Internationally acclaimed solo dancer Margie Gillis makes her Chicago debut this weekend at the Dance Center of Columbia College. For the occasion, she'll perform a sort of greatest-hits set, including Waltzing Matilda, done to Tom Waits's rendition of the Australian folk tune, and Bloom, set to a recitation of Molly's closing soliloquy in Ulysses. The shows are at 8 tonight and tomorrow; tickets are $14, $10 for students and seniors. The Dance Center is at 4730 N. Sheridan. Call 271-7928 for more.
The third annual Nights of the Blue Rider theater festival kicks off tonight with a "sonic art and new music" performance piece from Lynn Book and Tatsu Aoki. The pair perform tonight and tomorrow at 8 and Sunday at 7 at the Blue Rider Theatre, 1822 S. Halsted. The festival continues for nine more weekends, with performances from the Red Moon Theatre, Robin Lakes Rough Dance, performance artist Michael K. Meyers, a "drag talk show" with Joan Jett Blakk, and lots more. Tickets range from $5 to $10; a festival pass is $40. Call 733-4668 for details.
Ali Akbar Khan, the world's foremost practitioner of Indian classical music, who's often hailed as one of the world's greatest living musicians in any genre, began his studies at the age of three at the hand of his father, master musician Allauddin Khan. Legend has it that he practiced 18 hours a day for years. Now 70, he lives and teaches alternately in the Bay Area and Switzerland, and still tours. He plays tonight at Centre East, 7701 N. Lincoln in Skokie. The show starts at 8; tickets are $15 and $17.50. Call the sponsoring Old Town School of Folk Music at 525-7793 for info.
Professor, artist, poet, and novelist N. Scott Momaday, one of America's most celebrated Native American writers, reads today at a benefit for the Poetry Center of Chicago. Momaday, who's part Kiowa, Cherokee, and English, won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1969 novel House Made of Dawn; he now teaches American literature and Native American oral tradition at the University of Arizona. He'll read at 3 at the Rubloff Auditorium of the Art Institute, Michigan at Adams, followed by a reception that features a performance by the Bobby Bird troupe of dancers and musicians. The reading costs $10, $30 for a reserved seat; $100 gets you a reserved seat at the reading and the reception as well. Call 368-0905 for more.
David Dellinger, the avuncular elder statesman of the Chicago 8, comes back to town tonight to read from his autobiography, From Yale to Jail. Dellinger was incarcerated for three years for refusing to register for the draft--not during the Vietnam war years, but in 1943, when it was much less fashionable. He's spent his life as a political and social activist, with perhaps the high point coming in 1968, when with Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, and Jerry Rubin he was accused and convicted for incitement to riot during the Chicago Democratic Convention. (The convictions were overturned.) Dellinger reads and signs his book at 7:30 at HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee. It's a $10 ticket. Call 384-8827 for info.
Identical twins Karen and Kathie Hoyer have teamed up for The Angel Project, their first full-length collaborative work. The former is trained as a mime, the latter as an aerialist. For their show, they've each taught the other their skill and married them into a fluid, evolving work that uses poetry, aerial stunts, and theater to examine the concepts of "the other," doubles, and guardian angels in a woman's emotional life. They'll perform the show tonight at 7:30 at the Oak Theatre, 2000 N. Western. Tickets are $8; call 761-7206.
A mobile robot, a solar-powered portable cooler, a homing device for senior citizens, a design for a roller coaster, and a proposal for an improved baggage-handling system for O'Hare are among the displays at this year's UIC College of Engineering's student-project expo. The displays are up from 9 to 2 today in the Illinois Room of the school's Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted. It's free; call 996-2419.
Loyola celebrates William Shakespeare's birthday tonight while also memorializing the school's late English prof Bernard McElroy. The second annual McElroy Memorial Shakespeare Celebration includes the performance of full-dress scenes from The Tempest and a discussion afterward by Loyola English and theater professors. The show's at 7:30 in the Kathleen Mullady Memorial Theatre, 6525 N. Sheridan. It's free. Call 508-2240 for more.
New Venue, presenter of poetry and fiction at the Greenview Arts Center, puts two writers onstage tonight. The first is John Starrs, who regularly performs his poetry with musician David Hernandez. This time he's solo, reading from his handmade book The Suburban Poems. He'll be followed by Zoe Keithley, who teaches at Northeastern and writes poetry and fiction. The reading starts at 8; admission is $3. The center is at 6418 N. Greenview; call 508-0085.
On the occasion of its first presentation of performance art, the Art Institute offers this definition of the hard-to-define genre: "A non-traditional art form employing time-based activities--ranging from theatre to music to dance--that expands the traditional definition of the visual arts to include the impermanent and the experiential." Tonight's performers are the Texan husband-and-wife team of Terry Allen and Jo Harvey Allen, both of whom appeared in David Byrne's True Stories. Terry is a respected, if somewhat warped, country and western songwriter and artist; Jo Harvey is a monologuist and actor. The pair perform at 8 at the museum's Fullerton Auditorium, Michigan at Adams. Tickets are $10, $8 for Art Institute members, and $5 for students. Call 443-3630 for more.
The 1993 edition of AIDS Walk Chicago isn't until September 12, but its organizers are already gearing up. They need office workers, phone bank crew, data-entry specialists, and people to talk up the walk at street fairs. There's a volunteer kick-off party at 7 tonight at Ann Sather, 929 W. Belmont. Call 665-1700 for info.
Local pianist, composer, and arranger Corky McClerkin is probably best known for his lengthy residency at the Drake Hotel; now he's releasing his second album, The Power of One, on the local Southport label. They're celebrating tonight with a free party from 5 to 8:30 at Catch 35, 35 W. Wacker. ABC's Bill Campbell hosts. Call 346-3500 for details.
James Carville, the "Ragin' Cajun" political adviser who played a key role in Bill Clinton's presidential campaign, will talk politics with students tonight in Hyde Park. The program is designed to be a debate, with the topic "Resolved: Politics is changing for the better." The free discussion begins at 7 in Mandel Hall, 5706 University. Call 702-8356 for more.
"Painting a picture of savage looters in racially colored tones, the media shaped public opinion on how the Los Angeles events last year should be interpreted," contend the organizers of the panel discussion What's Wrong With This Picture?: Mainstream Media and the LA Rebellion. The panel features filmmaker Bob Hercules, the Tranquility Marksman Memorial Organization's Khalid London, Revolutionary Worker correspondent Li Onesto, and others talking about the media and public unrest. It's at 7 tonight at Chicago Filmmakers, 1229 W. Belmont, and costs $5. This is the first in a series of events called The Long Hot Weekend, which will include poetry readings, films, and performance. Call 281-8788 for info.