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Friday 2/27 – Thursday 3/5
By Cara Jepsen
27 FRIDAY Self-styled prophets of rage Public Enemy first garnered mainstream attention with their second album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. A decade later the seminal group’s original lineup has reformed–even deposed Minister of Information Professor Griff has signed on after eight years of exile for making anti-Semitic comments–and the group is poised to release a new album. Tonight Griff and lead rapper Chuck D will join hip-hop journalist Scoop Jackson in a discussion of rap, poetry, hip-hop, and music called Fight the Power–Rap, Race, and Reality, which also happens to be the title of Chuck D’s book. The event concludes the Guild Complex’s Musicality of Poetry Festival; a set by Tree Roots & the Traveling Caravan will follow. The discussion starts at 7:30 at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. Advance tickets are $10, $5 for students; otherwise admission is $15, $7 for students. Call 773-278-2210.
As in The Big Chill, the death of a friend causes the four characters in the play The Last Angry Brown Hat to reunite and examine their lives. In this case, though, the four are former members of the Brown Berets, the Chicano activist group. The LA production is in town for one performance; it’s tonight at 8 in the Ryan Auditorium of the Technological Institute at Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan in Evanston. Tickets are $8. Call 847-491-2305 for more.
28 SATURDAY Despite the provocative tag, tonight’s Noir Erotique/Black Erotica poetry program is designed to stimulate the psyche rather than provoke the privates. Over 30 talented tellers, including Chocolate Baby, Kam, and Da’naje, will offer recent rhymes and perhaps even a sensuous sonnet or two. Fathom DJ from Funky Buddha Lounge will administer the music mix. Doors open at 7; the event begins at 8 at Jak’s Tap, 901 W. Jackson. The $7 admission includes an erotic toy and appetizers. Call 312-409-7772.
1 SUNDAY “My artistic philosophy reflects a deeper, humanitarian vision–that we as a universe of people can never overcome racial or ethnic barriers without knowing and respecting our own distinct cultures.” So says Philadelphia-based choreographer and dancer Rennie Harris. “As we learn about our cultural traditions, we can also uncover linkages and commonalities which bind us historically.” The dancers in his troupe, Rennie Harris PureMovement, combine gymnastics, break-dancing, jazz, tap, martial arts, and aerobics with poetry, voice-overs, projections, and music (by P-Funk and Public Enemy, among others) to tackle such topics as racism, child abuse, and hope. The group will wrap up its weekend of performances today at 3 in the theater of the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. Tickets are $15 and include complimentary admission to the galleries. Call 312-397-4010 for tickets and additional showtimes.
2 MONDAY Bertolt Brecht’s six miserable years in the U.S. were marked by professional and financial failure and depression, and culminated in an appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee in October 1947, where he was questioned about his pro-communist leanings. He returned to Europe the day after his testimony. Norman Bunge and Christine Fischer-Defoy’s 1989 film My Name Is Bertolt Brecht: Exile in the U.S.A. examines the years Brecht spent in this country; the documentary is being shown as part of a weeklong film festival at Facets Multimedia commemorating the 100th anniversary of the playwright’s birth. It screens tonight at 7:45 at Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton. Tickets are $7. For a complete schedule of festival offerings, see the sidebar in Section Two or call 773-281-4114.
3 TUESDAY With names like catapult, seducer, yo-yo, hatchback, neck break, arm jive, octopus, pretzel, and half nelson megaspin, the moves of the dance called Ceroc sound like they require a lot of strength, balance, and flexibility. But the basics of Ceroc–kind of like swing without as much fancy footwork–can be picked up in a couple of lessons and mastered in just a few months. The dance, which started in 1980 in London, is reportedly huge in Europe. Now it’s being test-marketed in Chicago; licensed instructor Cassie Hillinger teaches the basics tonight (and every Tuesday) at 7:30 at Joe’s Sports Bar, 940 W. Weed. It’s $8; call 847-562-9006.
4 WEDNESDAY Last October the city of Chicago officially cleared Mrs. O’Leary and her cow of starting the Chicago Fire, sparked by the research of attorney Richard Bales, who used documents to prove that accuser Daniel “Peg Leg” Sullivan couldn’t have seen into O’Leary’s barn from where he was standing. Tonight Bales and O’Leary’s great-great-granddaughter Nancy Connolly will be present at a mock trial and Irish celebration entitled Exonerate Mrs. O’Leary. The event will also include hors d’oeuvres, stout, a step-dancing demonstration, and a set by the group Arranmore. It’s from 6 to 9 at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton. Tickets are $45, or $18.71 if you can prove your last name is O’Leary. Call 312-255-3510 for reservations.
5 THURSDAY In the early part of this century Mexico City’s Rosete Aranda puppet company counted more than 5,000 different puppets among its stock. The family-operated company used over 50 actors, live music, and elaborately decorated stages to put on a repertoire that included hundreds of plays. Hard times after the 1914 Mexican Revolution forced the family to sell much of its collection. What was left was purchased in 1943 by Carlos V. Espinal, who put the puppets on tour and on television. Over 100 of them will be on display in dioramas at the Chicago Children’s Museum’s exhibit Puppets: A Handful of Magic. The show also includes Turkish wand puppets and Indonesian shadow puppets, puppet-making workshops and performances. It’s open today from 10 to 8 at the Chicago Children’s Museum, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand. Admission is $5, unless you go between 5 and 8, when it’s free. Call 312-527-1000.