Friday 8/28 – Thursday 9/3
By Cara Jepsen
28 FRIDAY Last year five Cuban artists spent seven weeks in this country as part of a program “to overcome political and cultural barriers.” The results are highlighted in 1990s Art From Cuba, a new exhibit at the School of the Art Institute. Works include Tania Bruguera’s interactive performance Art in America (The Dream), which uses video, photographs, and clothes to point out the similarities between Chicago’s homeless and its Cuban immigrants, and Manuel Pi–a’s photograph Public Art Project (Cross the Border, Aqui Esta la Luz), which satirizes travel posters by placing a prostitute in front of a tropical scene. The exhibit opens tonight with a free reception from 5 to 7 at the school’s Betty Rymer Gallery, Columbus and Jackson. The show continues through October 14. Call 312-443-3703.
In local performer Steve Clark’s latest absurdity, Sarabande (Maybe That’s Why Coach Got My Liver), he stars as Captain Steve, an intergalactic cult leader who wears an Easter-egg blue rubber Batman-like costume. His trusty singing sidekicks, the Unicorn Girls, serve as a kind of Greek chorus during the technopop musical, which incorporates videos and computer animation. Show times are at 8 tonight and tomorrow night at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. Tickets are $10. For more information, call 312-902-1500, or see the Critic’s Choice in this week’s Section Two performance listings.
29 SATURDAY “We are concerned with the fact that money is the primary value and not the human being,” says Sharon Solar, a member of the Humanist Movement. The 30-year-old international volunteer organization, whose motto is “Nothing above the human being, no human being above another,” claims to have helped oust dictators in Chile and Argentina. Today the local chapter will host the city’s first DiverseCity Festival and Fair, at which people of “all ages, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, social organizations, credos, and professions” are invited to express their opinions and show and perform their art. The only stipulation is that the content must be nonviolent and nondiscriminatory. The free fair is from 1 to 5 at the Hermann Union Building, Illinois Institute of Technology, 3241 S. Federal. Call 773-989-5629.
30 SUNDAY Blues legend Koko Taylor was a sharecropper’s daughter from Memphis before she moved to the south side of Chicago. The 18-year-old soon found work cleaning houses by day and singing the blues at night; then Willie Dixon heard her sing, and she landed a recording deal at Chess Records in 1962. Today Studs Terkel will find out the rest when he interviews Taylor as part of the Sunday in the Park With Studs series. It’s at 4 at the Chicago Historical Society, Clark and North. Admission is $15; call 312-642-4600, ext. 341, for reservations. The CHS is also holding its free annual Neighborhood Block Party today from 11 to 8. Performers include the Jesse White Tumblers, Maggie and Oscar Brown Jr., Sones de Mexico, and the Irish Step Dancers. Call 312-642-4600, ext. 8, for more.
31 MONDAY When DJ Jesse de la Pe–a and his posse started the “Blue Groove Lounge” hip-hop night at the Elbo Room four years ago, space limited them to hosting DJs and the occasional underground group. There wasn’t a lot more room at the Funky Buddha Lounge, where the city’s longest-running hip-hop night moved earlier this year. But last week it landed at the amply sized Double Door, where de la Pe–a says there will be DJs, MCs, and live acts upstairs and “old soul, jazz, and funk–stuff that rappers have sampled over the years” downstairs. He also promises more national acts and well-known guest DJs. The weekly event is hosted by Liquid Soul’s Dirty MF; resident spinners include de la Pe–a, DJ Pumpin’ Pete, and DJ 331/3. The grooves start at 10 at the Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee (773-489-3160). It’s $5, free for women.
1 TUESDAY In 1986 the Rockford School Board banned Luis Rodriguez’s account of his descent into and climb out of gang life, Always Running. One member said the book was “irreligious, anti-family, left-wing, anti-American and radical….What’s in the book is harmful, ungodly and wrong.” But Rodriguez has made it his mission to inspire at-risk kids to start writing down their own stories. Tonight young writers from Rodriguez’s “Writing Through the Prisms of Self and Community” workshop will read some of their works in progress. The readings start at 7:30 at the Guild Complex at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. It’s free. Call 773-296-1049.
2 WEDNESDAY Besides squelching things like war, poverty, and genocide, the United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights was supposed to advance more quotidian concerns like the rights to social security, equal pay for equal work, and rest and leisure. No wonder the U.S. has yet to sign on–we’ve fallen short on all three. Today Dr. Sid Mohn, president of the Heartland Alliance, and Richard Sewell, executive director of the Chicago Health Policy Research Council, will lead a free forum called “The Universal Human Rights Declaration: A Chicago Perspective on Its 50th Anniversary.” It’s from 5:30 to 8 tonight in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle. Call 312-744-1814 for reservations.
3 THURSDAY In 1982 Rob Warden, then editor of Chicago Lawyer, received a letter from Dennis Williams, one of four Ford Heights men convicted in the 1978 murders of Lawrence Lionberg and Carol Schmal. Williams contended the four had been railroaded and wanted Warden to look into the case. Thirteen years later Northwestern University journalism professor David Protess joined the cause, bringing with him some volunteer lawyers and a few idealistic journalism students. The team uncovered enough new evidence to convince the court to order DNA tests, which exonerated the Ford Heights Four. The case is the focus of Protess and Warden’s new book, A Promise of Justice: The Eighteen-Year Fight to Save Four Innocent Men. They’ll discuss their work tonight at 7:30 at Barbara’s Bookstore, 1100 Lake Street in Oak Park. It’s free. Call 708-848-9140.