When Lizzie Borden's Born in Flames played in Chicago a few years ago, moviegoers applauded the scene in which a woman's face went up in a blaze that seemed to peel the film right off the screen. The fiery special effect turned out to be the real thing--the film in the projector melted. Organizers for tonight's showing of the feminist political fantasy--a benefit for the No Pasaran Women's Group--will be using Borden's personal copy of the film, so they'll be real careful. The screenings are at 7 and 9 at 1932 N. Seminary; $5 pays for the film. Child care is available if you call ahead at 427-0510.
OK, so you can see how The Satanic Verses might be a bit offensive to Muslims. And--maybe, perhaps, and only when in an extremely generous mode--you can see how The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or Native Son could be a bit unsettling to some readers. But Garfield: His Nine Lives? Amazingly, the public library in Saginaw, Michigan, decided Jim Davis's cat book was a bit much for kids and moved it over to the adult section. Control freaks in communities all over the country have tried to ban these and many other books, prompting the American Library Association to organize Banned Books Week. The Skokie Public Library has a free exhibit of banned books that shows just how far some people will go. The library, at 5215 Oakton in Skokie, is open from 9 to 5 today, 9 to 9 Monday through Friday, and 1 to 5 Sunday. Call 673-7774.
After working for more than 14 months without a contract, members of the United Mine Workers of America walked out on the Pittston Coal Group in southwest Virginia last spring. The miners, who are still striking, were protesting the end of benefits for widows and retired and disabled miners, cutbacks in health benefits, and the hiring of scabs, among other things. Since the walkout, more than 3,000 arrests have been made, and fines exceedinging $13 million have been levied against the miners, who are in dire need of support and funds. Several Chicago-area performers--including Tribe, the Rootless Cosmopolitans, Mark Dvorak, Jim Desmond and Bill Pekoc, Women of the World, Jimmy T., and several surprise guests--are trying to help out with Miners' Aid Chicago, a benefit at 9 tonight at the Czar Bar, 1814 W. Division. The suggested donation is $7, but you can give more if you want. T-shirts, buttons, and prints by UMW photographer Tom Johnson will also be for sale. Call 933-4900 during the day, 463-8968 at night.
You can see Chicago through the eyes of Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow, and other noted Chicago writers by taking today's 1939 Federal Writers' Project Tour, which is sponsored by the Chicago Historical Society. U. of I. professor William Adelman will guide you through Union Row, Hull House, Little Italy, Haymarket Square, and Little Tuscany. The bus leaves at 9 AM from the society's headquarters at Clark and North. It's $35, $32 for CHS members, and includes lunch. Call 642-4600 for more.
Or you can go for the glitz with WBBM's Skyline Tour, which features visits to usually off-limits areas of the Adler Planetarium and Marshall Field's, a view from the 80th floor of the Amoco Building, an advance look at the restoration work at the Medinah Athletic Club, and even a peek at the art collection in Governor Thompson's office at the State of Illinois Building. Tickets are a tax-deductible $25 (proceeds go to ten area charities). The tour runs from 10 to 4 and will leave from 630 N. McClurg Court. You must call for reservations; 951-3265.
Since the beginning of the year, the Horizons antiviolence project has gotten more than 330 reports of antigay harassment; in the same period, the Chicago Police Department has only received 4. "I think this gap may--and I'm not sure--exist because the gay and lesbian community doesn't feel comfortable with police in general," said Police Superintendent LeRoy Martin in a very candid interview in last week's Windy City Times. While Martin tries to figure out how to make the police more sensitive, Horizons has put together a support group for gay and bisexual male victims of antigay violence who are between 21 and 35 years old. They meet Mondays from 7:30 to 9 at 3225 N. Sheffield. It's free. Call 472-6469 for more.
Obviously, if you can read this you don't need Spanish-language services. But maybe you have friends or family, as I do, who would like to go on the Art Institute's Collection Highlights Tour in Spanish, a new service offered the first Tuesday of every month. Because every hour-long tour is unique, participants will have an opportunity to discuss a different masterpiece each time. The free tours meet inGallery 100 at 2 PM. The museum, at Michigan and Adams, is open from 10:30 to 8 today; 10:30 to 4:30 on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; 10 to 5 on Saturday; and noon to 5 on Sunday. Admission is free on Tuesdays, but on all other days there's a suggested admission of $5, $2.50 for students, seniors, and kids. Call 443-3600.
Wallace Kirkland, a British subject born in Jamaica, came to Hull House in 1922 to serve as director of the men's and boys' clubs. When Eastman Kodak gave the agency a five-by-seven view camera, Kirkland began to document life in the institution. He later went on to become one of Life magazine's first photojournalists. Some of the pictures he took of the Hull House denizens are now part of The Many Faces of Hull House: the Photographs of Walter Kirkland, the current free exhibit at the A. Montgomery Ward Gallery at Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted. In conjunction with the show, Perry Duis, an associate professor of history at U. of I., will give a lecture titled "Chicago Lights and Shadows, 1925-35: The Historical Context of the Kirkland Photographs." The free talk begins at 2 PM in the gallery; gallery hours are 11 to 6 Monday through Friday, 1 to 5 Saturday. For more call 996-3456.
In March 1974 John Cheever wrote to Allan Gurganus, his favorite student at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, "I would sooner be in your arms than in your prayers but the choice was never mine." Just before his death, Cheever wrote again. "To whom it may concern--I consider Allan Gurganus the most morally responsive and technically brilliant writer of his generation." Gurganus, who was never sexually involved with Cheever, let his publishers use that quote when they released his recent Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, a massive (two pounds, nine and one-half ounces) first novel. But when Gurganus heard public speculation about Cheever's motives, he asked Knopf to drop it. "The teacher-student relationship was heightened enough without complicating it unnecessarily," Gurganus says. This most moral and responsive guy will read from his work at 7:30 tonight at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells. It's free. Call 642-5044.
Come November, anthropologist Carole Vance will be in town to stir things up with a presentation titled "A Vagina Surrounded by a Woman," about the feminist arguments for and against pornography. N.A.M.E. Gallery is raising funds to pay for Vance's visit with events such as tonight's After the Good Girls Go Home, an evening of performance and comedy curated by Beth Tanner. It's at Suzie B's, 1829 W. Montrose. Show time is 9 PM, and admission is $3 to $5. For more call 929-6910.