The Photographs of Roy DeCarava, an exhibit spanning the photographer's 40-year career, opens today and continues through May 2 at the Edwynn Houk Gallery, 200 W. Superior. DeCarava won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1952 -- the first black artist so honored. The gallery, which specializes in 20th-century photographs, is open from 10 to 5, Tuesday-Saturday; more at 943-0698.
An exhibit of work by another prominent black photographer, Moneta Sleet Jr., opens today, 9 to 6, at the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. A photojournalist whose work documents the civil rights movement, Sleet won a Pulitzer in 1969 for his photograph of Coretta Scott King at her husband's funeral. Free; 346-3278.
Independent producer Marlon Riggs will present and discuss his recent documentaries Ethnic Notions (1986) and Long Train Running: The Story of the Oakland Blues (1983) at 8 tonight in Ferguson Theatre at Columbia College, 600 S. Michigan. Ethnic Notions, which looks at the interplay between popular culture and racial tension, was recently named best documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival and took first prize at the Black American Cinema Society Idependent Filmmaker Awards. Admission is $5, $3 for members of the Center for New Television, DuSable Museum, and Blacklight; 565-1787.
The North Central Name Society holds its seventh annual Names Institute from 9 to 5 at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton. Disquisitions on midwestern place names, street names in Reykjavik, and place-name suffixes such as "-ville" and "-ford" are among the more expectable topics; the jackalope -- familiar to all western tourists and a particular favorite of mine -- will also be the subject of scholarly scrutiny, as will the words "crap" and "sodomy." $2; more at 943-9090.
Triton College's State of the Arts festival presents a of technological treats today that includes lots of electronic equipment, several human beings, and interaction between the two. The latter will be the focus when Amy Osgood dances with robots at 12:30 and 2:30 in the Technology Building Robotics Lab. Among the other events planned are a holography workshop at 10:30 AM, performance and dance workshops, a lecture demo on computer music, video pieces by ten artists, a sound Sculpture and discussion thereof, a talk on computers in architecture, and more. The college is at 2000 Fifth Avenue in River Grove; more at 456-0300.
The chichi Convito Italiano kicks off a six-month celebration of Italian cities with a slide lecture by Robert Loescher titled Aesthetics and the Food and Wine of the Renaissance at 4 PM at the store, 11 E. Chestnut. Loescher, who teaches art history at the Art Institute, is apparently also a noted raconteur, wit, and gastronome; the chat will be followed by sampling of Tuscan wine and antipasti. Free, but reservations are required: 943-2746.
Don Baum has invited more than 70 Chicago artists to participate in Artagogo, a benefit for the Hyde Park Art Center that will be held from 4 to 7 this evening, 1701 E. 53rd. Work by the likes of Phyllis Bramson, Roger Brown, Susanne Doremus, Virginio Ferrari, Deven Golden, Mr. Imagination, Michiko Itatani, Mark Jackson, Vera Klement, Dennis Kowalski, Paul Lamantia, Alice Shaddle, Hollis Sigler, Karl Wirsum, Ray Yoshida, and Mary Lou Zelasny will be for sale, some of them at a silent auction. Admission is $20, which includes champagne and hors d'oeuvres. More at 324-5520.
You may be a little low on ready cash after donating to the Save Oral Robberts Fund and the PTL Club (this is not to even mention the possibility that you've blown a fortune on Capodimonte figurines peddled on the home-shopping channel -- watching TV is clearly not the bargain it used to be), but the admission charge ($3, $2 for members) for tonight's SubGenius Old Time Tent Devival is cheap at half the price. Michael Flores, the Pope of All Chicago, is guaranteed to be offensive, the Midwest All-Zombie Choir will sing, and guest Del Close will act as straight man to Flores starting at 8 PM at the 950 Club, 950 W. Wrightwood. More at 248-4823.
Ravenswood Hospital, in conjunction with the New York Times (an interesting ploy, with obvious intentions), is sponsoring a Good Health Fair from 5 to 9 PM, 4550 N. Winchester. The ever sensible Jane E. Brody, author of the Personal Health column that appears in the Times and the Chicago Tribune, will discuss diet, Ravenswood's Dr. Keith Block will speak on nutrition and preventing disease, and there will be lots of tests and demos given. $5 per individual or family; check on availability of tix at 878-4300, ext. 1455.
Calvin Trillin, an antidote to healthy food if there ever was one, will give a talk provocatively titled "Midwestern Jews: Making Chopped Liver With Miracle Whip" at 8 tonight at the Bernard Horwich/Mayer Kaplan JCC, 3003 W. Touhy, Chicago. $10; 761-9100, ext. 313.
The Rococo Rodeo presents Kenn L.D. Frandsen's 4 V/4 W (Monologue for 4 Voices + 4 Walkmans) at 8 tonight and Mondays throughout April at Club Dreamerz, 1516 N. Milwaukee. Cage meets Dada: four actors will repeat lines that they are hearing for the first time through their Walkmans, without being able to hear each other; they rotate parts each week. $3; more at 227-9638.
The Film Center adjourns to the Fine Arts Theatre, 418 S. Michigan, for a special screening at 7:30 of a definitive copy of the 1922 horror classic, F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu. It's based on Bram Stoker's Dracula and is considered a masterwork of the German expressionist cinema. Dr. Enno Patalas, who assembled this copy from footage gathered around the world, will speak on this in particular and preservation in general; organist Dennis James will accompany the screening. $8, $6 for Film Center and Art Institute members; 443-3733.
The Merrill Lynch Dance Series at the Goodman winds up for good this week with Garth Fagan's Bucket Dance Theatre, a company begun in the inner city in Rochester, New. York. Performances begin tonight at 7:30 and run through Saturday; 200 S. Columbus. Tickets run $17-$23; more information at 443-3800.
Rollin' features actors Ronald Smokey Stevens and Jaye Stewart as two black vaudevillians on a train ride between engagements: they perform comedy sketches, songs, dances, and the work of Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks. The show's opening, which is at 8 tonight at Amethyst, 6230 N. Broadway, is a benefit for the International Black Writers Conference. Tickets for all performances are $10, more at 262-0916.
Atlantic Monthly's recent article on AIDS among heterosexuals asserts that "if fears, federal funds, and education alone are sufficient to alter people's most private habits, it will be for the first time ever. . . . It can't hurt to think of the virus as having an intelligence, and a commitment to survival, that exceeds that of many people." Tonight, Limelight combines public service with entertainment: the Chicago premiere of the video Missy's Guide to Safe Sex is planned, Missy's Safe Sex Sampler will be for sale, staff from the Howard Brown Memorial Clinic will answer questions, and more. The fun starts at 9; $5, with details at 337-2985.
A videotape of the Brazilian documentary titled Church of Liberation, made in 1985 and just released in this country, will be shown at 7:30 tonight in DePaul's Schmitt Academic Center, 2323 N. Seminary. Professors Bonganjalo Goba of the Chicago Theological School and Charles Strain of DePaul will discuss the film, which explores the transformation of the Catholic Church into an activist force and proponent of human rights in Latin America. More at 702-8420.