Modern-day household staples like camcorders are some of the iconography examined by Rick Pottruff in The Landscape of Appliances II, an exhibit of large drawings at Artemisia, 700 N. Carpenter. There's a free reception tonight from 5 to 8. Call 226-7323 for more.
"Goddamn it's great to be alive and thriving in America, the only country on God's gray earth where you can shit and piss and splatter rich people with synthetic blood and bodily fluids and charge admission for it!" holler the folks at Torso Theatre, who proudly note tonight's 301st performance of the "porno-cheezoid" production Cannibal Cheerleaders on Crack. They say this long run translates into roughly "602 gallons of blood, 28 gallons of pecker-snot, 19 gallons of airborne nose-spit, 10 gallons of lactatia-dementia . . . " (you get the idea). To celebrate, there will be free beer and pizza at shows at 8 tonight, 7 and 10 tomorrow, and 7 Sunday. Advance tix cost $9.98 to $12.98; add $3.01 if you buy them at the door. The theater's at 2827 N. Broadway; call 549-3330 for details.
Among the myriad diversions at Taste of Chicago today are a septet of Soxers, past and present, agreeable enough to provide autographs for fans of all ages. Carlton Fisk, Lance Johnson, Steve Sax, and George Bell, from the current team, and quondam south-siders Jerry Hairston, Carlos May, and Minnie Minoso will be at the Not for Kids Only Stage, on Congress just east of Michigan Avenue, from noon to 3. Hairston will even provide a batting clinic at 1:15, and you can also test your pitching prowess in a speed-pitching booth all day, with prizes every hour. On the music side of things, there's WXRT's annual Fourth of July concert at the Petrillo Music Shell, Columbus and Jackson. The show begins at 2 PM with the restless and obsessive modern blues of Robert Cray, followed by the elegant British pop of Squeeze and the quirky, fractured rock of They Might Be Giants. (If you can't make it, the station is broadcasting the show.) There's a lot more music, oddities, and, uh, food at the Taste's zillion stages and booths in Grant Park, open 11 to 9:30 today and 11 to 8 tomorrow. Admission is free, but the food isn't. Call 744-3370 for details.
A citywide Latin Music Festival in the parks kicks off today with Greg Aguirre's Orquesta Primavera jamming at 2 in Wicker Park, 1425 N. Damen. Tomorrow Tony Gomez and his Latin Dance Orchestra play at 3 in Dvorak Park, 1119 W. Cullerton. There'll be an assortment of such free goings-on at various parks through August 19. Call 294-2321 for more.
The more than one million emigres who have fled Lithuania since its overrunning by the Soviet Union in 1940--many of them to Chicago, which has the largest population of Lithuanians outside of the Baltics--have done their best to keep their culture alive overseas. The Lithuanian Folk Dance Festival, held eight times since 1957, has done its part; the ninth edition, at the Rosemont Horizon, 5920 N. Mannheim in Rosemont, will feature more than 54 dance ensembles depicting farm work, weaving, games, harvest celebrations, and more in any one of many traditional dance forms, from the malunas ("windmill") and the blezdingele ("swallow") to the suktinis ("twirl"), kubilas ("barrel"), and the children's dance noriu miego ("I Want to Sleep"). This is the first festival held since Lithuania gained independence: prime minister Gediminas Vagnorius will reportedly be on hand to help celebrate. Tickets are $10 to $20; things get under way at 2. Call 471-1424.
Stuart Rosenberg, who brought Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Iris DeMent, and David Bromberg to Navy Pier on May 24, has joined forces with Libertyville's David Adler Cultural Center to present another eclectic lineup for those whom Taste of Chicago hasn't yet exhausted. Five hours of jazz, blues, classical, rock, country, zydeco, and more starts at 3 PM in the pier's 6,000-capacity Grand Ballroom, including the Barrett Deems Big Band, the Drovers, Howard Levy, Mwata Bowden & Sound Spectrum, the Texas Rubies, Chubby Carrier, the Chicago Cajun Aces, and lots more. It's all free, though the center won't turn away donations. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand; call 708-367-0707 for more.
More Lithuanian news: in the ongoing exhibition The Changing Borders of Lithuania: An 800-year Cartographic Review, maps ably codify the indignities suffered by the tiny Baltic nation at the hands of outsiders: the exhibit, curated by Val Ramonis, traces the country's history from its growth in the Middle Ages to its 20th-century buffeting at the hands of Germany and the USSR. Rare 16th-century maps by Ptolemy and Mercator are also included. The exhibition will run through August 2 at the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture at 6500 S. Pulaski; hours are 10 to 4 every day. Admission is $4, $3 for seniors, and a buck for kids. Call 582-6500.
Season of Concern, a fund-raising effort for people with AIDS, will benefit from Wymprov, a night reputedly filled with "music, mystery, meanderings, meaningful conversation and hilarious laughter." It's basically a night of distaff comedy hosted by In Living Color's Kelly Coffield and featuring a dozen or so female comics, including Colleen Kruse, Andrea Beutner, Michelle Cassioppi, and Maureen Collins. Tix are ten bucks for the show tonight at 8 at the Remains Theatre, 1800 N. Clybourn. Call 443-3835 for more.
Gallery 37--the ad hoc summer arts program executed on the Loop's notorious Block 37, a full city block razed for a development that was never built--begins its second season today with six weeks of arts training for school kids and the public. Under the watching eye of Karl Wirsum's towering wall mural "Plug Bug," more than 14 programs will provide training in the visual, performing, and literary arts, from video taught by the Center for New Television to mosaics by the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum. It's free to watch from 10 to 4 on weekdays; on Saturdays there'll be free art classes open to the public. The entrance to Block 37 is on State between Randolph and Washington. Call 744-8925 for info.
With Roe v. Wade on the way out, it might be time to brush up on birth-control methods. Doctors from Illinois Masonic, which performs only "medically necessary" abortions, will present a free primer on birth-control options this evening at 6:30 at 836 W. Wellington. Call 296-7005.
Temporary Girl, New Yorker Lisa Kotin's searching and adventurous film 'n' performance stage piece about the life, loves, and travails of an office temp, wowed 'em at Club Lower Links last winter. Now she's back in town for a series of weekly shows at the Improv of all places. Well, at the Improv's Backstage Theatre, to be precise, at 504 N. Wells. She'll be performing Wednesdays at 8 through August 26. Tickets are $5. Call 527-2500 for more.
If, like Madonna, you've got a thing for Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, the Film Center is obligingly presenting three evenings of films on her life and work. Tonight there's one screening at 6 PM of two shorter pieces: The Life and Death of Frida Kahlo and a profile of Kahlo's husband, Diego Rivera: I Paint What I See. Next Thursday there's Frida, described as an "impressionistic docu-drama," at 6 as well. The Thursday after that (July 23) they're showing the extensive documentary Frida Kahlo: Ribbon Around a Bomb at, yup, 6. Admission is $5, $3 for members; the center's at Columbus and Jackson. Call 443-3733 for more.
Tired of this men's movement nonsense? Us, too. So give a tip o' the hat to the National Organization of Men Against Sexism (NOMAS), undertaking their 17th national conference on Men & Masculinity today through Sunday. Wary of the "dangerous consequences of distorted efforts to prove manhood," the San Francisco-based group "is devoted to working with men and women to support women's struggles for equality, the struggles of gay men and lesbians for full equality, and supporting men who are actively trying to implement positive changes in their lives." There are three "task groups" today, on the subjects of "Ending Men's Violence," "Homophobia," and "Men's Studies," and an opening ceremony and reception beginning at 7:30. Registration tonight will cost you $80 to $200, depending on your income. It's at the McCormick Center Hotel, 23rd Street and Lake Shore Drive. Call 791-1900 or 602-577-7234.