Cindy Sherman is a master photographic manipulator, but she has no real background in photography, does not do any of her own darkroom or laboratory work, and seldom presses the shutter to create her images. Casting herself as the subject of nearly all of her work, the chameleonlike Sherman can re-create Marilyn Monroe or manifest a monstrous alien entity. For her, photography is pure theater; someone else takes the pictures--she stages them. Seven large-format color pieces are included in Sherman's new show, which opens today and runs through August 4 at the Rhona Hoffman Gallery, 215 W. Superior. There's a free reception from 5 to 7 PM. Summer viewing hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 to 5:30. Call 951-8828.
Prince, Madonna, and other relatively mainstream artists are on the hit list of Tipper Gore's Parents Music Resource Center. The PMRC wants a ratings system similar to that for movies as well as restrictions on performances. A ban on rap concerts in San Antonio, Texas, is widely credited to the PMRC's influence. Lee Ballinger--associate editor of Rock & Roll Confidential, one of the few rock rags making a serious effort to fight the PMRC--will be at the Guild Complex tonight to talk about Rock & Roll, Censorship and Survival. The program begins at 8 at 2456 N. Lincoln. It's $4. For more information call 525-3667.
In order to honor the 2,349 POWs and MIAs still in Vietnam, including 98 from Illinois, the local chapter of VietNow is sponsoring a flagpole dedication and 24-hour vigil, beginning at noon today on the front lawn of Ed Kwiatkowski's house. A Vietnam vet, Kwiatkowski helps organize volunteers for letter-writing campaigns, hospital visits, and community-group presentations about those who didn't come home. The vigil will feature speakers from several local Vietnam-vet groups, as well as from groups that serve veterans from the Korean war and World Wax II. Alderman George Hagopian, chairman of the Committee on Veterans Affairs, is also scheduled to make an appearance. It's at 4705 W. Diversey, and it's free. Call 227-6412.
Holsum Roc is now the Wholesome Roc Gallery, Museum & Cafe. "The original name was a trademark that belonged to the bread company," explains Stephanie Coleman, one of the Roc's owner-operators. "They sent us a letter, and since we're planning on expanding and didn't want any trouble, we changed our name." The Roc continues its eclectic programming, featuring performance artists Tom & Terry doing "Stories in Motion" at 8 tonight at 2360 N. Clybourn. It's free. Call 883-8746.
The Jewish Daily Forward was the Yiddish newspaper that welcomed new immigrants to America with lively discussion about everything from politics to breakfast cereals. One of its early writers was Isaac Bashevis Singer, who is featured in The Forward: From Immigrants to Americans, a documentary that traces the paper's history and its influence on Jewish life. Also on tonight's program is The Well, a short Yiddish-language film about a teenage boy in Eastern Europe before World War II, and a lecture by Dr. Ellen Cannon of Northeastern in Illinois University titled "Looking Forward, Looking Back: The Legacy of the Forward Today." Show time is 7 PM at the Film Center, School of the Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. Admission is $10. Call 443-3733.
It used to be that music from other countries rarely hit big here. That changed considerably when Paul Simon and other pop stars went to South Africa for inspiration--and ended up helping native South African artists such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Johnny Clegg develop new American audiences. This year David Byrne led the pack on pilgrimages to Brazil to learn from that country's indigenous musical traditions. And suddenly, artists such as Caetano Veloso have American record deals. You can catch these sounds at World Beat at 9 PM at Club 950, 950 W. Wrightwood, when DJ Joe Bryl spins from his international collection. It's free. Call 929-8955.
Award-winning WBBM TV reporter John Davis will kick off Saint Sabina's free discussion series for high schoolers, college students, and young adults. Davis, who has also hosted a variety of public-affairs programs, presents "Focusing Your Life" at 7:30 at the church, 1210 W. 78th Place. The free five-part program will be offered on consecutive Monday nights and features the following lecture topics: "To Be Popular or Smart: The Black Peer Group," "Lord, Lift Us Up!", "The Future of the African-American Family," and "How to Be Worth a Million Dollars." Call 483-4300.
The No Exit Cafe may well be the city's most authentic coffeehouse. Practically under the el tracks, it offers exactly what it's supposed to: a bunch of hippie regulars, ambience quiet enough for real reading, a collection of chess and other board games, healthy food, and a rudimentary stage for entertainment. On Mondays it's open mike--and folk music, old and new, reigns. Ernie Bedlam hosts the fun, which begins at 8:30 at 6970 N. Glenwood. It's free. For more call 743-3355.
Elizabeth Hollander was one of the many smart and energetic women Harold Washington would boast about having brought into city government. The former commissioner of planning, Hollander had influence over a great number of city contracts and policy decisions. But after Washington died, Hollander didn't have much enthusiasm for his successor and apparently didn't impress Rich Daley enough. Now a senior consultant for the Chicago Community Trust, she'll be the guest speaker at the National Association of Women in Construction's monthly luncheon at noon today at the Midland Hotel, 172 W. Adams. Tickets are $17. Call 567-9701.
It wasnt too long ago that pitcher Joe Niekro got caught with a nail file in his glove. Although the incident caused lots of headlines and angst-filled sports columns, almost everyone agreed cheating was nothing new. In fact, Lloyd Bacon's 1949 film classic It Happens Every Spring is nothing but a romantic story about ball doctoring. Just keep your eye on Ray Milland's chemically treated glove. The free film is part of the Public Library Cultural Center's "Diamonds Are Forever: Artists and Writers on Baseball" series, which will also include lectures and theater and dance presentations. It begins at 5 PM in the theater at 78 E. Washington. Call 346-3278.
Grant Park, which was a part of Lake Michigan until it was filled in with rubble from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, is the setting for some of the best free music in town. The summer concerts offer a great view of the skyline, a breeze, and music by the park's resident orchestra, the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra. Tonight's selections include Schubert's Symphony no. 8 and Brahms's Quartet in G Minor. It starts at 8 at the Petrillo Music Shell on the northeast corner of Jackson and Columbus Drive. Call 819-0614.
Eid-Ul-Adha is the holiest time of the year in the Islamic world, but it's hardly a solemn experience. Observed after the traditional pilgrimage to Mecca, Eid-Ul-Adha celebrates the return to normal life with lots of eating, gift giving, and thanksgiving. From 5 to 10 tonight Open Sesame restaurant, formerly Old Jerusalem, is offering a special Eid-Ul-Adha feast, featuring traditional stuffed lamb, Middle Eastern salads, and pastries. The restaurant is at 8743 N. Milwaukee in Niles. The $20 fixed price doesn't include tax or tip. Call 967-0030 for reservations.