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Friday 7/20 - Thursday 7/26

JULY

20 FRIDAY As founder of the venerable Players Workshop, Josephine Raciti Forsberg has influenced actors from Bonnie Hunt to Bill Murray and supplied Second City, Saturday Night Live, and Hollywood with a slew of performers and directors. Tomorrow Forsberg will be the first recipient of an eponymous annual achievement award for her work "as a mentor, teacher, and inspiration in the field of comedy and the performing arts." An interview and Q&A session with Forsberg takes place from 5:30 to 7 tonight as part of Funny Women Fest 2001, which runs through Sunday at the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, 777 N. Green. The Q&A is $5, as is a similar event tomorrow night with Amy Seham, author of Whose Improv Is It Anyway?: Beyond Second City. For more info on performances and workshops, see www.funnywomenfest.com or call 312-327-2000.

Was the recent furor over Alice Randall's The Wind Done Gone--her retelling of Gone With the Wind from an African-American point of view--due to censorship or copyright issues? Apparently the Poetry Center believes it's the former. It's copresenting a reading and discussion with Randall tonight in honor of Poetry Center founder Paul Carroll, whose own First Amendment battle "erupted when he published Big Table." The first issue of that magazine--parts of which were to appear in the winter 1959 Chicago Review until it was suppressed by the University of Chicago--contained excerpts from William S. Burroughs's Naked Lunch and Jack Kerouac's Old Angel Midnight and was seized by the post office as obscene. Randall, like Carroll, eventually won her court battle; she'll discuss her work tonight at 6:30 at the Chicago Historical Society, 1601 N. Clark. Tribune reporter Patrick Reardon will moderate the Q&A. Admission is $10; call 312-899-1229.

High priest of hip Oscar Brown Jr. and one of his daughters, musician Maggie Brown, have dubbed their series of performances at the South Shore Cultural Center "A Family Affair." The pair will perform music by Scott Joplin, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, and others, set to lyrics by Brown the elder. They'll be joined by Africa Pace Brown (Maggie's sister) and the vocal quartet Tre Jour. Performances are tonight and Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 3 in the Paul Robeson Theater at the SSCC, 7059 S. South Shore Drive. Tickets are $20 ($12 for children under 12 and seniors); call 312-747-2442.

21 SATURDAY It's Alive is not a horror movie but a Jellyeye Drum Theatre performance "designed specifically for the HotHouse stage." The first half will feature the drum-and-dance ensemble onstage in a band setting. Then the group members will put on their costumes and perform their signature pieces Blood Lotus and Curve in the venue's gallery space, with the audience encircling them. The program also includes a solo performance by artistic director Shu Shubat and a set by Kevin O'Donnell's Quality Six. Performances are tonight and tomorrow at 8 at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo (312-362-9707). Tickets are $15.

22 SUNDAY One of the goals of today's free Plazas de Mexico arts festival is to blur the distinction between classical and popular music. The event will feature a "petting zoo" of musical instruments and performances by students from Telpochcalli Elementary School and Benito Juarez High School--as well as collaborations between the Chicago Symphony Orchestra String Ensemble and Raices Percussion Ensemble, and between the CSO Brass Ensemble and Sones de Mexico. At 6 the CSO, conducted by Daniel Barenboim, will perform music by Spanish, Mexican, and Argentine composers. It's from 11 to 8 at Harrison Park, 19th and Damen. Call 312-294-3000 for more information.

23 MONDAY It's not easy to make Lars von Trier's 1996 film Breaking the Waves look like a picnic on the beach, but that's what one critic has said Jean-Pierre Ameris' 1999 film Bad Company does. It's about a fragile, innocent 14-year-old girl in a provincial French town who hooks up with the wrong crowd and ends up putty in the hands of a handsome ne'er-do-well out to finance a trip to Jamaica. It opened Friday and screens through Thursday night at 7 and 9 at Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton (773-281-4114). Tickets are $7.

24 TUESDAY In 1990 Jim Toner was a Peace Corps volunteer in war-torn Sri Lanka when his semiestranged father decided to pay him a surprise visit. "I didn't invite him," writes Toner. "The idea was all my father's, my seventy-four-year-old father who had never been outside America and who suddenly thought that Sri Lanka...would be a jolly place to visit." How the pair got to know each other over the monthlong stay--and how dad learned to wear a sarong and eat with his fingers--is detailed in the younger Toner's new memoir, Serendib. He'll discuss his book tonight at 6 at the Savvy Traveller, 310 S. Michigan. It's free; call 312-913-9800.

25 WEDNESDAY The libretto for Sean Guinan's experimental sci-fi film Flipping the Whale explains that in act one, "The five whalers of the good ship 'Lion's Abode' embark upon their journey to that mythic ocean which is no ocean at all, but the idyllic neighborhood where all mankind spent its childhood...the Ravenswood," referring to the neighborhood where the movie was shot. The surrealist black-and-white film, which won the award for best feature at this year's Lake Arrowhead International Film Festival (and which Reader critic Ted Shen called "a beguiling, maddening melange"), will be shown tonight at 11 on CAN-TV Channel 19. Call 312-944-5907 for more information.

26 THURSDAY Thisbe Nissen's debut novel, The Good People of New York, opens in the summer of 1970, when a party host throws the key to her fifth-floor walk-up down to a man and a woman who've just met on the stoop. The earnest, workaholic lawyer from Omaha and the New York Jew with the "crazy ostrich legs and excruciatingly bright and irrevocably short Marimekko minidress" end up falling in love--for a while anyway. The story is inspired by Nissen's parents' own courtship, though her father is actually from Michigan's Upper Peninsula--and is still married to her mother. Nissen, an NYC native who now lives in Iowa City, will read from and discuss her book tonight at 7:30 at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells (312-642-5044). It's free.

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