The 24 garments in Sean Sorensen’s piece American Burqa include a rubber fetish burqa, a Hawaiian print burqa, and an “I Love New York” burqa, plus burqas made of denim and camouflage cloth. They’re on display as part of the group show Politics as Usual, which opens today. Among the works by the 25 other artists are Take Off the Head 2003, a large-scale installation by Friese Undine composed of 660 portraits of political, military, and corporate figures, and Last Seas, an oversize sculpture of a white bird by Laura Davis. There’s a free reception tonight from 6 to 9 and the exhibit runs through August 23 at Aron Packer Gallery, 118 N. Peoria in Chicago; call 312-226-8984.
Thirty years after Brad and Janet first fell into the clutches of Dr. Frank N. Furter on a London stage, The Rocky Horror Show has made its way to Lincolnshire. Stage Two Theatre opens its production of the sci-fi and horror film spoof that spawned the cult movie tonight–and the theater’s end-of-a-lonely-road venue should be the perfect setting. Producer Wendy Kaplan says the company sold out every night of last summer’s run of Hair and looked for another seldom-produced “wild” show that would have the same draw. Performances start at 8 on Friday and 8 and 11 on Saturday through August 9 at the Estonian House, Estonian Lane and Milwaukee Avenue in Lincolnshire. Tickets are $18 for the early show ($14 for students and seniors) and $22 (or $18) for the 11 PM performance. Call 847-423-7469.
“We have no funding,” says Colette Cooper of the nonprofit Wilmette Arts Guild–not to mention no employees, no gallery, and no office. In spite of its membership roster of 273, the 15-year-old volunteer-run organization still lacks a storefront where the arts can be “practiced, taught, and exhibited” and is constantly looking for ways to make money to keep going. Its biggest fund-raiser is an annual Festival of Fine Arts, where shoppers and browsers will find work by well-known locals like Curt Frankenstein and art gypsies making the national circuit alike. It runs from 10 to 5 today and 11 to 5 Sunday, July 20, at the Community Recreation Center, 3000 Glenview in Wilmette. Admission is free, and there’s a painting table for kids. Call 847-256-2080 for more information.
“We felt that doing nothing in a period of repressive violence was in itself a form of violence. That’s really the part I think is hardest for people to understand,” explains former Weatherman Naomi Jaffe in Sam Green and Bill Siegel’s new documentary, The Weather Underground. The film juxtaposes modern-day interviews with Jaffe and other former Weathermen–including locals Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers–with archival footage of the radical anti-Vietnam war group, which called for the violent overthrow of the U.S. government and in its day sprang Timothy Leary from prison and bombed more than a dozen buildings. Siegel and Green say they couldn’t have gotten started without a $1,000 grant from the Chicago Underground Film Festival, and tonight Siegel, Dohrn, and Ayers will attend a special benefit screening for CUFF. It’s at 7 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State in Chicago (312-846-2600). Tickets are $15 and include admission to a private postshow party at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia. The film’s commercial run starts August 1 at Chicago’s Music Box; the Chicago Underground Film Festival begins August 27. For more information see www.cuff.org.
In 1830 Hector Berlioz composed his Symphonie fantastique after becoming infatuated with an Irish actress named Henrietta Smithson, whom he saw playing Ophelia in an 1827 production of Hamlet. He sent her flowers, wrote her letters, and rented an apartment near her’s but got no response. “I am about to begin my symphony in which the development of my passion will be depicted,” he wrote to a friend. The bombastic, emotional five-movement piece about obsessive love is the first entry in the Ravinia Festival’s One Score, One Chicago initiative. Like the book project that inspired it, the program will feature a new work each season and is designed to spur discussion and bring culture to the sweating masses. (Smithson, by the way, eventually gave in to Berlioz’s obsession and married her stalker in 1833.) Tonight at 7:30, classical music expert Sylvie Desouches will discuss Symphonie fantastique at Barnes & Noble, 1441 W. Webster in Chicago (773-871-3610). It’s one of a long series of free lectures at area libraries and stores; for a complete list of events go to www.ravinia.org or www.chipublib.org. Also, on July 25 the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will perform the symphony and on August 17 the Ravinia Festival Orchestra will present a version tailored to families and children. And August 28 through 31 puppeteer Basil Twist will illustrate pianist Christopher O’Riley’s solo rendition of the work by manipulating cloth, glitter, feathers, mirrors, and more–all in a 1,000-gallon tank of water. All performances are on the Ravinia grounds at Lake Cook and Green Bay roads in Highland Park.
Selecting art and deciding where to put it can be intimidating for the layperson, says one of the organizers of tonight’s free panel discussion, Rituals of Art and Interior Design. “We wanted a group of up-and-coming youthful designers to discuss how they select their art and furniture when they’re looking at a space–how their eye looks at a room and says, ‘This painting will go there.'” The panelists include Shea Souci of Souci Horner, David Grout from Gary Lee Partners, architect John Vinci, and designer Mitch Putlack. It starts at 6:30 at Ann Nathan Gallery, 212 W. Superior (312-664-6622). The panel, organized by the Chicago Art Dealers Association and part of a series of events called “A World of Art in Chicago,” begins with a free reception from 5:30 to 6:30 at three adjacent Chicago galleries–Ann Nathan, Perimeter (210 W. Superior), and Habatat (222 W. Superior). For more call CADA at 312-649-0065 or see www.chicagoartdealers.org.
“There are a ton of great disabled performers and writers and visual artists in the Chicago area,” says Terri Thrower, the producer of Crip Slam! Disability Takes on the Arts. The three-event festival started July 16 with performances by actors Susan Nussbaum and Tekki Lomnicki. Tonight’s installment features a song and monologue by dancer Alana Wallace, a polio survivor who performs in a wheelchair; a slide presentation by visual artist and spina bifida survivor Riva Lehrer; and a rap performance by T-10 and Psycho (T-10 takes his stage name from the medical term for the location of his spinal cord injury). It’s emceed by activist Mike Ervin, one of the organizers behind “Jerry’s Orphans,” an annual protest of the MDA telethon, and starts at 7:30 at UIC’s IIDD Auditorium, 1640 W. Roosevelt, room 166, Chicago. It’s free, wheelchair accessible, and includes captioning and audio description; there will be a reception afterward. The final, poetry-oriented event takes place July 30 and features work by Peter Cook and Kenny Lerner’s Flying Words Project as well as by Jim Ferris. For more information call 312-355-1253.
“The word Voltaire is in the mosaic on the ceiling of Preston Bradley Hall, which I think is really cool,” says Peter McDowell, program coordinator at the Department of Cultural Affairs, which is presenting Leonard Bernstein’s Candide–based on Voltaire’s satiric novel–as its free summer opera this year. Directed by Jay Paul Skelton, the operetta features a chorus of 14-
to 21-year-olds from Gallery 37. It opens tonight at 8 and runs through July 29 at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall, 78 E. Washing-ton, Chicago. Tickets can be picked up in advance at the CCC’s Visitor Informa-tion Center (limit four per person). For more information call 312-744-6630.