While brutality charges have been filed against the Police Department in a few high-profile cases, a recent Tribune poll shows that Chicagoans, black and white, aren't too alarmed about cop violence--which is pretty much what police superintendent LeRoy Martin has said all along. He'll be leading today's public forum, "Public Perception of the Police: What It Is and What It Should Be," at 12:30 in the second-floor dining room at Chicago City-wide College, 226 W. Jackson. It's free. Call 855-8085.
Performance artist Sandra Binion was climbing up through one of Spain's modern architectural masterpieces, Antonio Gaudi's Casa Mila, but it was a glimpse of a clothesline and an upturned chair on a roof across the way that inspired her Opera Barcelona, which uses music and video to capture the city's essence. Show time is 8:30 PM at Link's Hall, 3425 N. Sheffield. Tickets are $5. Call 443-7250.
Scientists are still trying to figure out exactly which islands in the Lesser Antilles were visited by Christopher Columbus, whose logs are rich with details about Caribbean geography and climate--which could help determine weather patterns over the last few centuries. Fire and Ice: An Illustrated Journey Through the Climates of Time, a lecture by Wesleyan University's David Hickcox and Jon Sanger, will examine what the climates of the past tell us about today's weather, as well as what we may expect tomorrow. The presentation begins at 10 AM and runs to 2 PM at the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Admission is $17.50, $12.50 for those who graduated from Wesleyan after 1983, and includes coffee and rolls, a box lunch, and beverages. Call 246-6994 in the afternoon, or 1-614-368-3325.
Super clean-cut--and super skinny--Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser will hang out for about two hours at the opening of the new River North Sportmart, 440 N. Orleans, starting at 11 AM. Olympic gold-medal diver Greg Louganis will arrive at noon and sign autographs until 3. You can also check out a rowing machine with a digital readout of how many calories you're burning, and freeze-dried mocha mousse. It's free. Call 642-0606.
According to the sponsors of today's Racism and the Criminal Justice System conference, African Americans go to prison at a rate eight times higher than whites and twice as high as blacks in South Africa. The organizers want changes, especially at Marion Federal Penitentiary, the only U.S. prison condemned by Amnesty International for violating the UN's minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners, and where a six-year "lockdown" has kept prisoners restricted to their cells 23 hours a day. The conference, which runs from 12:30 to 6 PM, includes workshops on the drug war and recent Supreme Court decisions, and a keynote address by New York judge Bruce Wright, author of Black Robes, White Justice. It's all at DePaul University's Schmitt Academic Center, 2323 N. Seminary. Suggested admission is $5. Child care is available. Call 663-5046.
"The emotional intensity of German Expressionist dance with the structural clarity of much recent American dance" is how the New York Timess Jack Anderson described the ZeroMoving Dance Company, the Philadelphia-based company performing at MoMing Dance & Arts Center today as part of the center's German festival. Show time is 3 PM at 1034 W. Barry. Tickets are $12, $10 for students and seniors. For information on other festival activities call 472-7662.
Last year the Paris Dance nightclub raised $3,500 in one night for Sarah's Circle, becoming the single largest contributor to the Uptown homeless-women's center. At this year's fourth benefit for Sarah's Circle, club owner Linda Rodgers and her crew hope to do even better. WXRT's Terri Hemmert, who has made this one of her annual causes, will spin records from 4 to 8 PM at 1122 W. Montrose. Everyone is welcome. Admission is $5. Call 262-2322 or 769-0602.
Followers of the Kabbalah, originally a mystical movement that swept European Jewish communities in the Middle Ages, believe there are hidden symbolic meanings in every letter of the Hebrew Bible. "Of all the mystic disciplines, Kabbalah alone weds science and metaphysics to offer a total picture of the universe," says a press release from the Research Centre of Kabbalah, which offers a new 15-week course starting at 7 tonight at 6328 N. California. Tuition is $130 or $10 per class. Call 298-4652.
For the first time in a long while fans won't have to worry about their heroes' morale at the fourth annual Skate With the Blackhawks Party. You'd never know it from the listless comments by head coach Mike Keenan, but the Hawks--unlike the roller-coastering Bears--are solidly in first place. Denis Savard, Jacques Cloutier, and all the others will be at the Franklin Park Ice Arena, 9711 W. Waveland, from 7 to 9 tonight. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7.50 for kids under 16. All proceeds go to benefit WBBM's Wreath of Hope holiday charity campaign. Call 951-3265.
"I had hoped to capture with black marks on white paper, this music created by these people, and set down what they looked like, felt and did before they were gone," said Stephen Longstreet in a recent interview about his new book, Jazz From A to Z: A Graphic Dictionary. A novelist, travel writer, cookbook author, screenwriter, playwright, painter, illustrator, historian, and critic, Longstreet is first and foremost a jazz fan. His view of the local scene in the 1920s and 1930s is captured in the more than 60 watercolors, drawings, and collages in Jazz--The Chicago Scene: The Art of Stephen Longstreet, on exhibit through November 29 at the University of Chicago's Joseph Regenstein Library, 1100 E. 57th St. Open 9 to 5 Monday through Friday and 9 to 1 Saturday. Call 702-8740.
Culled from 1940s and '50s newsreel footage and government-archives films, The Atomic Cafe is a compendium of "misinformation" that was aimed at selling the idea of nuclear war to the American public. The 1982 film, screened as part of the Hull-House Centennial film series, can be seen for free at 3 and 7 PM in room 605 of Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted. Call 413-5070.
Got some hot verse you've just got to get off your chest? The Guild Complex, 2456 N. Lincoln, hosts a poetry open mike at 8 PM. For $3 you can wax poetic. Afterward you can stick around until 8:30 and hear Uptown slam champ Jim Banks and noncompetitive Mike Li Puma recite from their works. Or you can be rude and rush north to the No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood, and sign up for their 9 PM poetry open mike--which costs only 99 cents. For details about the Guild show call 525-3667; for No Exit, 743-3355.
The government uses census data for local and congressional redistricting, determining matching federal funds, and allocating program funds to local and state governments--so a low or inaccurate head count can really foul things up. Greg Howard, a data specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, will talk about The Importance of Being Counted in the 1990 Census. He will also discuss the bureau's methods and the safeguards used to ensure privacy. The free program runs from 12:15 to 1:30 PM at the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. 321-3460.
In her lecture A Vagina Surrounded by a Woman: The Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, anthropologist Carole Vance describes how the rhetoric of the feminist debate on pornography was appropriated by Ed Meese's commission and used to promote censorship. A professor at Columbia University's School of Public Health, Vance is a writer and editor whose most recent article, "The War Over Culture," appeared in the September issue of Art in America. The lecture starts at 7:30 PM at N.A.M.E. Gallery, 700 N. Carpenter. Admission is $4. Call 226-0671.