The man who gave the 20th century one of its most evocative adjectives is saluted at the Film Center this month. Kafka and the Kafkaesque features seven films and a collection of weird animation on four successive Fridays. The series kicks off tonight with Sex, Lies, and Videotape director Steven Soderbergh's Kafka and Orson Welles's The Trial, which stars Anthony Perkins as Josef K. They play at 6 and 8 respectively. The Film Center is at Columbus and Jackson. Tix are $5 each. Call 433-3733 for details.
You can see the likes of pianist Mose Vinson, the Eddie C. Campbell Electric Blues Band, country players Jim Tucker, Dave Trowbridge, and Clifford Hardesty, and all sorts of other blues, bluegrass, Cajun, Irish, and Scottish musicians at the 34th annual University of Chicago Folk Festival this weekend at Mandel Hall. Concert times are tonight at 8:15, tomorrow at 3 and 8:15, and Sunday at 6:15. Tickets are $8-$13, $5-$9 for students. There are also free workshops and jam sessions from 10 to 2 on Saturday and 11 to 5 on Sunday. Mandel Hall is at 1131 E. 57th St.; call 702-9793 for more.
For the African-American Leadership Forum's Gubernatorial Candidates Night, Roland Burris, James Gierach, Dawn Clark Netsch, and Cook County Board prez Richard Phelan have agreed to appear and be grilled--and Governor Jim Edgar hasn't. Unless he changes his mind, forum president James Exum comments pointedly, the guv risks being viewed as "insensitive to the needs of the community." The free forum starts at 5 PM at the auditorium of the Kenwood Academy, 5015 S. Blackstone. There's a reception that starts at 3. Call 784-7357 for more.
If you're going to see former Police drummer Stewart Copeland's drums 'n' percussion extravaganza at the Vic tonight, you might be interested in the postshow meet-the-drummers reception up the street at Sheffield's. For ten bucks you can exchange pleasantries with the musicians and munch on a "global buffet." (Drinks cost, though.) It starts at about 10; Sheffield's is at 3258 N. Sheffield. Call 663-1628 for more. The show starts at 8 at the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield; opening are Vinx, Uakti, and Les Percussions de Guinea. Tix for that axe $15-$24. Call 722-5463.
You can get a decent introduction to the wonders of outsider and visionary art at an afternoon of documentaries today at Chicago Filmmakers presented by Intuit, the outsider-art collectors group. The lineup includes The Towers, about the construction of Simon Rodia's monumental sculpture Watts Towers; Grandma's Bottle Village: The Art of Tressa Prisbrey, in which Prisbrey shows you her collection of 17,000 pencils; Wild Wheels, a documentary on "art cars" by Harrod Blank, son of acclaimed documentarian Les; The Angel That Stands By Me, about 88-year-old North Carolina artist Minnie Evans; "And So It Goes . . .": Frank Oebser--Farmer/Artist, about the kinetic sculptures of the Wisconsin farmer; and The Pasaquoyan, about a New York street hustler turned artist who goes by the name St. EOM. It runs from 1 to 5 this afternoon. Filmmakers is at 1543 W. Division. It's $10, $8 for members of Intuit or Chicago Filmmakers, and $6 for students. Call 759-1406.
The theory behind "A Commitment to Love"--which the organizers say is Chicago's first gay and lesbian wedding fair--is that gay and lesbian couples should support the businesses that support them. Hence the array of "gay-and-lesbian-sensitive" caterers, florists, travel agents, and even attorneys. It's a three-hour affair starting at 4:30, on the second floor of Ann Sather, 929 W. Belmont. Admission is free--though the organizers wont turn away donations to Horizons Community Services. Call 784-6956 for details.
If you're into drag just for fun--not for a living--Berlin's annual amateur drag contest should be right up your alley. The judging for Drag Race '94 starts at midnight. Gina Taye hosts, and there's a $75 first prize. Berlin's at 954 W. Belmont. There's no cover charge. Call 348-4975 for more.
Rolando Cruz was imprisoned for rape and murder ten years ago, but growing evidence--including a confession to the crime by a serial murderer--suggests that he was wrongly convicted. Indeed, many bar associations and even law enforcement officials have come to Cruz's defense. At a forum tonight at Northwestern Law School, two victims of similar shenanigans--Hurricane Carter (immortalized in the Bob Dylan song "Hurricane") and Randall Adams (the subject of the film The Thin Blue Line)--will be on hand to discuss the particulars of Cruz's case and wrongful convictions in general. It starts at 7 at Thorne Auditorium, 357 E. Chicago. Admission is free. Call 989-7872.
Hyphen magazine's monthly reading night features Maripat Donovan and Vicki Quade, the pair who collaborated on the Organic Theater's Late Night Catechism. Donovan will be performing bits of that, and Quade will talk about theater writing and recite some of her poetry at the affair, which is free and starts at 8:30 at Augenblick, 3907 N. Damen. An open mike follows. Call 975-9097 for more.
Spike Lee and Gene Siskel go mano a mano in the second-floor theater of the Chicago Cultural Center today as the kickoff to the city's observance of Black History Month. Admission is free, but seating will be first come first serve, so get there early. Siskel starts interviewing Lee at 3; a reception at the center's Preston Bradley Hall follows, at about 4:30. The Cultural Center is at 78 E. Washington. Call 744-6630 for more.
Poets Lynda Hull and John Dickson read in a Poetry Center event today at the Art Institute. Hull is the author of the collections Ghost Money and Star Ledger, the latter of which won both the Edwin Piper Poetry Prize and the Carl Sandburg Award. The Harvard Book Review has written, "The breadth and scope of Hull's moral vision are what make her poems truly rare. . . . No one is writing any quite like them today." Dickson's poems have been published in Victoria Hotel and Waving at Trains. Things get under way at 6 in the Fullerton Auditorium; admission is $7, $3 for students and seniors. (School of the Art Institute students get in free.) The Art Institute is at Adams and Michigan. Call 368-0905.
The 30-piece Chilean group Inti-Illimani was formed in 1967 by a group of students at the University of Santiago. They founded the nueva cancion movement of Latin American folk music; their politics put them into 15-year exile. Now back in their homeland, they are wildly popular there and in Latin America and have impressed audiences wound the world. The group plays tonight in an Old Town School of Folk Music production at Park West, 322 W. Armitage, at 7 PM. Tickets are $20-$22.50. Call 929-5959 or 525-7793.
Over 25 years as a career foreign-service officer, Robert E. White has served as everything from Latin American director of the Peace Corps to ambassador to El Salvador, and he's had a close-up view of the U.S.'s generally toxic effect on the vulnerable nations of Latin America. He'll talk about that at a free lecture at Loyola University tonight in the auditorium of the Edward Crown Center for the Humanities, 6525 N. Sheridan. It starts at 7. Call 508-8658 for more.
Chicago Theatres on the Air--the ten-week affair that brings local theater troupes and some out-of-town stars to the Guest Quarters Hotel to record radio programs for later broadcast--continues tonight with Milcha Sanchez-Scott's Roosters, from the Latino Chicago Theater. Two special guests will be in the cast: Hector Elizondo and Rita Moreno. They record the show in the main ballroom of the hotel, at 198 E. Delaware, starting at 8. Tickets are $14; call 559-1212. It airs April 19 at 8 PM on WFMT.