Originally a street-fighting technique, Savate is a French martial art that uses feet and fists. Unlike American kick boxing, which allows opponents to be kicked only from the waist up, Savate permits hits anywhere on the front and sides of the body except the groin area. Participants tough it out in five two-minute rounds, wearing boxing gloves and, unlike in other martial arts, footwear that resembles wrestling shoes. "It's very French, very sexy, and very graceful," says Fred Degerberg, president of the Canadian and American- Federation of Savate and the founder of the local Degerberg Academy, where the sport is taught. Students from Degerberg's classes will give a demonstration at tonight's "Ultimate Bastille Bash," a celebration of the French bicentennial at Park West, 322 W. Armitage. The gala, which starts at 8, will also feature a fashion show, mime, music, and food. Admission is $4 with an invitation, $7 without. Getting one is as simple as calling 929-5959.
Randolph Street Gallery's Festival Cinema Borealis offers a rare opportunity to see wide-screen features as their creators intended--on an 70-foot screen. The three-day fest will be held in Lincoln Park on the lawn between Stockton Drive and North Pond, just north of Fullerton. Tonight's free featured film is Akira Kurosawa's Ran, tomorrow's is Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Sunday's is Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven. Show time is sunset between 8:30 and 9. Bring a blanket or lawn chair. For more information call 666-7737.
Things got pretty hot for Alderman Roman Pucinski after property in his northwest-side ward was reassessed--and the tax bills for some residents doubled or even tripled. In response to nonstop angry calls and a line of protesters that ran down the block from his Milwaukee Avenue office, Pucinski put a red-white-and-blue sign in his window reminding constituents of his "no" vote on last year's tax increase. More practical tax information is available from the Northwest Real Estate Board, which is sponsoring a Lower Taxes Workshop. Cosponsored by Taxpayers United for Fairness, the Civic Federation, and the Chicagoland Association of Real Estate Boards, the free seminar will offer taxpayers an explanation for the steep rise in taxes on the north and northwest sides, as well as information on their rights and how to exercise them. It begins at 9 AM at the Old Town Triangle Association, 1763 N. North Park. For more call 637-8200.
Twenty-four-year-old Caton Metzler says she can feel pains and sensations in her body similar to those a horse feels. As a result she claims to know how to cure horses of their fears, hostility to riders, and other problems. Metzler is a practicing professional horse psychic, a career she chose after attending a seminar on silent communication with animals when she was just nine years old. Metzler will be doing her thing all day today at the Mid-America Horse Festival, at the Kane County Fairgrounds on Randall Road just south of Route 64 in Saint Charles. The fair runs from noon to 10 PM. There will also be a carriage obstacle race, a horse ballet, pony rides, exhibits, and food. Fair tickets are $4 for adults, $3 for kids and seniors. Call 1-800-777-4373.
The photograph chosen to advertise an upcoming forum by the editors of Libido: The Journal of Sex and Sensibility features a woman in a black dress with her hands, plus another woman's hand and a man's hand, on her chest. Apparently it was so disturbing to the board of directors of the New World Resource Center, the lefty bookstore where the forum was to take place, that they booted the event off their schedule. So editors Marianna Beck and Jack Hafferkamp will give their talk, Is Eroticism OK? Sexuality and Politics in the Post-Reagan Era, a few blocks away, in the back room of Crowley's, 3916 N. Ashland. The fireworks start at 7 PM. A donation is requested. Call 549-6421.
For the six members of the Cambodian Folk Music Ensemble, music is a link to their heritage. Most of them learned to play the traditional way, from their fathers or grandfathers; the others found music after they escaped to the Thai refugee camps. Currently living in Chicago, the musicians, two of whom are father and son, play traditional instruments such as the khim (a 14-string dulcimer), the tro-ou (a two-stringed alto fiddle), and the skor (a wooden drum with a snakeskin head). The group performs at 8:30 tonight at Club Lower Links, 954 W. Newport. Admission is $4. For more call 248-5238.
The recent rash of actual and attempted art censorship has the folks over at the Chicago Artists' Coalition worried about First Amendment freedoms. To make sure that artists whose work has been censored get shown, the group has put together Hello Out There, a week-long exhibit that includes new work by David Nelson and Scott Tyler, as well as by a few artists who haven't profited from scandal yet. It'll be the first time Nelson and Tyler have been exhibited locally since their respective incidents. Tonight's opening, a benefit for the Committee for Artists' Rights, runs from 5 to midnight at Outtakes, 16 W. Ontario. It also features an art auction, poetry readings, performances, videos, and food. There's a $5 cover. Call 670-2060.
A recent Now York Times story about Oprah Winfrey implied that she was more open and warm when she was overweight; now that she's slimmed down, she doesn't seem to have the same need to reach out. But this bit of negative publicity about their biggest celebrity dieter hasn't fazed the Optifast people, who have taken up headquarters at the downtown Presidential Towers, 614 W Monroe. In cooperation with Mercy Medical Center, they're offering a free orientation session to their weight-loss program at 6 PM. There's free parking, too. Call 902-4000 to register.
Chitown Brown himself, David Hernandez, who was the city's poet laureate under Mayor Harold Washington, will take on playwright-poet John Starrs, who loves Elk Grove and Hoffmann Estates--in tonight's poetry duel about their urban and suburban life-styles. This is a rare opportunity to catch Hernandez in a more traditional reading without his band Street Sounds. It's at 8 at Guild Complex, 2456 N. Lincoln; admission is $3. Call 525-3667.
Real whalebone is allU used extensively in Eskimo and other Alaskan crafts. Whalebone figures of hunters, dancers, bears, and other animals sculpted by Michael Rodgers, John Sinnok, and Malcolm Oozeeva are on exhibit at the Alaska Shop Eskimo Art Gallery through August. Free viewing hours are 11 to 5 at 104 E. Oak. For more call 943-3393.
The Pete Rose gambling story has been this season's shame, but it's only one more thing in the string of recent allegations of drug use, cheating, and domestic violence among ball players. Northeastern Illinois University's Steven A. Riess will lecture today on the dirty side of baseball, focusing on the gambling that has been part of the game since 1880. Corruption and the National Pastime: A Forgotten Story will begin at 5:30 in the theater of the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. It's free. For more call 744-8928.