Friday 10/31 – Thursday 11/6
By Cara Jepsen
31 FRIDAY Remember that old Ministry song “Every Day Is Halloween”? It still is for many of the acts performing at this weekend’s three-day Expo of the Extreme. But that tepid 80s sound has given way to a 90s hybrid of punk, industrial, goth, and metal. The group Hell on Earth (which performs tonight at 10:25) has added fire, explosions, bloodletting, and beatings to its act, and the songs have such titles as “Toilet Licking Maggot” and “Where’s My Vodka?” Tonight’s bill includes Yeah Right, Batizar, Sceptre, Psywarfare, Bile, All the Pretty Horses, and emcees Seka and Samantha Strong. Organizers also promise underground films, piercing and tattoo booths, various smut peddlers, “extreme bondage,” and other surprises. The doors open tonight at 6, and the whole shebang ends at 2 (doors open at 11 AM Saturday and Sunday; music starts at noon). Tomorrow’s schedule features the Impotent Sea Snakes and the Great Kat, “guitar goddess.” Seminal skinhead band Fang and G.G. Allin’s old group the Murder Junkies play on Sunday. It’s at the Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee; tickets are $25 per day, $66.60 for a three-day pass. You must be 18 to get in. Call 312-409-1888.
It’s not exactly The Devil’s Advocate, but the plot of the new indie flick Night of the Lawyers also tells a story of lawyers and their struggles with evil. Shot here in 23 days, it stars Tom Towles (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) in a dual role as a “good” alien and as the most corrupt partner at Moriarty & Company, an ambulance-chasing law firm that plans to take over the world. Director Phillip Koch, producer Sally Marschall, and other members of the cast and crew will be at tonight’s premiere, and costume designer Kaye Nottbusch will judge an informal Halloween costume contest at the end of each screening. It plays at 6 and 8 at the Film Center at the School of the Art Institute, Columbus and Jackson. Tickets are $6; call 312-443-3733 for more.
1 SATURDAY Who exactly are the Radical Faeries? Since the 1970s they’ve shared a desire to find an alternative to urban gay culture, but the leaderless group is “antiauthoritarian” at its root, according to member Helen Keller of Troy (“the face that launched a thousand quips”). A press release from the Chicago chapter admits that “it’s difficult to sum up the Radical Faeries in a sentence or two,” yet finds its members have a common concern with “issues of spirituality, sexuality, gender, nature, and the celebration of individual expression.” Tonight they’ll throw a carnival fund-raiser for the Randolph Street Gallery. The Halloween Howl will feature “psychic poetry,” fortune-telling, and performances by Pickles Oksietowicz, Mark Bello, Fausto Fernos, Marsian and Snatchleen, Kelly Costello, and others. It’s from 8 PM to 2 AM (at 11 there will be a ritual dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali) at Randolph Street Gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee. Admission is $4.99 for costumed revelers, “$6.66 for mere mortals.” Call 312-666-7737.
2 SUNDAY According to the organizers of today’s conference A La Francaise: Feminism and the Role of Women, modern ideas about feminism date back to the French Revolution. These ideas quickly spread to other democracies, and most ended up granting women the right to vote a good 25 years before France followed suit in 1944. What took so long? And what’s the situation in France today? Is it true, as some partisans claim, that gender relations are so harmonious there that a political movement isn’t needed? Those same people characterize the American women’s movement (assuming one still exists) as militant and “unnatural.” Today four scholars–two from France, two from the U.S.–will spend the day speaking (in English) about the ways the two cultures view and treat women. The conference will culminate in a roundtable with other scholars at 3:30. It’s from 9 to 5 at the Alliance Francaise, 810 N. Dearborn. It’s $20, $10 for students (includes lunch). Call 312-337-1070.
3 MONDAY The resurrection in 1990 of Chile’s Vi–a del Mar International Film Festival–which had its heyday in the 1960s–sparked a new wave of filmmaking. For the last six years the Chilean government has been sponsoring worldwide tours of contemporary Chilean cinema; the most recent survey hits Facets this week. Tonight’s bill includes a 7 o’clock screening of Toffee or Mint, a look at the lives of young street people in Santiago, and a 9 o’clock showing of Archipelago, which follows the only survivor of a police raid on an underground student meeting. Facets Multimedia is at 1517 W. Fullerton. Tickets are $7. This festival of Chilean films, which started Saturday, will end on Thursday; for more information, see the sidebar in Section Two or call 773-281-4114.
4 TUESDAY After spending 25 years studying the most violent criminals, psychiatrist and author James Gilligan has concluded that the prevailing theory of “rational self-interest”–which says violent people act out of common sense and don’t want to go to prison or die–is wrong. In fact, his new book, Violence: Our Deadly Epidemic and Its Causes, claims our society’s idea of punishment and retribution actually contributes to violent crime: once incarcerated, criminals are dehumanized and often assaulted, which makes them much more likely to abuse others. “The people I’ve seen who are the most incurably violent are those whose self-esteem has been so totally destroyed as to undergo the death of themselves,” Gilligan says. Today he’ll discuss How Punishment Stimulates Violence and Why We Keep Using It at 1 PM in the Georgetown Room of Loyola University’s Marquette Center, Pearson and Rush; admission is free. Call 312-915-7760.
5 WEDNESDAY The U.S. music scene was thriving in the 1920s. Not only was jazz coming into its own, but American composers who’d studied abroad were embracing more avant-garde notions of what music could be. Tonight Northwestern University music professor Thomas Bauman will be joined by conductor Christopher Wilkins to discuss the lasting impact of such pioneers as Varese and Nadia Boulanger in a seminar called The Melting Pot, the second installment in the CSO’s three-year “Roots and Branches” study of 20th century music. It’s from 7 to 9 at Buntrock Hall at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. It’s $15, $8 for students and teachers; call 312-294-3000.
6 THURSDAY Will Tom Frank ever get tired of talking about the rise of hip consumerism? Not while he has a new book aimed at hip consumers. The Conquest of Cool (University of Chicago Press) looks at how big business bought out the counterculture, and Reader contributor Frank is bemoaning that tragedy around town for the next couple days. Tonight at 6:30 he’ll be joined by labor lawyer Thomas Geoghegan for a discussion on “Labor and the Culture Trust”; it’s at the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph (773-702-7700). Next Friday night, November 7, Frank will team up with fellow Baffler editor Dave Mulcahey to address “The Businessman’s Republic”; that’s at 7 at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th (call 773-684-1300). Admission to either event isâ appropriatelyâ free.