Friday 7/14 – Thursday 7/20


By Cara Jepsen

14 FRIDAY Vermont artist Janet McKenzie has received a lot of mail about Jesus of the People, which won a National Catholic Reporter contest asking artists to reinterpret Jesus for the 21st century. Most of McKenzie’s critics have taken her to task for using an African-American woman as the model for her pensive, androgynous Jesus. But as the artist points out, no one really knows what he looked like. Other winners in the Jesus 2000 contest, which was judged by PBS personality Sister Wendy Beckett, include S. Graham Sargent’s depiction of Jesus as water being poured out of a jug into the sea and Marylyn Felion’s Christ as Poor, Black, Death Row Inmate. These and 41 other pieces will be on display at the Catholic Theological Union’s Courtyard Gallery, 5401 S. Cornell, through August 21. The opening reception is tonight at 5; McKenzie will speak at 6:30. It’s free; call 773-753-5319 for more info.

For her $190,000 commission to line the Riverwalk Gateway tunnel under the Outer Drive Bridge, artist Ellen Lanyon first made sketches inspired by Native American artifacts at the Field Museum, photos of the Chicago River at the Chicago Historical Society, and her own pictures of the river. From these sketches she made half-scale paintings depicting the history of the river from 1673 to the present, which became the blueprints for the large ceramic-tile murals that now line the tunnel. An exhibit documenting the two-year creative process opens today and runs through September 10 at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Michigan Avenue Galleries. There will be a free reception with Lanyon tonight from 6 to 8 at the galleries, 78 E. Washington, and she’ll give a talk next Friday at 12:15. Call 312-744-6630.

Marcel Ophuls’s exhaustive 1971 film The Sorrow and the Pity has been called one of the greatest documentaries ever made. Unfortunately, it’s been difficult to see–let alone make time for–the 275-minute examination of France’s collaboration with the Nazis during the Second World War, which includes interviews with everyone from future French prime minister Pierre Mendes-France to Nazi minister of armaments Albert Speer. The Film Center at the School of the Art Institute (312-443-3737) will show a restored 35-millimeter print tonight at 7 and tomorrow and Sunday at 1. It’s at Columbus and Jackson; admission is $9. See the Critic’s Choice in Section Two.

15 SATURDAY Say what you will about the Old Town School of Folk Music’s makeover, they’ve managed to attract an impressive roster for this year’s Chicago Folk and Roots Festival. Today’s lineup includes an acoustic set by the Mekons as well as performances by Richard Thompson and Patti Smith; tomorrow’s acts include the Iguanas, the Joaquin Diaz Merengue Band, and Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited. There’s also a kids’ tent and a dance and workshop tent featuring lessons in West African, hula, salsa, country-western, Cajun, and polka dancing. The festival takes place today and Sunday from noon to 10 at Welles Park, 4400 N. Lincoln. Admission

is $5, $1 for children and seniors. Call 773-728-6000 for more.

Actor/director John Hildreth was listening to the radio one Saturday afternoon when he heard an episode of the long-running radio serial The Shadow. “I had to stop working and listen to the entire thing, it was so great,” he says. He sought out every taped broadcast he could find, transcribed two of his favorites, made some changes (such as expanding the character of detective Lamont Cranston’s best girl, Margot Lane), and created a stage drama with live sound effects and behind-the-mike theatrics; the audience sits inside a replica of a 1940s radio studio. It’ll be performed tonight at 8 and tomorrow at 3, and runs through August 20 at the Athenaeum Theatre’s Stage Three, 2936 N. Southport. Tickets are $12 (312-902-1500).

16 SUNDAY The L.A.T.E. in the Friends of the Parks’ annual L.A.T.E. ride is an acronym for Long After Twilight Ends. The 25-mile noncompetitive ride drew 10,000 participants last year, who paid big bucks for the privilege of riding down city streets after dark. The ride starts at 1:30 this morning at Buckingham Fountain, Balbo and Lake Shore Drive. The $40 fee includes a T-shirt and postride breakfast. Call 773-918-7433 for more.

17 MONDAY This American Life host Ira Glass and producer Julie Snyder keep the bandwagon rolling tonight when they share their thoughts on the spills, chills, and thrills of radio production. They’ll discuss and sign copies of Jessica Abel’s Radio: An Illustrated Guide, a 32-page black-and-white documentary comic that peeks behind the scenes at the making of TAL, at 7 at Borders Books & Music, 830 N. Michigan (312-573-0564).

18 TUESDAY “Because of people like Benjamin Smith and the agitation and violence against blacks, gays, Jews, Asians, and immigrants, the question comes up as to whether racist organizations and speech should be suppressed. But there’s this little item called the Bill of Rights,” says Emile Schepers of the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights. Tonight’s panel on Fighting Racist Violence, Defending the Bill of Rights explores how to do both with Hatem Abu Dayyeh from the Arab American Action Network, Jonathan Peck from the Community Justice Initiative, poet Julie Parson-Nesbitt from the Guild Complex, and writer-activist Stan West. The evening starts at 5:30 with a light buffet; the panel starts at 6:30 at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo. Admission is $6 or pay what you can. Call 312-362-9707.

19 WEDNESDAY With their bobbed hair, high heels, and insouciant slouches, the flapper girls of the 1920s–and their leggy chorus girl sisters–were more than just a bunch of fashionable, sharp-tongued floozies, says Triton College theater director and speech instructor Angela Latham. “The people who fought for a woman’s right to dress in clothing that finally allowed her enough freedom to participate in life fully, including sport, also were very much a part of moving American fashion away from the Victorian ideal of femininity.” Latham will read from her new book Posing a Threat: Flappers, Chorus Girls, and Other Brazen Performers of the American 1920s tonight at 7:30 at Barbara’s Bookstore, 1100 Lake in Oak Park. It’s free; call 708-848-9140.

20 THURSDAY If water levels are normal, tonight’s Friends of the Chicago River cruise will head down the South Branch toward the newly remodeled Chinatown Park and Bubbly Creek, where meatpacking plants once dumped waste into the river. If the water’s high and the boat won’t fit under the 18th Street bridge, the tour will travel north–“Not that heading north isn’t exciting,” says an FCR spokespeson. Meet at 5 for cocktails and appetizers at the Quincy Grille dock, 200 S. Wacker. The cruise takes place from 6 to 7. It’s $30; reservations are required (312-939-0490, ext. 10).