Friday 4/10 – Thursday 4/16
by Mike Sula
10 FRIDAY Ray Bradbury has been reworking his classic sci-fi novel Fahrenheit 451 in one form or another since its publication in 1953. In the 80s he created a stage adaptation of the work, which is about a dystopian future in which all books are systematically hunted down and torched by squads of “firemen.” Lately he’s been plugging away with lyricist Georgia Holof and composer David Mettee on a musical version that includes such numbers as “Dial Survive-A-While,” “Firemen Day,” and the opening number, “Burning,” which is reported to be “an aural description of fire and its many changing faces.” The latest incarnation of
the musical plays tonight at 7:30 at the Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 W. Belmont, and runs through May 17. Tickets are $18. Call 773-883-1090 for reservations.
11 SATURDAY Published writers are often more than willing to endure those wide-eyed, “What kind of chair do you sit on when you’re working?”-type queries if it’ll unload a few more units at the local Bookopolis. And many enterprising types have tapped the huge market of aspiring scribblers eager to pay for workshops and retreats hosted by name-brand authors in the hope that success is contagious. Still, there actually is a right way to submit that blood-, sweat-, and tear-stained manuscript to a literary journal, and Joseph Parisi knows what it is. The editor of the 85-year-old magazine Poetry sees tens of thousands of submissions every year and has plenty of helpful tips for would-be belletrists, like (1) don’t lie in your cover letter and (2) watch out for scam poetry contests. He’ll share some more this morning in a talk called “An Editor’s View of Publishing Poetry and Getting Published” at 10 in the School of the Art Institute ballroom, 112 S. Michigan. It’s 35 bucks. Call 312-899-1229.
Of course, there are those who would argue that scoring a vertically integrated publishing deal is just a matter of plugging in to the right formula: covered bridges + lonely housewife + romantic stranger = Oprah + movie deal + $. Evanston suspense novelist and filmmaker Jay Bonansinga seems to have it all figured out and plans to deconstruct the novel-to-screenplay-to-feature film process today at Barnes & Noble, 1441 W. Webster. The author of The Black Mariah, Sick, and the recent Head Case will project pages from his books and other familiar horror novels onto a screen, compare them to the corresponding pages of the screenplays, then show video clips of the film versions. It starts at 3 and it’s free. Call 773-871-3610.
12 SUNDAY For many, the sound of an interminable, ear-warping raga is nothing more than a vague signifier of decadent hippiedom. This is the unfortunate backlash the legendary sitarist Ravi Shankar has suffered since his popular introduction to the West by George Harrison in 1966. Ironically Shankar only wanted the world to recognize and appreciate the rich tradition of Indian classical music. “It’s not a pop music that you can, you know, have Coke and beer and make it out with your girlfriend at the same time,” he once said. The 78-year-old has been recognized for his contributions with everything from Grammys and doctoral degrees to having a California junior high school’s computer room named after him. Perhaps his greatest triumph will be the legacy he leaves in his 16-year-old daughter, Anoushka, who has received consistent acclaim for showing up her old man on the ol’ 18-string. Father and daughter play together tonight at 7:30 at Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. Tickets run from $15 to $60. Call 312-294-3000.
13 MONDAY Despite the best efforts of his keepers, Bugs Bunny will never wear out his welcome. No matter how many pairs of boxer shorts they slap his smirking image on, there will always exist the classic canon of cartoons from which generations of Americans gleaned decent, proper values–such as the moral superiority of the smart-ass and the subversive. Warner Brothers’ latest marketing move, the Bugs Bunny Film Festival, goes back to the basics, screening two programs of 15 original cartoons created between 1940 and 1962. In addition to familiar standbys such as “Rabbit of Seville” and “Duck Dodgers in the 241/2 Cen-tury,” each program features cartoons that haven’t been seen in their entirety since their initial theater releases (TV versions edited out about 20 percent from the originals). “Fest of the Best” screens today at 4:30 and 9:30 at the Music Box, 3733 N. Southport. The second program, “Taz Gone Looney,” starts at 7. Tickets are $7.75. Call 773-871-6604.
14 TUESDAY Dorothy Allison’s 1992 novel Bastard Out of Carolina is one of those books that scares the bejesus out of some people to the point that they try to ban it, thus ensuring its longevity: high school students in several states will smuggle dog-eared copies of the brilliant white-trash family saga of childhood sexual abuse into the lunchroom for years to come. Allison’s new novel, Cavedweller, visits similar territory, as its heroine, a recovering alcoholic and ex-rocker, returns to her backwater Georgia hometown to reclaim the daughters she abandoned. Allison reads from Cavedweller tonight at 7 in the Harold Washington Library Center auditorium, 400 S. State (use the Plymouth Court entrance). It’s free. Call 312-747-4050.
15 WEDNESDAY By today most taxpayers won’t want to deal with anything heavier than a stiff Pepto-Daniels on the rocks. But for those pig-bitin’ mad enough to spend the next ten weeks studying an alternative to the present tax system, the Henry George School of Social Science offers its spring course “Fundamental Economics,” outlining the 19th-century economist’s persistent but largely unimplemented ideas about abolishing all taxes except those on land rent, which Georgists say will amount to enough cash to wipe out poverty. Two sections of the course begin today at noon and 6 PM at 417 S. Dearborn, room 510. Students pay whatever they feel is appropriate at the end of the course. Call 312-362-9302 to register.
Sculptor Jim Rittimann’s friends frequently bring him gifts of roadkill, which he feeds to his dermestid beetles. After a few hours he’s got a shiny white set of bones to add to his morgue of rodent, bird, and insect parts. He reassembles the bits into freakishly beautiful creatures with complex, realistic anatomies, then poses them in goofy positions. The mutants on display two summers ago at the Cultural Center were both terrifying and comical–the sort of fauna you might see snacking on a Smurf. Rittimann, who says things like, “The art is not trying to be anything except whatever the fuck the figure is,” discusses his work tonight at 6 PM in the School of the Art Institute auditorium, 280 S. Columbus Dr., as part of SAIC’s visiting artists program. It’s $5, $3 for students. Call 312-443-3711.
16 THURSDAY After his summer vacation at a Salvation Army halfway house, former Congressional pork chop Dan Rostenkowski would have looked great flogging a dinner bell in a Santa suit. But somehow he’s managed to put the indignities behind him and salvage enough clout to get booked as the City Club of Chicago’s speaker at today’s luncheon forum. In what’s billed as “his first formal public policy presentation since leaving office,” Rosty will discuss “the current relationship between Washington, D.C., and big city America,” but presumably not the current relationships between daddies and their punks at the Oxford Federal Correctional Institute. It starts at 11:30 at Maggiano’s Banquets, 111 W. Grand; $45 pays for your mostaccioli and the distinguished gentleman’s C-SPAN-broadcasted comeback on the yak track. Call 312-565-6500 for reservations.