Front man for the New York Irish rock band Black 47, Larry Kirwan is known for his Springsteenian compositions and performances, but he's also a playwright. Kirwan will read from a published collection of his plays, Mad Angels, starting at 7 tonight at the Beaumont, 2020 N. Halsted. Tickets cost $6, and proceeds benefit the Irish American Student Organization and the cultural group Chicago Irish Arts. Call 296-6377 for details. Black 47 plays later tonight, at 10 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport. Tickets for the concert are $10; call 525-2508 for more.
Train enthusiast William Reynolds screens and discusses several short films about the mighty fine Rock Island Line tonight at the 7:30 meeting of the 20th Century Railroad Club in the First United Methodist Church's Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington. Admission is $2. Call 829-4500 for information.
The travails of a young divorced woman and her 12-year-old son form the basis of Viridian, the second feature by Chicago filmmaker Joseph Ramirez. Paul Hoover's poetry provides the narration, and there's music by local groups like the Texas Rubies and Tortoise. The movie premieres at 8 tonight in the Film Center of the School of the Art Institute, Columbus and Jackson. Ramirez, Hoover, and editor and cinematographer Sean Culver will be on hand. The film also shows tomorrow at 6 and 8. Tickets cost $5; call 443-3733 for details.
Much has been made of the "glass ceiling" that prevents women from advancing in American corporations. But we didn't know Americans working for Japanese companies often face the same invisible barriers to promotion. Author and "intercultural consultant" Rochelle Kopp discusses strategies for overcoming these obstacles during a signing for her new book, The Rice Paper Ceiling: Breaking Through Japanese Corporate Culture, at 2 PM in the Barnes and Noble bookstore at Old Orchard Shopping Center, just west of Skokie Boulevard between Golf and Old Orchard roads in Skokie. It's free; call 708-676-2230.
During its five-year existence the Nelson Algren Committee has honored the hog butcher's bard with birthday parties at local taverns, tours of his Wicker Park neighborhood, and a bronze plaque installed in front of his former apartment house. The group is especially pleased with this year's staging of Algren's Never Come Morning by the Prop Theatre. They're celebrating their fifth anniversary tonight with yet another party starting at 8 at the Bop Shop, 1807 W. Division. Five bucks gets you readings from Algren's books by Dennis Brutus, David Hernandez, Stuart Brent, and Prop cast members, as well as music by Street Sounds. Call 772-2000 for more.
Those who study religion always come into conflict with true believers--the two states of mind are by definition at odds. Boston University's Paula Fredrickson will make a run at the great divide in a free talk today called What You See Is What You Get: The Questions of Context and Content in Current Research on the Historical Jesus. The plan is for Fredrickson to have her say, endure brief responses from Eric Meyers and E.P. Sanders from Duke University, and then throw the whole issue into an open discussion. It's the only public forum during the annual conference of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature; Fredrickson's lecture starts at 2 PM at the Chicago Hilton & Towers, 720 S. Michigan. Call 384-7155 for more information.
The Illiana Club of Traditional Jazz has a new Sunday presentation: New Orleans Jazz Beaux, an all-star aggregation of regional jazzmeisters, including trombonist Bill Evans, trumpeter Charlie DeVore, drummer Wayne Jones, singer Lynnea Godfriaux, and many more. The gang plays this afternoon from 2 to 6 at the Glendora House, 102nd and Harlem in Chicago Ridge. It's $10, $8 in advance. Call 708-425-4596 for details.
Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841) isn't well known outside of Germany, but he's considered one of its premiere architects. Working during the height of the Romantic era, Schinkel personified the time's penchant for mixing artistic disciplines--he was an accomplished painter, a furniture designer, state architect of Prussia, a city planner in Berlin, and the noted set designer for Goethe's plays and countless operas. Schinkel's buildings harked back to the classical past, while his paintings and stage designs favored Gothic ruins and fantastic landscapes. Nearly 100 prints and drawings by Schinkel are currently at the Art Institute in the exhibit The Drama of Architecture, which focuses on his relationship to the theater. Organizers say Schinkel managed "to project onto the stage a palpable architectural drama, just as his architectural projects were suffused with a genuinely theatrical air." The exhibit, installed by Chicago architect Stanley Tigerman, is open from 10:30 to 4:30 weekdays (till 8 on Tuesdays), Saturday 10 to 5, and Sunday noon to 5. There's a suggested donation of $6.50, $3.25 for students, seniors, and children. It's free on Tuesdays. The museum is located at Michigan and Adams. Call 443-3600 for more.
Shame on those who malign Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood as merely a Keef manque. The scruffy little elf is also a painter and draftsman. A show of his lithographs and etchings opens today at the Circle Gallery, 540 N. Michigan. Wood does the requisite pictures of the Stones as well as portraits of other old-timers in rock 'n' roll. The gallery's open 10 to 9 Monday through Friday, 10 to 6 on Saturday, and 11 to 5 on Sunday. Call 670-4304.
The Israeli dance troupe known as Tnuatron gets its name from the Hebrew words for joy, movement, and theater. Founded 20 years ago by choreographer Dorit Shimron, the group features 30 colorfully costumed women who practice an athletic form of modern dance. They perform at 7:30 tonight in Northwestern University's Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 1977 South Campus Drive in Evanston. Tix are $15, $12 for students and seniors. Call 708-491-5441 for details.
The British performance group Stomp traffics in rhythm, playing a variety of ready-made instruments as well as their own bodies. They've made a splendid career in England, where some fairly spiffy TV commercials feature their wild antics as they make nothing but noise. Their Chicago debut is at 7:30 tonight at the Shubert Theatre, 22 W. Monroe, where they'll be appearing through next Sunday. Tickets cost $18 to $30. Call 722-5463 for information.
Winners of an American Indian Movement poetry contest--in which contestants wrote about the desecration of sacred Indian burial grounds--will be announced tonight at the Guild Complex's third annual Poetic Tribute to Native Americans. The event, hosted by E. Donald Two Rivers, includes readings by poets A. Lucy Anderton, Susan Erem, Dave Gecic, Lee Graham, Jose Chavez, and Kurt Heintz. Music will be provided by the group Sisters in Spirit. It's at 7:30 tonight at HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee. Admission is $5. Call 278-2210.
Big, bloated musicals always end up subverting our feelings on some vital issues. In The Sound of Music we wanted the Trapp Family to get caught by the Nazis, and in Hair we cheered for the hard hats. As for Les Miserables, let's just say that if we'd had our way that chirpy little girl would have faced the guillotine instead of Louis and Marie. The inexplicably acclaimed touring show returns to the Auditorium Theatre for a month-long engagement. Surprisingly, it's one of the city's few offerings for Thanksgiving theatergoers. Today's show is at 7:30 PM. Tickets cost $15 to $55. The Auditorium Theatre is at 50 E. Congress; call 559-2900.