You want to sum up American popular culture in the 20th century in two words but don't know where to start? How about Buddy Hackett, star of stage, screen, and many a roast. Screen? Buddy practically stole the show in efforts such as Fireman Save My Child, Walking My Baby Back Home, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, and of course The Love Bug. Now Hackett has "become known worldwide as the master of 'blue' comedy. His show is recommended for adults only." Consenting adults can see Hackett--and his son Sandy--in a stand-up double bill at 8 PM at Centre East, 7701 N. Lincoln in Skokie. Tickets are $26 and $28 and are available through Ticketmaster (902-1500) and the box office (673-6300).
The Toronto Five, a group of Canadian anarchists who specialized in bombing cruise-missile plants and sex shops, are the subject of Determinations, a documentary that premieres tonight. Director Oliver Hockenhull is said to have used "raw documentary footage, experimental techniques, poetic narrative, and punk music to create a powerful indictment of the myths of justice, responsible journalism and the structure of the political perspective of contemporary Canadian society." The 75-minute encapsulation of the arrests and trial of the five shows at Chicago Filmmakers, 1229 W. Belmont, at 8 PM. Admission is $4, $3.50 for students and seniors, and $2 for members. Call 281-8788 for more information.
Bud Freeman, along with pals like Dave Tough and Bix Beiderbecke, helped develop in the 30s what came to be called Chicago-style jazz. Later he played with Ray Noble, Benny Goodman, and Tommy Dorsey, and along the way gained a reputation as one of the great tenor-sax jazz players. Crazeology: Autobiography of a Chicago Jazzman is the story of his life. A publication party for the book and the author will be held at Stuart Brent Books, 670 N. Michigan, from 2 to 4 PM today. Stuart Brent and the University of Illinois Press are promising music, refreshments, and conversation. It's free. Call 337-6357.
Find out how the animals are preparing for winter through the "critter in the woods" interviews featured in Dateline: Goodenow, a camp fire program for families that will be held in the Goodenow Grove of the Will County Forest Preserve tonight. The show lasts an hour and will be supplemented by apple cider and marshmallows. It's free, but forest-preserve officials suggest you bring blankets, bug spray, and a flashlight. It starts at 7:30 PM at the Plum Creek Nature Center in Goodenow Grove on Goodenow Road, one and a quarter miles east of the intersection of Routes 1 and 394. Call the nature center at 946-2216 for more information.
Dani K.'s work, says the Randolph Street Gallery, "uses mundane gesture and human reaction to describe an emotional transience, which questions perceptions based on gender influence. . . . K. says, 'My work is not issue-based per se; the issue is question--the presence or fact of the question as both curse and salvation.' In a persona she describes as "on the verge of claiming gender,' simple tasks are thwarted by indecision. Using spoken and recorded text, she establishes patterns between vignettes of normal activity to explore the geometry of a plan that touches on concrete desires but only leads to uncertainty." K. will do whatever it is that she does tonight at the Randolph Street Gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee, at 8. Tickets are $6, $4 for students and gallery members. Call 666-7737 for explication.
The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society is starting a new term of classes for beginning and experienced dancers--and you don't even have to be Scots to "enjoy exercise while friendships blossom." You should bring a pair of soft-soled slippers, however. Classes are every Sunday for the rest of the year, from 6 to 8:30 PM at the Saint Josaphat parish hall, 2311 N. Southport. Tonight's opening class is free; other classes in the series will be $4, $3 for members of the society. The society is also holding a special introductory workshop next Saturday, September 16, at the hall: it's an all-day affair, with registration at 12:30 PM and four hours of classes. After a dinner break, there'll be a three-hour social dance starting at 7:30. The Saturday workshop is $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Phone is 957-4494.
"Anger guru" Mitch Messer will lecture to the Business and Professional Women's State Street Chapter tonight on Anger Management at a dinner meeting in the M & M Club in the Merchandise Mart, North Orleans at the river. You can get the guru's wisdom and dinner for $20. The dinner's at 6; call 869-3954 for more information.
Tall and enjoy having fun? The Paramount Tall Club, a charter member of Tall Clubs International, holds its monthly business meeting tonight at 8 PM at the Setback South Restaurant, 2519 S. Des Plaines in North Riverside. To become a member of the club you have to be tall--six feet two for men, five feet ten for women--and pay $20 dues annually. (New members are put on three months' probation; perhaps they check for shrinkage.) The Paramount Club's avowed purpose is "to have fun through social events and interaction with other tall people." The meeting tonight is free; for more information call 853-0183.
Alexander Woollcott's legendary wit and dinner-table repartee weren't unanimously praised; to James Thurber, for one, "Woollcott was such a pompous Grand Marshall of his own parade that all men wanted to put banana peels in his path." Harold Ross, Thurber's boss and the editor of the New Yorker, did his best to tweak Woollcott by misspelling his name in his magazine every chance he got. But Woollcott's name lives on in a one-man show by playwright and actor Bill Thomas that opens tonight at the Theatre of the Obscure--actually Weeds, 1555 N. Dayton. The show is described as a humorous look at the mores and life-styles of the past through the eyes of Woollcott. Second City vet Bob Curry directed the show, though portions are improvised. Music is by Nancy Barber and Chad Willetts. Woollcott Died for You will also show Friday through Sunday, September 14 through 16 and 21 through 23; all shows are at 8 PM. Tickets are $5, and audience members are requested to bring flashlights. Call 943-7815 for more information.
When Captain Kangaroo set about writing his first book, he decided what he could do best was tell his former viewers--parents or prospective parents now--how to raise their kids. His book is called Growing Up Happy; one hopes his suggestions include limiting TV watching. At any rate, Bob Keeshan--the captain's real name--will speak at the Museum of Broadcast Communications today from 5:30 to 7:30. The museum will also screen highlights of Keeshan's years as the captain. Admission is a suggested $3, $2 for students, and $1 for seniors and kids under 13. The show's in the Kraft Television Theater of the museum, 800 S. Wells. The phone number is 987-1500.
The "commerce alumni" of DePaul University, their white collars presumably getting a bit uncomfortable, will hear an assistant U.S. attorney talk about white-collar crime over lunch today. The group's business forum is sponsoring the event, which takes place at the Hotel Nikko, 320 N. Dearborn. The guest speaker is Dean J. Polales, whose position puts him in charge of about 20 white-collar-crime prosecutors. A reception starts at 11:30 AM, lunch is at noon, Polales hits the stage at 12:35, and "prompt" adjournment is set for 1:30. Lunch costs $26; call 341-8584 for more info.
Does America need any more shopping centers? The question would seem at first glance to need hardly any debate. But one of the beauties of America, even an America positively choking on shopping centers, is that pluralism reigns. The future of shopping centers in the U.S. is the subject of today's luncheon seminar sponsored by the Chicago chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services. The speakers include Joanne Hildt, an advertising and PR agent who specializes in shopping-center marketing, and Larry Smith, the president of Real Estate Planning, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in, yep, developing shopping centers. The $35 fee--$25 for SMPS members--includes the speeches and lunch. It begins at 11:30 AM at the Midland Hotel, 172 W. Adams; call 559-0095 for more information.