Some people like their history dry and factual; we like it hyped, lurid, and messy. So we think it's neat that JFK, Oliver Stone's filmic shotgun blast, has earned him "director of the decade" honors from the Chicago Film Festival. They'll be presented to him tonight at the Sheraton Chicago, 301 E. North Water. On the program: a panel discussion on how the nation's most powerful media have flubbed coverage in the 31 years since the assassination; dinner; and JFK enthusiast Roger Ebert introducing the man of the hour. Dinner adjourns to a late-night party at Ka-Boom! All that costs $175; things get under way at 5. Call 644-3400 for details.
Your last chance to see Spic-O-Rama, John Leguizamo's one-man memoir of his formative years, is at a tony benefit for the Goodman's Discovery Board tonight. The Discovery Board is the arm that encourages new and experimental works at the theater; a $75 ticket gets you grub by Carlucci and the performance, all in the swanky confines of contemporary art collector Lewis Manilow's loft at 754 N. Milwaukee. (There's a $150 ticket as well, which includes a tour of the pad beforehand and your own personal copy of a tape of Leguizamo's HBO special, Mambo Mouth.) The evening starts at 7:30; call the Goodman at 435-2770 for the details.
Must have been in '84 or '85 when the word "ax" was staring up at us from that enigmatic 15-by-15 board, pregnant with potential. We had C,O,I,M,T,I, and A in hand when inspiration struck and we laid down the dulcet word "axiomatic," the C on the end creating "chide" out of a nearby "hide" as well. Points scored? We forget; approximately a zillion. You can make your play for similar kismet at the Chicago Scrabble Tournament, taking place today and tomorrow at 170 W. Oak. There'll be games for both officially rated and unrated players in six rounds starting today at 10 and four rounds starting tomorrow at 9; fees range from $22 to $32, depending on skill level. Get there early and bring your boards, tiles, and chess clocks. Call 787-6723 for details.
The comic book Cerebus doesn't have a superhero--the main character is an aardvark, with all too human foibles--but it's not really underground, either. It's just different. Creator Dave Sim envisioned the work, which he started some 13 years ago, as a 26-year project that would follow the aardvark's travels over that period. "When I started [it]," says Sim, "uppermost in my mind was the thought that I wanted to produce 300 issues of a comic book series the way I thought it should be done: as one continuous story documenting the ups and downs of a character's life--a series that would conclude with the death of the title character in the final issue." Halfway through his journey, Sim is on a rare promotional tour: he'll be at Moondogs, the comic books 'n' kitsch emporium at 2301 N. Clark, from 2 to 4 today. It's free; call 248-6060.
Twelve years ago John Anderson, the ten-term Illinois congressman, seemed to be a strong third-party candidate for president. He ended up getting only slightly more than 5 percent of the vote, and no electoral votes--mostly, some would argue, because he presented only a slight variation of the tune both the Democrats and Republicans were already playing. Anderson is currently prez of the World Federalist Association, which promotes peace via a single world government. He'll speak on the group's behalf tonight at the Unitarian Church of Evanston, 1330 Ridge in Evanston, at 7. It's free. Call 427-5409 for info.
There's room for 115 people on the Chicago Architectural Foundation's Elevated Chicago tour--a five-and-a-half-hour ride through the city's history in a CTA car--but it's usually a sellout, so make your reservations now. The tour meets at the Quincy and Wells Ravenswood stop at noon and travels over the Howard, Lake, and O'Hare lines; foundation docent Ken Monroe imparts his knowledge along the way. It's $38, $30 for foundation members. Call 922-3432 for details.
Tension is mounting among the nonwacko segment of the population over the Supreme Court's upcoming decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which most fear will significantly restrict or even overturn Roe v. Wade. You can get some info on the whole matter tonight as Colleen Connell, reproductive rights director of the Illinois ACLU, and current political superhero Carol Moseley Braun talk at an ACLU-hosted forum in the Grand Auditorium of the Congress Hotel, 520 S. Michigan. Things get under way at 5:30. It's $5; for reservations or other info, call 427-7330. Wednesday there's a free defense-training workshop by the Emergency Clinic Defense Coalition, which trains you to protect people going into local clinics targeted by antiabortion protesters. It's at the Resurrection Lutheran Church, 1050 W. School, at 7 PM; call 845-6838.
Before the Trib's Jon Margolis was a columnist, he spent ten years in Washington covering the White House (he was even on the panel at the Lloyd Bentsen-Dan Quayle "You're no Jack Kennedy" debate). His first book is How to Fool Fish With Feathers: An Incompleat Guide to Fly Fishing. He'll scrawl his name into your copy at an autograph session at Kroch's and Brentano's, 516 N. Michigan at 5:30 this evening. The book costs $9.95; the autograph's free. Call 332-7500.
Li-Young Lee was born in Jakarta to Chinese parents, his father a political prisoner. The family eventually fled Indonesia and lived in Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan before making it to the States in 1964. Lee grew up to be a teacher and poet, author of the collections Rose and The City in Which I Love You. He'll read his poetry and speak tonight in the Fullerton Auditorium of the Art Institute; with him will be historian Jonathan Spence, author of The Search for Modern China and The Gate of Heavenly Peace. Spence will read as well, and lead a discussion with Lee following. Things start at 6; tix are $5, $3 for students and members. The Art Institute is at Michigan and Adams, of course; call 443-3600 for more.
What does Hubert Selby Jr. write about? Richard Price put it best: "The cruel hallucinations of grace, of peace, of love, of Easy Street; the wracking ache of junk sickness; the choking rage of parental/marital/sexual claustrophobia; the tightening screws of paranoid delusion; the pathetic grandiosity of walk-around dreams; and the dread of the inevitable dawn." His short story collection Last Exit to Brooklyn shocked people nearly 30 years ago; his newest work is another collection of stories, Song of the Silent Snow. He'll read from that and answer questions at a free reading in Columbia College's Hokin Annex, 623 S. Wabash, tonight at 7. Call 663-1600 ext. 615 for more information.
There's nothing like being close to the action to give you a fresh perspective on things. Matti Peled, former military governor of the Gaza Strip and general staff member of the Israeli Defense Forces, said in 1967 about the seemingly intractable Israeli-Palestinian situation, "The Palestinians should be given a state, and the conflict should be brought to an end." Peled, now a professor of Arabic at Tel Aviv University and (not surprisingly) a founder of the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, is in town tonight to speak; his presentation, the less than excitingly titled Various Aspects of the Conflict in the Middle East, starts at 7 in the University of Chicago's Rockefeller Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn. It's free. Call 684-1919 for more.
How do you make a film about a homosexual love affair? "Find a dusty old play and violate it," says Derek Jarman, the radical and loopy creator of The Garden and Jubilee. His newest, a cinematic take on Christopher Marlowe's Edward II, puts Edward's relationship with Piers Gaveston at the center of a revolt led by his wife, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer. The film shows in a special screening at 7:30 tonight to benefit the Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival at the Broadway Cinema, 3175 N. Broadway. Tickets are $10; call 281-8788 for details.