In 1950 the Guatemalan people elected as president Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, who not only parceled land out to the poor but resisted giving special privileges to the United Fruit Company, an American corporation that had practically run Guatemala before he came to office. Claiming that Arbenz was supported by Communists and that Guatemala was a strategic base for a potential attack on the Panama Canal, the U.S. government bumped Arbenz and handed the presidency to Carlos Castillo Armas, a U.S.-trained army colonel who was willing to do things Washington's way. Many of the same CIA guys who planned this successful coup later engineered the Bay of Pigs invasion, but Philip Roettinger, who was a Marine Corps colonel during the Guatemala coup, wasn't a part of the ill-fated Cuban mission for one reason: he'd decided that covert involvement in other countries' internal affairs was wrong. Roettinger will be one of eight former CIA and FBI agents discussing U.S. spy activities at home and abroad from 4 to 6 today at the DePaul University Commons, 2324 N. Fremont. Admission is $5-$15, based on a sliding scale. The program is sponsored by Pledge of Resistance, the Bill of Rights Foundation, and the DePaul University Ministry. Call 663-4398.
As a performer, Richard Elovich is elfin but intense; as a writer, he's funny, but in a painful kind of way. Elovich, who has been involved with both ACT UP and Gran Fury, the artists' collective recently involved in controversial negotiations with the CTA over a series of explicit AIDS education billboards, is in town this weekend to perform his one-person play, If Men Could Talk, the Stories They Could Tell. Curtain time is 8 PM at Randolph Street Gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee. The show is part of the gallery's Gay and Lesbian Pride Month celebration. Admission if $6, $4 for RSG members. For a full schedule of events, call 666-7737.
As long as you've got line and bait, you don't need an official Park District fishing license to join in the third annual Fishing Rodeo. Prizes--including new bikes, TV sets, and fishing gear--will go to the person in each age category who catches the first fish, the longest fish, and the most fish. Registration starts at 8 AM at Douglas Park, 1401 S. Sacramento. There's a $1 fee. Call 722-0295.
A can of food is the only admission price to the Canned Film Festival, which this year features The Sidewalk Motel, a movie that combines documentary footage about the homeless with a fictional narrative about a man who suddenly finds himself on the street. Canned donations will be distributed to homeless shelters around town; the film has already raised more than $10,000 worth of goods for the needy around the country. It'll start at 1 PM today and tomorrow at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport. Call 871-6604 or 435-4548.
The idea behind the Chicago Consultation on Conscience is to bring church and state together, sort of: the day of workshops and presentations was designed so that government and civic leaders can get together with members of area congregations who are sensitive to social issues, so that each group will get a better idea of what the other is up to. Sidney Yates will be one of the main speakers; other participants include Jay Miller of the Illinois ACLU, CHA honcho Vince Lane, peace activist Jack Kelly, Father George Clements of Holy Angels Church, and Rabbi Lynne Landsberg of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. It runs from 9 to 5:30 at North Shore Congregation Israel, 1185 Sheridan Road in Glencoe. The $18 admission includes lunch. Call 708-835-0724.
According to the folks at the Psychotronic Film Society, Loves of Irina--Vampire! is a cult classic that's "too hot for cable." It's also the second installment in Secret Desires, a Festival of Divine Decadence, PFS's latest series. Show time is 7 PM at Crash Palace, 2771 N. Lincoln. Admission is $2. The fest continues June 17 with Shanty Tramp and June 24 with 10 Violent Women. Call 738-0985.
Some fitness experts claim exercising in water is easier and better for you than earthbound programs. Classes in aqua aerobics sponsored by Moraine Valley Community College begin at 11 this morning at the Palos Olympic Health and Racquetball Club, 11050 Roberts Road in Palos Hills. They run six weeks and cost $38. More sections meet other mornings and evenings; for a full schedule, call 708-974- 5745.
This marks the fifth year in a row that the Chicago Actors Ensemble has contacted politicians on every level, both here and abroad, to contribute artwork--that's right, artwork--to its annual auction. So far this year no foreign leaders have responded (though Pierre Trudeau sent a letter saying he wouldn't be contributing), but items have come in from aldermen Helen Shiller and Ray Figueroa, Governor Thompson, President Bush, and Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole, to name a few. Bad Art Auction V: a political pARTy starts at 7 tonight at Carlucci's, 2215 N. Halsted. The $25 tickets include hors d'oeuvres and live music; there'll be a cash bar. Reservations, which are encouraged, can be made at 275-4463.
Every year the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee gives awards to the city's best Equity-theater productions and citations to the best non-Equity productions. This year's Jeff Citation nominees include some critic's choices (City Lit's The Good Times Are Killing Me) and some box-office smashes (Edge Productions' Vampire Lesbians of Sodom). A total of 19 productions are nominated in 14 categories, including performance, writing, and technical work, and there can be more than one winner in each category. Awards presentation starts at 7:30 tonight at the Royal-George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted. Besides the Academy Awards-like speeches, there'll also be a sampler of scenes from some of the shows. Tickets are $15. Call 649-1012 or 427-4635.
Michael Scott started out as an administrative aide during Harold Washington's hectic 1987 campaign, and then served as Mayor Sawyer's often-opposed special-events chief. Daley now has him presiding over the relatively calm Cable Commission. See him in action and find out what's happening on the cable-TV front when the group meets today at 9:30 AM in the fourth-floor conference room at the Kraft Building, 510 N. Peshtigo Court. Admission is free. Call 744-4052.
Eight years ago Joe Hanc abandoned his background in history and science to become a dancer. But his academic interests still help determine his subject matter: the solo he performs tonight was inspired by a tour of a colonial cemetery. He'll be opening up for The Late Show, the end result of a 12-week class choreographer Rosemary Doolas taught last year, performed by seven of its participants. It starts at 8:30 at Club Lower Links, 954 W. Newport. Admission is $3. Call 248-5238.
Obsession is the theme of Renee Hansen's first novel, Take Me to the Underground, and Chicago's gay and lesbian community is the setting. Though Hansen has made up fictional place names, it's easy to figure out what's what. A writing and literature professor at Columbia College, Hansen will be reading from the book at 7:30 tonight at People Like Us, 3321 N. Clark. The reading is free; the book costs $7.95. Call 248-6363.
Looks like President Bush is willing to give up on Lithuanian independence in exchange for a united Germany in NATO, but that won't stop the demonstrations at Daley Plaza or Rock for Baltic Independence, tonight's musical fund-raiser. Running Dogs, Bankrots, and the Nameless--three bands whose members have roots in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia (though none were actually born there)--will donate tonight's take to the secession movements in the three Soviet-annexed countries. The music starts at 7:30 at Cabaret Metro, 3730 N. Clark. Tickets are $7 in advance from Ticketmaster or $10 at the door. Call 476-2316.