Briefcases and Bombs, Bob Hercules's short video satire about the nuclear age, is typical of the grass-roots political work being aired on public-access cable channels--smart, slick, and probably a little too controversial for PBS. Deep Dish Television, the only satellite network that deals strictly with independent film and video makers, is now in its third year of providing a public forum for artists who focus on issues outside the mainstream. You can find out more about the network and see some of its programs at tonight's fund-raiser, which begins at 7:30 at the Center for New Television, 912 S. Wabash. Admission is $5; 280-9450.
"When I work with another dancer on creating a character, I just tell them story after story about that person," choreographer Timothy O'Slynne told critic Albert Williams in a recent Windy City Times profile. "And I can tell them all sorts of things." O'Slynne is one hell of a storyteller--sly and campy and often a little outrageous. His What Are We Going to Do With Mary? or The Schizophrenia of Preston Carlisle, a gothic murder mystery that combines dance and theater, was originally performed at Columbia College in 1986. It has been resurrected for performances at 7:30 tonight and Sunday at 3 PM at the Civic Center for Performing Arts, 20 N. Wacker. Tickets range from $16 to $20. Call 440-9494 for more.
No election season in Chicago is complete without a screening of Bill Stamets's Super-8 chronicles. In years past Stamets has treated us to Nazi rallies, Byrne psychobabble, and Washington wins after the vote tallies. Now comes the world premiere of Presidential Appearances, Stamets's postscript to last November's contest, a travelogue that includes the Iowa caucuses, the conventions, and President Bush's inauguration. Show time is 8 PM at Chicago Filmmakers, 1229 W. Belmont. Tickets are $4, $3 to members. Stamets will be present; a large number of his photos are also on display. Call 281-8788.
Robert Mapplethorpe is known for the elegance and near perfection of his work, whether it's a portrait of a hustler or a still life of tulips. Yet there is something unsparing in his photographs, especially his self-portraits. In 1975 Mapplethorpe is a smiling, playful young man. But three years later, there is sinister pride in the leather man who stares at the camera. By 1985 Mapplethorpe had achieved success in the worlds of fashion and fine art, and his self-portrait shows a mature, introspective man moving away from his own ghostly profile. His most recent self-portrait addresses his mortality; he is dying of AIDS. He shows himself fading away, his hand clasping a sculptured skull on a walking stick. More than 150 images--including nudes, still lifes, and portraits--make up Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment, which opens today at The Museum of Contemporary Art, 237 E. Ontario, and runs through April 9. Hours are 10 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 5 Sunday. Admission is $4, $2 for residents and seniors. For more call 280-5161.
Rita Simo, the daughter of a prominent family in the Dominican Republic, has always loved music and was once a concert pianist. But Simo, a former nun, also wanted to help people. She found a way to combine her interests when she founded the People's Music School, which provides free lessons to low-income residents of Edgewater and Uptown. In celebration of its 13th anniversary, the school presents its teenage students in a free concert at 3 PM at 4750 N. Sheridan. The program features work written by classical composers during their teens and music written especially for young people. For more call 784-7032.
After the gay and lesbian community's hugely successful march on Washington in 1987, many lesbians wanted to get together and discuss their own issues. Slated for 1990, the National Lesbian Agenda Conference will culminate a series of planning meetings throughout the country. The next one is scheduled in March in North Carolina. In order to get members of the Midwest Lesbian Caucus there, the group is having a fund-raiser today at Paris Dance, a women's bar. There will be music and an auction, beginning at 6 PM at 1122 W. Montrose. Admission is $2; everyone is welcome. For more call 769-0602.
Edward Weston photographed food in ways that suggest sex and sensuality--bursting, ripe fruits, peppers that curve like sleeping women. He is only one of many artists who have used food to make a point. Cuisine as Metaphor: The Way Food Appears in the Visual Arts is a slide lecture on the history, mythology, and allure of food. Art critic and historian Robert Loescher leads the way at 6:15 tonight at the Swiss Grand Hotel, 323 E. Wacker. Admission is $35 and includes a wine and buffet reception after the presentation. Call 935-1336 for more.
After the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, performance artist John Malpede began a series of projects about poverty and homelessness in the middle of wealth and splendor in southern California. In 1985 he founded the Los Angeles Poverty Department, a performance-art and theater group whose members are homeless. Malpede will perform and talk about the group in a 7 PM lecture in the auditorium of the School of the Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. Admission is $3, free to students and seniors. Call 443-3711.
Regardless of whether acting mayor Eugene Sawyer or State's Attorney Richard M. Daley wins the Democratic primary, tonight's victory party promises to be a grand ol' time. If Sawyer triumphs, supporters will whoop it up in the Chicago Hilton and Towers, 720 S. Michigan. If Daley wins, his partisans will get down at the Fairmont Hotel, 200 N. Columbus. The campaign offices for both candidates say the victory bash will be free. The fun starts whenever the TV guys declare a winner. For details about Sawyer's gig call 939-2900. For Daley, dial 269-1989.
Ilona Granet paints traffic signs that say things such as "Curb your animal instinct." For Randolph Street Gallery's current mixed-media exhibition, Serious Fun/Truthful Lies, she and seven other artists have used humor, irony, and sarcasm to comment on gender, politics, science, history, art, language, and culture. The show of paintings, photographs, and sculpture runs through March 18 at 756 N. Milwaukee. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 6. Viewing is free. Call 666-7737 for more.
Tax Preparation and the New Tax Reform Law is a free program designed to help you get through your annual filing crisis. Larry Stivers, a tax attorney with 12 years of experience, will make a brief presentation and then take questions, beginning at 12:15 PM in the theater of the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; 269-2814.
Women, especially in minority communities, are increasingly hard hit by the AIDS epidemic. Prostitutes, women with multiple sex partners, IV-drug users, and lovers of IV-drug users all run the risk of infection. Kattie Portis, of Women and AIDS Risk Network in Boston, talks about Reaching and Helping Women at Risk in a free 3 PM lecture in Room 140 of the University of Illinois' Behavioral Sciences Building, at the corner of Harrison and Morgan streets. Her talk is sponsored by the Chicago Women's AIDS Project; Portis will also be the guest of honor at a buffet supper at 7 PM at the CWAP office, 5249 N. Kenmore. Admission is $5; reservations required; 271-2070.
Under Wraps features handcrafted clothes and accessories by designers such as Tory Worland, Karen Eskin, Cynthia Hadesman, and Susan Wisniewski. They will be showing off their stuff in a fashion show for women only in Club Dreamerz's second-floor performance space. You can meet the designers and try on the clothes. It all begins at 11 PM at 1516 N. Milwaukee. Admission is $3. Call 252-1155.