If you're counting the weeks till opening day, Soxfest is for you. At the annual three-day baseball binge at the Hyatt Regency, you can stroll around looking at the exhibits, cadging autographs from the likes of Bo Jackson, Jack McDowell, and Robin Ventura, and check out a panel discussion by one-time stars of the Negro League, including Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe, Minnie Minoso, and Nap Gulley. (That's at noon on Saturday and 1 PM Sunday.) It's open 5 to 9 tonight, 11 to 7 Saturday, and 10 to 3 Sunday and costs $15 for the weekend, or $8 per day. The Hyatt's at 151 E. Wacker; call 616-1992.
"Gripped," as she puts it, "firmly in the jaws of a dying relationship," Ayun Halliday went on a tour of Southeast Asia in 1990. The actor and writer (she's part of the Neo-Futurist ensemble, those responsible for the long-running Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind) has memorialized the trip in her one-woman show Farang, opening tonight at the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland. So what's the show about, Halliday? "The state of male-female relations, East-West relations, and the ongoing battle between the hippie-freaks and those earnest bearded guys with the unbreakable square plastic glasses and three pairs of lightweight cotton socks as advised by the Lonely Planet guidebook." The show runs Fridays and Saturdays at 9 through February 20. It's $5, but there's an opening-night special: flash a valid passport and get in free. Call 275-5255.
While any serious film student has seen the two-hour version of D.W. Griffith's Intolerance, it originally premiered in 1916 as a highly experimental four-hour-and-ten-minute epic that simultaneously told stories in four different times and places: ancient Babylon, the Middle East at the time of Christ, among the Huguenots in 17th-century France, and a (then) contemporary working-class American neighborhood. For more than nine years Peter Williamson, a film conservator at New York's Museum of Modern Art, worked on rebuilding the film from a newly discovered print; his reconstruction makes its Chicago debut tonight at 7 and tomorrow afternoon at 2 at the University of Chicago's Max Palevsky Cinema, 1212 E. 59th St. It's $15, $7 for students. An important part of the restoration is the re-creation of the film's original score: this was done by Library of Congress musicologist Gillian Anderson, who will be the featured guest at an accompanying one-day symposium called Music in Silent Cinema. It's from 9 to 5 today at the university's film-studies center, room 307 of Cobb Hall, 5811 S. Ellis. The symposium is free, but call 702-8596 for reservations or information on the screenings.
This afternoon Amnesty International presents A Day of Solidarity With the People of Peru, including a screening of the film Angel Is Missing. The documentary focuses on the case of disappeared human-rights activist Angel Escobar Jurado as well as Peru itself, which has been torn apart by a war between a repressive government and what Amnesty euphemistically calls "the armed opposition." (Most people know it as the Shining Path.) There'll be a panel discussion after the film and later some tunes from the Andean folk group Raices del Ande. It's $3, which benefits Amnesty, at Loyola University's Crown Center, Loyola Avenue at the lake, starting at 2. Call 281-1818 for details.
Time again for IMPACT's fund-raising gala, this year hosted by county clerk David Orr and county commissioner Maria Pappas. The speaker for this affair, put on by Illinois' Gay and Lesbian Political Action Committee, is onetime Democratic presidential contender Senator Paul Tsongas. The $150 ticket gets you an open bar for cocktails at 5:30, dinner at 6:30, and dancing afterward to the Stanley Paul Orchestra, all at the Chicago Hilton & Towers, 720 S. Michigan. Call 528-5868 for info.
Though a first-trimester abortion costs $250, many of Planned Parenthood's clients can't afford it. You can help tonight at A Choice Event, a fund-raiser at HotHouse, 1569 N. Milwaukee. The $15 ticket gets you laffs from members of Second City and some groovy dance music from Shrimp Boat. They're providing munchies as well, but there's a cash bar. Things run from 6 to 11; call 427-2276 for more.
Richard Greenberg is one of the two brothers who run the movie special-effects team called R/Greenberg Associates. Their special effects and title sequences have been seen in Alien, The World According to Garp, The Untouchables, Zelig, and Ghostbusters. Greenberg will show samples of his work and talk about it at 6 PM at the auditorium of the School of the Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. It's $3, free to seniors and students and faculty of area colleges; call 443-3711 for details.
Gena Corea says that women are "the most misdiagnosed, underdiagnosed, understudied and underserved population in the worldwide AIDS epidemic." She'll explain why and read from her new book, The Invisible Epidemic: The Story of Women and AIDS, at Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark, starting at 7:30 tonight. It's $10, which benefits homeless women with AIDS. Call 769-9299 for more.
Roosevelt University history prof Christopher Robert Reed studies the evolution of black political power in the U.S. He'll talk about the local roots of that power today in a free lecture called Origins of Early 20th Century African-American Leadership: The Case of Chicago at 12:30 in room B-102 of the Behavioral Sciences Building at UIC, 1007 W. Harrison. Call 996-6439 for details.
With Michael Jordan's and Scottie Pippen's used sneakers on the block tonight, you have to wonder what's next: Michael Jordan's sweat socks? His jock? Anyway, it's for a good cause: the Body Politic Theatre. Besides the shoes, Celebrity Sports Auction '93 offers a bat signed by Ryne Sandberg, a sky box for a White Sox game, autographed basketballs from ten NBA teams (including the Bulls), and lots more. Things get under way with a silent auction of signed basketballs, dinners out, and hotel stays at 6 at the theater, 2261 N. Lincoln. The live auction starts at about 8. Tickets are $15, $10 in advance; call 348-7901.
Folks at Wilbur Wright College say the dead of winter is historically a time for shortages of donated blood; they're currently in the midst of what has accordingly become an annual Winter Emergency Blood Drive. Between 9 and 2 today you can offer up your arm in room 106 at the college, 3400 N. Austin. The procedure takes about 45 minutes total. Call 481-8145 for more.
A.R.T. is a theater group, or rather an antitheater group. (The letters stand for "Alliance for the Relief of Theater.") They describe their new show, called I Play One on TV, Starring You!, as "karaoke acting." They'll take old TV-show episodes--The Honeymooners, Leave It to Beaver, and so forth--and put the scripts on cue cards. The company then "cast" the show with members of the audience, who go to rehearse. Other members of the troupe do improv until the performers are ready to put on the show. Will it work? Find out at 8 tonight and the next two Wednesdays at Chicago's Front Row, a club inside Presidential Towers, 555 W. Madison. It's $10; call 902-2900 for info.
The Women's Professional Billiard Association hits town today for four days of championship pool shooting at the Marriott, 540 N. Michigan. The group says 48 of the world's top female players will be here, coursing through a double-elimination nine-ball tournament. (Only balls one through nine are used, and the balls are sunk in numerical sequence. Whoever sinks the nine ball legally--i.e., when it's the last ball on the table or by knocking it in by hitting the lowest-numbered ball on the table first--wins.) There are two sessions each day, at noon and 7. Admission fees start at $5 for today's noon session and $7 for the evening round then slowly rise to $10 for the finals session on Sunday evening. Call 708-351-2054 for details.