"After Hours: Films at the Field" kicks off the second half of its fall season with the first of three free Chinese films: In the Wild Mountains, a 1986 comedy about two couples dealing with China's economic reforms. The screening begins at 6 in the Simpson Theatre, but the museum's After Hours Cafe opens at 4:30 if filmgoers want to come early. The Field Museum of Natural History is on Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive. Call 322-8854 for more information.
Since 1949, the Contemporary Art Workshop in Lincoln Park has been spotlighting new Chicago artists. The tradition continues tonight with a season-opening exhibition by painter Don Wacker Asher and sculptor Roger Colombik. There will be a reception between 5:30 and 9 at the gallery, 542 W. Grant Place. It is, of course, free. For more information, call 472-4004.
Father George Clements's dramatic efforts to find families to adopt black babies helped focus attention on the need for more adoptive parents. But there are many more black babies looking for new homes. Adoption workers will bring ten of them to meet adoptive and foster parents at two Discover Adoption Talk-a-thons today from 1 to 3 at the Conrad Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln, and the Carter Woodson Regional Library, 9525 S. Halsted. There will be similar meetings at nearly 50 libraries throughout Illinois. The annual gatherings, which are intended to help the hundreds of babies waiting for permanent homes, are coordinated by the Adoption Information Center of Illinois. Call 1-800-572-2390 for more information. There's no admission fee.
In Jamaica alone, Hurricane Gilbert left 37 dead, more than 500,000 people homeless, and virtually destroyed the already precarious economy. North Shore and suburban churches have declared this Hurricane Relief Day and encourage parishioners to bring canned foods and other tax-deductible donations to today's services, If you're not much of a churchgoer but want to donate clothes, medical supplies, or anything else to the effort, drop off your contribution at the Caribbean Bakery, 1551 W. Howard, between 10 AM and 10 PM any day of the week. For more information, call Fred Wellington, north-side coordinator of the Jamaican Hurricane Relief Committee, at 491-2199 or 328-3021.
"We were founded 130 years ago in France, at the time of Karl Marx," says Sister Mary Stanislaus about the Society of Helpers, the order of radically generous Catholic nuns to which she belongs; Sister Mary and the other nuns at the New Town convent work with the poor and the dispossessed. Some of their generosity can be reciprocated when the nuns host the 18th annual Fall Fest, featuring a cash drawing, a gourmet sale, and Christmas bargains. There's no admission charge, sale items range in price from just cents to about $50. Proceeds will benefit the convent's elderly and ill Sisters. The fest runs from 1 to 4 at 303 W. Barry. For more, call 248-0886.
Every time the Rolling Stones go on tour, there are rumors that it'll be the last time. And when the rumors start, there's always talk about how Charlie Watts--who dreams of being a great jazz drummer--is the glue holding together the Glimmer Twins and the other boys in the band. Charlie Is My Darling, a rockumentary of the Stones' 1965 tour of Ireland, refuted the early breakup stories and poked a little fun at Watts. It also features a performance by the late, great Brian Jones. The Psychotronic Film Society presents this rare rock classic at 8 tonight at Club Dreamerz, 1517 N. Milwaukee. Also on the bill are rare, uncut cartoons from the 1930s, including Betty Boop for President, and "banned" commercials such as Pink Floyd's Dole-banana spot. Admission is $3, free to PFS members. Call 248-4823 for more.
Busy, prolific Philip Glass unveils his newest collaborative project, 1000 Airplanes on the Roof, in tonight's midwest premiere. The story of the encounter of an earthling--played by alternating male and female actors--and extraterrestrials, the production features David Henry Hwang's written text, Jerome Sirlin's photographic projections, and Glass in his directorial debut (though he won't be present for these performances). The Philip Glass Ensemble plays the music. Curtain time is 7:30 tonight, tomorrow, and Wednesday at Centre East, 7701 N. Lincoln in Skokie. Tickets are $18, $22, and $24 and are available at the box office (673-6300) and through TicketMaster (902-1500).
Now Spaces, New Faces is A.R.C. Gallery's debut show in its new space west of the river, where many of the not-for-profit River North galleries are resettling. The exhibition features 17 Illinois artists including Lynne Brown, who manipulates reality in her color photographs. The show runs through October 29. Other concurrent exhibitions at A.R.C. include Beth Turks "Spider Art," recent paintings by Leo Gruzca, and "Perspectives on Peace," a group show. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 to 5, at 1040 W. Huron. A free reception for the artists will be held Friday, October 7, from 5 to 8. For more, call 733-2787.
Since today's baby-sitting rates are about $3 an hour, parents expect a lot more of baby-sitters than they used to. In addition to knowing how to change diapers, baby-sitters need to know about fire safety, and they need to know how to entertain young kids and how to make nutritious snacks (no more of that potato chip and cookie business). If you're ten years old or older and want the lowdown on being the test baby-sitter in the neighborhood, sign up for Grant Hospital's Baby-sitters Know-how Masses. The four-week course starts today at 4 and continues on October 11, 18, and 25 at the hospital, 550 W. Webster. $10; 883-3777.
When Fidel Castro rolled into Havana in triumph in 1959, thousands headed for Miami, which became the Cuban-exile mecca. But Pablo Armando Fernandez, then living in New York, packed his bags and shot back to Cuba, where he became a pivotal part of the new literary community. Currently the editor of Union, the journal of the Writers and Artists Guild of Cuba, Fernandez is a widely published poet and novelist. He'll be reading from his work today at 4 at DePaul University's McGaw Hall, 802 W. Belden. Sponsored by DePaul's English and political science departments and by Poetry East magazine; free. 341-5203.
Ever wonder why certain books are practically guaranteed reviews in Sunday papers and critical journals while other, equally deserving works get ignored? The Society of Midland Authors will try to answer Who Decides the Fate of a Book? with a discussion by a panel that includes Dianne Donovan, Chicago Tribune books editor; John Blades, Trib reviewer; Anita and Jordan Miller, founders of Academy Chicago Publishers; and Milton Rosenberg, host of WGN's "Extension 720." There will be a reception before the discussion at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton, starting at 5:30. Admission is $5 for SMA members, $6 for everybody else. Call 994-7200 or 328-7057 for additional information.
The planned-development provision of Chicago's zoning ordinance was added in 1977 to permit greater flexibility in planning large or unusual projects. But with the continual construction of skyscrapers along the lakefront and in other congested areas, many Chicagoans wonder if the provision has been abused. Additionally, with acting mayor Sawyer's recent reshuffling of City Council committee chairs, the all-important zoning post was stripped from Danny Davis and handed to freshman Keith Caldwell. These concerns will be aired when the Friends of Downtown present Are Zoning "Planned Developments" Obsolete in Chicago?, a free brown-bag luncheon discussion today at noon in the fourth-floor meeting room of the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. For more, call 977-0098.