If the world is too much with you, late and soon, the North Park Village Nature Center's evening walk through the nature preserve might provide glimpses that will make you feel a little less forlorn. Volunteer naturalist George Fricke will lead the walk, which leaves at 7 from the center, 5801 N. Pulaski, and doesn't cost a damn thing. Call 744-5472 for details.
Some people think that the old USSR was doing quite fine, thank you, before all of this perestroika nonsense. Mike Davidow, the Moscow correspondent for the U.S. Communist Party newspaper People's Weekly World (once the People's Daily World, and maybe soon the People's Monthly World), will talk tonight on the subject Will the People Save Socialism in Russia? at 7:30 at the United Electrical Workers Hall, 37 S. Ashland. It's $5, $2 for those with limited income. Call 842-5665 for more.
Jackson Pollock's medium was oils and Michael Jordan's is a basketball. But the performance group Jellyeye, you might say, works in drums. The drum opera Avalanch Ranch was written by Bryn Magnus and Shu Shubat; it's the story of a "mutant family of cattle-organ-rustlers." Bits of the virtuoso drum battalion's show have been previewed around town--most recently at the MCA's Circa show--but this performance shows off a full-length work that includes eerie stage effects, clever costumes, music from Family Problem, and animated backdrops by Ben Talbot. The show opens tonight at 10 and continues with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 10 and Sundays at 7 through July 5 at Chicago Filmmakers, 1229 W. Belmont. Admission is $8, $7 for members; call 281-8788 for more.
The Museum of Broadcast Communications, which aims to catalog, display, and honor highlights in radio and television history, reopens today in its new home in the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. The new facility--more than 15,000 square feet of displays, interactive exhibits, and storage space for the museum's 60,000 commercials and TV and radio shows--has it all over the museum's old River City home on the basis of hours and admission fees alone: the former are expanded (open daily from 10 to 4:30 and Sundays from noon to 5), the latter eliminated. This morning you can hobnob with the likes of CNN's Bernard Shaw and one-time TV Davy Crockett Fess Parker at the grand opening of the new MBC, which gets under way at 10. Call 629-6000.
Time again for the World's Largest Used Book Sale, the nine-day-long fund-raiser for the North Shore chapter of Brandeis University's Women's Committee. If you want first crack at the half-million tomes the committee has collected over the past year, you can go tonight, when the sale opens at 6--but it means paying the first-night admission fee of $5. From then on, however, it's free. The sale is in the parking lot of Old Orchard Center, Golf Road and Skokie Boulevard in Skokie. It's open from 6 to 10 tonight, 10 to 10 tomorrow, 11 to 9 Monday through Thursday, and 11 to 5 next Friday. Next weekend the remaining books will be priced at 50 cents or less; hours are 6 to 10 PM Saturday, 10 to 6 Sunday. Call 708-724-9715 for details.
If we remember our high school astronomy correctly, a lunar eclipse occurs when the earth gets between the sun and the moon. (The more dramatic solar eclipse--moon between sun and earth--is when it gets dark.) In lunar-eclipse formation the earth's shadow falls on the moon, blocking a lot of the sunlight that usually reflects off of it. While watching lunar eclipses doesn't demand any sort of special eye preparation, it's nice to have some experts around. You can watch the celestial effect in style tonight at the Adler Planetarium's free Eclipse-a-Thon, from 5 to 1:30 AM. The eclipse doesn't start till about 10:30; you can amuse yourself before and after with telescopes, talks, tours, and even some South American music courtesy Machu Picchu. The planetarium is at 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive; call 322-0300.
Before, men had only excuses ("I, uh, must be worried about something"); now, there's a 24-hour impotence hot line, sponsored by the Male Sexual Dysfunction Institute, which says it's the largest and oldest facility of its kind in the U.S. They open a new south-side office today at 1525 E. 53rd; the institute's other offices are at 3401 N. Central and 111 N. Wabash. The hot line is staffed by professionals 24 hours a day Monday through Friday; the number is 800-788-2873.
Paul Theroux has taken trains across China and South America; his newest travel book, The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific, tells of the much more participatory journey of paddling from New Zealand to Easter Island aboard a collapsible one-man kayak. Theroux is in town to give a free reading from this latest book at 7:30 PM at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells. Call 642-5044.
"What in water did Bloom, waterlover, drawer of water, watercarrier, returning to the range, admire? Its universality: its democratic equality and constancy to its nature in seeking its own level: its vastness in the ocean of Mercator's projection: its unplumbed profundity in the Sundam trench of the Pacific exceeding 8000 fathoms: the restlessness of its waves and surface particles visiting in turn all points of its seaboard: the independence of its units: the variability of states of sea: its hydrostatic quiescence in calm. . . . " It's Bloomsday, and if we were down at the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art's open reading of Ulysses we'd proffer Joyce's ode a l'eau--the above and another 40-plus lines of similarly humid prose. University of Chicago prof Frank Kinahan will give introductory remarks at 5 PM followed by a couple of hours of reading by all who want to. The museum is at 5550 S. Greenwood; this is also the last day for its Imagining an Irish Past: The Celtic Revival 1840-1940 exhibit, so it might be worthwhile to drop in early. It's free. Call 702-0200 for more.
A national contingent of health professionals, social workers, and community activists will hit town today for Winds of Change, a four-day conference on female substance abusers. It's at McCormick Center Hotel, 23rd and South Lake Shore Drive, through Saturday: today's activities include group tours of local service agencies, leaving from the hotel at around 3 PM, and a 7 PM address by Loretta Finnegan, a senior advisor at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Other speakers include the Betty Ford Center's Stephanie Covington (Thursday at 10 AM), and Sally Helgesen, author of The Female Advantage (Friday at 12:15). The conference costs $255, with a daily rate of $75. Call the Illinois Department of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse at 814-3840 for more.
If you've ever wanted to see the effects of a Ruy Lopez in real life, check out the Living Chess Game from Marostica, Italy, in Daley Plaza today. The life-size game in which people take the place of the pieces has its roots in an ancient love-triangle tale: Two noblemen were on the verge of dueling for the privilege of marrying a local lord's daughter; the lord instead decreed that the two settle their dispute on the chessboard, and the high public interest in the affair dictated that it be played for everyone to see. The game was accompanied with great fanfare, costumes, and parades. History doesn't vouchsafe to us who won the thing, but the city of Marostica reenacts it every other year, and has now brought the ceremony to Chicago. The two free shows take place at noon today and 7 PM tomorrow in the plaza, Dearborn and Washington. Call 822-9545 for more.