Friday 1/23 – Thursday 1/29


By Cara Jepsen

23 FRIDAY For her novel The Illusionist, Dinitia Smith took her cues from the real-life story of androgynous drifter Teena Brandon, whose 1993 murder was the subject of a New Yorker feature. Smith’s protagonist is Dean Lily, who charms three young women into falling in love with “him,” lies about his lack of male equipment (saying it’s hidden “inside”), robs them, and leaves them–yet still has them coming back for more. The three women take turns narrating the story of the mysterious seducer who brings romance into their small-town lives. Smith, who’s also a reporter for the New York Times, will read and discuss her work tonight at 7:30 at Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark. It’s free. Call 773-769-9299 for more.

In 1991 filmmaker Julie Murray read a newspaper article about a woman who fell to her death from an elevated highway. She says the experience of reading that article, laid out in narrow columns, was like “following this woman’s descent meter by pentameter.” In her short film, Mantilla, Murray retold this story using “broken and caged text” to duplicate her original experience. Murray’s work combines photographs, found footage, and a delicate use of sound to create what she calls “emotional landscapes.” She’ll be present at tonight’s program, Shattered Realities: Films by Julie Murray, which will include screenings of Mantilla and other works. It’s at 8 at the Kino-Eye Cinema at Xoinx Tea Room, 2933 N. Lincoln. Tickets are $6. Call 773-384-5533.

24 SATURDAY Imagine a show with a “tribute” to Michael Flatley called “Lord of the Pants,” in which a performer in a blond wig, leather pants, headband, and pirate shirt step dances while jumping rope. In another stunt, reminiscent of an acid flashback, a performer blows up a balloon until it’s as big as he is. He then steps inside, pops his head out, and begins jumping rope. Those are just two of the tricks in Rope: A New Twist, a 90-minute production loosely based on The Wizard of Oz. Today’s the grand finale of the show’s three-week run; performances are at 1 and 5 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. Tickets are $15, $10 for children. Call 888-567-7673 for more.

25 SUNDAY It makes a weird kind of sense that the 68th Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show overlaps the Super Bowl–both have less to do with sports than with a comfy chair to watch them in. Besides ogling more than 900 boats and 300 recreational vehicles, La-Z-Boy athletes can listen to seminars on such fascinating topics as “RV Winterization” and “Fiberglass Maintenance.” More active types are invited to test their mettle on a 25-by-12-foot climbing wall. And of course there’s the ever-popular Huck Finn Trout Pond, where kids can catch their own rainbow trout–which would make a healthy meal, compared to all the pretzels and beer bound to be consumed later. Today is the last day of the show, which started on Wednesday. It runs from 10 to 6 in the east building at McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive. It’s $8 for adults; chaperoned children 12 and under are free. Call 312-946-6262 for more.

26 MONDAY Would community ownership of land make the world a more egalitarian place? So say proponents of liberation theology and land reform, concepts that are too complex to be explained here. Fortunately the Henry George School is devoting an entire course to the relationship between the two topics. The class begins tonight at 6 (and meets every Monday through March 30) at the Henry George School, 417 S. Dearborn, suite 510. On the last day, students will determine the value of the course and pay what they think it was worth. Call 312-362-9302 for more.

27 TUESDAY Legend has it that long, long ago, Buddha invited his animal friends to celebrate the New Year with him, but only a dozen species showed up: dragon, snake, horse, rat, rabbit, tiger, sheep, monkey, rooster, pig, ox, and dog. Buddha rewarded them by assigning each a year in a cycle that repeats every 12 years; people are said to possess the traits of the animal in whose year they are born. Tomorrow is the first day of the Chinese New Year, when the stubborn ox gives way to the strong, dependable tiger. Find out what it means for you at a discussion of the Chinese zodiac at Governors State University’s Chinese Cultural Festival. There will also be lectures on Chinese medicine, language, and culture, as well as traditional music and dances, food, and a tai chi performance. It starts at 10 in Engbretson Hall (and goes until 2) at Governors State University, Stuenkel Road and Governors Highway in University Park. It’s free. Call 708-534-4550.

28 WEDNESDAY For some lawyers, their job means more than just showing up in court on time. South African constitutional court justice Albert Louis Sachs began focusing on civil rights straight out of law school in 1957 and was detained without trial twice for his efforts. He went into exile in England in 1966; after his return to South Africa he became one of the architects of that country’s constitution, which he now interprets as a judge. Along the way he lost an arm to a car-bomb attack, which he says “made me much more eager to preserve life and to try to solve problems by accommodation and consensus.” Today he’ll discuss legal ethics, public service, professional civility, pro bono representation, and standards of conduct in a free lecture entitled From Racist State to Constitutional Democracy: The South African Experience. It’s at 4 at the Northwestern University School of Law, 357 E. Chicago. Call 847-491-5001.

29 THURSDAY You’ve ex-plained where you see yourself in five years and have cleared up that three-year gap on your resume. You’ve established that you attended the same liberal arts college and hated the same sororities as your interrogator. In other words, the interview is going fine, and you’re a shoo-in for the job. But do you want it? Today’s seminar, Interviewing the Interviewer: Making Sure a Job Change Is a Move in the Right Direction, will tell you what questions to ask during that crucial first meeting and how to interpret the answers. It’s from 5:45 to 7:15 at Women Employed, 22 W. Monroe, suite 1400. It’s $30; call 312-782-3902 to register.