According to a recent Harris poll, the disabled community is twice as interested in public affairs as the general population. The same poll said that 66 percent of disabled voters are frustrated with candidates' attempts to explain what they will do for them, but that 84 percent use that information in making voting decisions. The Chicago Voters With Disabilities Committee estimates there are approximately 500,000 disabled people in the city--one heck of a voting bloc. The Chicago Mayoral Candidates Forum by and for Persons With Disabilities features Tim Evans and Ed Vrdolyak from 6 to 9 tonight at Holy Trinity School Hall, 1910 W. Taylor. Richie Daley might be there too. It's free. Call 226-5900 or 226-1687 (TDD) for more.
When Alton Miller took the job of press secretary to Mayor Harold Washington in 1985, the newspaper headlines blared, "Mayor Taps Dancer." Miller, who had been an administrator with the Chicago City Ballet, had never taken a step onstage, but neither had he ever called a press conference or written a word for a public official. Still, he went on to become one of Washington's closest aides. His book Harold Washington: The Mayor, the Man is less a biography than a diary of Miller's tenure, but it's a fun read. Guild Books hosts a free book-release party tonight at 7 at which Miller and several journalists will talk about the current state of local politics. Guild is located at 2456 N. Lincoln, Call 525-3667.
Ants, prairie poetry, and the effects of fire will all be discussed at the ninth Northern Illinois Prairie Workshop. Jointly hosted by the North Branch Prairie Project, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, and Northeastern Illinois University, the all-day affair offers 41 presentations. Registration begins at 7:30 AM at the university, 5500 N. Saint Louis. Admission, including lunch, is $18, $12 for students with IDs. For details call 869-5966.
The earth is so small and so far from the sun that it receives only about two billionths of the heat and light the sun gives out. In fact, the sun emits more energy in one one hundred thousandth of a second than is stored in all the nuclear weapons on this planet. There will be a lot more solar trivia offered in The Sun: From the Inside Out, a ten-part lecture series that begins at 11 this morning at the University of Chicago's Kersten Physics Teaching Center, 5720 S. Ellis. All of the presentations, given on consecutive Saturdays, are free. Call 702-7823.
Esther Nieves, the executive director of the Chicago Commission on Latino Affairs, recently expressed concern that Latino parents' traditional regard for education and authority might keep them from participating fully in the state-mandated local school councils, the bedrock of school reform. Parents United for Responsible Education sponsors today's free workshop on the rights, responsibilities, and election procedures of the local school councils, with sessions in both English and Spanish. Interested parents will gather at 12:30 in lecture hall A on the third floor of Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson. For more call 784-7873.
The Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey's American Dance Theater, and the Joseph Holmes Dance Theatre were all founded by blacks, began with mostly black companies, and continue to focus on works by black choreographers. "But they do have their differences," says Randy Duncan, the artistic director of the Holmes troupe and the 1988 recipient of the Ruth Page Award for Outstanding Choreographer. Duncan will show films of the three companies and tallk more about them at a 3 PM lecture, Black Classics, at the DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Place. Duncan's presentation is $4; $3 for members, seniors, and $2 for children Call 947-0600.
Rick Canoff never attended the Chicago Academy for the Arts, but he loved kids and he loved arts. So when this busy saxophone player died not long ago, his mother decided that Canoff would have loved the school, and started the Rick Canoff Memorial Foundation in order to establish a scholarship at the academy in his name. Rock for Rick at the Vic, a benefit for the scholarship fund, features Dave Mason, the Buckinghams, and Hugh Hart. The show starts at 7:30 PM at 3145 N. Sheffield. Admission is $20. Call 472-0366.
Even though black-oriented radio played a crucial role in mobilizing black voters during Harold Washington's 1983 election, it seems that the major downtown media only recently discovered Art Cribbs, Lu Palmer, Jon Daye, Donald Palmer, and Delmarie Cobb, among others. Last week the predominantly white station WBEZ FM did an experimental simulcast with WVON AM, the city's oldest black-oriented station. Tonight WBBM FM and WGCI AM try out Election Eve: Chicago Speaks Out on FM 78 and AM 1390. The show begins at 8 with invited guests, but the real fun should start at 10, when hosts Cribbs and Dave Baum take calls from throughout the city. For more call WBBM at 951-3229 or WGCI at 987-4442.
Election judges, the Republican and Democratic folks who take your ballot and stuff it in the box, aren't unpaid volunteers. The Board of Election Commissioners, which uses about 20,000 judges per election, pays $60 to each judge; those that attend a training session get an extra $20. This year the board is particularly in need of people. You need only be a registered voter to apply. The workday at the polls runs from 6 AM to 7 PM. For details call 269-7984.
"All the musicianship and depth one would expect from a first-class chamber orchestra," said Guitar Review. "Remarkable," said Stereo Review. The applause is for the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, whose repertoire includes Renaissance dance consorts, Spanish ballet, Baroque concerti, and contemporary works. The ensemble performs at 8 tonight at the University of Illinois' Illini Union, 828 S. Wolcott. Admission is $5, $2 for UIC students. Call 413-5180.
When he was nine years old, writer Julius Lester--young and black and growing up in Arkansas--discovered that his great grandfather was a German Jew named Altschul. But when he and his father drove past a store owned by the Altschuls, his father warned him, "Don't go marching in the store and call them cousin. They'd pretend like they didn't know what you were talking about." Ironically, when Lester, who had embraced Judaism, showed up on their doorstep years later, the family had converted to Christianity. Lester's spiritual journey is documented in his most recent book, Lovesong: Becoming a Jew, which traces his conversion from black radical to conservative Jew. He'll speak at 8 tonight at the Bernard Horwich/Mayer Kaplan Jewish Community Center, 5050 W. Church in Skokie. The lecture is the first in a series that will also feature Harold Brodkey and Hugh Nissenson. Tickets are $10 per lecture or $25 for the series. Call 675-5070.
The editor of the MARCH/Abrazo Press chapbook series and of the University of Illinois' Ecos magazine, Carlos Cumpian is known for spending a lot of time and energy promoting Latino writers. His current project, a 35-year survey of Latino literature in Illinois, is a massive undertaking. Yet Cumpian also finds time to write poems in English and Spanish that deal with his Chicano identity and social and ecological concerns. Cumpian, who helps organize a lot of readings around town, doesn't often perform, but tonight he'll appear with Tony Fitzpatrick and Los Angeles performance artist La Loca at 8 at Lower Links, 954 W. Newport. There's a $3 cover. Call 248-5238.