“I can’t put on a resume that I’ve been raped, beaten, and sexually abused by men,” says former prostitute Brenda Myers. “You can’t get a job with that.” Myers spent 25 years working the streets before coming to Genesis House for help seven years ago. Now a leadership development coordinator for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, the chair of the CCH’s Prostitution Alternatives Round Table, and a leader of Exodus, a group of former sex workers who help their peers get out of the life, Myers is angry at the dehumanizing way she was treated while she was a prostitute. “People acted like they could do whatever they wanted to me, from people on the street to the court system, where they shuffle you around like a bunch of cattle.” Today at 12:15 she’ll give a free talk titled Prostitu-tion: Not a Profession at the Univer-sity of Chicago’s Center for Gender Studies, 5733 S. University in Chicago; bring your own lunch. Call 773-702-9936 for more.


According to the Justice Department, some 630,000 people will be released from prison this year–including 30,000 in Illinois. Where the ex-cons will land, their level of rehabilitation, and whether society is prepared for their return are some of the topics to be covered at the Community Renewal Society’s fifth annual State of Race and Poverty Conference, Repentance and Recon-ciliation: The Reintegration of Ex-Offenders Into Our Communities. The conference, with a keynote speech by Seventh District congressman Danny Davis, takes place today from 8 AM to 1 PM at Covenant United Church of Christ, 1130 E. 154th in South Holland. General admission is $25, $10 for students and seniors ($15 covers breakfast as well). Call 312-427-4830.

The four dozen photos in the exhibit Dancing the Revolution: Images From Today’s Grassroots Progressive Movement are more “movement oriented” than simply antiwar, says contributing photographer Chris Geovanis. She, Joeff Davis, and Garth Leibhaber have shot scads of photos during labor and antiglobalization actions, in addition to antiwar protests like the one that took on Lake Shore Drive in March. All the images in the exhibit were originally posted on Chicago Indymedia’s open news forum at There’s a free opening reception for the exhibit, which runs through November 30, tonight from 7 to 8:30 at Hot-House, 31 E. Balbo in Chicago. Call 312-446-4939 for more information.

The Bay Area-based zine Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture has been around since 1996, but until this week its creators had never thrown an event in the midwest. Tonight at 8 editor and publisher Lisa Jervis, editorial and creative director Andi Zeisler, and ad sales director (and frequent contributor) Marisa Meltzer will read from the latest issue–which includes an interview with Iranian-born comics artist Marjane Satrapi (author of the recent “graphic memoir” Persepolis), an open letter to celebrity dieter Carnie Wilson, and an irreverent quiz titled “Which Coppola Are You?”–at Quimby’s, 1854 W. North in Chicago (773-342-0910). The team will also appear from 1 to 2 today at an open house at Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark, Chicago (773-769-9299). Both events are free; for more information visit


In 1998 Reader critic Carol Burbank called award-winning playwright and performance artist Heather Woodbury’s one-woman, 100-character, eight-act What Ever “a soap opera on acid” in which “the ten main characters ramble through their cross-country love affairs and vision quests while a cast of 90 whirls around them, complicating their voyage with drunken binges, mistaken identities, ghostly hauntings, drug rehabs, and midlife crises.” Now Woodbury’s taken the action from the stage to the page with her new book, What Ever: A Living Novel. She’ll sign copies tonight at 5 at Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark in Chicago. It’s free; call 773-769-9299. She’ll perform act five–because “it puts the audience right in the middle of the action”–Tuesday and Wednesday, November 11 and 12, at 7:30 at the Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago. Tickets are $15, $10 with purchase of the book; call 773-327-5252 or see the Performance Critic’s Choice for more information.

“After six months of searching no [weapons of mass destruction] have been found,” says Stephen Schwartz, publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. So why’d we go to war with Iraq again? Tonight Schwartz says he “will evaluate the case the administration made and judge it on the merits” in a talk titled Iraq’s WMD: What Did We Know Before the War and What Do We Know Now? It starts at 7 at the Wilmette Public Library, 1242 Wilmette Ave. It’s free; call 847-256-5025 for more information.


In 1994 Jose Hernandez, the mastermind behind the popular group Mariachi Sol de Mexico, decided to tap into a new market by launching Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, the first all-female mariachi group in the U.S. The ever changing conjunto of women has wowed audiences across the country, performing traditional Mexican songs alongside covers of material by the likes of Patsy Cline and Mary Wells. They’ll appear tonight at 7 at the brand-new Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance at 205 E. Ran-dolph in Chicago. Tickets range from $15 to $30; call 312-629-8696.


Shortly after the Silent Film Society of Chicago started up five years ago, contemporary silent filmmakers from around the country began petitioning the group to screen their works. “We said it’s not what we do,” explains program director Dennis Wolkowicz. But after getting a slew of inquiries he decided to stage a festival of new work in the spirit of the original silent era–complete with accompaniment by SFSC regular Dennis Scott on the organ. A dozen or so new films, along with a couple of 1920s shorts (“to give it a little balance and see what the audience thinks”), will be shown tonight at Try It Quiet: New Silent Films for the 21st Century. It starts at 7:45 at the Biograph Theatre, 2433 N. Lincoln in Chicago, and will be introduced by actress and SFSC member Karin Han-sen. Tickets are $8 in advance ($7 for students and seniors), $10 at the door. Call 773-205-7372 or see www. for more information.


Playwright Stuart Flack wrote (and titled) his drama Homeland Security–about the relationship between an Indian-American physician and his Jewish-American girlfriend–before the September 11 terrorist attacks. Later he added a new opening scene, in which the couple is detained for questioning at O’Hare after visiting the Middle East. The play’s running at Victory Gardens Theater through November 23; tonight at 7 Flack will be joined by Illinois ACLU legal director Harvey Grossman and University of Chicago law and ethics professor Martha Nussbaum for a free discussion called Straight Talk–Homeland Security. It’ll be moderated by Tribune editor Charles Madigan and takes place at the theater, 2257 N. Lincoln in Chicago. Call 773-549-5788, ext. 109, for more. For information on Homeland Security, see the Theater listings.


Mark Rosenthal was a zoology undergraduate in 1967 when he took a summer job as an animal keeper at the Lincoln Park Zoo and discovered a mouse-ridden cache of historical papers in the basement of the lion house. Now the zoo’s large mammal curator, Rosenthal (with coauthors Carol Tauber and Edward Uhlir) has written The Ark in the Park, a history of the zoo based in part on those papers. Just out from the University of Illinois Press, Ark starts with the gift of two swans from New York’s Central Park 135 years ago and includes the zoo’s years of television glory under director Marlin Perkins and Otto the gorilla’s great escape. Tonight at 7 Rosenthal will present a free slide show on the evolution of the zoo at the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake in Oak Park; call 708-383-8200, ext. 6915.