When you hear that a band of cossacks on horseback, a pair of juggling bears, and a contingent of Russian high-wire artists have been spotted sightseeing along Michigan Avenue, you can be assured that the Moscow Circus is in town. The circus--actually a revue representing the cream of 130 different Soviet circuses (not including the Presidium, ha ha)--performs seven shows today through Sunday night at the Rosemont Horizon, 6920 N. Mannheim in Rosemont: today at 10:30 AM and 7:30 PM, tomorrow at 11 AM and 3 and 7:30 PM, and Sunday at 1 and 5 PM. Tickets are $12.50-$17.50. Call 708-635-6600 or 559-1212.
The Saint Matthew Passion is rather an extensive undertaking: it requires two full orchestras, two choruses, and ten soloists. This weekend Basically Bach presents the first Chicago performances of the passion on period instruments, with David Gordon as Evangelist and William Sharp doing J.C. The shows are tonight and tomorrow night at 7:30 at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 935 N. Dearborn, and Sunday at 7 at the First United Church of Oak Park, 848 Lake Street in Oak Park. Tickets are $8-$30; call 334-2800 for more information.
When bureaucrats create foreign policy muddles, why is it always the blood of kids, rather than that of the politicians, that gets spilled as a consequence? Teens with questions about why some of their peers are thousands of miles from home facing eternity for no clear reason are welcome at a morning workshop for high schoolers on the Persian Gulf war put on by Educators for Social Responsibility today. Besides a panel discussion, students can attend two of five workshops, choosing from sessions on the draft, the social costs of the war, the Israel-Palestine conflict, Arab culture, and the possibilities for peace. It runs from 8:30 to 12:30 at lecture center A-1, which is just east of the University of Illinois at Chicago library, 801 S. Morgan. It's $3; call 327-7853 for details.
The Freedmen and Southern Society Project, directed by University of Maryland history professor Ira Berlin, has undertaken the large-scale effort of publishing some of the records of emancipated slaves from the years after the Civil War. Using National Archive documents, Berlin and company are trying to create a history of emancipation through the eyes of the emancipated. Berlin is in town to speak at an all-day symposium on the sometimes difficult task of black genealogy; Bama and the Bayou: Researching African American Genealogy in Alabama and Louisiana runs from 9 to 4:30 at the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Illinois State University professor Ann Malone will talk on "Tracing Slave Families in Louisiana," officials from Chicago and Alabama libraries will discuss what their archives can offer, and there'll be a session on genealogy for beginners as well. A box lunch is available for $7, but the event is free. Call 924-7172 to register.
The Hercules films that came out of Italy between 1960 and 1966 featured "body-building champs, best friends that were always male, and beautiful lusty buxom women," writes Psychotronic Film Society dialectician Michael Flores. Bad dubbing and small sets added to the genre's charm. The 1964 film Hercules Against the Moon Men, the society's presentation tonight at its weekly forum at Crash Palace, 2771 N. Lincoln, stars heavily bicepted American Alan Steele fighting a group of moon-worshipping pagans. Shorts including Italian movie ads begin at 6:30, movie at 7. It's $3. Call 738-0985.
You've heard of multimedia performers? Amoke Omoleye is a "multi-arts" performer, combining folk tales, poetry, song, dancing, and visual arts at her shows. She's published a book of poetry, But for the Grace of Women, and edited a volume of West African fables, Yoruba Children's Tales. She performs tonight at the Dreamerz fiction series. It's $3, and gets under way at 7:30. Dreamerz is at 1516 N. Milwaukee. Call 252-1155.
As the line blurs between high and low art, things get interesting. For one, the process undermines the idea of cultural authority; concurrently, the idea of "authenticity" in art--that is, art made unself-consciously, without ironic reference to other cultural artifacts--starts to seem silly. In High and Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture, running through May 12 at the Art Institute, Dubuffet and Duchamp, Picasso and Warhol will be rubbing some entirely comfortable shoulders with advertising, cartoons, and commercial design. The exhibit opened to rave notices at New York's MOMA last year. The institute, on Michigan at Adams, is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday 10:30 to 4:30, Tuesday 10:30 to 8, Saturday 10 to 5, and Sunday noon to 5. Admission is free on Tuesday; a donation in any amount is requested other days. Call 443-3500 for details.
If you think about it, advancements in medicine have given us moral dilemmas both at the beginning of life (abortion, contraception) and the end of it (euthanasia and prolongation of life). Today Kenneth Vaux, the chief medical ethicist from the U. of I. medical school facility, will speak on Medical Ethics: Prolongation of Life at Loyola's Edward Crown Center for the Humanities, 6525 N. Sheridan. Vaux has written scores of articles and nearly a dozen books on various medical subjects; he hits the stage at 4. It's free. Call 508-3592.
Talk about seeing both sides of an issue! The Bisexual Political Action Coalition is having a meeting-cum-social this evening. New members are encouraged to attend. At the Rodde Center, 4753 N. Broadway, suite 1200, from 7 to 9. It's free. Call 275-6463.
Conservationist James Grier and professional talking head Bill Kurtis recently traveled to Ontario to track the progress of two bald eagles that had been reintroduced to their native habitat. They'll talk about their trip at A Wing and a Prayer: The Bald Eagle's Flight for Survival, an event of the Lincoln Park Zoological Society tonight. A reception starts at 6 at the First Chicago Center, Dearborn and Madison. Tickets are $20, $15 for zoo society members; 935-6700.
After years of managing a group of gynecology and family planning clinics in Hawaii, Sondra Ray converted to the concept of "rebirthing." Ray contends that illnesses have spiritual as well as physical causes and that the fastest way to "wholeness and wellness" is going to the root of the problem--the birth trauma. Rebirthing, says Ray, "allows a person to reexperience their own birth under conditions that engender a positive life outcome." Intrigued? Ray will talk about rebirthing at Unity on the North Shore church, 3434 Central Street in Evanston, from 7 to 10 PM. It's $20.Call 708-864-8977 for details.
White Noise is Don DeLillo's scary portrait of life in a suburban maelstrom of political, social, and nuclear fallout. Northwestern's performance studies department is presenting a one-hour adapation of the novel (by director James Lasko) tonight and tomorrow at 8. It's at the Mussetter-Struble Theater in the university's Theatre and Interpretation Center, 1979 Sheridan Road in Evanston. Admission is free. Call 708-491-7282.
The building that houses Blue Chicago, the blues club at 937 N. State, was slated for destruction this spring. There's now been a two-year reprieve, but owners Gino and Bernadette Battaglia have proceeded with plans for Blue Chicago on Clark, a new club at 536 N. Clark. Tonight's grand opening party features Gloria Shannon and Rhythm & Blues in Advance, playing chestnuts by Bessie Smith, Dinah Washington, and Billie Holiday. Things get under way at 5; the music goes to midnight. There's a $3 cover. Call 661-0100 for details.
Local photographer and Reader contributor Loren Santow's three-month tour of India has produced an impressionistic portrait of a country he says is too large to be thoroughly profiled in such a short time. Amber Village: Recent Photographs of India opens at the Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln, tonight with a reception from 6 to 8. The 15 photographs will be up at the library through March 30; admission is free. Call 728-8652.