During the 1987 mayoral campaign, at Harold Washington's first press conference with the Spanish-language media in the meeting room of Casa Aztlan, the first question asked was how much money Washington's campaign intended to spend on Hispanic-media advertising. In fact, when a group of publishers threatened to stop covering the mayor's campaign until enough money was spent on them, getting ads almost became a bigger issue than school dropouts, minority-business contracts, or Hispanic hiring in City Hall. The episode left campaign strategists with a bad impression, deserved or not, about the Hispanic media in general. Yet some Hispanic publishers put the same squeeze on acting mayor Eugene Sawyer during the recent Democratic primary. The Role of the Hispanic Media in the Community, a discussion by a panel from the Spanish-language press, will take on a variety of issues, including the image of the Latino media. It's at 6 PM in room 201 at Harold Washington College, 30 E. Lake; $2.50, $2 for members of the Asociacion de Periodistas Latinoamericanos de Illinois, and $1.50 for students and seniors. Call 855-3010.
Last year, Blue Chicago put the spotlight on the west-side sound. This year, its Blues Women Weekend focuses on the south side. "The west side is more straight Chicago blues, like Buddy Guy's biting guitar style," says the club's publicity director, Linda Gain. "But the south side is a little more polished, it's more R & B and soul." Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, the Staple Singers, Chaka Khan, and Earth, Wind and Fire all hail from south of Madison Street. Blue Chicago owner Gino Battaglia scouted that area for this weekend's lineup, which features Patricia Scott, Joanna Graham, Brandy Suddutch, and Gwen Little, all backed by Buddy Scott and the Rib Tips. The doors at 937 N. State open at 8 tonight and tomorrow; the music starts at 9. There's a $6 cover and a two-drink minimum. For more call 642-6261.
"Legislation doesn't pass by itself, it needs citizen involvement," says David Patt, executive director of Citizens Information Service, a nonprofit group that encourages greater citizen participation in government. "Even when an alderman has an idea, he has to get support from his colleagues and from citizens' groups. That's what lobbying is about, and it requires a lot of time. In the city, it's people talking not just to their alderman, but to other aldermen, department heads affected by the legislation, and the mayor." To make the process easier, CIS is sponsoring an all-day seminar, How to Lobby Your City, State and Federal Legislators, at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Kent College of Law, 77 S. Wacker in room 203. Registration begins at 8:45 AM, and it's $ 15 per person. For more call 939-4636.
It's no surprise that 48th Ward Alderman Kathy Osterman, formerly Kathy Lonergan, has a Saint Pat's parade in her neighborhood. But what makes this one different is that it includes the many ethnic groups living in the area. Look for a Chinese dragon to kick it off, and for Assyrian dancers wearing shamrocks as they kick and twirl down the street. Democratic mayoral nominee Richard M. Daley, Osterman's political mentor, is the grand marshal for the second International Saint Patrick's Day Parade, which begins at 1 PM on the corner of Catalpa Avenue and Clark Street. It'll snake south on Clark, ending on Winnemac Avenue. It's free, of course. Call 769-4130 for more.
Holsum Roc Gallery and Cafe, the little bohemian hub off the intersection of Clybourn and Fullerton, is an alternative art space that means it. Unlike conventional galleries, which review artists' portfolios for exhibition, Holsum Roc asks its artists to put in a minimum of five hours of work a week at the gallery. That usually means hanging out and talking, but it can also mean serving up tea or seltzer, or even mopping the floor. Now in its second year, the gallery continues with monthly themes; the theme for March is "International Women's Show." Currently exhibiting are painters Toni Bertolini, Sharon Ott, Marie Shurkus, Christine M. Wallers, mixed-media artist Liz Granton, and quilting and silkscreen artist Sandra Hotton. There'll be a reception for them at 7 PM at the gallery, 2360 N. Clybourn. It's free. Call 883-8746.
"I have followed my instincts and sought to rescue the suffering when I could," wrote Chicago lawyer and author Clarence Darrow in his autobiography, The Story of My Life. A steadfast opponent of capital punishment, he defended communists, socialists, the poor, blacks, and unionists. Darrow's admirers, friends, and followers will gather at 10 this morning, the 51st anniversary of his death, at the Darrow bridge in Jackson Park behind the Museum of Science and Industry. This year's theme, The Death Penalty: Is It a Stain on Our Democracy?, will be pursued after the gathering in a free panel discussion in the Columbia Room of the museum, 57th Street at Lake Shore Drive. For more call 368-1500.
"If I hadn't quit smoking January 1, 1964, I might still be a priest," says poet John M. Sheehan. "I might have controlled my anger in more acceptable ways." Sheehan replaced his habit and his collar with teaching, involvement in the civil rights movement, and writing. In the last year or so, he's been a featured performer with the Chicago Poetry Ensemble, an experimental group that combines literature, theater, and performance art. Sheehan will be on his own at 7:30 tonight when he does a reading for the Skokie Public Library's Readers' Forum. The library is at 5215 Oakton in Skokie. it's free. Call 673-7774.
Tree selection and management, root problems, drought, different cultural practices, and information about promising new plants now available in the area are all on the agenda of today's Midwest Tree Conference, which is sponsored by the Garden Clubs of Illinois and the Morton Arboretum. It starts at 9 AM at the Thornhill Conference Center on the arboretum's west side. Admission is $2; it's an additional $3 to park in the arboretum's lot. The arboretum is just north of I-88 at Route 53 in Lisle. Just look for the signs. For details call 968-5552.
The life of Michael Thompson seems like an exercise in serendipity. A VISTA volunteer with absolutely no background in art, Thompson was assigned to teach art to the elderly in a Massachusetts industrial town. To his surprise, he loved it. Later, as a student at the School of the Art Institute, he entered a kite-designing contest, but lost because his creation refused to get off the ground. Yet to his surprise, he liked kite making. And other people liked the way his kites looked, even if they didn't fly. Since then, Thompson has earned a reputation for his designer kites, which cost from $250 to $1,000. He is now showing new kites, sculpture, prints, and paintings in a one-man show in the atrium of the Franklin Square Building, 900 N. Franklin. Viewing is free Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM to 5 PM, through March 31. Call 751-1300.
The first African-American woman millionaire was Sarah Breedlove Walker, who was born to a sharecropping family in the Louisiana delta in 1867. Already widowed and a mother by the time she was 20, Walker was taking in laundry for $1.50 a day when she decided to create a line of hair products for black women. Working out of her own kitchen and bathroom, she formulated shampoos, oils, and conditioners. Eventually, she had factories in Denver, Pittsburgh, and Indianapolis, and became known for her generosity to the NAACP, the YWCA, the National Conference on Lynching, and several homes for the aged, and for creating scholarship funds for women at Tuskegee Institute. Say-Rah, Charles Michael Moore's drama based on Walker's remarkable life, opens tonight at 8 at ETA Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave. Show times are at 8 Thursday through Saturday and 3 and 7 Sunday. The show runs through April 23. Admission is $10. Call 752-3955 for more.