Poetry slam regular Lawrence Tyler, says a friend, "insisted on reading his lonely poems. Night after night at a half dozen poetry bars he read them over and over again." Something had to be done, and finally it was decided--there'd be a special poetry slam, and the grand prize would be a date with the mope. Three nights of competition and about 18 contestants finally produced a winner--or rather two winners. Jeannine Deubel and Cindy Salach go on their Dream Date With Lawrence Tyler (actually just another excuse for them to perform their poetry) tonight. It's open to the public at no fewer than four locations, beginning at 7:30 with a few poems at the Bop Shop, 1807 W. Division; there's no cover. From there, date and entourage go to the evening's main event--a special poetry performance featuring all placing poems from the dream date slam and Tyler's original loneliness opus as well--at the Eccentric restaurant, 159 W. Erie. (They'll be there around 9:30; organizers suggest making dinner reservations.) Plans also include some dancing at Cairo, 720 N. Wells ($5 cover), and a midnight poetry reading at the Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, home of the Uptown Poetry Slam. Call 278-7237 for details.
Country-folkie Darden Smith, most recently of Austin, Texas, isn't doing anything really modern--he's most comfortable espousing a relatively enlightened country style, and even at his poppiest (on a bouncy number like "Frankie & Sue") he achieves a 70s sound reminiscent of the Sanford-Townsend Band's "Smoke From a Distant Fire." But he has an intimate, cozy way with a melody--the one on the shimmering "2,000 Years," for example, efficiently overwhelms the song's kinda dumb apocalyptic visions--and his newest album, Trouble No More, is questioning, calm, and likeable. Smith plays at 10 tonight in an acoustic performance, accompanied only by percussionist Paul Pearcy, in the intimate confines of Schubas, 3159 N. Southport. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12.50 at the door. Call 525-2508 or 559-1212.
The modern DJ is part music mixer, part turntable king, part acrobat--in other words, an artist in his (or her) own right. The records become subordinate, and finally beside the point, as the person behind the console scratches, twirls, bangs, and slams the discs and records around. You can hear some of the most flamboyant DJs in the world at the American Disc Jockey Mixing Championships, held in Chicago this year at the Riviera Night Club, 4746 N. Racine. Eight semifinalists from the four American regionals will compete to represent the U.S. at the world finals in London next month. The show starts at 8 PM and should go late; admission is $12 in advance, $15 at the door. It's open to all ages. Call 769-6300 for details.
A dancer, an actor, a percussionist, a cellist, the contemporary wind ensemble Cube, the Cubist Chorus, and "neon sculpture, freely movable" are the components of Naked Neon, an evening of music and dance organized by Cube. The evening's main event is the world premiere of C Factory, a performance piece created, choreographed, and composed by Florida sculptor Richard Santiago, choreographer Susan Bradford, and Cube's own Janice Misurell Mitchell; also on the agenda are William Doerrfeld's Naked Men Music and John Cage's Child of Tree, a work for "percussionist and plants." At Dancespace, on the eighth floor of the Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan, at 8 tonight. Tickets are $9 and $7. Call 536-4181 for details.
SuperCamp is a ten-day summer camp that tries to make learning fun while boosting kids' self-esteem. It's based in Oceanside, California, with eight camps sprinkled across the country; today the one in Lake Forest is offering a free one-day seminar for teenagers and their parents. Besides an introduction to the program (presumably a thinly disguised sales pitch), SuperCamp promises an intensive workshop on memory and note taking. It runs from 1 to 4 at the Lake Forest Academy's Keller Chapel, 1500 W. Kennedy Road in Lake Forest. Call 800-527-5321 for reservations or for more information.
While it's true that a few of the worst movies (Out of Africa comes to mind) and worst performances (Richard Dreyfuss in The Goodbye Girl, say) ever committed to celluloid have been granted Oscars, at least most members of the academy don't have contempt for the medium that enriches them (like the record-industry pudding brains that vote on Grammys). Plus Myrna Loy is being granted an honorary award this year. Tonight's benefit for the Chicago Film Festival ought to be a nice setting for hobnobbing with film people while keeping a jaundiced eye on the awards. $75 ($50 for Cinema/Chicago members) gets you drinks, a buffet dinner, and bunches of monitors to watch tonight's awards and highlights from past shows (our favorite is Bernardo Bertolucci saying, "New York may be the Big Apple, but L.A.--it's the big nipple!") Things get under way at 7 at Montgomery Ward's Electric Avenue, 825 W. North. Call 644-3400.
If your reaction to the Academy Awards is "Film, schmilm!" and you think Sylvester Stallone movies have too much dialogue, check out Blue Planet, the new offering at the Museum of Science and Industry's Omnimax Theater. It's a 42-minute extravaganza of erupting volcanoes, ocean and desert storms, and landscapes filmed from space, all projected onto the theater's 76-feet-in-diameter domed screen. The film shows hourly from 10 to 3 weekdays, 10 to 4 Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. The museum is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive; tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for children under 12. Call 684-1414.
In the striking, otherworldly music of Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares you can hear many things--the cry of the Arabic muezzin, Gregorian chants, traditional Western folk songs, and gospel choirs. "Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares" is the recently adopted recording and touring name for a number of Bulgarian choirs, notably the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir; the ensembles are made up of "untrained" rural singers whose vocal traditions have been handed down informally from generation to generation. The choirs, says producer Marcel Cellier, "are one of the few positive results of the [Bulgarian] postwar regime's social and cultural policy." Originally formed in the early 50s, the groups have come to attention over the past 15 years in Western Europe and America through a series of recordings; with their second, 1987 release they became something of a phenomenon. Though the graces of the Old Town School of Folk Music, the main choir (the BSRTFVC) appears tonight at Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan, at 8. Tickets are $12.50- $25; box seats are $30. Call 525-7793, 435-6666, or 902-1919 for details.
Earache Control Z, Clok Wyz, Charles "Black Elvis" Caston, and Earl Talbot are the members of Crunch-O-Matic, a futuristic dance aggregation who pump out a heavily sampled and sequenced melange of what they describe as "industrial-house-acid-funk-noise." The band comes out of the Chicago video scene: Crunch-O-Matic also run the H-Gun video production group, and Earache Control Z is actually Eric Zimmerman, who has helped edit and direct videos for acts like Nine Inch Nails and Ministry, even garnering a nomination for best video director from Billboard last year. Such a background makes it easy for the group to pull stunts like filming their first video--for the song "Antiplastik"--before the song itself was recorded. Crunch-O-Matic celebrates the release of its first album, Caution: Do Not Play, on local Smash Records, at Cabaret Metro, 3730 N. Clark, tonight at 10. Also on the bill are Grand Wizard K-Lite, DJ P. Lee Fresh, and videos and films from H-Gun. It's $6; you have to be 18 to get in. Call 549-0203 for details.