than two dozen members of the Haida Repatriation Dance Group will perform a series of songs and dances to celebrate. There’ll also be a discussion of Haida culture and a repatriation ceremony followed by a press conference. It’s at the Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., and it’s free with museum admission ($10, $7 for students and seniors, $5 for children). Call 312-665-7400 for more information.
“It was kind of a no-brainer,” says artist and promoter Myke Adams about this weekend’s Camp CHGO festival of music, film, and art. “A lot of bands are going to be on tour and headed to New York for [the CMJ music conference] next week, and we decided to put together an event for bands that need a show in Chicago and could hang out here for the weekend.” A coproduction of the artist-run Fleet Collective and the online magazine Divine Nation (which launches November 15), Camp CHGO is loosely modeled after the defunct Independent Label Festival, which Adams helped program. It kicks off tonight at 7 at Transmission Gallery, 840 W. Washington, second floor. There’s a suggested donation of $5 and you must be 18 or older. It continues at different locations through Monday, October 20. K Records labelmates the Blow and VVRSSNN play Saturday and Sunday, respectively, en route to NYC. For more information see the Fairs & Festivals listings in Music, call 312-502-0198, or go to www.badonpurpose.com.
18 SATURDAY The relationship between Grant Wiggins, a burned-out schoolteacher in 1940s Louisiana, and Jefferson, the death row inmate he tries to counsel, is what got Edward Sobel interested in directing Steppenwolf’s production of Ernest J. Gaines’s A Lesson Before Dying. But when he discovered that the novel had been adapted for the stage by Romulus Linney–the Obie-winning playwright Sobel once studied under at the University of Pennsylvania–he was sold on the project. “Most of what I understand about how a play is put together comes from his classes,” Sobel explains. “It’s gratifying to be continuing that circle.” Linney will be on hand today for a free postshow discussion of the play, which opened last Saturday and runs today and Saturday, October 25, at 11 AM in the Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted. Tickets are $10; call 312-335-1650.
Steven Spielberg, Bette Midler, Brad Pitt, and a couple of Saudi Arabian princesses have all ordered from the Ravenswood-based Lowitz & Company, which specializes in rustic ceramic and hand-carved bronze tiles. In conjunction with today’s open house at the neighboring Lillstreet Art Center, Lowitz is allowing the public into the studio for the first time for a sale on slightly imperfect pieces. It’s today from 1 to 6 at 4401 N. Ravenswood, studio 206, call 773-784-2628. Browsing is free, but serious buyers should bring measurements, photos, and cash or a check–they don’t take credit cards.
Tonight’s Andersonville’s Own film screening features work by film and video artists including Zack Stiglicz, Shellie Flemming, and Robert Rhyne, who all live and work in the north-side neighborhood. It’s part of this weekend’s Andersonville Arts Smorgasbord, which runs today and tomorrow in the area around Clark and Foster. The screening starts at 8 at Chicago Filmmakers, 5423 N. Clark. Admission is $7; call 773-293-1447. For more on the arts fest, call 773-728-2995 or see www.andersonville.org.
19 SUNDAY The grassroots social and environmental justice organization Bustan L’Shalom (Grove of Peace) describes itself as “pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, anti-war, and anti-occupation.” Founded by Israeli human rights activist Devorah Brous, it focuses on poverty relief and raising awareness of the discrimination faced by indigenous peoples in Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Jordan, establishing schools and medical clinics in impoverished areas and planting “peace groves.” Brous will discuss her work today at 3 at the Dole Branch Library, 255 Augusta in Oak Park (708-386-9032), tomorrow, October 20, at 7:30 at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, 303 Dodge in Evanston (847-328-7678), and Tuesday, October 21, at 1:40 in room 2094 of Northeastern Illinois University’s Classroom Building, 5500 N. Saint Louis (773-442-4660). All events are free; for more information call 312-427-2533 or see www.bustanlshalom.org.
The new fiction anthology The Thing About Hope Is… is third in the series that started with The Thing About Love Is… Published by Polyphony Press, which was founded in 1999 as a venue for midwestern fiction writers, it collects work by 28 established and emerging writers from the flyover states. Several contributors will read at today’s free book release party: E. Donald Two-Rivers, Hillary Isaacs, Lynn Crawford, Bob Georgalas, Patti McNair, Jo-Ann Ledger, Ed Underhill, and Mike Burke. The jazz band Horizon will also perform; editor David McGrath will emcee. The party starts at 3 PM at Cafe Luna, 1742 W. 99th; call 773-239-8990.
20 MONDAY “They carried the common secret of cowardice barely restrained, the instinct to run or freeze or hide, and in many respects this was the heaviest burden of all, for it could never be put down,” wrote Tim O’Brien in his 1990 Vietnam war tale, The Things They Carried. “It required perfect balance and perfect posture.” The book, a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, is now the city’s pick for this year’s One Book, One Chicago program. Tonight at 6 a group of Vietnam-vet writers and scholars of Vietnam war literature will discuss it on a panel moderated by DePaul English professor James Fairhall in room 120 of the DePaul Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield; call 773-325-7840. O’Brien will give a free reading Thursday, October 30, at 6 at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State; call 312-747-1194.
21 TUESDAY When Truman College English professor Robert Hughes learned that his three-year-old son Walker was autistic, he and his wife refused to take the diagnosis lying down. Though a doctor told them there was “no hope” for the boy and predicted he would be best off institutionalized, the couple decided to raise him at home. Their struggle to bring up “a happy, loving, smart little boy who had his whole life ahead of him” is the focus of Hughes’s memoir Running With Walker. He’ll read from and discuss the book tonight at 7:30 at Barbara’s Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells. It’s free; call 312-642-5044.
22 WEDNESDAY In his 2001 book Scared Straight: Why It’s So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It’s So Hard to Be Human, University of Kansas religion professor Robert Minor argues that the American take on gender stifles the humanity and creativity of all its citizens, regardless of sexual orientation. “The system has a conditioned role that is called ‘straight’ or ‘heterosexual acting,'” he writes, “and the system’s goal is to condition every human being to live and value that role.” He’ll give a free talk tonight at 7 called Scaring Our Children Into Masculinity and Femininity. It’s at Francis W. Parker School, 330 W. Webster; call 773-797-5101.
23 THURSDAY When poet Allison Joseph decided to study creative writing at Kenyon College, her father bitterly disapproved–mostly because there were only two other black students in her class. Born in London to Jamaican parents, Joseph grew up in the Bronx and now teaches writing at Southern Illinois University. Her work is often autobiographical, touching on issues of family, childhood, race, and her estrangement from her dad. “My father would thunder about / my clumsiness as I’d sweep up shattered glass / or china,” she wrote in “Clumsy.” “Clumsy and stupid–he’d say, / contempt in his voice, dismissal on his face. / No wonder I’m no less awkward than at / 17, his voice embedded so deep I can’t / pull it loose. I’m clumsy, but not backward.” Joseph will give a free reading from her new book, Imitation of Life, tonight at 5:30 at the Columbia College Concert Hall, 1014 S. Michigan. It’s part of the school’s Fall Poetry Series, which runs through December; call 312-344-8100.