Friday, January 25
Progress--in the form of the gentility that comes with allegedly civilized behavior--isn't always for the best; sometimes you just long for the days of the crossbow, the lance, the pistols at 25 yards. Jack Fuller and Dennis Britton, the editors of the Trib and the Sun-Times, face off tonight without using any of these worthy instruments--denying onlookers a certain vicarious thrill. The two will merely debate The Role of the Press in Civic Life. The debate, moderated by Northwestern University management professor Don Haider, begins at 8 at the Chicago Athletic Club, 12 S. Michigan. A predebate dinner starts at 6:30. The whole evening, sponsored by the Illinois Humanities Council, costs $35; just the forum is $10. Call the council at 939-5212 for reservations or info.
Tennessee is a savage one-act parable about life defined in terms of place and marriage defined in terms of a journey; Bite the Hand is about murder, marriage, and a particularly pungent form of female bonding. The two plays are part of Steppenwolf Theatre's ongoing "Second Stage" series, directed by ensemble member Jim True, and starring Leelai Demoz, Laura Kellogg, Mariann Mayberry, and Troy Eric West. The show plays Thursday and Friday nights at 8 and Saturday nights at 6 and 9 through February 9. Steppenwolf is at 2851 N. Halsted; call 472-4141.
When Brigid Murphy isn't presiding over her zoo-cum-revue, Milly's Orchid Show, she's a thoughtful performance artist who goes after the usual subjects--sex, womanhood, marriage, domesticity--with an intensity enhanced by a variety of props. In Brigid Murphy Tells Tall Tales, parts of which she'll be encoring in this series, she uses everything from an ungainly pair of stilts to a "dress" made up of pots and pans. She performs tonight through Sunday at Club Lower Links, 954 W. Newport, at 8:30 PM. It's $6; call 248-5238.
Saturday, January 26
It's a night for international music: first off, the Gaelic Park Pipe Band, a bagpipe ensemble, is holding a dance to raise money for uniforms. Featured will be traditional Irish music by the Clovers, step dancing by the Dennehy School of Dance, and both the Gaelic Park and Shannon Rovers pipe bands. At Saint Bede's Church, 8200 S. Kostner. Doors open at 7:30 PM; it's $6. Call 708-599-1840 for details.
Chicago's bustling reggae scene also celebrates itself tonight at the tenth annual Chicago Reggae Awards. Special guest is John Holt, a huge star in Europe and best known stateside for writing Blondie's hit "The Tide Is High." Holt will be backed up by local band Tony Bell and Kutchie; also performing are the Rafo International Combo, Johnnie Rich, Papa I-Ston, Michael Black, and Armageddon. Handling emcee chores are DJs Arthur Bailey (WKKC and WHPK), Astor Black (WNUR), Dave Castro (WDCB), and Field Marshal (WHPK). At the Furama Ballroom, 4936 N. Broadway. It starts at 8 PM; tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Call 427-0266.
Sunday, January 27
Ralph Frese is considered one of the country's foremost canoe experts. Today at the Chicago Maritime Museum, 455 E. Illinois, he talks about the canoe's role in the development of Illinois maritime history. Illinois--The 14th Colony runs from 4 to 6 PM; admission is $15; $10 for museum members. Call 836-4343 for reservations.
Danny Davis's mayoral campaign against Richie Daley looks like an uphill battle, what with Daley's very deep campaign fund and effective denaturing (at least until after the election) of several sticky issues. Davis, attempting to revive the coalition that elected Harold Washington, talks at a meeting hosted by the Democratic Socialists of America tonight at 7. It's free, at the Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, 615 W. Wellington. Thursday at 7, the DSA is sponsoring a free showing of Seeing Red, a documentary history of the U.S. Communist Party, which should be good for some laughs. The film shows at DSA member James Hughes's house, 5627 S. Drexel. Call 384-0327.
Monday, January 28
The School of the Art Institute's new lecture series Art Out There: Toward a Publicly Engaged Art Practice would seem to undercut the philosophical purity of the very work it seeks to celebrate. The series focuses on "performances, murals, videos, posters, and printed art that circumvent the gallery and museum context to function directly within communities," but doesn't attention by museums just thwart such functioning? Presumably, these issues and others will be addressed in the series. It begins tonight with speaker Deborah Wye, an associate curator in the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books at New York's Museum of Modern Art. She'll talk about how successful art-as-mass-communication has been over the last 20 years. The lecture begins at 6 PM at the school auditorium, Columbus and Jackson. It's $3, free to seniors and to students and staff of local colleges. The series continues for the next five Monday nights; call 443-3711 for more information.
The 13th annual Jazz Institute of Chicago Jazz Fair promises to turn the Blackstone Hotel yet again into a jazz jamboree, as seven bands jam and aficionados cruise a jazz midway chock-full o' jazz art and products. The Don Bennett Sextet and Vandy Harris and the Front Burners will be in the hotel's famous Jazz Showcase. Four other bands play in various parts of the hotel, and the Mellow Fellows will perform from 9 to 1 two blocks away at Buddy Guy's Legends, 754 S. Wabash. The Blackstone is at 636 S. Michigan; events get under way at 6 and go to midnight at the hotel. Tickets--which get you into any or all of the venues--are $12, $9 for Jazz Institute members. Call 427-1676 for more info.
Tuesday, January 29
See Jessica Rabbit catch a cold and a chilly Chip 'N Dale jam on electric guitars in the newest edition of Walt Disney's World on Ice. Besides the old standards--Mickey and Donald, Pluto and Goofy--the show includes the vampish Jessica and the feckless Roger from Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Sebastian and Ursula from The Little Mermaid. The show opens tonight at discount prices of $3.50, $5.50 and $8.50 at the Chicago Stadium, 1800 W. Madison. The show runs through February 10, with performances Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 (except for this Sunday's show, which is at 5:30) and various matinees. Ticket prices go up $4 starting tomorrow. Call 733-5300.
Wednesday, January 30
Ragdale, the well-known artists' retreat in Lake Forest, hosts as many as 150 artists from all over the world every year. Tonight, as part of an "occasional" series that features work created at Ragdale, poet Sandra Steingraber is doing a reading called Performance Post-diagnosis. Her subjects range from the environment to a feminist perspective on cancer. At the Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark, starting at 8. It's $4. Call 708-234-1063 for details.
Thursday, January 31
The proprietors of Bucktown institution Danny's--the ten-room but nonetheless cozy drinking hole for the local artsy set--say the bar was originally a one-room bookie joint with poker in the basement. In 1985 it became Danny and Pete's Truck Stop. The name was shortened when owners Michael Noone and Terry Alexander took over last summer; they've used the area's plethora of artists to decorate the place, from paintings on the walls to installations in the bathtub. The newest group of work is called Art Erotica, with submissions from Dale Aunet, Bruce Hawkins, Mary Beth Valentin, Liba Waring, and others. The free opening reception tonight goes from 7:30 to 2 at 1951 W. Dickens. Call 489-6457.
Shit Happens When You're an Opal and the Rectum of the Universe was the original title of the poetry collection Lorri Jackson was working on at the time of her death--the heroin overdose melodramatically celebrated in the Tribune, the Sun-Times, and New City. Jackson eventually retitled the collection Scat Logic; a show tonight at Club Lower Links will serve as a memorial for the poet and a fund-raiser for the book's publisher, Oyster Press. Scheduled are films Jim Sikora made with Jackson, a performance by the band No Empathy, an open mike for people to read Jackson's work, and more. The show starts at 8:30; a $5 donation is requested. Lower Links is at 954 W. Newport. Call 248-5238.