When water polo first came to the U.S. from England in the 1880s, it was so rough that players sometimes tried to strangle and drown opponents in pursuit of a goal. Things are more civilized now, but the sport still requires tremendous endurance. The top-ranked Soviet water polo team will be in town tonight to play the U.S. collegiate all-star team. Both teams, en route to the Goodwill Games in Washington State, are on a U.S. tour with six other teams. Game time is 6 at the Whitney Young High School pool, 210 S. Loomis. An exhibition match between local all-stars begins at 5. Tickets are $7. Call 951-8188.
In 1974, Mary Pascente and Lucia Gutierrez established the first police beat representative center in Chicago in a storefront on 18th Street. The neighborhood anticrime program, staffed by volunteers, worked so well that the Police Department adopted it as a model for the ten centers it launched three years later. After more than 25 years in city services, Pascente is retiring this year as the coordinator of the 12th District's beat rep center, and tonight her friends are throwing a retirement banquet for Mary Pascente. Cocktails begin at 6:30 and dinner at 7:30 at the Diplomat Banquet Hall, 5600 W. Fullerton. Tickets are $35 in advance. Call 744-7291 or 744-7292.
According to legend, when there's no food, the mother pelican tears her breast open and feeds her young with her own blood. Learn more about pelicans, flamingos, albatross, and other water birds at today's free Shedd Aquarium film. Water Birds will be presented every hour on the half hour beginning at 9:30 at the aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive. Aquarium admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and kids under 17. Call 939-2426.
The 11th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution finds the streets of Managua looking very much like they did before Daniel Ortega and his cohorts came to power: brick barricades have stopped traffic, neighborhood vigilante groups have taken up arms, and a workers' strike brought the city to a dead halt last week. Omar Cabezas, former guerrilla, current member of the Nicaraguan national assembly, and writer (Fire From the Mountain) will be in town to celebrate the revolution's anniversary and talk about what the Sandinistas are doing in opposition to Violeta de Chamorro's conservative government. He'll speak at 7 PM at the Crown Center at Loyola University, 6525 N. Sheridan. It's free and wheelchair accessible, with child care provided. Call 728-5561 or 276-5626.
Eastern Orthodox Christianity shares elements with Catholicism, but one important difference is that Orthodoxy is not governed by one administrative body: its 250,000 followers in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin (out of more than 250 million worldwide) worship in independently run churches. Thus Orthodox Patriarch Dimitrios has a spiritual authority comparable to the pope's but no jurisdictional control. Thousands will gather at Grant Park this morning to hear a free religious service by the patriarch. Seating will be provided for as many as 5,400 people, 40 priests from around the country will take part in the service and give communion, and 35 choirs (26 from the Chicago area) will sing. The service starts at 8 AM, followed by a liturgy at 9:30, at the Petrillo Music Shell, Columbus Drive and Jackson Boulevard. It should run till noon. Call 337-7400.
For its Night of the Living Deaf extravaganza, Dreamerz nightclub has promised $50 for the best poem for, by, or about deaf people--plus live theater, free grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, and music specially selected for the occasion. "We're going to crank up the bass on the dance floor because we know deaf people basically dance to vibrations," says owner-manager Daniel G. Hites. All of tonight's staff know sign language; the poetry, as well as Transient Theater's skits, will be interpreted for the hearing impaired; and all profits will go to the Chicago Hearing Coalition. Open mike starts at 7 at 1516 N. Milwaukee. Admission is $5. Call 252-1155 or 276-1568.
"Our art is merely and marvelously our weapon," says a spokeswoman for SisterSerpents, the radical feminist artists' collective that calls itself "guerrillas in the war against sexism." Founded last summer after the Supreme Court's Webster decision, which gave individual states the right to limit access to abortion, the group celebrates its first birthday with an art exhibit through the end of July at Edge of the Lookingglass, 62 E. 13th St. All of the pieces in the show are mixed-media collaborative work. None of it's for sale, but the group does accept donations. Admission is free; the gallery is open after 4 PM seven days a week. Call 939-4017.
Artist Julian Schnabel's paintings often feature pieces of broken china, gold leaf, or antlers nailed or glued on to their surface, but his drawings are two-dimensional and simple. "My notion of drawing is moving a line around with your hand," he says. More than 70 drawings--which are independent works, not preparatory sketches for paintings--make up Julian Schnabel: Works on Paper 1975-1988. The exhibit, which received high praise during its European tour, is in its only U.S. presentation at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 237 E. Ontario, through September 30. Doors are open 10 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 Sunday. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for students, seniors, and children under 16. Call 280-5161.
Jim and Jeanne Pieper began collecting masks on their first trip to Guatemala, 30 years ago. Since then they've acquired masks used in pre-Hispanic dances--including the deer dance and the dance of the 24 devils--as well as masks by contemporary artists. Guatemalan Masks: The Pieper Collection, an exhibit of more than 100 of the masks as well as photographs and other documents that show how they're made and used in native rituals, will be on display through September 3 at the Field Museum. It's open 9 to 5 seven days a week; the museum is at Roosevelt Road and Lake Shore Drive. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for kids and seniors, and free on Thursdays. Call 922-9410.
Approximately 20 present and former students of the west side's Clemente High School make up the Clemente Steel Band, which plays Latin music on 55-gallon steel oil drums. They perform from 5 to 7 tonight at the River Edge Cafe, along the southern bank of the Chicago River between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive. You can get to the cafe using the stairwell at the corner of Michigan and Wacker or the one just east at Wacker and Stetson. The show's free. Call 565-1234.
Recently Cuban American Village Voice writer Enrique Fernandez claimed that while non-Cuban Americans liked Oscar Hijuelos's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, every Cuban he'd talked to was uncomfortable with it. That makes sense: In his long, complex story, Hijuelos proposes that what is behind much Cuban bravado is a profound sadness. He also uses Desi Arnaz and his caricatured Ricky Ricardo TV persona--which many Cubans resent--as a symbol for the community's achievements, sense of decency, and isolation. Hijuelos will read from and discuss his book at 7:30 tonight at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells. It's free; the book is $9.95. Call 642-5044.
One of the key films of the French New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard's left-leaning Weekend (1967) explores violence and alienation in Parisians' struggles to get time off. It plays tonight at 7 at Facets Multimedia, 1517 W. Fullerton, in French with English subtitles. Tickets are $5, $3 for Facets members. Call 281-4114 or 281-9075.
Tonight Hank Williams Jr. is in concert with the Kentucky Headhunters at 7:30 at the World Music Theatre, 19100 Ridgeland Avenue in Tinley Park. Tickets are $20 for pavilion seats, $15 for the lawn. Call 708-614-1616 or 559-1212.