Quilting may not be as trendy as knitting, but its profile has still been raised by the increased popularity of crafting in all forms. Many of the works on display at this weekend’s International Quilt Festival are not your grandmother’s bed coverings. Pieces include Guatemalan art quilts, abstract contemporary designs, and several from the two Chicago world’s fairs, including a crazy quilt with images of local notables and events from 1893 and quilts from a contest sponsored by Sears, Roebuck in 1933. The show runs today and Saturday from 10 to 7 and Sunday from 10 to 5. Special events today include a fashion show of wearable art, a learn-to-quilt booth, and a quilting bee. It’s at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road in Rosemont; admission is $10, $8 for seniors, free for kids ten and under. Call 713-781-6864 or go to www.quilts.com.
The fourth annual Windy City Pulp and Paperback Convention offers an appearance by legendary science fiction author and editor (and suburban Chicago resident) Frederik Pohl, classic B movies from the 1930s and ’40s, and rarely seen original cover art, along with a national roster of dealers selling vintage detective, sci-fi, fantasy, and romance magazines and memorabilia. It takes place, appropriately, at the pulp-purple Ramada Plaza Chicago Northwest, which, under another name, was the scene of the 1983 assassination of mob money man Allen Dorfman, gunned down in broad daylight in the parking lot. Convention hours are 2 to midnight today, 9 AM to midnight on Saturday, and 9 to 4 on Sunday. The hotel is at 4500 W. Touhy in Lincolnwood; admission is $25 on Friday, $10 on Saturday and Sunday, or $30 for the entire weekend. Check the schedule at www.windycitypulpconvention.com or call 608-241-3004.
Serious thrifters may want to show up early for the Oak Park Vintage Clothing, Jewelry, and Accessories Show and Sale, which will include items from the mid-1800s through the 1970s. Some museum-quality pieces may bust the average boho budget, but organizers promise that most stuff is “wearable and affordable.” The sale runs tonight from 5 to 10 and tomorrow from 10 to 5 at the Nineteenth Century Club, 178 Forest in Oak Park. Admission is $5; call 708-681-1233.
Art and medicine have a long history together, going back at least as far as Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson and Leonardo’s anatomical drawings. The ultimate purpose of today’s conference Medicine on Canvas: Interactions Between Art and Medicine is to explore how the two disciplines relate to and inform one another. Sessions include lectures on how the Sistine Chapel may have been inspired by the outline of the human brain and on artistic representations of physical deformities. It’s today from 10 to 5 in Loyola University’s Rubloff Auditorium, on the first floor of 25 E. Pearson in Chicago. Admission is $30; call 773-508-2679 to register.
The Subsidized Landscape, an interactive diorama that’s part of the free exhibit The City Without a Ghetto: Housing Systems, presents 14 examples of dwellings that are subsidized by the government–such as luxury houses, which can afford their owners significant tax breaks. “We wanted to make the point that public housing is far from the only type of subsidized housing,” says Damon Rich of the New York-based Center for Urban Pedagogy. Other components of the exhibition include a 20-foot time line tracing the effects of the landmark 1966 desegregation case Gautreaux v. Chicago Housing Authority; NYCHA: Points of Interest, a film on public housing produced with New York City high school students; and a reading room with material relating to the development and discussion of affordable housing in Chicago. It opens today with a reception from 1 to 5 at Mess Hall, 6932 N. Glenwood in Chicago, and runs through April 18; call 773-807-1159.
Dino Robinson was a graphic designer in the mid-90s, when he discovered no one had recorded the 150-year saga of Evanston’s African-American residents. Now he’s president of the Evanston Historical Society and author of two books on the subject–A Place We Can Call Our Home and Through the Eyes of Us. He’s taking his show on the road today with a 90-minute bus tour of black Evanston that includes stops at the sites of landmarks that no longer exist, like the Emerson Street YMCA–built in 1914 because blacks were kept out of the Grove (now McGaw) facility. He’ll also tell the stories of prominent black Evanstonians, beginning with Maria Murray, an emancipated slave who became the town’s first recorded African-American resident. Tours begin at 1 and 3 at the historical society, 225 Greenwood in Evanston. Tickets are $8; call 847-475-3410 for reservations.
It’s a little late for Saint Patrick’s Day, but at least today’s 25th annual LaSalle Bank Shamrock Shuffle 8K takes place 11 days closer to warm weather. Rain or shine (or snow, presumably), the race starts at 10 AM; the wheelchair 8K starts at 9:55 AM, and a noncompetitive 5K walk starts at 10:15. A kids’ quarter-mile race and 50-yard dash are at 11:15. All push off from Jackson and Columbus in Chicago’s Grant Park. Walkers can register the morning of the event, but preregistration is required for the race. It’s $35 for the 8K, $25 for the walk, and $15 for the kid stuff. The postrace party includes beer, a raffle, and a performance by Poi Dog Pondering, but it’s only open to participants. Call 312-904-9814 or see www.shamrockshuffle.com for more.
In Terrence McNally’s one-act play Tour, an American couple on vacation in Italy complain about the food and the fact that their driver doesn’t speak English. Strangely, as they drive further south, the olive trees of the Campagna are replaced by the rice paddies of Southeast Asia. It’s one of seven pieces in Collision Course, a staged reading of one-acts and monologues from the 1960s. Other works on the bill include Rats by Israel Horovitz and Wandering: A Turn by Lanford Wilson; among the directors are the Goodman’s Steve Scott and the Hypocrites’ Sean Graney. It’s tonight at 8 at the American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron in Chicago. Tickets are $5; call 773-929-1031.
Brian Greene’s 1999 exploration of string theory, The Elegant Universe, was hailed by critics as an unusually lucid and compelling piece of popular science writing; it became a best seller, and last year was turned into a Nova miniseries for PBS. In his new book, The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality, the Columbia University physicist and mathematician articulates scientific concepts like the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and inflationary cosmology. He’ll speak tonight at 6:30 at the Oriental Institute, 1155 E. 58th in Chicago; call 773-702-9514.
Got ADD? Then head over to Sketchbook, Collaboraction’s annual festival of plays that go by lickety-split. The multidisciplinary arts collective culled this year’s 16 world premieres, all of which are under seven minutes long, from over 700 submissions. Tonight’s eight disparate offerings include a piece about an elderly man and woman trying to remember their past and another on the peculiar camaraderie that develops in public bathrooms. The event also offers musical performances and visual art, including paintings, video, and photography. Doors open at 7:30 and the plays begin at 8 at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division in Chicago; tickets are $20. The festival started March 23 and runs through April 4; passes are available. Call 312-226-9633 or go to www.collaboraction.org.
Last year Columbia College’s Edible Book Show & Tea featured both literal representations of books–a loaf of bread cut so the slices looked like leaves in a binding of crust, a cake elaborately frosted to resemble a medieval manuscript–and whimsical takes on titles, such as A Raisin in the Sun, a yellow-frosted cake with a single raisin set in the middle. Creative cooks who wanted to participate this year had to register by tonight and eat their words. The show runs from 6 to 8 in the school’s library, on the third floor of 624 S. Michigan in Chicago. It’s $10. Reservations are requested; call 312-344-7384 or e-mail email@example.com.