The international-art-fair competition has kicked off with the opening of the second edition of the upstart Art 1994 Chicago: The New Pier Show, which wowed all comers last year with its massive 90,000-square-foot translucent tent just south of North Pier. (See Thursday for the competing Chicago International Art Exhibition.) The producers, Thomas Blackman Associates, expect 134 dealers from around the world. It's at Cityfront Center, 455 N. McClurg Ct. The show runs noon to 8 through Sunday and noon to 6 Monday. Admission is $10, $7 for students and seniors; a three-day pass is $20. Call 587-3300 for details.
This month Facets Multimedia presents a retrospective of Vietnamese film, from some of the first releases after the war to several recently acclaimed efforts. The series opens at 7 tonight with 1991's The Black Cactuses, a story of forbidden love between a girl from a minority tribe and a mixed-race man. Next up, at 8:45, is a 1991 melodrama called The Strolling Singers, a fictional story based on the real phenomenon of impoverished veterans who sing on the street for money. The festival continues with two films a night through next Sunday; each film will be screened twice. Facets is at 1517 W. Fullerton; admission is $5, $3 for members, add a dollar for a double feature. Call 281-9075 for details.
It is often said that the U.S. Constitution is the oldest democratic document in the world. But what's second? It's the Polish Constitution, of course, the very piece of paper being feted today in one of Chicago's biggest parades. The 1994 Polish Constitution Day Parade runs on Dearborn south from Wacker to Van Buren. From 11:45 AM on you can see marching bands, politicos, vets, and assorted floats. It's free, but if you can't make it you can watch it live on Channel 7. Call 889-7129.
Heather McAdams: artist, performer, film curator, Cartoon Girl. That's the name of her new book, which contains 100 pages of her loopy cartoons, many of them first published in the Reader. She'll be appearing at several local bookstores throughout the month. Today, she's at Women & Children First, 5232 N. Clark, at 3. Call 769-9299. Monday, she'll be at Bookseller's Row, 1520 N. Milwaukee, at 7 PM. Call 489-6200. It's free to show up, though the book costs $8.95.
There are lots of bozo outfits in the world that discriminate against women. From, say, the U.S. military, Middle Eastern governments, your average multinational corporation, or the corner hot-dog stand, you kind of expect it. But the hypocrisy of the Catholic church, which has exactly zero women in positions of power and cloaks this outrage in religious obfuscation, is exceptional by any standard. You can protest the Catholic church's refusal to ordain women with a group called Chicago Catholic Women. Meet on the steps of Holy Name Cathedral, 750 N. State, at 11 AM. It's free. Call 561-5668.
It's not often that those with a professional interest in the intricacies of the U.S. tax code can find common ground with the types who frequent "gentlemen's" clubs, but tonight marks one of those rare convergences. The occasion? A performance at Top Shelf Chicago by Chesty Love, an exotic dancer who took a deduction for breast enlargement and beat the IRS, which said it wasn't a legitimate business expense. She'll be making an "exclusive all-nude" appearance at the club, 660 N. Orleans, through Saturday, with shows daily at 1, 6, 9, and midnight, and additional 2 AM shows Friday and Saturday. Admission is $5 before 5 PM, $10 after, and there's a two-drink minimum. Call 266-8221.
In James Joyce's short story "The Boarding House," a boarder and the house owner's daughter have a fling, and then ambivalently face the consequences. A dramatization of the story is the centerpiece of The Dubliners Yesterday and Today, the latest offering from Stories on Stage. The group does simple live readings of various works. Besides the Dubliners offerings, they'll also be reading Michael Collins's "The Butcher's Daughter" and Neil Jordan's "Tree." The show plays tonight at 7:30 at the Organic Theater, 3319 N. Clark, and at the same time tomorrow night at the Court Theater, 5535 S. Ellis. Tix for either show are $12. Call 753-4472 for more info.
If Chicago's bizarre spring weather cooperates, we'll have as good a chance today to see a solar eclipse as there's been in nearly two centuries. The astronomers at the Adler Planetarium say that we'll see the moon block out about 90 percent of the sun's light just after noon. They're setting up shop from 11 to 1 at Bicentennial Plaza in Grant Park, 337 E. Randolph, where they'll be giving play-by-play on the celestial event and letting people take peeps through special telescopes. It's all free. Call 322-0323 for details. If you'd rather do it yourself, you can order $4 eclipse-safe glasses by calling 815-SAFESUN. Remember, don't look at the eclipse--even for a few seconds--without protective glasses!
A three-day lecture series on the philosophical work of Iris Murdoch begins at 4 at the University of Chicago today. Her acclaimed 1992 work Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals prompted the conference, which is called "Picturing the Human: Morality, Metaphysics, and Religion in the Thought of Iris Murdoch." It runs through Friday at Swift Hall, 1025-35 E. 58th St., and is free. Call 702-8246 for more.
Griot New York, choreographer Garth Fagan's collaboration with musician and composer Wynton Marsalis and sculptor Martin Puryear, is an evening-length dance that celebrates the black urban experience the way a traditional West African storyteller would, in music and motion. Garth Fagan Dance, which hasn't appeared in Chicago since 1987, has garnered rave reviews for the piece. It's tonight through Saturday at 8 at the Shubert Theatre, 22 W. Monroe; tickets are $10-$35. The opening night party will be held at Andy's, 11 E. Hubbard, after the performance. Call 902-1500 for tickets or 663-1628 information.
Besides the quality of her writing, the most amazing thing about Joyce Carol Oates is how prolific she is: She's published an average of two novels, short story and essay collections, or plays each year over the past three decades. Most recently, she drew note for Black Water, a fictionalized re-creation of Ted Kennedy's fateful night on the Chappaquiddick bridge. The National Book Award winner and two-time Nobel nominee will read from her work and answer questions at a Columbia College fiction department presentation at 8:30 tonight in the theater of the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State. It's free. Call 663-1600, ext. 611, for more.
The 15th annual Chicago International Art Exposition kicks off tonight with a benefit for the Chicago Community Programs for Clinical Research on AIDS. The party's from 5:30 to 10; your $50 ticket gets you admission to the party, a pass for the whole expo, and a catalog. (There's also a cocktail buffet and cruise ticket, which is $100.) Otherwise the show's open noon to 8 through Sunday, Monday until 6 PM, when the whole shebang closes. Daily admission after tonight is $10, $7 for students and seniors. Info on tonight's benefit is 266-0227, on the rest of the show 787-6858.
Tonight the DuSable Museum's ongoing lecture series considers The Black Press in Illinois. Your host is Juliet E.K. Walker, a history professor at Champaign. Walker's the author of Free Frank: A Black Pioneer on the Antebellum Frontier. She'll particularly be talking about a paper called the Bee, staffed entirely by women during its existence from the 20s to the 40s. The talk's at 7 tonight at the museum, 740 E. 56th, and free. Call 947-0600 for details.