Friday 1/18 – Thursday 1/24
18 FRIDAY “The director of a clinic preapproved this work,” says Chicago painter Mary King of her watercolor and acrylic works on paper, “but later substance abuse counselors wanted it removed, stating, ‘It’s about child abuse!’ and ‘Penises are everywhere!’…Some of the items they called penises were arborvitae bushes.” Woman Made Gallery’s Censorship!–featuring the work of 32 female artists, all of whom have been, in one way or another, censored–opens tonight with a free reception from 6 to 9 and runs through February 21. The gallery is at 1900 S. Prairie. It’s open from noon to 7 Wednesday through Friday and noon to 4 on Saturday and Sunday. Call 312-328-0038 for more information.
“Think of the Addams family on a psychedelic-mushroom-induced killing spree,” says Psychotronic Film Society cofounder Michael Flores of Jack Hill’s 1964 black-and-white horror movie Spider Baby. The film stars Lon Chaney Jr.–who also sings the theme song–as the caretaker of the inbred, cannibalistic Merrie family and Jill Banner as the spider of the title. To kick off its 19th year, the society will screen the DVD of this rarely seen film, along with a series of monster-movie trailers from the 60s, tonight at 7 at Bobbo and Doc’s, 1952 N. Damen (773-250-3004). It’s free; you must be 21 or over to attend.
19 SATURDAY After fleeing the Russian civil war as a teenager, feminist philosopher and activist Raya Dunayevskaya came to Chicago and began working with the various progressive movements of the 1920s. She also served for two years as Trotsky’s secretary in Mexico, wrote the first English translation of Marx’s 1844 manuscripts, and developed a critique of the totalitarian tendencies of Marxist philosophy known as Marxist humanism. The author of numerous works of philosophy, feminist theory, and social criticism, she died in Chicago in 1987. To celebrate the recent publication of Dunayevskaya’s collected writings, The Power of Negativity: Selected Writings on the Dialectic in Hegel and Marx, the book’s editors, Peter Hudis and Kevin Anderson, along with author Terry Moon and feminist scholar Madhuri Deshmukh, will discuss her work and legacy today at 2 in the seventh floor author’s room of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State. It’s free; call 312-236-0799 for more information.
While taking a course in Arabic at Israel’s Birzeit University in 1993, Chicago filmmaker Brigid Maher befriended several Palestinian women, one of whom was a member of a Hamas student organization. Getting to know this woman, Maher says, made her realize how misrepresented Muslim women are by the media. In her film Adrift in the Heartland, which was covered in the Reader last November and receives its Chicago premiere tonight, Maher addresses cultural misunderstanding through the friendship that forms between an African-American social worker and an immigrant Palestinian housewife after one gets in a car accident outside the other’s house. It’s at 8 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State (312-846-2800); tickets are $8. Maher and the film’s two stars, Janie Khaury and Ida Smith, will attend the screening.
20 SUNDAY Baby chicks, cloned mice and frogs, chromosome diagrams–they’re all on display at the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Genetics: Decoding Life,” the country’s first permanent genetics exhibit, which opened January 11. In today’s presentation, Impacts Today and Tomorrow–the first installment in a three-part symposium–speakers Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute; Mary-Claire King, professor of genetics at the University of Washington; and Jeff Leiden of Abbott Laboratories will discuss the ramifications of cloning and other controversial new genetics technologies. It’s at 1 at the museum, 57th and Lake Shore Drive (parts two and three are February 26 and March 10). Tickets are $20, $15 for students, and include museum admission; call 773-684-1414.
When British artist Patrick Welch first came to America he went to a gun show and was both terrified and exhilarated. “It was like all that was wrong with America in microcosm,” he says. “Scared suburbanites buying handguns for home defense stood side by side with disaffected urban youth trying out the latest laser-sighted machine pistols.” At the heart, Welch says, of the Andersonville Gun Show–an exhibit Welch cocurated featuring paintings, drawings, video, and sculpture by Welch and six other artists–is a combination of fascination with and repulsion by the gun. The show went up December 14; it closes today with a party from 2 to 4 at Las Manos Gallery, 5220 N. Clark (773-728-8910). Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 and by appointment.
21 MONDAY Film footage of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches, artifacts from the civil rights movement, gospel music performed by the DePaul Community Chorus, and a discussion of the legacy of the civil rights movement by UIC African-American studies professor Barbara Ransby are all part of the Chicago Historical Society’s free commemoration of the civil rights leader’s birthday, Civil Rights: King’s Legacy. It’s today from 10 to 3:30 at the CHS, 1601 N. Clark (312-642-4600).
22 TUESDAY Fashioning a city of big readers out of the City of Big Shoulders may be on the Daley agenda, but Greg Holden, author of Literary Chicago: A Book Lover’s Tour of the Windy City, sees Chicago’s literary legacy all around us, in its neighborhoods, cityscapes, bars, and cafes. Tonight at 7:30 he’ll trace the local steps of literary figures such as Richard Wright, Harriet Monroe, Ben Hecht, and Ernest Hemingway at the Maze branch of the Oak Park Public Library, 845 S. Gunderson in Oak Park (708-386-4751); it’s free.
23 WEDNESDAY Scripted by blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, Stanley Kubrick’s legendary 1960 film Spartacus broke the rules then governing the Hollywood epic. Among its many scenes of indulgence perhaps the most notorious is the initially censored but now restored “snails and oysters” scene, in which Laurence Olivier’s decadent Roman officer aristocrat tries to seduce slave Tony Curtis. Spartacus is tonight’s installment of Doc Films’ Kubrick series, which runs Wednesdays through March 6. It starts at 7 in the Max Palevsky Cinema at the University of Chicago’s Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th (773-702-8575). Tickets are $4.
24 THURSDAY A woman’s right to choice–in her professional as well as her reproductive life–has been a cornerstone of feminism from the get-go. But, says Ann Crittenden, author of The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World Is Still the Least Valued, choices aren’t made in a vacuum. “To most women choice is all about bad options and difficult decisions: your child or your profession; taking on the domestic chores or marital strife; a good night’s sleep or time with your child; food on the table or your baby’s safety; your right arm or your left.” In her 2001 book the former New York Times economics reporter examines the multitude of political, financial, and legal ways in which mothers in the U.S. are not just undervalued but penalized for their choices. To mark the book’s recent paperback release, Crittenden will read and sign copies tonight at 7:30 at Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark. It’s free; call 773-769-9299.