The last of the many events inaugurating the Goodman Theatre’s new $46 million, 170,000-square-foot downtown complex is open to all, and it starts tonight at 5, when an outdoor “moving sculpture” collaboration between Jellyeye Drum Ensemble and designer Mark Bazzant will take place in the lobby of the theater. Highlights of the 26-Hour Celebration include a (sold-out) installment of Milly’s Orchid Show, improv by the Noble Fool Company and Schadenfreude (tonight at 7), a theater-themed film festival (from 1 to 6 AM), a sunrise breakfast and gospel jam with Calvin Bridges and the Chicago Praise Ensemble (tomorrow morning at 7), a stage combat workshop and demonstration by Babes With Blades (tomorrow afternoon at 1), and a reading of plays by Kenneth Sawyer Goodman–the theater’s namesake–at 5. The free event runs through tomorrow night at 7 at the new theater at 170 N. Dearborn in Chicago. Advance tickets are recommended, and will be available today from 10 to 4 at the theater’s box office. Call 312-895-5406 for more.
NPR veteran Ira Flatow will consider why science reporting gets such a small slice of the pie in If It Breeds, It Leads: A Conversation on Science in the Media tonight at Fermilab. Maybe he’ll also explain why we get so many sensational headlines and distorted conclusions based on flavor-of-the-day research. Flatow, host of NPR’s Science Friday, has been delivering news on science and technology for All Things Considered and Morning Edition for 25 years. His lecture begins at 8 in the Ramsey Auditorium, Wilson Hall, on the Fermilab campus at Kirk and Pine in Batavia. Tickets are $5; call 630-840-2787 for reservations.
“Mad Cowboy” Howard Lyman, the cattle-rancher-turned-vegetarian-activist who was Oprah Winfrey’s codefendant in the 1998 libel suit brought by the National Cattleman’s Association, has a new target–genetically engineered foods. “Americans tend to believe that we’re protected by government agencies, but as was shown with the Kraft and Safeway taco shells, this stuff is slipping through the cracks,” says Lyman, who will headline today’s Conference for Conscious Living: Creating a Healthy, Sustainable, and Compassionate Life. Other speakers at the EarthSave-sponsored event include Ronnie Cummins, of the Organic Consumers Association and author of Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers, vegetarian historian Rynn Berry, and cookbook author Joanne Stepaniak. It’s today from 9 to 6 at DePaul University’s Schmitt Academic Center, room 154, 2320 N. Kenmore, Chicago. Admission is $60, $50 for students. Call 773-525-4032.
John Hagstrom was a good enough trumpet player during his years at York High School to play with the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra. He went on to study music at the Eastman School, became principal trumpet in “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and the Wichita Symphony, and is now second trumpet in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He’s back today as the Elmhurst Symphony’s guest artist for a performance of A Carmen Fantasy, written by Frank Proto for Doc Severinson. Also on the program: Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. Music professor Ted Hatmaker will provide a free introduction to this afternoon of lush sound. The lecture begins at 1:45 and the concert starts at 3 in Hammerschmidt Chapel on the Elmhurst College Campus, 190 Prospect in Elmhurst. Tickets are $20, $18 for seniors, $6 for students. Parking is free. Call 630-941-0202.
Storytelling isn’t just kid stuff, say the folks behind tonight’s Tellabration! 2000, the local entry in a worldwide, adult-oriented celebration of National Storytelling Week. The lineup includes award-winning Evanston-based storyteller Susan O’Halloran, who likes to talk about growing up in Chicago in the 1960s, as well as ten other storytellers and musicians. It’s at 6:30 at Hyde Park Union Church, 5600 S. Woodlawn, Chicago. Tickets are $5. Call 773-288-7217 for more.
The Great Beast Theater describes its annual Beast Women Festival as a five-week showcase of “the strangest stuff the women can produce”–everything from song and dance to comedy, poetry, and performance art to straight drama. Tonight’s lineup includes new participants Candis Hacker, Marianne Fieber, Ann Filmer, and Corinne Lysaught plus old hands Ava Johnson, Camille Larrea, and Kellyann Corcoran. It’ll be hosted by Jill Erickson and starts at 8 on the second floor of the Inner Town Pub, 1935 W. Thomas, Chicago; admission is $8. The festival runs Saturdays through Mondays (excluding Thanksgiving weekend) until December 18. Call 773-486-9250.
Two and a half years ago, when Milly’s Orchid Show impresario Brigid Murphy began working on the script for her new short film, A Prince in the Projects, the futures of both Cabrini-Green and the nearby Noble Horse Stables were up in the air. These days Cabrini is slowly disappearing and the stables are no longer open to the public. The two locations are central to her plot, which is about a carriage driver (David Cale) who befriends a boy from the projects (Raphael Chestang). “The undercurrent is about gentrification,” says Murphy, who made the family-friendly film to complete her MFA at Columbia College. She’ll be joined by Cale and Chestang at a free screening tonight at 6 at the Music Box, 3733 N. Southport, Chicago. Call 773-871-6604 for more information.
In his controversial new book, Darkness in El Dorado: How Scientists and Journalists Devastated the Amazon, Patrick Tierney argues that the waves of researchers who have descended upon Venezuela’s Yanomami Indians to test their theories about “uncivilized” humans have done far more harm than good. According to Tierney journalists and scholars spread illness, staged events to prove their theories, introduced steel implements that critically altered the Yanomami lifestyle, and generally took advantage of the Indians for their own ends. He’ll discuss his book, which has made huge waves in the anthropological community and been simultaneously nominated for a National Book Award and denounced as a hoax, tonight at 7 at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th, Chicago. It’s free (773-684-1300).
Luis Bunuel’s 1932 short film Land Without Bread is a brutally explicit portrait of life in the remote Spanish region of Las Hurdes that shows villagers living in squalid conditions marked by disease and death. According to a new film by Dutch director Ramon Gieling, Buñuel gave locals a bad rap they still haven’t lived down. The film that caused the stir (and marked Buñuel’s transition from overt surrealism to a more realistic style) will be screened tonight (and Friday, November 17) along with 1951’s A Woman Without Love as part of Facets’s Luis Bunuel Film Festival, which runs through Sunday. It’s at 6:30 at Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Chicago (312-409-1757). Tickets are $8; call 312-409-1757 for schedule information.
In 1984, housepainter Dan Gibbons and a few buddies he met as a volunteer grade school football coach rounded up 74 friends and family members and staged a Thanksgiving Day 5K run/walk in Elmhurst to benefit the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation. The next year about 200 people turned out, the third year drew nearly 500, and by last year the Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot had grown to more than 6,000 participants. Over the years the outing has raised $370,000. This year’s proceeds will be shared by CAHF and DuPage Public Action to Deliver Shelter. The race sets off at 9 from the same place it started 17 years ago–the Knights of Columbus building, 537 S. York in Elmhurst. The route follows village streets and the Elmhurst portion of the Illinois Prairie Path. Race-day registration begins at 7; it costs $20. Call 630-415-2816 for more information.
Ever since “The SantaLand Diaries”–David Sedaris’s hilarious behind-the-scenes look at the world of Xmas elves–hit the airwaves several years ago, it’s been impossible for me to think of the felt-clad helpers as anything other than a bunch of jaded smokers who secretly hate children. That’s why I delight in the fact that the city’s annual holiday parade is named for the army of yuletide imps who will frolic among its floats, marching bands, giant helium balloons, Rockettes, and equestrian units. Field’s Jingle Elf Parade starts at 8:30 today at State and Congress in Chicago, and travels north to Randolph. It’s free, as is watching it at home on Channel Seven. Call 773-395-4809 for more.