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In 1999 Gayle Ferraro was on her way to India to shoot a film about the holy city of Varanasi when she stopped in Myanmar (formerly Burma) to visit a friend working as a counselor for ex-prostitutes. The experience, says Ferraro, left her “shell-shocked and horrified”–especially after she learned that sex trafficking affects as many as 40 million women worldwide–and she soon decided to make a documentary on the Southeast Asian sex trade instead. The following year she and two others hid digital cameras and sound gear in their luggage, entered Myanmar on different days, and posed as tourists in order to conduct interviews with prostitutes without drawing the attention of the military government. The trio came close to getting caught more than once, and Ferraro says they were lucky to find people to help smuggle the resulting footage out of the country. The finished film, Anonymously Yours, premiered last year at the Montreal World Film Festival; Ferraro says audience members were moved to tears. Its weeklong local run begins tonight at Facets Cinematheque, 1517 W. Fullerton in Chicago; screenings are nightly at 7 and 9, and tickets are $7. Call 773-281-4114 or see the Movie listings in Section Two for a complete schedule.
Things will be heating up this weekend under the tent and on the indoor stage at Durty Nellie’s, in the bar’s final Thanks-giving celebration at its soon-to-be-razed original location. Nellie’s, which has been toasting T-Day for 30 years, is scheduled to close in early December and reopen in a new space two blocks west, where future festivals will be staged minus the tent. The farewell bash started yesterday and continues tonight with Dave Tamkin & the P.P.C. and Stank at 10 and tomorrow, November 29, with King Solomon’s Grave, Gearheads, and Bucket #6 (also at 10). Durty Nellie’s is at 55 N. Bothwell in Palatine, and there’s a $6 cover. Call 847-358-9150.
Composer Gian Carlo Menotti said he was roaming the Metropolitan Museum of Art, stumped after getting a television commission for an opera, when he came upon Hieronymous Bosch’s Adoration of the Kings and remembered the Christmas story that had fascinated him as a child. The result was Amahl and the Night Visitors, which premiered on NBC on Christmas Eve 1951. This weekend Harold Bauer will conduct Oak Brook eighth grader Adam Benkendorf in the role of Amahl, Lesley Goodman as his mother, and the New Philharmonic orchestra when DuPage Opera Theatre presents the 50-minute opera at the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage, 425 Fawell in Glen Ellyn. Performances are at 2 and 4 today and at 3 tomorrow, November 30; tickets are $12. Call 630-942-4000 for more information.
Studs Terkel interviewed the usual cross section of humanity for his latest book, Hope Dies Last: Keeping the Faith in Troubled Times, including undocumented Guatemalan workers, 94-year-old economist John Kenneth Galbraith, pardoned Illinois death row inmate Leroy Orange, and Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. “Kucinich,” Terkel recently wrote in In These Times, “is the ideal candidate for president. But he has as much chance of being nominated as the Chicago Bears do of winning the Super Bowl.” So much for hope. Terkel, who’s 91, will discuss and sign copies of his book today at 3 at Barnes & Noble, 1441 W. Webster in Chicago. It’s free; call 773-871-3610.
Irish storyteller Batt Burns says his performance tonight “will comprise traditional humorous tales from Ireland told in the seanachie style of the old storytellers.” The former elementary school principal and historian, a native of County Kerry, learned to tell tales from his grandfather and became a full-time seanachie in 1994; he’ll be accompanied by his wife, musician and folksinger Maura Burns. It starts at 7 (doors open at 6) at Chicago Gaelic Park, 6119 W. 147th in Oak Forest. Tickets are $10; call 708-687-9323.
“I didn’t want her around,” says Connie Kiosse of her younger sister, Christine. “She was a pain in the butt. But once we got older we became good friends. And when she got the virus we became really close.” Christine was diagnosed with AIDS in 1991 and died from it in ’99, at 47. The pair grew up in a traditional Greek-Macedonian family in Bridgeport, Connecticut, but Connie fled to Chicago in 1968, and later cofounded the short-lived newspaper the Feminist Voice. Her sister, on the other hand, stayed in Bridgeport, was married at 15 to a man chosen by her parents, and had three children. Their relationship is the focus of Kiosse’s new self-published memoir, The Best of Friends: Two Sisters, One Journey, which also draws from Christine’s journals. She’ll give a free reading tonight at 7:30 in honor of World AIDS Day at Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark, Chicago, 773-769-9299.
Fulcrum Point artistic director Stephen Burns says that the ensemble’s December 2001 Candlelight Concert for Healing was his most memorable concert experience ever. “The confluence of that powerfully spiritual classical music with the heartfelt chants, prayer, and invocations from Chicago’s Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, and Jewish leaders was the perfect response and antidote to the events of September 11.” The set list for this year’s Candlelight Concert for Peace ranges from Charles Ives’s 1908 celebration of transcendentalist thought, The Unanswered Question (on which Burns will play solo trumpet), to Osvaldo Golijov’s 1996 Last Round, an upbeat elegy to tango icon (and noted brawler) Astor Piazzolla. Featuring performances by guest artists Betty Xiang and Wei Yang, the concert takes place tonight at 7:30 at Saint James Cathedral, 65 E. Huron in Chicago. Tickets are $25; call 773-722-5463 or see www.pachicago.org for more.
“What I like about The Fog of War is that it has proved possible to make a movie about events–events that are removed from us by 40, 50, 60 years but which are very much about today,” says documentary filmmaker Errol Morris. Morris has had a yen to make a film about former secretary of defense Robert McNamara since reading his 1995 book, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. In the film McNamara talks for the first time about his relationship with General Curtis LeMay and their involvement in the World War II firebombing of 67 Japanese cities, raising, says Morris, “deep moral questions” about the Allied effort to win the war in Japan by any means necessary. Morris will give a free lecture today at 4 at DOC Films in the University of Chicago’s Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th in Chicago. The Fog of War opens December 19; tonight at 9 there’ll be a special screening of an unnamed Errol Morris film. Tickets are free but must be picked up Tuesday, December 2, after 5 PM in the lobby of the Max Palevsky Cinema at Ida Noyes Hall, where the screening will take place. For more call 773-702-8574 or see www.docfilms.uchicago.edu.
Nelson and Winnie Mandela’s decision to wear African dress to his 1962 Rivonia trial “caused a huge stir,” says Columbia College liberal education chair Lisa Brock. “The judges wanted him to take it off. He refused to take it off. When the people in the gallery saw it they cheered. It spoke volumes about who he was.” Brock will use that event, plus examples from street fashion, music, and sports to examine what it means when the mainstream is influenced by African and African-American culture–and vice versa–at a free multimedia lecture called This Ain’t No Side Show: Popular Culture as Black World Metaphor. Part of the “Intersections” series, it’s tonight at 6 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington in Chicago. For more call 312-744-6630 or see www.intersections.colum.edu.
In Theater Oobleck’s Spirits to Enforce, 12 actors revisit the story of The Tempest via 12 onstage telephones, turning Shakespeare’s comedy into a dense examination of, among other things, telemarketing and superheroes. A sellout hit when it premiered at the PAC/edge Performance Festival in April, Spirits (authored by Oobleck cofounder Mickle Maher and directed, as usual, by no one and everyone) is being remounted at the Curious Theatre Branch, 7001 N. Glenwood in Chicago. It opens tonight at 8 and runs through January 17; there’s a suggested donation of $10 (“more if you’ve got it, free if you’re broke”). For reservations call 773-347-1041.