It's the beginning of the summer festival season. But if the Blues Fest, which opens in Grant Park today, ain't your bag you could head out to the Kane County Fairgrounds for the Greek Festival, where you can wash down moussaka, souvlaki, and flaming saganaki with Rodytis wine. (The more adventurous can opt for fresh smelts and Ouzo shots.) This three-day celebration of food, drink, music, and dancing, sponsored by Saint Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church, begins tonight at 6 and goes to 11, and continues Saturday and Sunday from noon to 11. The fairgrounds are located in Saint Charles, on Randall Road between routes 38 and 64. Admission is $2, $1 for kids and seniors. Call 708-851-6106 for more.
Not to be outdone by the Greeks, the south-side Irish are kicking off the four-day Irish Fest '93 today at 3 at Chicago Gaelic Park, 6119 W. 147th St. in Oak Forest. Festival food will include well-known Irish delicacies like egg rolls, spaghetti, tacos, and tropical drinks. The highlight of the event will be musical performances from the likes of the Dublin City Ramblers, TV anchorman Joel Daly and his country and western band the Sundowners, and the NY-based Black 47, who recently packed the China Club. Step dancing and carnival rides round out the offerings. Festival hours are noon to 11:30 Saturday and Sunday, noon to 8 Monday. Admission is $8 per day, $5 for seniors and kids. Call 708-687-9323 for more.
If you happen to be out strolling on the near west side tonight and notice phantomlike apparitions on the pavement or the walls of an abandoned factory, don't panic and call Sightings. You're probably just seeing the work of local filmmaker Ines Sommer, who will be projecting three different continuous film loops from a loft space at 312 N. May as part of an ongoing project called Don't Slam the Door on Your Way Out. Sommer, who's also the program director at Chicago Filmmakers, put together footage of machinery, buildings, and laborers, which will be projected on walls and sidewalks in three different spots starting whenever it gets dark and ending at midnight. Call 929-2173 for information.
Sacred Harp singing, which takes its name from a songbook published in 1844, is a living tradition with roots extending back to colonial times. The dense, primitively powerful music combines Celtic, English, and African influences in unusual ways. Practitioners of this unaccompanied singing style emphasize participation over performance, and beginners are especially encouraged to join in. This weekend's eighth annual Sacred Harp Midwest Convention is among the largest of such gatherings held in different regions throughout the year; more than 450 people showed up last year, many traveling here from the south. This year at least one bus load of singers from Alabama is expected. The singing goes from 9:30 to 3 today at the First Baptist Church, 607 W. Lake in Evanston, and tomorrow in Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St. The Chicago Sacred Harp Singers, who are hosting the convention, have also planned a Saturday night social, to be held at 7 in the basement of Saint Paul's Church, 2215 W. North Ave. Admission to the convention is free, but organizers are asking everyone who comes to bring a dish to share at the noon potluck lunches. Call 276-4277 for more information.
Crowds of women will beat drums and make spectacles of themselves tonight at HotHouse, when WAC-a-Go-Go in Celebration of Mammorial Day gets under way. The evening of performance art, which features Cheryl Trykv, Paula Killen, and Rennie Sparks, with a dance party to follow, benefits the local chapter of the Women's Action Coalition, a women-only, direct-action-oriented group that has put its energy into issues like abortion rights, violence against women, health care, and rape in the Bosnian conflict. The event starts at 9 at the club, 1565 N. Milwaukee. Admission is $10; call 235-2334 for more.
Public Television is still refusing to air The Panama Deception, which won this year's Academy Award for best documentary. Their timidity may be understandable: last year one congressman actually tried to link problems of graffiti and urban looting to the influence of Sesame Street. Today may be one of your last chances to see this powerful and informative examination of the 1989 U.S. invasion and its aftermath. The film ends its matinee run at the Music Box, 3733 N. Southport, with screenings at 11:30 and 1 today. Admission is $5. Call 871-6604 for more.
In a city that only narrowly missed seeing a parade float celebrating white police officers disciplined for torturing African American prisoners, Memorial Day might be a good time to examine some deeply held prejudices. Today the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee is sponsoring a workshop on white supremacy in which role playing, discussion, readings, and presentations will be used to help participants develop their skills as activists and organizers against racism. The cost is $10, which includes a packet of background material to read beforehand. It's from 11 to 5 at DePaul University, with the exact location to be announced. Call 278-6706 for more information.
The models, drawings, and photographs in the current exhibit Put the City Up . . . , running through July 17 at the Harold Washington Library, focus on Chicago's commercial architecture from 1820 to the present. The Chicago Architecture Foundation and the D.C.-based American Studies Center organized the exhibit, which covers development in the Loop as well as city neighborhoods and suburbs. Curator Michael McDonough and CFA docent Patricia Talbot will give a free gallery talk and tour of the show at 12:15 today at the library, 400 S. State. Call 747-4876 for information.
It used to be that all it took to be a prepared motorist was a roll of duct tape in the glove compartment, a full-size spare in the trunk, and a loaded handgun under the seat. But with auto crime in the form of smash-and-grab robberies, burglaries, and carjackings on the increase, driving is no longer that simple. To teach motorists how to protect themselves, the state police and the AAA Chicago Motor Club are sponsoring a series of Car Care + Car Safety seminars at area Jiffy Lube centers. Those who attend will be privy to valuable car safety tips from state troopers in addition to pointers on preventive maintenance, including a from-the-pit view of a car's underside provided by Jiffy Lube personnel. Tonight's seminar will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 at the Jiffy Lube at 2801 N. Harlem. It's free but you must register beforehand by calling 263-2500.
Early in this century the University of Chicago established Chicago House in Luxor, Egypt, on what is thought to be the site of ancient Thebes. Since 1924 Chicago House has served as the university's headquarters for its archaeological expeditions and as the home of the Epigraphic Survey, dedicated to accurately recording the monuments of ancient Egypt before they are damaged or torn down for development. Each year the survey sends expeditions into the field, producing volumes of drawings of inscriptions and ornamentation. At 7:30 tonight Peter Dorman, a professor of near eastern languages at the U. of C., will summarize the last two years of field work, which involves the documentation of the hieroglyphics and wall relief inside two ancient temples at Medinet Habu. The free lecture will be followed by a reception; it all takes place in Breasted Hall, 1155 E. 58th St. Call 702-1677 for more.
Chicagoans will have a rare opportunity to hear a demonstration of Inuit throat singing when Rosemary Immingaik, a throat singer from northwestern Canada, performs at the Field Museum today. The technique involves producing sounds that mimic animals and telling stories while inhaling and exhaling in rhythmic patterns. Her performance, along with that of Inuit drum dancer Gabriel Nirlungayuk, is part of the museum's ongoing Masters of the Arctic exhibit. The concert starts at 1 and is free with regular admission to the museum, at Roosevelt Road and Lake Shore Drive. Admission is $4, $2.50 for seniors and kids; call 322-8854.