"I collect sexy stories," writes Susie Bright. "Erotic fiction, dirty books, porno, sensuous reading, you name it. I started acquiring these stories when I didn't have any name for them, except Don't Let Anybody Find Out About This." Years later, she's become Susie Sexpert, and is now publishing her third collection of female erotica. Her reminiscences, and a typically trenchant analysis of men's and women's attitudes toward porn and erotica, open Herotica 3: A Collection of Women's Erotic Fiction, which includes stories by 25 writers, ranging from the accurately titled "Two Guys and a Girl," by Marcy Sheiner, to the equally accurately titled "Sweating Profusely in Merida: A Memoir," by Carol Queen. The veteran advice giver, author, and editor is in town tonight to talk about the new volume. She'll be at the New Town Barbara's Bookstore, 3130 N. Broadway, at 7:30. It's free. Call 477-0411 for details.
Dancers and performance artists Kay Wendt LaSota and Christy Munch team up for The Kay and Christy Show, an evening of new work and remakes. It's tonight and tomorrow night at 8 and Sunday at 7 at Links Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield. Tix are $7. Call 525-7353.
Since premiering her one-woman show Temporary Girl at the late, lamented Lower Links two years ago, Lisa Kotin has done everything from a four-month run at the Improv's Backstage Theater to acclaimed performances in festivals in San Francisco and Edinburgh. The show, an edgy, offbeat collection of skits and films about life as a temporary office worker, returns for a summer's worth of performances at the Famous Door Theater, in the Jane Addams Hull House, 3212 N. Broadway. It plays at 11 PM Fridays and Saturdays through August 20; tickets are $8. Call 404-8283 for reservations.
It's street fair mania! Most importantly, there's the tenth edition of the Printers Row Book Fair. Special guest star this year is Zbigniew Brzezinski, of all people. The Carter-era national security adviser is on tour with a new book, Out of Control, his latest analysis of international power balances, and will be talking today at 11 at Dearborn Station, 47 W. Polk. If that's too much realpolitik too early on a weekend, hop around for an hour before coming back to hear Rosemary Wells, author of Max the Bunny and Visit to the Bunny Planet, at noon. Otherwise, there's the usual assortment of other authors, open-mike poetry, and of course lots of vendors vending all sorts of books and related paraphernalia. It's from 10 to 5 today and tomorrow, on Dearborn between Congress and Polk, and all free. Call 987-9896.
Next up is Evanston's Custer's Last Stand Festival of the Arts. The event, which has been elected to the Illinois Festival Hall of Fame, features nearly 500 art and antique dealers, along with lots of food, music, and other entertainment. The fair is at Custer and Main in Evanston, and free. It runs from 10 to 7 today and tomorrow; the jazz stage and food booths stay open until 9. Call 708-328-2204.
Finally, there's the 29th annual Midsommarfest, Andersonville's pride and joy. The event celebrates the Swedish solstice, which organizers say is known as the "day with the most sun," as if it worked differently in other parts of the world. There'll be booths run by Andersonville merchants and the usual contingent of music and entertainment. Today note the traditional maypole dance, kicking off the fair at 11 AM, and the annual pet parade and talent show, which begins at noon. The free fest is on Clark between Foster and Rascher. It goes until 8 tonight and from noon to 6 tomorrow. Call 868-3010 for more.
The Sandburg Slam celebrates poetry, Father's Day, and the father of all Chicago poets, Carl Sandburg. It's at the Big Shoulders Cafe in the Chicago Historical Society, at Clark and North, tonight. Cohosts Christopher Stewart of Circadian Rhythm and comedian Jeff Garlin will interpret Sandburg. Then the evening, which is a benefit for the Guild Complex, slips back into slam mode: you've got three minutes to recite a poem about Chicago, which the audience will rate. Admission is $5, $2 for participating poets. If you eat dinner at the cafe, it's free. Things get under way at 5. Call 278-2210 to preregister or 587-7766 for dinner reservations.
Among the scads of World Cup nonsense there's the occasional event of note. This week under the rubric of a "Celebration of Nations," you can catch three free extravanganzas of international talent. Today, there's a Bolivian dance group known as Tiawanacu, who perform in the style of the ancient Incas. Tomorrow, there's Historical Bueger Verein, a 40-piece band that plays traditional German music. And Wednesday, there's the reputedly superkeen Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls, a team of Catalonian acrobats who build human towers 50 feet high, no lie. The shows are all at Daley Plaza, Dearborn and Randolph, at noon, and are free. Call 923-1994.
One of Croatia's leading feminist activists is in town to help raise money for the Balkan Women's Empowerment Project and the Balkan Rape Trauma Response Coalition. For nearly ten years Katarina Vidovic has been organizing around women's issues, from what's said to be Croatia's first women's consciousness-raising group to its first women's parliament. She'll talk about that and other issues tonight at 7 at Scooter's Cafe, 1752 W. Balmoral. It's $20. Call 527-3521 for details.
Wishbone's annual urban picnic celebrating the summer solstice starts at 6:30 this evening. This year, the ultrafriendly West Loop eatery is blocking off Morgan Street between Washington and Madison for the party, which will serve up restaurant specialties like hoppin' john and jambalaya for $4 to $6; free music from Stuart Rosenberg and Friends, Las Toallitas, and others; free performances by drum troupe Jellyeye and performance artist Lisa Kotin; and readings by a phalanx of psychics for $15 to $30. The restaurant's at 1001 W. Washington. Call 850-2663.
The highlight of Ile-de-France, the area an hour or so out of Paris, is of course Versailles, but travel expert Tish Robinson, who's speaking at the Cultural Center tonight, says there's more: villages where the Impressionists painted, walking tours, and lots of other cool destinations. Her talk, Just Beyond Paris: Destinations in the Ile-de-France, is free today at 5:30 at the center, 78 E. Washington. Call 263-2100 for more.
A National Gravestone Conference is being held this weekend by the Association for Gravestone Studies, which says it's a national group of more than 1,000 concerned with gravestone study and preservation. At their conference they'll take both what you might call the micro approach (sessions on cleaning and care) and the macro (using gravestones as a foundation for historical or genealogical studies). There'll also be bus tours to notable area cemeteries. The conference is at Elmhurst College, 190 Prospect in Elmhurst. Fees range from $35 for a classroom session to $210 for the whole weekend. Preregistration is required. Call 815-875-8491.
The folks at Chicago Fine Arts Exchange look at art with a businessperson's eye: "Art is sold without reserve with the value of every piece determined solely by the marketplace," they say proudly. You get the feeling they'd just as soon be selling soybeans. Anyway, tonight they've got a truckload or two of Chinese art on the block, to be auctioned off by gallery cofounder Joel Langer. It's free to go watch, from 7 to 11 at 815 W. Chicago. Call 850-2787.