The Baffler’s Tom Frank, in town earlier this month to plug his new book, What’s the Matter With Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, is back-and he’s brought Howard Dean with him. The two appear with Studs Terkel tonight at 5:30 at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State in Chicago, for a discussion of Frank’s book and the state of American politics in general. Says Frank, “It should be a great event. For Democrats, anyway.” Sponsored by the Clio Society, it’s free; call 847-370-9715. Dean also speaks tomorrow at noon at the free Healthcare for All rally in Chicago’s Lincoln Park (just south of the zoo), alongside Reverend Jesse Jackson, ninth district U.S. representative Jan Schakowsky, and state senator Miguel del Valle.
You can find the Rainbo Club blind drunk and you still bitch loudly about the loss of Sophie’s Busy Bee, but how much do you really know about Wicker Park? Twenty-eight-year resident Elaine A. Coorens researched the growth of her neighborhood from prairie to “Polish Broadway” for her book, Wicker Park From 1673 Thru 1929 and Walking Tour Guide, and found out that elk really did roam the stretch now known as Elk Grove Avenue, and that Hoyne used to be “Beer Baron Row,” after the brewing families that lived there. More significantly, she relates how throughout its history the area has been home to multiple ethnic groups, all of whom coexisted amicably on their blocks, in neighborhood stores, and in schools. Coorens will discuss and sign copies of the book today at 6 PM at the Polish Museum of America, 984 N. Milwaukee in Chicago. It’s free; call 773-384-3352.
Indie mag Venus is celebrating its 20th issue. The Chicago-based zine about music, arts, and crafts by women, which editor Amy Schroeder started in 1994 in college, is now distributed internationally and has a spiffy Web site, not to mention an actual office. Tonight’s Venus 20th-issue party features performances from Pit Er Pat and Terror at the Opera (see Critic’s Choice) plus DJ Jim Magas. It starts at 10 PM at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western in Chicago, 773-276-3000. Admission is $8 and includes a copy of the new issue, which features interviews with cover model Janeane Garofalo, Sonic Youth, the Butchies, and Melissa auf der Maur. See www.venuszine.com.
Pears, by Barrington watercolorist Sue Abare, and the work of 90 other artists (70 of them local) will be on display at the Barrington Area Arts Council’s 18th annual Summer Art Festival this weekend. Besides the fine-art and craft shows, juried by Harper College professor Sam Rosby and gallery owner Tina Han, the festival includes a kids’ booth, food from a half-dozen northwest suburban restaurants, and live folk, rock, blues, and classical music. This year, for the first time, there’s an admission charge ($5). The festival runs from 10 to 5 today and Sunday at the Harris Bank parking lot, 201 South Grove Avenue and Station Street in downtown Barrington. Call 847-382-5626.
The traveling exhibit “Big & Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century,” on display at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, uses photos, models, and drawings to show how using renewable materials, natural ventilation, and greenery in large buildings reduces the negative impact of development on the environment. A portion specific to Chicago focuses on public and private green buildings like a Lincoln Park town house and a lab at the Illinois Institute of Technology. At today’s Big & Green Day, docents will lead tours of the exhibit and walks highlighting sustainable architecture in the Loop; there’ll also be activity stations where visitors can grapple with environmentally sensitive issues–such as the location of a dump–as they plan their own town. Shuttle buses will run regularly to the west-side Chicago Center for Green Technology, where staff will lead tours of the facility. It’s from 10 AM to 2 PM in the CAF’s ArchiCenter, 224 S. Michigan in Chicago. The free exhibit runs through September 12; call 312-922-3432.
This summer the Ravinia Festival celebrates its 100th year of presenting music and dance within its sylvan confines. Today Ravinia CEO Welz Kauffman presents a slide lecture on the venue, and soprano Johanna McKenzie Miller performs songs by composers ranging from Mozart to Sondheim. Materials from the Ravinia archives, which have recently been catalogued by the Newberry Library, will also be on view, including photos from the teens and 20s and contracts signed by Aaron Copland, Thelonious Monk, and Bob Dylan. The Ravinia Festival at 100 starts at 11 AM at the Newberry, 60 W. Walton in Chicago. It’s free; call 312-943-9090.
At today’s outdoor performance of Theatre-Hikes’ adaptation of Tuck Everlasting-Natalie Babbitt’s classic children’s novel about a girl who becomes involved with a family doomed to live forever–you can get culture, sun, and exercise all at once. Each scene is staged in a different location, and performances can involve up to two miles of walking. Organizers suggest wearing comfortable shoes and to BYO sunscreen and bug spray. It’s Saturday and today at 1 PM at North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski in Chicago. Tickets are $10, $6 for kids; call 312-744-5472 for reservations.
Tonight at 7 local country-pop fave Anna Fermin gives a free twilight concert in tiny, triangular Ravenswood Manor Park, 4626 N. Manor in Chicago. Call 312-742-7529.
At 12 Olives for $12, guests can sample olives marinated in 12 different Mediterranean spices, including cardamom, coriander, and anise; each will be paired with a wine. Name 10 of the 12 spices and you win a gift certificate to the Spice House, purveyors of hand-prepared spices and herbs. It’s at Tizi Melloul, 531 N. Wells in Chicago. Admission is $12; call 312-670-4338 to make a reservation or see www.thespicehouse.com.
The Olympic Games return to their birthplace this summer, but it’s unlikely that any of the participants will be dedicating their performances to Zeus or Hermes. Today Christine Kondoleon of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts will present a slide lecture on the good old days, The Greek Athlete: Games for the Gods, in which she’ll show images of artifacts that will be included in an upcoming exhibit at the museum. It starts at 6 PM in the Art Institute of Chicago’s Fullerton Hall, 111 S. Michigan in Chicago. Admission is free; call 312-443-3600.
The smart-alecky entries in the George W. Bush Coloring Book illustrate such inspired Dubyaisms as “It’s amazing I won. I was running against peace, prosperity, and incumbency,” and “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.” After the book came out publisher G.K. Darby invited a bunch of artists–including a fashion designer, a woodworker, and a puppeteer–to use the illustrations as jumping-off points for their own creations. These include a set of bowling pins representing the president and his cronies and an oil can with the state of Alaska drawn on it. Some of the artists will be on hand tonight to talk about their work at the free George W. Bush Art Party, as will Darby, whose New Orleans-based Garrett County Press has also given the world anthologies of work from the zines Temp Slave! and Guinea Pig Zero. It starts at 7:30 at Barbara’s Bookstore, 1218 S. Halsted in Chicago. For more info call 312-413-2665 or see www.gcpress.com.
Florida potter Roddy Reed uses the oldest technique in clay-fingers–only shaping–to make small vessels that he spends up to 200 hours decorating. Tonight he’ll posit his pinch pots as “a celebration of what the human hand is capable of” and discuss work by some of the 140 other artists who’ll show their wares at the upcoming Highland Park Festival of Fine Craft. Reed’s lecture, Collecting Contemporary American Craft, begins at 7 at the Suburban Fine Arts Center, 1957 Sheridan in Highland Park. Admission is $7; call 847-432-1888. The free festival runs from 10 to 6 Saturday and Sunday, June 26 and 27, on Sheridan north of Central.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Thomas Hancock.