Industry deregulation and lax enforcement of existing laws have contributed greatly to the rise in job-related injuries that has occurred in the last several years. So Workers Memorial Day--sponsored by the Chicago Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO--will mark the anniversary of the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Act with the theme "Mourn for the Dead, Fight for the Living." A memorial service in honor of those killed or injured on the job begins at noon on the lower-level concourse of the State of Illinois Building, 100 W. Randolph. It's free. Call 222-1000 for details.
Ned Rorem, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer noted for his vocal music, was composing in Paris in the 1950s (his published diaries document his experiences with such figures as Jean Cocteau and Francis Poulenc) and now is based in New York. He returns to his hometown for a musical celebration of his 65th birthday by the William Ferris Chorale, in a program of choral and solo vocal music that will feature Rorem himself on the piano. The concert, which will include the Chicago premieres of three 1987 works, will begin at 8 PM at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 690 W. Belmont, and will be followed by a reception at Ann Sather's restaurant, 929 W. Belmont. Tickets are $30 for the reception, $16 or $18 for the concert ($12 for students, seniors, and the disabled). Call 922-2070.
Abe Lincoln sang "fasola" and so can you. "Shape note" or "fasola" singing is a native American style of folk music designed to help those who can't read music sing in groups. Using tunes that date in some cases from Elizabethan times and employing ancient scales and unusual harmonies, "fasola" is notated by shape--different shapes indicate different tones. The Chicago Sacred Harp Singers is holding its annual Midwest Sacred Harp Singing Convention, which is expected to draw musicians from the leading "fasola" families. Rather than a concert, this is an informal event, with the participants facing each other as they sing their unaccompanied harmonies. The public is welcome to drop in to listen or sing anytime between 9:30 AM and 3 PM at the First Baptist Church of Evanston, 607 W. Lake in Evanston, or tomorrow at Ida Noyes Hall at the University of Chicago, 1212 E. 59th St. Potluck lunches are planned from noon to 1 each day. Admission is free; for details call 486-7400 or 486-3962.
Eddie Balchowsky began drawing in 1937, when he was fighting with the antifascist Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. His first work was reconnaissance drawings of enemy camps. Now 73 and missing an arm, he's noted for his Chicago alley scenes and skylines. He's one of six artists included in The Outer Limit, a collection of "outsider art"--often called folk or naive art--at the Prairie Avenue Gallery, 1900 S. Prairie. Curated by Melissa Anderson, the show opens tonight with a free reception--which includes story telling, a free buffet, and a cash bar from 7 to midnight. The show runs through May 28; hours are 1 to 5 Friday through Sunday. Call 842-4523 or 225-2787.
Syndicated cartoonist and Reader contributor Lynda J. Barry chose Chicago's City Lit Theater Company to adapt her first novel, The Good Times Are Killing Me, for the stage. Barry's prose, like her cartoons, focuses on adolescent romance and friendship. In the past City Lit has adapted works of authors ranging from Charles Dickens to P.G. Wodehouse, but Barry's book takes the group into the new territory of pop. Previews begin tonight and continue tomorrow and Monday at 8 PM, with opening night set for Wednesday at 7; tickets are $10 for previews, $12-$14 during the regular run. Performances are at Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark; call 271-1100 for information.
Is the antinuclear movement a thing of the past? Can pacifism be an issue in the coming decade? Reverend William Sloane Coffin Jr.--former chaplain of Yale University and now president of Sane/Freeze, whose work has taken him to Latin America, the Middle East, and China--speaks on Waging Peace: A Positive Agenda for the 1990s at 7 PM in the North Park College Chapel, 3225 W. Foster. It's free; call 583-2700, ext. 4613.
The computer-operated Buckingham Fountain, which has been in service since 1927, resumes operation today with 20-minute water displays five times daily and a major colored lights display from 9 to 11 PM. It's located in Grant Park near the intersection of Congress Parkway and Columbus Drive. Call 294-2493 for more.
Chicago music, theater, film, dance, and politics will be highlighted in Uniquely Chicago, the Public Library Cultural Center's monthlong festival of free performances and exhibits that showcase the work of local figures, including Cabrini-Green kids performing African folktales, members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra playing local composers' music, Gwendolyn Brooks reading her poetry, and Haskell Wexler's movie Medium Cool, set during the 1968 Democratic convention riots. The series opens today at 5 with the movie The Untouchables, which features Chicago locations and a screenplay by David Mamet, in the theater of the Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. For details on the rest of the series call 346-3278.
Paper money is a relatively recent phenomenon in the U.S.--in the 1860s the government had to "sell" the idea of paper currency to a public accustomed to handling gold and silver coins. The rise of paper money and the changes in its appearance and value are the subjects of the Goldome Money Collection, a traveling exhibit opening today at Sears Tower, 233 S. Wacker. The display includes the $5 silver certificate, the only U.S. currency featuring the portrait of an American Indian; the rainbow series of legal tender, which contains optical illusions devised to thwart counterfeiters; and fractional currency, paper money issued in denominations as small as three cents. Admission is free, with viewing hours from 9 to 5 seven days a week through June 9. Call 1-800-828-1111, ext. 5886.
Six Latino authors will read from and discuss their work today at the Public Library's Promoting Latino Literature symposium, a free bilingual program from 5 to 7 PM at the Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. The writers include American Book Award winner Ana Castillo, Beatriz Badikian, Giannina Braschi, Alejandro Morales, Elias Miguel Munoz, and Manuel Ramos Otero; their work reflects a spectrum of concerns as diverse as their ethnic heritages--Cuban, Mexican, Argentinean, and Puerto Rican. For more information call 738-7634.
"The Sense of Community" is the topic of a free panel discussion featuring author and diplomat Conor Cruise O'Brien at the Chicago Access Corporation, 322 S. Green. O'Brien, a former member of the parliament of the Republic of Ireland and a UN diplomat, will discuss the role of leaders in building a community and their need to balance their visions with pragmatism. He'll be joined by journalists, teachers, and community activists from around the city. The seminar's two sessions run 10 to noon and 2 to 4; reservations are requested. Call 996-3200.
The eras of rock and roll and television go hand in hand, a fact gleefully exploited by the Film Center of the Art Institute in its series Raidin' the Rock Archives. Tonight through Sunday separate programs will showcase rock and soul on television in the 1960s and '70s, with special programs devoted solely to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Tonight's programs are "Rock on TV: The Sixties" at 6, and "Soul on TV: The Sixties" at 8:30. In addition to the videos, there'll be comments and responses to audience questions by rock archivist David Peck and San Diego Reader critic John D'Agostino. Tickets for each show are $5, $3 for Film Center and Art Institute members; Columbus Drive at Jackson. Call 443-3733.