Street-Level Video, a group of high-school-age West Town residents armed with camcorders, present their visions of their community tonight and tomorrow at a free video block party, Video Refrito/Refried Video. In collaboration with the School of the Art Institute's Video Data Bank they're presenting video installations, large-scale video projection, live music, and performance at the intersection of Milwaukee, Noble, and Cortez from 5 to 11 both nights. Call 862-5331 or 345-3550 for more.
In Party a band of boys playing a truth-or-dare-esque party game wind up doing jumping jacks in the buff. Girl Party was a distaff take on the same plot, minus the jumping jacks. In Third Party, playing through October 30 at the Theatre Building, 1225 W. Belmont, refugees from the first two plays reconnoiter and look back, tying up loose ends along the way. This Party cottage industry is the province of David Dillon, who wrote Party and Third Party, cowrote Girl Party with Virginia Smiley, and codirects the new work with Marlene Zuccaro. Performances of Third Party are Friday at 11 and Saturday and Sunday at 7. Tickets are $18 Friday and Saturday; $17 Sunday. Call 327-5252. Although Girl Party has closed, it's not too late to check out the original Party (details in Section Two).
Two former senators, Democrat Paul Tsongas and Republican Warren Rudman, formed the nonpartisan Concord Coalition to agitate about the national debt. The group's Illinois chapter is furthering that mission by presenting a role-playing exercise: for Debtbusters 2000 participants get divided up into four committees, each sworn to advance a distinct political agenda; the object is to pass a balanced budget in spite of these competing special interests. It runs from 9 to 12:30 today at Northwestern University's Norris Center, 1999 South Campus Dr. It's $8, $5 in advance. Call 876-0045 for more.
Today only, the Chicago Architecture Foundation presents what it calls a "once in a lifetime opportunity" to see the innards of Soldier Field, Lake Shore Drive south of 14th Street. The 90-minute tours of the venerable edifice encompass everything from the locker rooms to the sky boxes, and will include talks on the stadium's architectural and restoration history. The walks leave every 15 minutes from 9:30 to noon and cost $38, $15 of which is tax-deductible. Call 922-3432, extension 120, to make reservations and find out where to meet.
As its name suggests, Lookingglass Theatre Company has a certain affinity for the works of Lewis Carroll. Its founding production was called Alice, and its annual fund-raiser is the Mad Hatter's Ball. This year's party is tonight at 7 at Reza's Restaurant, 432 W. Ontario. For $50 you get a live performance of a scene based on Through the Looking-Glass, dinner, drinks, big band music, and a silent auction. In keeping with the Alice theme, items to be auctioned off include an exotic croquet set designed by actor Bruce Norris. A $125 ticket gets you all that and a private predinner reception at which company members will demonstrate some of their trade secrets. Call 477-9257 for more.
As part of a film series commemorating the centennial of the Pullman strike, this afternoon at 2 the Chicago Historical Society screens Michael Moore's 1989 labor documentary cum wacky travelogue of Flint, Michigan--Roger & Me. It's free if you pay the $3 regular admission. The society, Clark Street at North Avenue, is open noon to five on Sunday and 9:30 to 4:30 the rest of the week. Call 642-4600.
Performance artist and Reader contributor Cheryl Trykv hosts Don't Make Me Sing It Again!, a variety show that happens at 9 tonight at Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee. Participants include Theater for the Age of Gold's Jeff Dorchen, the corpse-obsessed Matthew Owens, former Funky Wordsmyth Quraysh Ali, and Jellyeye. Tix are $5; call 489-3160 for details.
Tonight's line outside the Vic should be an interesting sight, if a bit heavy on the eyeliner, as the Cloud 42 theater company--known for its obsession with Joan Crawford--presents a benefit screening of Mildred Pierce, the 1945 film that garnered Miss Crawford an Oscar for her portrayal of an unhappy homemaker who transforms herself into a successful entrepreneur. Anyone dressed as Miss Crawford gets in free. Regularly dressed patrons pay $10 at the door, or you can call 477-4446 for details on where to buy an $8 advance ticket. All proceeds benefit Cloud 42. Doors open at 7 at the theater, 3145 N. Sheffield. The show starts at 8.
"His Kinkiest novel yet" is how the folks at Barbara's Bookstore describe Kinky Friedman's latest psychedelic detective offering, Armadillos and Old Lace. The self-proclaimed Texas Jewboy, master of the ethnically obsessive C and W novelty song, and latter-day author sings, talks about his books, and signs his work tonight at 7 at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells. It's free. Call 642-5044.
The national debate over health care--a crystal clear pool of politics, obfuscation, and cant--is about to be muddied by a sober look at historical precedent. The occasion is the Skokie Public Library's Evolution of National Insurance: Lessons From History for President Clinton, an informal talk by University of Illinois British history prof Bentley Gilbert, who's the author of a book about the British system of national insurance. It starts at 7:30 at the library, 5215 Oakton in Skokie, and it's free. Call 708-673-7774 for details.
We're not sure how this all fits together, but you can spend some time with contributors to CNN's political talk show The Capital Gang and shop for men's fashions at Marshall Field's tonight. Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak, Jack Germond, best known for appearing regularly on The McLaughlin Group, and Time columnist Margaret Carlson will do their shtick and answer questions as you sip cocktails, munch on hors d'oeuvres, and check out some informal modeling of men's fashions. The $25 you pay to get in can be put toward the purchase of an item of men's clothing costing $100 or more. Things get under way at 5:30 in the Walnut Room, on the seventh floor of the downtown Field's, 111 N. State. Call 781-4777.
Two hot political events tonight: At a meeting of the Chicago Republican Women's Network, you can ask Bob Kustra why the lieutenant governor of Illinois sees becoming a talk-show host as a good career move. He speaks at 6. Call 665-9005 or 528-4023 for location and further information. It's free and so is the reception beforehand at 5:30. Right after that, you can run up to the Ambassador West, 1300 N. State, to hear Mayor Daley talk to the North Dearborn Association in a free public forum moderated by Maryann Childers. Things kick off with a 6 PM reception for association members and those wishing to join; Richie hits the stage at 7. Call 472-6561 for details.
The WTTW watchdog group that calls itself the Coalition for Democracy in Public Television claims to have accomplished some big things recently, including successfully pressuring the station to air some politically controversial shows and filing a complaint with the FCC over the station's foray into home shopping. At an open meeting tonight at 7 at the Center for New Television, 1440 N. Dayton, they're going to establish some goals for next year. It's free. Call 708-673-7915 for details or 951-6868 for directions.
The Live Bait Theater's series of discussions on "the creative process" continues tonight with Heroes, Mentors, and Collaborators. On the dais: Steppenwolf's Eric Simonson, musician Winston Damon, photographer Suzanne Plunkett, scientist Fred Cohen, and performance artist Jenny Magnus. The event runs from 7 to 9 and costs $3; the theater's at 3914 N. Clark. Call 871-1212 for more.
Its organizers say that the fourth annual Gay Men of Color AIDS Institute is "specifically organized to share information on linguistically and culturally appropriate AIDS service models of prevention, treatment, and psycho-social support within people of color communities"--all of which seems to be a convoluted way of campaigning for improvements like Spanish-speaking AIDS workers, for instance. Anyway, you can hang with attendees from all over the country at the conference, which begins with a reception at 7 tonight and continues through Sunday at the Palmer House, 17 E. Monroe; registration is $65 or $35 if you opt not to attend the closing banquet. Call 415-403-3914 for more.