Chicago beaches are officially open, on a limited basis, as of this morning. Skeletal lifeguard crews will be on duty from 9 AM to 9:30 PM daily until June 16, when the Park District's full 850-member lifeguard force will be out. For a complete schedule of beach and pool hours, and for details about individual beaches, call 294-2493.
Former Democrat and current Cook County Republican chairman Jim Dvorak will try to explain what the hell happened during the last electoral season--and why GOPers are still hopeful--when he makes an appearance at today's second annual Spring and Summer Fest, sponsored by the 44th Ward Regular Republican Organization. The rationalizing begins at 7 PM at Zum Deutschen Eck, 2924 N. Southport. There will be a cold buffet and, for entertainment, a fur fashion show. Tickets are $35. Call 477-7605.
Chicago Park District Commissioner Rebecca Sive, one of Mayor Harold Washington's earliest supporters, has a long history of involvement with progressive causes. As the Chicago-area rep for the New Israel Fund, she will talk tonight about NIF's efforts to promote better relations between Jews and Arabs, and about the organization's role in fighting for civil rights in Israel for everyone, including gays. Following services, which start at 8:30, she will speak before Congregation Or Chadash, the gay and lesbian synagogue that meets at the Second Unitarian Church, 656 W. Barry. It's free. Call 525-9945.
Will Pickett, who died in 1932 after being kicked by a horse, used to leap from his horse and haul a running steer to the ground, a feat that he made a rodeo event. Four actors associated with the DuSable Museum will do short sketches of the lives of Pickett, Ida B. Wells, Malcolm X, and Jean Baptiste Point DuSable--and of the time they spent in Chicago--in today's DuSable Museum Presents Portraits of Historic Chicago. The free presentation begins at 2 PM in the theater of the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Call 346-3278 for more.
"Obscene, not immoral," is what Jim Coughenour, writing in Windy City Times, said about Closer, poet and art critic Dennis Cooper's first novel--a minimalist, horrific tale of sex and violence. Cooper will be joined in a reading at Randolph Street Gallery by fellow art critic Gary Indiana, whose own first novel, Horse Crazy, was recently released to critical praise. Indiana's story of sexual obsession in the age of AIDS is a dark portrait of, according to his publisher, "an uninteresting man who becomes interesting when he falls in love with an insane person." Performance time is 8 PM at the gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee. Admission is $6, $4 for students and RSG members. Call 666-7737.
Early efforts by Orson Welles, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Alex Cox make up today's Short Film Showcase at the Film Center. Welles stars in his own Hearts of Age, Scorsese and Spielberg explore romance, and Cox--who went on to direct Repo Man and Sid & Nancy--shows an early attraction to the bizarre. The films run a total of 83 minutes and begin at 2:15 PM at the School of the Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. Admission is $5, $3 for members, For more call 443-3737.
"Party people all around me / feeling hot, hot, hot," sings Arrow, the king of soca, whose hit is the theme of the Lizard Lounge's official welcome to summer, Hot, Hot, Hot--A Tropical Limbo Party. DJ King Scratch will spin worldbeat music all night, including Byron Lee's calypso, Machito's salsa, and Segun Adawale's African high-life. The midnight limbo contest will determine how low you can go; Chicago aldermen, the sponsors say, may not compete. It starts at 9 at 1824 W. Augusta. There's a $2 cover. For more call 489-0379.
Mexico's Catholic Church is reporting that the defoliant that is ostensibly being sprayed as part of the U.S. drug-interdiction program in Guatemala is also destroying farmers' crops and poisoning their water. A short speech about these problems will be given today by a political refugee from Guatemala, one of several speakers at the Vietnam Veterans Against the War's Memorial Day for Peace and Justice, which will be held at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fountain, Wabash at Wacker Drive, from 11 until noon. It's free. Call 327-5756 for details.
According to diary excerpts recently published in People magazine, Andy Warhol spent an extraordinary amount of time jet-setting--fooling around with Bianca Jagger (including a strange incident in which her underwear got passed around under the table), tracking a brief liaison between Mikhail Baryshnikov and Liza Minnelli, and getting upset about being left off the guest list for Madonna's wedding. Somehow he still found time to produce enough art to get rich. An exhibition of his prints will be up at the Mercaldo Gallery, 311 W. Superior, through September; viewing hours are 10 to 5 Tuesday through Friday, 11 to 5 Saturday For more call 266-2855.
Oral arguments in the Missouri antiabortion case were heard by the Supreme Court on April 26; a vote was taken two days later, although the results won't be announced until this summer, when the justices will have written their opinions. Colleen Connell, director of the ACLU's Reproductive Rights Project and chair of the Illinois ProChoice Alliance, wrote friend-of-the-court briefs in the case for a slew of prochoice groups, including 37 medical schools. Tonight she'll talk about the possible outcome of the case, as well as some strategies for the continued protection of abortion rights, at the ACLU's reproductive rights meeting, which begins at 7:30 at the Ambassador West, 1300 N. State. A cash bar opens at 6:30. Tickets are $5, but seating is limited, call 427-7330.
Cycling experts will tell you how to deal with traffic, prevent someone from stealing your bicycle, and fend off harassers at tonight's free workshop, Personal Safety and Defensive Cycling, which is sponsored by the Chicago Area Women's Sports Association. It takes place at 7 at the Downtown Sports Club, 441 N. Wabash. For more information call 235-1913.
One of the last remnants of Illinois' tallgrass prairies--a five-and-a-half-acre plot that has never been plowed--will open to the public today. A trail runs through the site, and some of the more than 200 plant species that grow there are labeled in a display garden. The Woodworth Prairie Preserve, located in Glenview on the east side of Milwaukee one-quarter mile north of Greenwood, will be open from 10 to 3 daily through September 30; free admission. Call 965-3488.
The cliff dwellings in New Mexico, Machu Picchu in Peru, and the monasteries of the Meteora in Greece were all deliberately founded in places so remote or hard to reach that their settlers would be left alone. The photos of Thomas R. Mller, who has traveled around the world capturing these refuges, are on exhibit free through July 6 the Graham Foundation, 4 W. Burton Place; hours are 9 to 4, Monday through Thursday. The opening reception is from 5:30 to 7:30 today. Call 787-4071.