The Irish rarely pass up an opportunity to party, which is why the American Friends of Irish Music are throwing the Halfway to Saint Pat's Day Fest this weekend at Navy Pier. Seven groups will provide rock, jazz, and Irish folk music. Other forms of entertainment will include an attempt to dye Lake Michigan green, competitions in spark plug changing and potato throwing, a mixed-gender best legs contest, and other nonsense. All this happens 4 to midnight tonight, noon to midnight Saturday, and noon to 9 Sunday. $5 admission; more at 728-2995.
The house is one of the first things children draw; home is an image basic to art, which may explain why there are 35 artists exhibiting work in the Missouri Gallery's House Show. The participating artists are also compiling a background tape of, uh, house music. The show opens 7 to 9 tonight at the gallery, 1922-32 S. Halsted, and continues through October 31. Gallery hours are 1 to 6 Wednesday through Saturday, or by appointment. Free; call 733-7033 for info.
Chicagoan Jane Addams presided over what is now the world's oldest women's peace group--the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom--from its start, in 1915, to 1935. Addams was blacklisted for her work with the league; she also won the Nobel Peace Prize. Now three other Chicagoans--Jeanne Kracher, Barbara Laing, and Linda Balek--have put together a film documentary about WILPF. Crossing Borders: The Story of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom uses archival footage and new interviews with members to tell the group's history. It shows tonight at 5 at Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton. WILPF member Elisabeth Linder, whose son Ben was the first U.S. volunteer to be killed by contras in Nicaragua, will speak at the screening. Proceeds go to Woman to Woman, a campaign to support women's groups in El Salvador and Nicaragua. Tickets run $10-$25; more at 769-8079.
"The role of the calypsonian is to inform people, to be the mouthpiece of the underprivileged," claims the Mighty Sparrow, a calypso singer from Trinidad. "Whenever you see him playing the simple role of entertainer, it's because he's biding his time." Sparrow and other Caribbean musicians will try to inform and entertain at Caribbean Musicfest '87. The jammin' starts tonight at the East of the Ryan Ballroom, 914 E. 79th St., and continues tomorrow night at the Park West, 322 W. Armitage. Tickets are $17.50 a night and are available at several locations; 873-1060 for details.
How can you resist a "hike over a floating mat of sphagnum moss to discover insect-eating plants"? A ranger from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will lead the Pinhook Bog Hike, starting at 9:30 this morning; it leaves from the Visitor Center, on Kemil Road about six miles west of Porter, Indiana. Free, but reservations are required; make 'em at (219) 926-7561.
One artist, 26 Uptown day campers, and several youth workers created the mural that now stands at 941 W. Lawrence. Today the public can come help name it at the Peoples Church of Chicago mural dedication, 2 to 4:30 at the church; the title selected and its originator's name will be added to the mural. Postcards and greeting cards designed from the mural will be for sale; the artist, C. Drew, designed them in hopes of raising money to revive the temporarily closed Uptown Visual and Performing Arts Center. Refreshments will be served. Free; info at 271-8421.
Competitors at the second annual South Suburb Ribfest fire up their grills at 1 PM today in the main parking lot of the Sheraton Homewood Inn, 17400 S. Halsted. Entrance is limited to amateur cooks, who must pay $20 to test their skills; everybody else gets in free. Plenty o' BBQ, corn on the cob, drinks, and desserts will be for sale. Call Bob Vitt at 798-8479 for more info.
Learn to identify various umbrella-shaped fruiting bodies of certain fungi at the Morton Arboretum's class Introduction to Mushrooms. The first of seven classes--which also cover the ecology and structure of the mushroom--starts today, 9:30 to noon at the arboretum, on Route 53 in Lisle. Tuition is $42, $35 for arboretum members. More learned students of the fungus can take Intermediate Mushroom Identification, which will focus on the finer points of classification. The five-session class starts tonight, 7:30 to 9:30, same place, and costs $23.50, $19.50 for members. Register at 719-2468.
One way of making films is to take footage from other sources--newsreels, commercials, and old B-movies--and restructure it through editing and sound work. A Program of Found Footage Films shows today at 4:15 at the Film Center, School of the Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. Admission is free; 443-3737 for details.
Can a document written 200 years ago by a group of white men be fairly interpreted to apply to such modern issues as drug testing, abortion, and pornography? Thursday, the U.S. Constitution turns two centuries old; tonight, lawyer Sarah Weddington, who at age 26 argued the Roe v. Wade case legalizing abortion, discusses The Constitution: How Its Principles Apply to Today's Controversies. She'll also trace how minorities and women have fought to amend the document over the past 200 years. The talk starts at 7:30 at Harper College, Algonquin and Roosevelt roads, Palatine, room J143. Admission is $3, $2 for Harper students; 397-3000.
When Pope John XXIII was elected in 1958 at the age of 77, "it was thought he would be a jolly interim pope," says Eugene Kennedy, a psychology professor at Loyola University. Instead, says Kennedy, John modernized the Catholic Church and its mission, "and in doing so, changed the world." Kennedy has channeled his interest in the pope into a one-man television play, I Would Be Called John: Pope John XXIII, the premiere of which airs tonight 9 to 10:30 and again tomorrow 2 to 3:30 PM, on Channel 11. Not incidentally, 1987 marks the 25th anniversary of Vatican II. Charles Durning plays the pope; 670-2860 for info.
Master rug weavers can tie between 10,000 and 14,000 knots a day, which means it can take more than ten months for five men to make a 9-by-12-foot rug. Four master weavers from India do some weaving and display their wares today through Wednesday, September 23, at Oscar Isberian Rugs, 1028 Chicago Ave., Evanston. Hours are 11 to 9 weekdays, 9:30 to 6 Saturday, and noon to 6 Sunday. Free admission; details at 475-0010.
When it was launched in 1958, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald was the longest and fastest freighter ever to traverse the Great Lakes, and it could carry more than one million tons of cargo. On November 10, 1975, it disappeared into Lake Superior during a storm, leaving no survivors. Minneapolis playwright Steven Dietz's play Ten November chronicles the event in a combination of drama, story telling, and original folk music. Man November runs tonight through November 1 at the Wisdom Bridge Theatre, 1559 W. Howard. Tickets run $18-$22; check the Reader's Guide to Theater in section two for performance times and preview information. Box office: 743-6000.
How can the Chicago Housing Authority improve the quality of life for its more than 150,000 tenants? Or ease relations between CHA tenants and their non-CHA neighbors? Is tenant management a good idea or not? Talk up these and other hot issues at What's Next for the Chicago Housing Authority?, a panel discussion sponsored by To Reshape Urban Systems Together Inc. and the Chicago Bar Association. It meets noon to 2 today at the Dearborn Station Atrium, 47 W. Polk, mezzanine. Admission is $2, 50 cents for seniors and students; feel free to bring a lunch. For info, call 782-3511.