The University of Illinois at Chicago's wide-ranging celebration of American Indian History Month marks Illinois American Indian Day with a reading by N. Scott Momaday, author of The House Made of Dawn, at 7 this evening in Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted. It's free, with details on this and the month's activities at 413-5070.
Harpsichordist Roger Goodman presents a benefit concert for Chicago House, a residence for people with AIDS, at 8 tonight at the Church of the Ascension, 1133 N. LaSalle. Works by Bach, Couperin, Vivaldi (with David Schrader at the second harpsichord), and Scarlatti will be performed, along with the local debut of Mona Lyn Reese's Tombeau for Michael Collins. Tickets are $25; 248-5200.
The Jimi Hendrix Information Management Institute (JIMl) hosts JIMIFest, an all-ages show featuring bass player Billy Cox, at 8 tonight at Cabaret Metro, 3730 N. Clark. Cox met Hendrix when they were in the Army in 1961, played a couple of years with him before fame struck, and rejoined him in 1969 when the Band of Gypsys came together; tonight's show marks the debut of Cox's album The First Rays of the New Rising Sun and also provides JIMI with the opportunity to display its mobile museum of Hendrixiana. Info on JIMI at 296-2268, on the show at 549-0203.
The 17th annual Pilsen East Artists' Open House and Studio Sale will run from noon to dusk today and tomorrow in the blocks surrounding 18th and South Halsted (free parking at that corner and under the expressway). The self-guided tour is free; you get to browse through artists' work (sculpture, ceramics, painting, jewelry, lithography, graphics, fabrics, clothing), studios, homes, and backyards, as well as get a feel for this very charming community. Refreshments will be sold; all events will retreat indoors in the event of rain. Details at 738-0786.
The Peace Museum's new children's exhibit, Play Fair, focuses on cooperation, communication, and conflict resolution--serious stuff that passes as fun in the form of several hands-on activities and games. The exhibit opens today from noon to 5 and continues through January 31 at 430 W. Erie, Admission is $2.50 cents for students and seniors; 440-1860.
The Express-Ways Children's Museum will launch a kabillion bubbles and fill your children's heads with thoughts lighter than air at its fund-raiser Bubbles, Balloons, and Inflated Ideas, to be held from 12:30 to 4:30 today at the State of Illinois Center, 100 W. Randolph. A half dozen bubbleologists will be on hand (including an 88-year-old fellow named Eiffel Plasterer, who has spent 45 years in scientific exploration of the evanescent orbs), and there will be a silent auction, a concert with opportunities for audience participation, jugglers, and lots more. Tix include lunch and party favors: $30 for adults, $15 for kids, free for the under-two set. Reservations at 281-3222.
The North Suburban Lubavitch Chabad is sponsoring a model shofar factory from 1 to 4 this afternoon at the Young Mens Jewish Council, 800 Clavey Road in Highland Park. The shofar, made from the horns of various animals, is sounded during prayer services on the day of Rosh Hashanah. There will be a slide presentation and a demonstration of shofar making, with special arts and crafts activities for kids. $2 admission, with information at 433-1567 or 433-8270.
More kids' stuff at the 67th Street Children's Book Fair, which will be held from 1 to 5 on 57th in the block between Kenwood and Kimbark and is sponsored by 57th Street Books. Curious George and the Wizard of Oz will be on hand for the fun, as will several book authors, a computer that will transcribe kids' stories into books, a puppeteer, storytellers, and more. Free; 684-1300 for details.
Both the author and her subject will be on hand for a book signing party for Kitty Baldwin Weese's book Harry Weese Houses, 5:30-7:30 at the ArchiCenter, 330 S. Dearborn (brief comments from the two will be made at 5:45). Info at 326-1393.
If you drop by the Children's Bookstore, 2465 N. Lincoln, at 10:45 this morning, you will encounter a rather unusual political event: presidential candidate Senator Paul Simon being grilled by 16 student journalists about where he stands on issues of concern to them. This is meant to be the first of a series of press conferences: Jesse Jackson, Michael Dukakis, Joseph Biden, Albert Gore, and Robert Dole have expressed interest but are being a little shy about committing. Perhaps they're waiting to see how Simon survives the ordeal. The kids will get some training from news professionals, but will make up their own questions. Free; however, if you buy any books while you're there, it will benefit kids at Cabrini-Green. More at 248-2665.
WFMT's Steve Reeder interviews composer Philip Glass at 2 this afternoon in Preston Bradley Hall at the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. The occasion is the Lyric Opera's staging of Glass's Satyagraha, which opened last night and will be performed October 1, 6, 9, 14, 17, and 23 at the Civic Opera House ($10.75-$71.50, 332-2244 to check on turned-back tickets). The piece is set in South Africa and is about Gandhi's nonviolent resistance, with the text of the libretto adapted from the Bhagavad Gita and sung in Sanskrit (for those who elected to take Urdu instead of Sanskrit in high school, the Lyric will project the text in English). The talk is free, with details at 346-3278.
The Boitsov Classical Ballet Council is presenting a Russian Tea from 4:30 to 7:30 today in the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Tea will be served from great samovars, dainty comestibles will accompany it, and the Boitsov Classical Ballet will pirouette their stuff; there will also be music, displays of Russian arts and crafts, and an air of pre-Revolution elegance. The tea is a benefit for the troupe, which aims to establish itself as a resident professional classical ballet company in Chicago, under the direction of Russian emigre Elizabeth Boitsov. $35, with reservations at 663-0844.
The Shedd Aquarium is quite tickled with itself for netting Gary Larson: The Far Side of Science, an exhibit of cartoons about the natural world as seen from the perspective of a wild and crazy guy. More than 300 cartoons will be on display at the aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, opening today from 10 to 5 and continuing through November 30. Admission is $2, $1 for kids 6 to 17, 50 cents for seniors, free for all on Thursdays. Fish feeding occurs daily at 11 and 2; more at 939-2426.
Stormfield Theatre and Pegasus Players present the world premiere of John Logan's Snow, a play about the Russian Revolution that requires 17 actors to play more than 50 roles (Logan is also the author of Never the Sinner and Hauptmann, plays that also premiered at Stormfield and which have garnered a couple of awards each). Previews start at 8 tonight and end October 6, with tickets at $7, $4 for students and seniors; the play opens at 7 PM October 7 and continues through November 8, with tix at $10-$12, $6-$8 for students and seniors. The play will be staged in the O'Rourke Center for the Performing Arts, 1145 W. Wilson; 271-2638 for information.