You've heard of the Great American Smokeout, the massive one-day attempt to help people kick the habit. Now comes the Great American Meatout, brought to you by your friendly neighborhood vegetarians. The Maryland Farm Animal Reform Movement suggests you try to go one day without meat. You can congregate with the group out in Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn, from 2 to 4 this afternoon. There'll be music, food from the Chicago Diner, and info from the Chicago Vegetarian Society, EarthSave, the Animal Rights Mobilization, Earth Day, and others. It's free to go watch. Call 925-8227 for more info.
The 50th anniversary of U.S. entry into World War II (that was last December 7, kids) is being marked with a two-day symposium at Loyola University today called The War in American Culture. The school's history department and the Chicago Historical Society have teamed up for the affair, which starts at 2:45 at the lakeshore campus's Edward Crown Center, 6525 N. Sheridan, and runs into the evening and then from 9 to 5 tomorrow. The focus will be on how people in America coped with the war; today, there's a panel on "The War at Home" at 3 and an opening address at 7:15 by MIT's John Dower on "Graphic Images: Race and Power in the Pacific War." Tomorrow you can hear papers on everything from Glenn Miller (by Loyola's Lewis Erenberg) to relations between Hispanics and the LA police department during the war years (by the University of Indiana's Ed Escobar). It's all free; call 508-2221 for details.
JFK--The 22 Bullet Theory is a combination video show and performance at Chicago Filmmakers tonight. The 23-minute video Eternal Frame is a collaboration of two performance groups, T.R. Uthco and Ant Farm, who in 1975 filmed both a reenactment of the Kennedy assassination and people's reactions to the reenactment. Bruce Connor's reputedly powerful mid-60s video Report uses radio reports and newsreel footage to cover the assassination. Also on hand will be Mike Motto, who'll discuss possible alien participation in the assassination, and Jonathan Lavan, who will do a tribute to conspiracy theorist George C. Thomson, who's detailed a unique assassination theory involving 22 bullets. Things get under way at 8 at Filmmakers, 1229 W. Belmont; it's $4. Call 281-8788 for more.
The American Ballet Theatre is looking for a few good supers. Supers are extras--you don't have to dance, you just stand onstage (or maybe carry things around) as a temple guard, priest, or palace servant. Tryouts for Firebird are today; the ABT needs 35 men between five-foot-ten and six-foot-two. The auditions start at 5 PM in the Lyric Opera House Theater, 20 N. Wacker. Supers get paid $5 for the rehearsal (the afternoon of March 24th) and $10 for each performance (the evenings of the 24th through the 26th). Call 751-2121 for details.
Speaking of supers, got a landlord problem? You can check in with the author of The Chicago Tenants' Handbook this afternoon. Ed Sacks will be at Kroch's and Brentano's, 2070 N. Clybourn, at 3:30 to talk about his book and give advice. It's free. Call 525-2800 for more.
Today's Guild Complex panel discussion, Chicago and the Politics of Race, concerns the national legacy of Harold Washington's reform movement. On hand will be the Chicago Reporter's Laura Washington; In These Times's Salim Muwakkil; Gary Rivlin, author of Fire on the Prairie, a new biography of Washington; and Abdul Alkalimat, coauthor of Harold Washington and the Crisis of Black Power in Chicago and the owner of 21st Century Books. It runs from 3 to 6 at the HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee. Admission is $5; call 278-2210 for details.
Yosef Yerushalmi, the well-known Jewish-history expert, leads off a distinguished series of lectures being presented by the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago over the next two months. Yerushalmi is the director of the Center for Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University and the author of four books, including From Spanish Court to Italian Ghetto and The Lisbon Massacre of 1506; he's currently at work on a book on Freud. He'll talk at Temple Sholom, 3480 N. Lake Shore Drive, at 8 PM. It's $10; there's also a $50 ticket that includes tonight's talk and upcoming sessions with cartoonist Jules Feiffer, novelist Ann Beattie, and journalist David Halberstam. Call 708-675-5070 for details.
An impressive cross section of Chicago's cultural community is turning out this week for Where Do We Come From? Where Do We Go? which describes itself as "a conference on multiculturalism in Chicago's performing arts." Actors, musicians, journalists, poets, painters, and filmmakers will be talking on a variety of panels every evening this week and all day Saturday and Sunday at the Blue Rider theater, 1822 S. Halsted. The whole shebang begins tonight with remarks from organizer Effie Mihopoulos, who's a poet and occasional Reader contributor, and an address by Fred Fine, Harold Washington's cultural affairs commissioner and founder of the Illinois Arts Alliance. Following is a panel called "Arts in Progress, 1940-1991: An Ethnic Perspective," featuring Sheldon Patinkin, chairman of the music department at Columbia College; painter Carlos Cortez; Irene Campos Carr, director of women's studies at Northwestern University; and others. Things get under way at 6:30; there's a reception and party to follow. Admission is $5 a day, $25 for a weekly pass. Call 733-4668 for more info and a complete schedule.
If you think the sight of the richest country in the world forcibly turning away refugees from one of the world's poorest countries--one of the many countries, incidentally, on the back of which the rich country made its money--is vaguely sickening, you might be interested in today's picket against U.S. government involvement in Haiti at Dearborn and Jackson. It starts at 4:30, and eventually the picketers will walk over to Saint Peter's Church at 110 W. Madison for a 5:30 prayer service. A variety of groups--everyone from the Chicago Religious Task Force on Central America to the Pledge of Resistance--are sponsoring. Call 663-4398.
"Never has shiftiness seemed so chic, nor deception so erotic," says the Film Center's Barbara Scharres on the Ernst Lubitsch classic Trouble in Paradise, the story of con artists Miriam Hopkins and Herbert Marshall and their wealthy Parisian employer, Kay Francis. "Lubitsch goes further with insinuation than most directors would have the wit to imagine. Two shadows falling across a gleaming bedspread still look more daring than a thousand sex scenes." The movie, part of the center's series on the golden age of Hollywood, plays tonight at 6 at the Film Center, Columbus and Jackson, with a lecture by Suzi Doll to follow. It's $5; call 443-3733 for details.
To us, Bye Bye Birdie without Ann-Margret just wouldn't be the same. So you'll have to make do with Tommy Tune in the title role as the Elvis-in-the-Army-era Broadway smash goes back on the road. It's at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress, through April 11. It plays Wednesdays at 2 and 7:30, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30, Fridays at 8, Saturdays at 2 and 8, and Sundays at 3. Tix are $12.50-$50. Call 902-1500.
"Whirl is king," says Robert Stone about his new novel, Outerbridge Reach. "Things happen ruthlessly, without mercy; the elemental force of things bears down on us. From one moment to the next we hardly know what's going on, let alone what it all means. Civilization is not a structure. It's a notion--sometimes a very distant notion. It can be blown away in a second." Stone, who also wrote Dog Soldiers, which was made into the Nick Nolte movie Who'll Stop the Rain, reads at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells, tonight at 7:30. It's free. Call 642-5044.
Times are tough for women: the theme of the opening panel of the 1992 Women and the Law Conference, presented by the National Women and the Law Association, is "Women Changing Society: Can Feminists Use the Law to Effect Social Change in the 1990s?" Ten years ago, the answer would have been an unequivocal yes; it's not so clear after ten years of Reagan and Bush judicial appointments. The conference runs through Sunday at the Congress Hotel, 520 S. Michigan; call 651-3100 for info. The opening panel this afternoon, however, is at Northwestern University law school's Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago, from 1 to 5. It's free; call 503-0858 for more.