For the current group exhibit at N.A.M.E. gallery, Tom Friedman dropped a pile of pickup sticks on the floor, then created an identical pile next to it. Sean Landers scribbled what he calls "hard-core adolescent ramblings in bad penmanship" on legal paper, and Andy Soma started a single-line drawing on the wall--over the next month he'll continue to work on it until it covers every corner. The exhibit, called Itch, celebrates compulsive behavior and unfulfilled urges; it also includes work by Suzie Brandt, Jessica Holt, and Barbara Koenen, and tiny chairs made from chicken bones by the late Milwaukee folk artist Eugene Von Bruenchenhein. The show opens tonight with a reception at 6 at the gallery, 700 N. Carpenter, and runs through May 3; viewing hours are Tuesday through Saturday noon to 6. Details at 226-0671.
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz wrote her first poem at age eight and went to Mexico City to study Latin at age nine--no mean feat for a Mexican girl growing up in the late 17th century. At 17 she entered a convent, and over the next two and a half decades she wrote plays, poems--the most famous being "Foolish Men Who Accuse [Women]"--and letters defending her desire for knowledge in a period when women were not educated. Mexican actress Ofelia Medina has brought Sor Juana's story to the stage in Mexican Senorita, a performance incorporating poetry and music that has received critical acclaim in Mexico. Tonight only, Mexican Senorita is at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, 1852 W. 19th St. The performance is all in Spanish. It starts at 7:30; the $25 tickets include a reception after the show. Call 738-1503 for more information.
Potawatomi Indian, artist, and storyteller Earl Meshiguad lives in Milwaukee, where he spends his time working with the American Indian population to keep alive some of his tribe's traditional arts and crafts and legends. He'll tell some of those legends at the North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski, tonight at 7:30. A donation of $5 or canned goods is requested; it'll go to the Indian populations of Chicago and Milwaukee. Reserve a spot at 583-8970.
In a sort of healthy twist on the Easter egg hunt, the Children's Bookstore is holding a Vegetable Hunt today. Starting at 10:30, kids can search the store for apples, carrots, potatoes, and radishes, while employees read aloud from the Peter Rabbit books. At 11 tomorrow kids can look for afikomen (matzo) and listen to Passover stories at the Moses in the Bulrushes Story Hour. Both events are free. The store is at 2465 N. Lincoln; call 248-2665.
Living in Lake Forest gives satirical monologuist Anne Van der Vort a good basis for talking about modern suburban life. She uses slides to illustrate her monologues, which have included such topics as suburban lawns and hiding out in the grocery store to find a new mother. The subject of tonight's performance at Cafe Voltaire, 3231 N. Clark, is "the gulf crisis in relation to living on the North Shore." Monologuist Peter Harlan will open for her at 8:30; the cover is $3. Call 528-3136 for details.
Are the New Duncan Imperials as puerile and charming on video as they are live? Find out tonight when they screen new videos for "Motel 666" and "I'm Schizophrenic (No I'm Not)" before they play, around 12:30 at Cabaret Metro, 3730 N. Clark. Cover is $6; 549-0203.
The Joyful Commanders, a gospel group from New Orleans, will join the Gospel Ambassadors (from Wilmington, Delaware), the Gospel Spiralettes (Los Angeles), and the Vocalares (Pine Bluff, Arkansas) in concert today at the Miracle Temple, 4645 W. Madison. The show starts at 3:30; tickets are $8 in advance (call 493-7049) and $10 at the door.
The life of Aline Griffith, the Countess of Romanones, sounds suspiciously like pulp fiction: She was working as a model in New York in 1943 when she was recruited by the Office of Strategic Services as a spy; and while doing espionage work, she met and married a count. Her 1987 novel, The Spy Wore Red, made the New York Times best- seller list; her latest, The Spy Wore Silk, about the 1971 assassination attempt on King Hassan II of Morocco, is fresh off the presses. The countess will be the guest of honor at the Mayfair Regent's tea and book signing today; she'll sign books (you can buy copies there), talk about her past, and eat finger sandwiches from 3 to 5 in the Mayfair Lounge of the hotel, 181 E. Lake Shore Drive. It costs $12.50, and reservations are recommended; make them at 787-8500, ext. 5030.
The Public Library Cultural Center kicks off its Monday-night dance series "In the Mood" tonight with Swing Night. The Deja Vu Big Band will perform standards from the Benny Goodman-Glenn Miller-Andrews Sisters era starting at 5:30 in Preston Bradley Hall, on the third floor of the center, 78 E. Washington. It's free; the next three Mondays are Samba Night, Polka Night, and Square Dancing Night. Call 346-3278.
You might remember George Griffin's work from the Third Animation Celebration--his whimsical watercolor-and-felt-tip-pen drawings or his Blockhead Man, the recurring character who's Griffin's alter ego. One of Griffin's trademarks is showing the process behind the animation: you'll see him making the drawings in fast motion or his hands moving the drawings. He's been producing his unconventional animation for about 20 years, and tonight he screens and talks about it at the auditorium of the School of the Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. The program starts at 6; admission is $3, free for faculty and students of local colleges. Call 443-3711 for more info.
Tired of the slapdash way your landlord is trimming the variegated dogwood? Want to plant some Japanese yews but worried you won't be able to care for them properly? Want to shorten the privet hedge now that you have neighbors you like? Today's pruning workshop at the Morton Arboretum, Route 53 just north of I-88 in Lisle, will cover the proper techniques and tools to use on woody plants. It runs 9 to noon, and there's a $10 fee ($8 for members). Register at 708-719-2468.
Richard Nixon appears at Club Lower Links tonight--that is, Richard Nixon as interpreted by actor, director, and Italian American Theater member Frank Melcori. Through Melcori, Nixon will "let his hair down and speak more off-the-cuff than public life ever allowed him to do." This is the third--and last--time Melcori will perform Richard Nixon at Lower Links. Pianist Jimi Jihad accompanies him; the show starts at 8:30 at 954 W. Newport. The cover is $5; call 248-5238.
The four women who make up the Rollin' Phones Saxophone Quartet--three from Sweden, one from upstate New York--studied sax (at different times) with Northwestern University music prof Frederick Hemke, and were featured performers at the ninth World Saxophone Congress in Japan in 1988. Tonight at 7:30 they play at Northwestern's Pick-Staiger concert hall, 1977 Sheridan Road in Evanston. Admission is $3, $1 for students and seniors; more info at 708-491-5441.