With characteristic candor, writer William S. Burroughs admits "I had always taken it for granted that I couldn't draw or paint." But seven years ago Burroughs began a new career as a visual artist, sidestepping his limitations by using spray paint, stencils, and collage. The 74-year-old author of Naked Lunch, Junky, and many other literary works will be present at a reception tonight at Klein Gallery, 356 W. Huron, for the opening of a show of his new paintings. The free party runs from 5 to 7:30; the exhibition runs through November 26. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 to 5:30. For more call 787-0400.
"Elysian Fields," a new work by dancer-choreographer David Parsons, will have its world premiere tonight in the season-opening program for the Dance Center of Columbia College. "Elysian Fields," which juxtaposes beauty and violence, is set to music by Edvard Grieg. Parsons and his company will also perform "The Envelope," "Caught," and other favorites. The show begins at 8 at 4730 N. Sheridan. Tickets are $12, $10 for seniors and students. More at 271-7928.
In small towns, where gay communities are often nonexistent, lesbians know there's a sure way to find each other: softball. In the cities lesbians often have their own leagues, complete with tournaments and towering trophies. Chicago Outlines columnist Yvonne Zipter--an MVP on any team--has penned a funny new book, Diamonds Are a Dyke's Best Friend: Reflections, Reminiscences, and Reports From the Field on the Lesbian National Pastime, which she'll read from and autograph at 8 tonight at Women & Children First, 1967 N. Halsted. It's free. Call 440-8824.
Increasingly under attack by the dailies, acting mayor Sawyer's economic-development czar Robert Mier will get a chance to fight back when he gives the welcoming address at today's Planning for Social Responsibility conference. Organized by students of the School of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the conference will also feature a talk by Alderman David Orr and panels with experts on urban planning, architecture, design, community organizing, and government. Registration begins at 8:45 AM in room 507 of Northwestern University's Wieboldt Hall, 339 E. Chicago. Admission is $15 at the door. For more call 243-3035 or 996-2161.
Fine lace was once the exclusive property of the aristocracy, the clergy, and the very rich. Sometimes this delicate, ornamental fabric was considered more valuable than gold, jewelry, or land. At the fifth annual Lace Day, the Chicago Area Lace Guild's yearly celebration, there will be demonstrations of bobbin, tatted, knitted, and spun lace making. The event runs from 10 to 4 at the Scottish Rite cathedral, 915 N. Dearborn. It's free. For more call 973-4237.
If you want to help make this a better world but can't afford tickets to see Bruce Springsteen, Sting, and Tracy Chapman on their current benefit tour, sign up for Amnesty International's third annual write-a-thon. Volunteers will write dictators of every political stripe on behalf of torture victims and unjustly held prisoners. Admission is free, as are the pens, paper, refreshments, and entertainment. It runs from noon to 5 today at Loyola University's Rambler Room, Centennial Forum, 1125 W. Loyola. Call 427-2060 for more.
According to the Citizens Utility Board, the electric and gas company watchdog, Commonwealth Edison has the greatest profits, the highest monthly service charges, and the highest summer rates of any electric company in the state. Yet Edison is asking for a $1.4 billion rate increase. The potential rate hike will be the main focus of the fourth annual CUB statewide meeting, which will be held today from 1:30 to 3 at Saint Gall's Church, 5511 S. Sawyer. There will be a rally afterward. It's free. Call 263-4282.
They call themselves "the conscience of the art world." They wear big, fuzzy ape masks. They deal in statistics. Since 1985 the Guerrilla Girls have been pointing their fingers at the art world--especially New York's Whitney Museum--posting graphs and fliers about the exclusion of minorities and women from galleries, museums, and art reviews. The School of the Art Institute has invited three members of the artist-activist group for a panel discussion tonight at 7 in the school auditorium, Columbus and Jackson. Admission is $3, free for seniors and students of area colleges. Call 443-7284.
The organizers of last week's bullfights modified the traditional sport; using Velcro-tipped spears, the toreadors delivered a bloodless event. But animal-rights activists picketed the sparsely attended tournament anyway, claiming any kind of bullfighting is psychologically damaging to the animals. Animal-rights activists have become increasingly strident about the need for the humane treatment of animals. Behind Closed Doors: Who Should Be Involved in Decisions Regarding Animal Experimentation is the title of today's lecture by Ingrid Newkirk, cofounder and national director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. It's at 7:30 PM in the Crown Center Auditorium at Loyola University, 6525 N. Sheridan, and it's free. Call 508-3472 for more.
The Yoruba of Nigeria have a rich aesthetic tradition that has influenced the art of much of Africa and the Caribbean. In their sculpture the Yoruba celebrate their multideity universe; through their dress they signal social status, cult membership, and political rank. Messages to Gods and Men: Sculpture and Textiles of the Yoruba of Nigeria celebrates the artistic legacy of the West African imagination. The show opens today and runs through January 28 at the May Weber Museum of Cultural Arts, 230 E. Ohio, which is open Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5. There's a $2 admission charge. Call 787-4487.
After the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Polish labor activist Lech Walesa, he had a little more freedom to speak out. But that freedom didnt extend to Solidarity, the Polish workers' union that has yet to be legalized. Zbigniew Kowalewski, elected to the Lodz regional presidium of Solidarity in 1981 and author of Give Us Back Our Factories: Solidarnosc and the Struggle for Workers' Self-Management in Poland, comes to Chicago today with the latest news from the Polish front. He'll be appearing at the U.E. Hall, 37 S. Ashland, at 7:30 PM. It's $3. For more information call 327-5752.
Anglophiles already know of Simon Preston, the former organist of Westminster Abbey and the man who played during the wedding of Prince Andrew and Fergie. Preston will give a full concert of baroque music tonight at 8 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 690 W. Belmont. The performance will feature Mozart's Fantasia in F Minor and Bach's Pastorale in F Major and Prelude and Fugue in E-flat. This marks the official debut of the church's Visser-Rowland mechanical-action pipe organ. Tickets are $10. Call 525-0453 for more.
Not too long ago, composer Destiny Quibble was singing for her supper on train platforms. Now Jeff nominated, Quibble has her hands full with Rituals, a play developed in collaboration with writers Pamela Meyer and Michael Svedman, choreographer Corey Nagel, sculptor Ellen Glantz, and filmmaker Mimi Waddell. Rituals explores the cycles of power and control, in everyday life. Curtain time is 8 PM Thursday through Saturday, 7 PM on Sunday at the Preston Bradley Community Center, 941 W. Lawrence. Tickets are $8. Rituals runs through November 20. Call 281-1901.