Friday 1/16 – Thursday 1/22


By Cara Jepsen

16 FRIDAY Last week as I was bemoaning my lack of resources, my father took it as his cue to suggest–again–that I get a real job. Author Jan Phillips says that rather than surrounding themselves with naysayers, writers and off-the-beaten-path types should hang around people who stimulate their creativity. In her book Marry Your Muse she also suggests keeping a journal, listening to music, and reading the stories of established artists to get past the inevitable self-doubt that comes with an “alternative” career. It’s also a good idea to adopt her touchy-feely “artist’s creed”: “I am worth the time it takes to create whatever I feel called to create”–even if that happens to be an autobiographical novel about nagging parents. She’ll discuss her work tonight at 7 at Transitions Bookplace, 1000 W. North. It’s free. Call 312-951-7323.

17 SATURDAY When a group of students from Arlington Heights were asked to design a city of the future, they created one in which electric cars, public transportation, and walkable distances between residential and commercial areas reduced traffic. Some other students who live near O’Hare created a city with sound funnels every ten blocks that double as skate parks. These two groups will compete today at the regional finals of the National Engineers Week Future City Competition, where 3-D models of their urban utopias will be on display. Judging begins at 8:30, the awards presentation will take place around 2:30, and the models will be on display until 3. It’s on the third floor of UIC’s Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted. It’s free. Call 312-930-9119, ext. 251, for more.

For those irregular breadwinners mentioned earlier, today’s tax and record-keeping workshop for artists will teach basic accounting and ways to reduce the extra-strength penalties often assessed by the Man. The Chicago Artists’ Coalition-sponsored event will be led by Mary Fahey, a CPA specializing in tax services for the self-employed. It’s today from 1 to 5 at the Loyola Arts Research Center in the auditorium of the Edward Crown Center for the Humanities, 6525 N. Sheridan. It’s $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Call 312-670-2060.

18 SUNDAY The Chicago Co-alition for the Homeless estimates that by the end of next year there will be over 80,000 homeless people in the city. That’s up from 60,000 a couple of years ago; the number is expected to increase due to welfare reform and a continued lack of affordable housing. Tonight the Chicago Greens will host a forum on homelessness in Chicago with a panel that includes John Hobbs of the Interfaith Council for the Homeless; Brendan Shiller and Charlie Frago of Streetwise; Tiffany Sledge from Deborah’s Place; Raymond Parrish, an American Legion veterans’ affairs rehabilitation officer; and Green Party activist (and 17th District state senate candidate) Marc Loveless. The free panel will start at 5 and run until 7:30 at Ann Sather, 929 W. Belmont. Call 312-243-5619 for more.

19 MONDAY Leave it to Eric Bogosian to turn a birthday party into a dark commentary on conspicuous consumption and the unexamined life. That’s what happens in his new play Griller when complacent baby boomer Gussie invites four generations of his family to celebrate his 50th and crazy Uncle Tony foils his pleasant expectations. Comedian Robert Klein plays Gussie and Karen Valentine is cast as his wife, Michelle. It opens tonight and runs through February 21 at the Goodman Theatre, 200 S. Columbus. Tickets are $28 to $40; call 312-443-3800.

20 TUESDAY The click-click of castanets and the stomp-stomp of feet, the swoosh of the fan, and the haughty posturing and steamy sexuality of flamenco dancing take years of practice to perfect. But the Ensemble Espa–ol Spanish Dance Theater’s level one flamenco dance workshop is designed to teach the basic rhythms and movements of Sevillanas, one of the two national dances of Spain, in just ten weeks. In the second level, students will learn at least three dances. Level one meets every Tuesday starting tonight through March 24 from 7 to 8:15, and level two follows from 8:30 to 9:45. It’s $10 per class. Call 773-583-4050, ext. 3015.

21 WEDNESDAY “The first time Judy and I saw the naked man, it was by accident,” says the narrator in Helen Stefaniak’s short story “Voyeurs.” “We were thirteen, and we were crossing the Walnut Street bridge over the railroad tracks, talking about whether we would ever get an abortion or would we have the baby no matter what. It was 1964. I said I would have the baby no matter what.” Stefaniak is one of the writers whose prose has appeared in the Chicago-based literary journal Other Voices over the past 13 years. Tonight she’ll read her prize-winning story “English as a Second Language” to celebrate the journal’s 13th anniversary and the launch of a new issue. It’s at 6 at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton. It’s free. Call 312-255-3520.

22 THURSDAY Four years ago Winifred Haun & Dancers created Chicago’s Next Dance Festival as a showcase for emerging dancers and new work. The palette of performances on this year’s opening-night program encompasses everything from modern to jazz to lyrical dance. Tonight the Breakbone Dance Company, Dance COLEctive, Christy Munch, and Eduardo Vilaro will present segments from pieces that will be performed in their entirety later in the festival, which runs weekends through February 7. This opening night fund-raiser begins with a wine-and-cheese reception at 6, and is followed by performances at 7:30 in the theater of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State. Admission is $15; $35 or more gets you into the preshow reception, as well as a silent auction and postshow coffee. Call 773-278-6453 for more.