Defenders of the Maxwell Street Market say it's the number-one tourist attraction in Chicago, a claim, incidentally, also made by Nike Town. Anyway, this may be the venerable outdoor flea market's last summer, what with the University of Illinois' plans for expansion. Supporters have organized a demonstration to coincide with the Blues Fest, starting at noon and culminating with a march at 7, in Grant Park, at Columbus and Jackson. They've also organized Max-Aid, a blues fest at Maxwell Street and Halsted, from 9 AM to noon on Sunday. Call 421-9396.
Garry Wills's new book, Certain Trumpets: The Call of Leaders, looks at various styles of leadership and the ways certain figures succeeded or failed by their use; most potently, he analyzes the crucial nexus between success and what we in the 90s disparagingly refer to as "poll watching." Leaders who don't, he notes, tend to fail. Wills will talk about his book today at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, 5757 S. University, at 4. It's free. Call 752-4381.
Jim Carrane's last one-man show--the descriptively named I'm 27, I Still Live at Home and I Sell Office Supplies--ran for 18 months at the Annoyance Theatre. His new, equally descriptive effort is called Since We Last Talked. It begins an open run tonight at Live Bait, 3914 N. Clark, with shows at 11 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. It's $10. Call 871-1212 for details.
If you're really interested in the nearly half-a-million used books collected for the Brandeis University National Women's Committee's World's Largest Used Book Sale, you can shell out five bucks tonight to get an early shot at them. The opening night affair runs 6 to 10 at the site, moved this year to the southeast corner of the back parking lot at the Northbrook Court Shopping Center, half a mile west of the Edens on Lake Cook Road in Northbrook. The sale continues through June 12. It's free after tonight. Hours vary; call 708-724-9715.
The Robert Aldrich thriller Kiss Me Deadly is an almost entirely deromanticized film noir in which private eye Mickey Spillane, brutishly portrayed by Ralph Meeker, wades through a densely metaphorical landscape of sadistic thugs, unhelpful desk clerks, and mysterious women in search of an object that is the stuff of nightmares. It's part of an ongoing Robert Aldrich retrospective. It shows tonight at 8 at the Film Center, in the School of the Art Institute, at Columbus and Jackson. Admission is $5, $3 for members. Call 443-3737 for more.
The Lincoln Park Zoo notes that while humans have been clocked at just shy of 27 miles per hour on foot, a polar bear can do 30 miles per hour, a mountain lion 50. A snail, by contrast, can achieve what can only be called the snaillike pace of 0.03 miles per hour. Anyway, the fund-raising Run for the Zoo is an assortment of runs for adults and kids all day today. Registration, which runs $8 to $16, starts at 7 AM, at 2200 N. Cannon in Lincoln Park. Zoo Fest '94, which goes on all day, includes everything from a haircut-a-thon to face painting to games. The zoo's free. Call 404-2372.
Is it not endlessly fascinating that Charles Gates Dawes, besides being a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, constructor of the Dawes Plan after World War I, ambassador to the Court of Saint James, and veep under Coolidge, was somehow also the cowriter of the classic tune "It's All in the Game," a massive number-one 1958 hit for Tommy Edwards? Dawes's house in Evanston is the general HQ for the Evanston Historical Society, which is marking the beginning of the dwelling's centennial year with an exhibit of student art depicting the house. The show opens today at 1 with free refreshments and tours, at 225 Greenwood, Evanston. Call 708-475-3410.
The 25th annual Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade takes place three weeks early this year because of some soccer game in Soldier Field. In the parade, politicos, community groups, gay bars, and a variety of less organized and more flamboyant outfits trek the two-mile route from Halsted and Belmont north to Broadway and then back down Broadway to Diversey and on into Lincoln Park. The thing starts at 2 PM, with music and speeches in the park at the finish. It's free. Call 348-8243 for more.
The Chicago Historical Society's rather innocuously titled series African Americans and American Jews: Reflections on Contemporary Issues takes on the two groups' somewhat strained current relations with a series of discussions each evening this week. Tonight the topic is education, tomorrow it's the media, and Wednesday it's the way the two groups view each other. Thursday the series concludes with commentary by the Tribune's Clarence Page. Each event is at 6 PM at the society, North and Clark, and free with admission, which is $3, $2 for seniors and students, $1 for kids; free for members and kids under 6. Call 642-4600 for details.
The Lesbian Community Cancer Project says surveys indicate that lesbians smoke more than straight women; all the more reason for a Smoking Cessation Clinic, running three Monday evenings from 7 to 9 starting tonight. The sessions are run by hypnotherapist Sarah Brindis and acupuncturist Linda Lynch, who are volunteering their time; the $35 fee goes to the project. It's at Pat Parker Place, 1902 W. Montrose. To preregister call 561-4662.
A good chunk of the local acting community will be onstage tonight, but not to act. The AIDS Foundation of Chicago is holding a fund-raiser with the Pillar Studio in which members of local theater companies will serve as fashion models. Beggar's Banquet--A Feast of Fashion includes members of Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, Remains, New Crime, and a lot of other companies showing off duds coordinated by an assortment of professional costume designers; the clothes themselves will come from Betsey Johnson, Hubba Hubba, Toshiro, Strange Cargo, and other keen stores. It's $20, at 8 PM at Crobar, 1543 N. Kingsbury. Call 258-9005.
Cat lovers--discriminating people--know that Andrew Lloyd Webber is a fraud, his melodies obvious, his motivations cynical, his alleged talent responsible for any number of execrably overwrought productions that are good at separating tourists from their money belts and little else. They know all that, but still love Cats. The musical, which producers claim is now the most commercially successful work of modern-day theater, returns to Chicago for eight performances at the Arie Crown Theater, at McCormick Place, 20th Street and Lake Shore Drive. The shows are at 7:30 tonight, 8 PM tomorrow through Saturday, and 2 Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Tix range from $17.50 to $36.50. Call Ticketmaster at 902-1500 for tickets, or for blocks of seats call 791-6190.
Monologuist David Sedaris, a Milly's Orchid Show favorite, took off for New York several years ago to seek his fortune. A piece about his stint working as a Macy's elf at Christmastime found its way onto National Public Radio and he became a regular contributor. Now his work has been collected in a book called Barrel Fever. Sedaris reads from it tonight at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells, at 7:30. It's free. Call 642-5044.
For two years, the Guild Complex at the HotHouse has presented the Gwendolyn Brooks Illinois Open Mic Award, wherein about 70 poets recite three-minute poems in competition for a $500 prize--and both years there've been far more poets than time. Hence the Second Annual Left Over Poetry Awards. The only difference is that the prize has shrunk to $100. It's tonight at 7:30 at the club, 1565 N. Milwaukee. Three bucks gets you in. Call 278-2210.
Call it Cantorpalooza. "Cantorial masterpieces of prayer and samples of Jewish folk music" are what the Niles Township Jewish Congregation says is in store at the cantor concert that's closing off the Midwest Cantors' Assembly Convention. Hazanim from all over the country sing tonight at 7:30 at the congregation, 4500 Dempster in Skokie. It's $18; proceeds go to the Cantors' Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Call 708-675-4141.