Friday 11/21 – Thursday 11/27


By Cara Jepsen

21 FRIDAY Legendary Mexican actress Maria Felix has no real U.S. counterpart, but certain aspects of her performance in the 1943 film Do–a Barbara recall Joan Crawford in Johnny Guitar. Do–a Barbara is a tyrannical rancher with a vehement dislike for male authority. Marisela, her daughter by a rape, lives a feral existence at a nearby ranch with her alcoholic father. Everything changes when the father’s cousin comes to town and both Marisela and Do–a Barbara fall for him. Then Do–a Barbara’s mistreated workers revolt and all hell breaks loose. The film is the first offering of the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum’s Maria Felix Film Tribute, which continues tomorrow with La Cucaracha and Rio Escondido and Sunday with Tizoc. Do–a Barbara, in Spanish with English subtitles, will be shown tonight at 7 at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, 1852 W. 19th. Admission is $8, $6 for students and seniors. Call 312-738-1503.

22 SATURDAY If you’ve seen any of the Fox network’s When Animals Attack programs, you know it’s no roll in the hay to be a circus animal. Long hours, cramped and dirty quarters, and liberal beatings have caused more than a few performing animals to turn on their handlers. Animal-rights advocate Kelly Tansy, who saw it all firsthand working as a clown for several circuses, finally quit the industry in disgust. Today she’ll lead an Illinois Animal Action protest of the Ringling Brothers circus. It’s from 1:30 to 3:30 at the United Center, at the northeast corner of Damen and Madison. It’s free; participants are encouraged to bring signs. Call 630-393-2935 for more.

Most of what has been written about Stuttgart-born composer Helmut Lachenmann is in German. For me, the rest might as well be. According to a bio from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Lachenmann “distilled many of classical music’s post-war avant-garde developments into an intense scrutiny of sound and technique. The result has been an approach to composition characterized by a lyricism residing in a severe, nearly inaudible realm that once perceived contains a striking range of resonances.” In other words, it’s heady stuff. The 61-year-old composer is in town finishing up a two-week series of lectures, workshops, and concerts. As part of his artist-in-residence duties at the MCA he’ll lead a roundtable of about 25 composers this morning at 10. He’ll also direct an open rehearsal of two of his important early works, 1968’s temA–a trio for flute, cello, and vocals–and a solo clarinet work from 1970, Dal Niente, as well as his major chamber orchestra work from the last ten years, Zwei GefŸhle, at 2. Admission to each of those events is $10. The formal evening performance, which will be followed by a conversation with Lachenmann, begins at 8; it’s $15, $13 for students and seniors. All three events are at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. Call 312-280-2660 for more.

23 SUNDAY The items for sale at the Newberry Library’s annual Very Merry Bazaar range from a $250 Zulu basket made of banana tree bark and palm branches from the DuSable Museum of African American History to an $18 magnetic create-your-own-Shakespearean-insults kit from the Shakespeare Repertory theater company. The Newberry has assembled hundreds of other gifts from 40 organizations as diverse as the Chicago Music Alliance, the Girl Scouts, Tree House Animal Foundation, and the Terra Museum of American Art. Proceeds benefit the individual organizations; the $5 admission fee goes to the library. The event–which takes place from noon to 8 on Friday and 10 to 5 on Saturday and today–is at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton. One admission is good for the whole weekend. Call 312-255-3510 for more.

24 MONDAY Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving–it’s getting to the point where people will string up lights and tape cardboard to their windows every time they see some small print on the calendar. The blame for it all begins, of course, with the decorating competition we call Christmas. Tonight local graphic designer Mary Edsey will tell you where you can find the area’s most ostentatious displays when she discusses her book The Best Christmas Decorations in Chicagoland. It’s at 7 at Borders Books & Music, 830 N. Michigan. It’s free; call 312-573-0564.

25 TUESDAY Injured animals that have been cared for by humans often become so domesticated they can’t survive in the wild. That’s why every bird and mammal rehabilitated by Bill Lang’s volunteer-staffed north suburban Wildlife Rescue must prove itself before being allowed to return to wild society. “Some of them we handle so often we have to put them into a dehumanizing or rehab program to teach them to function…to teach squirrels to climb trees and hawks to hunt,” says Lang, whose organization looks after some 600 injured animals a year. His group’s most exotic challenge this season is an endangered sandhill crane with only one functioning wing. The other was sliced off by some knife-wielding miscreant. Tonight Lang will share tales of a wildlife rehabber at a free meeting of the Evanston North Shore Bird Club. It’s at 7:30 at the Evanston Environmental Association Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick in Evanston. Call 773-864-5181.

26 WEDNESDAY In the 1995 Taiwanese movie In a Strange City, a naive high school teacher becomes involved with a married man following the death of her brother. The man, an aspiring politician, is told by his campaign manager to end the affair. What follows is the plot of director Chi Yen’s debut film. It will be shown tonight at 7 and 9 at Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton. Admission is $7. Call 773-281-4114.

27 THURSDAY I don’t know about you, but I like to be able to identify with at least one character in a book, film, or play. When I went to see the highly touted musical Rent the other night, I found not one of the major caricatures even remotely likable. By the end of the first act I was hoping the cast of slacking whiners would go out and find jobs. You can ditch the family and make up your own mind at tonight’s 7:30 performance. It’s at the Shubert Theatre, 22 W. Monroe. Tickets are $20 to $70. Call 312-902-1500.