Got a hankering for "Madamina Soup," "Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti Dessert," "Vino Almaviva," or "Salzburg Mozartkugeln"? They'll all be part of dinner at the Chicago Chamber Orchestra's 40th birthday party and celebration of the bicentennial of Mozart's death. The shebang's at the Westin Hotel, 909 N. Michigan; the guest of honor will be Gerald Kriechbaum, the new Austrian consul general, and the orchestra and pianist Kimberly Schmidt will perform Wolfgang's Piano Concerto no. 17 in G Major. Promised funds for the orchestra's planned tour of Eastern Europe next year have dried up, so this $100-a-head event is an effort to keep the project alive. Things start at 6:30; call 922-5570 for details.
"I have suffered two grave accidents in my life. One in which a streetcar knocked me down, the other accident being Diego." That's Mexican artist Frida Kahlo talking; the streetcar accident she was in as a teenager broke her back and caused her pain throughout her life, and Diego, of course, was husband Diego Rivera, the renowned muralist. Frida, a Dance Drama is a one-woman show of dance, theater, and music written and performed by Alicia Perea, who teaches at the University of New Mexico and is the head of the dance ensemble Danzantes. The show is part of the Mexican Fine Arts Center's ongoing Day of the Dead celebration; it runs tonight through Sunday at 7 each evening; tickets are $10, $8 for seniors and students, and $6 for members of the center, which is at 1852 W. 19th St. Call 738-1503 for more info.
The Gyuto monks of Tibet are known for their strange but compelling way of singing. "The Tibetans' approach to voice production," wrote the New York Times's Allan Kozinn, "is very different from that of most other cultures. It involves . . . pushing the voice hard at the very bottom of the range, and oscillating it to give the impression that a chord, rather than a single note, is being sung." The monks' second series of shows in the U.S. comes to Chicago tonight; money from the tour and from sales of a new album on Rykodisc will go toward a new temple for the monks in Nepal; their old one got run over by the Chinese way back when. The show tonight is part of a series of new-music presentations by Jam Productions and the Goodman Theatre; it's at the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, at 8. Tickets are $22.50. Call 443-4940 or 559-1212.
Two days of workshops on some of the challenges facing the modern school system--from overcrowding and safety to how to teach kids about AIDS--make up the Citizens Schools Committee conference this weekend at the University of Illinois. The title of the conference, School Reform: Starting the Second Round, refers to the second round of local school council elections, just held; speaking on the councils' charter for the coming year will be state senator Alice Palmer, kicking things off today sometime after 8:30 AM. The conference runs through 4 today, 12:30 to 5 tomorrow at Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted. It's $20, with discounted pricing schemes for local school council members and committee members. Call 726-4678 for details.
Anyone interested in music these days has to contend with some imposing additions to the old guitar-bass-and-drums lineup. MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface), sampling, digital recording generally, and computer sequencing are all sine qua non for the modern recording artist. Chicago's Experimental Sound Studio is offering a low-priced two-day workshop on recording-studio techniques this weekend. The instructor is Lou Mallozzi; the sessions go from 1 to 6 today and tomorrow at Experimental Sound Studio, 5150 N. Paulina. The $30 fee ($25 for students or ESS members) includes two hours of studio time. Call 784-0449 for details.
The Victory Gardens Theater's free readers' theater series, ongoing for 16 years, continues tonight with a staged reading of Dwight Okita's Letters I Never Wrote. The readings, the product of but six hours of rehearsal, give writers a chance at a bit of early audience response to their work. This one starts at 7:30 at 2257 N. Lincoln. Call 549-5788 for details.
Wisdom Bridge Theatre frequently dreams up cabaret productions to complement its mainstage events. To accompany Falsettoland, for example, a musical dealing with AIDS, the theater's presenting On Borrowed Time, a tribute to those who've died of the disease in the form of a poetry and music show. There'll be five performances at various venues: tonight at 7 and tomorrow night at 7 and 9 at the Playbill Cafe of My Place For?, 7545 N. Clark; next Monday, November 11, at 7 at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 1218 W. Addison; and next Tuesday, November 12, at 7:30 at the Rodde Center, 4753 N. Broadway, suite 1200. All the shows are free, though there's a one-drink minimum at the Playbill and donations will be accepted at the church and the Rodde Center. Call 743-6000 for details.
Trumpeter and flugelhornist Randy Brecker--he of the Brecker Brothers, the Horace Silver Quintet, and the original Blood, Sweat & Tears--will jam tonight with the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble I as part of a conference called Jazz: The State of the Art at the Blackstone Theatre, 60 E. Balbo. Panelists for discussions on everything from the history of jazz to the business of it include Brecker, Jazz Showcase impresario Joe Segal, Jazz Institute president Ed Crilly, and pianist Larry Novak. The talk starts at 6, the show at 8; it's all free. Call 362-8373 for details.
The third annual Doodles of the Stars auction to benefit the Live Bait theater starts at 6:30 tonight at the Nightcrawlers Cafe at 3912 N. Clark, which adjoins the theater. Up for bids are doodles by Robert De Niro, caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, Penn and Teller, Rodney Dangerfield, the Indigo Girls, and others along with a selection of "I don't have time to doodle" letters from the likes of Spike Lee, Jane Fonda, and Ronald Reagan. It's $15 to get in; Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will officiate. Call 871-1212 for details.
New to Seymour Hersh's shelf of exhaustively researched and secret-busting books--on everything from the My Lai massacre and the downing of KAL 007 to Nixon and Kissinger's foreign policy and Gerald Ford's pardon of Nixon--is The Samson Option, the story of Israel's development of the nuclear bomb. Also new is that Hersh is a Marjorie Kovler Fellow at the University of Chicago, which is a fancy-schmancy way of saying that he'll be on campus for a few days, going to classes, interacting with students, and lecturing today in room 120 of Kent Hall, 1020 E. 58th St., at 4 PM. It's free. Call 702-6421 for details.
Wall Street Journal film critic Julie Salamon spins a different tale in The Devil's Candy, about the artistic and financial debacle that was the filming of The Bonfire of the Vanities. Salamon will read from the book and answer questions at 7:30 tonight at Chapin Hall, Northwestern University, 726 University Place in Evanston. It's free; call 708-866-0309. Salamon will also give an extended talk on the book tomorrow night at 7 at the Film Center, Columbus and Jackson. Admission is $5; call 443-3737.
Today at noon, the Friends of Downtown are holding a critique of the new Harold Washington Library. At the risk of nit-picking, we're happy to provide some discussion points: 1) the transition from street to library proper--a maze of hidden escalators, mysterious hallways, and no signs--takes an able-bodied person who knows where he's going three full minutes to traverse; 2) signage generally is not good, and the inconveniently placed and awkwardly designed guide screens are little help; 3) the computerized card catalog requires a college degree to figure out; and 4) the elevator lights are set up so that when an elevator arrives you can't tell if it's going up or down. The critique is in the fourth-floor meeting room of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. It's free, and you can bring a bag lunch. Call 726-4031 for details.