There's art to hang, art to mount--even art to sit on, at the seventh Furniture of the Eighties exhibit at Hokin Kaufman Gallery, 210 W. Superior. This annual show features the work of 30 designers from Chicago and around the country whose unique or limited-edition seats, tables, cabinets, and accessories emphasize innovation in design and materials. This year's show is dedicated to the memory of artist and interior designer Jon Cockrell, who died of AIDS last year. There's a free opening reception tonight from 5:30 to 7:30; the show runs through February 11. Regular gallery hours are 10 to 5 Tuesday through Friday, and 11 to 4:30 Saturday. Call 266-1211.
Legislation that applies to condominiums and their owners, including a proposal to license property managers, will be discussed in a public forum at 10 AM at the State of Illinois Center, 100 W. Randolph, 16th floor, room 504. Speakers include state legislators Arthur Berman, Bob Kustra, William Marovitz, and Calvin Sutker; Sheli Lulkin, legislative chairman of the Association of Condominium, Townhouse, & Homeowners Associations; and Michael Kim, vice chairman of the Chicago Bar Association's condominium law subcommittee. Admission is free, but reservations are advised; call 987-1906.
After a period of intense media exposure, the situation in South Africa has been given relatively sparse news coverage of late--proof of the efficacy of the Botha government's press blackout. To help remedy that, the International Defense and Aid Fund for South Africa, a group based in London, has organized a pair of traveling photography exhibits--one on long-imprisoned black leader Nelson Mandela, the other examining South Africa's military and economic battle with neighboring black-ruled countries. The two shows open today at Pathfinder Books, 6826 S. Stony Island, and will be on display through January 28; hours are 4 to 6 Tuesday through Thursday, 11 to 5 Friday and Saturday. At 2 today, a class on "What Is Apartheid?" will be held, and a public forum on the current state of antiapartheid efforts will begin at 6. The displays and activities are free; for more information call 363-7136.
In the years around World War I, artists and composers sought to break free of traditional limits by devising new artistic languages and performing in less rigid formats. Arnold Schoenberg's expressionist Pierrot lunaire, for instance, was originally created for a cabaret setting. At 4:30 PM, the Chicago Ensemble chamber music group performs this song cycle at Karl's Satin Doll nightclub, 820 N. Orleans. Also on this program of early modernist works are Stravinsky's L'histoire du soldat, Ravel's Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano, and "Marie's Lullaby" from Berg's opera Wozzeck. Drawings illustrating the songs of Pierrot lunaire, created for the occasion by Nancy Jackson, will be projected during the music. Tickets are $18; call 292-1060 for reservations.
The cold crisp winter sky can be especially conductive to stargazing, and the North Park Village Nature Center has scheduled a star watch for tonight at 7:30 at 5801 N. Pulaski. Dan Joyce and Bill Becker of the Chicago Astronomical Society will set up several large telescopes and give a "guided tour" of the night skies. Admission is free, but call 725-5618 to make sure that bad weather hasn't resulted in a cancellation.
Today is the federal holiday commemorating the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.--he would have been 60 on January 15. In honor of the occasion, the Chicago Historical Society screens the 1968 CBS documentary I Have a Dream, featuring important footage from the 1950s and '60s. Screenings are at 11 and 2 today in the museum's auditorium, Clark Street at North Avenue. Admission is free, more information at 642-4600.
Other activities commemorating Dr. King's birthday include an 11 AM ceremony at the University of Chicago's Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn, featuring music by the chapel choir and the Children and Youth Choir of the Redeeming Church of Christ (free; more information at 702-8360); the opening performance of the play Yours Truly, Simple at 7 PM at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Theater, 2010 Dewey in Evanston, at 7 PM (tickets are $7-$9; call 328-4540 or 328-5740 for reservations); and the WYCC TV (Channel 20) broadcast of the PBS documentary Martin Luther King: The Dream on Hold at 9 PM.
Governor Thompson has proclaimed this India Month in Illinois. An exhibit commemorating the centennial of the birth of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, is on display at the State of Illinois Center atrium, 100 W. Randolph, through January 20; hours are 6:30 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday. Today at noon, a program of Indian folk dances will be presented; a show of Bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance) is scheduled for January 20 at the same time. It's all free. For more information call 917-4937.
Lisa Ebright, a successful Chicago photographer, has made a practice of documenting her U.S. and overseas travels in pictures that display a sense of her diverse subjects' personalities. The People Down Under, an exhibit of photos chronicling her visits to Sydney and Perth, Australia, is on display through February 6 at the Skokie Public Library, 5215 Oakton in Skokie. The library is open 9 to 9 Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 Saturday, and 1 to 5 Sunday. A series of films, slide shows, and live performances on Australian themes is also planned. It's all free. Call 673-7774 for more information.
Irene Siegel was the focus of considerable controversy a couple of years back when some neighborhood residents found a mural she was creating for the Conrad Sulzer Regional Library offensive and tried to have it removed. Siegel is one of several panelists at Shut Up! . . . First Amendment and Artists' Rights, a free forum at noon at the Columbia College Ferguson Memorial Theater, 600 S. Michigan. Joining Siegel will be Jay Miller, a card-carrying member of the ACLU (director of its Illinois chapter, in fact); attorney Clarence S. Wilson Jr., immediate past president of Lawyers for the Creative Arts; and Sherry B. Goodman, president of the Chicago Access Corporation, the independent agency that promotes community involvement in nonprofit cable-TV programming. For more information call 663-1600, ext. 421.
In the 1970s, "Hong Kong cinema" was a euphemism for tacky, two-dimensional kung-fu flicks. But a new generation began taking over the industry in the 1980s--craftsmen such as Jackie Chan, whose distinctive screen persona and flair for death-defying comic stunts have won him comparison to Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton. Chan's 1985 melodrama Police Story, featuring a dazzling, extended chase sequence, is screened at 6 tonight at the Film Center of the School of the Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, as the opening attraction of the center's series of Hong Kong films, "The Cinema Explodes!" The film will be followed by a discussion of the Hong Kong genre by Jenny Lau, an expert on Chinese cinema. Tickets are $5; more information at 443-3733.