Quentin Crisp's engaging autobiography The Naked Civil Servant was made into a 1975 British television movie starring John Hurt. The interestingly structured documentary Resident Alien offers an update on "England's stateliest homo" as Crisp invites Hurt to his Manhattan apartment to watch the TV movie and talk about his life. The new film, made by director Jonathan Nossiter in 1991, receives its Chicago premiere this week at Facets Multimedia, 1517 W. Fullerton. It shows tonight at 7 and 9; tomorrow and Sunday at 3, 5, 7, and 9; and Monday through next Thursday at 7 and 9. Admission is $5. Call 281-9075 for more.
In P.G. Wodehouse's The Code of the Woosters, the comic grail--a silver creamer in the shape of a cow--is wanted by a number of people for reasons both selfish and altruistic. In Mark Richard's lively adaptation for City Lit Theater, Bertie & Jeeves and the Code of the Woosters, this dangerous vortex of desire is tragically encountered by the witless aristocrat Bertie (played by Richard himself) and mastered by his personal "gentleman's gentleman," the incomparable Jeeves. The play's just been extended through January 28, with shows at 7 PM on Thursdays and Fridays, 3 and 7 PM on Saturdays, and 3 PM on Sundays. It's in the studio theater of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Tix are $15 to $18; they also offer afternoon tea with weekend matinees for $27 (reservations required). Call 913-9446 for more.
Train buffs and folks with an interest in public policy might be intrigued by the Midwest High Speed Rail Association's annual lunch meeting. The group is campaigning for a network of speedy rail lines connecting Kansas City, Saint Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Minneapolis/Saint Paul, and Milwaukee, all with Chicago at the hub. High Speed Rail: Building a Midwest Coalition is the name of the meeting; $20 gets you lunch and the strategy session in the offices of the law firm Keck, Mahin & Cate, on the 49th floor of 77 W. Wacker, from 9 AM to 3 PM. Call 409-2029 for reservations.
Allison Graham, David Appleby, and Steven John Rossy's new documentary At the River I Stand reconstructs the 1968 strike by 1,300 Memphis sanitation workers. The story is framed by two events: one is the widely publicized photo of 70-year-old black striker Ed Gillis, who carried a placard with the plaintive but defiant words "I Am a Man"; the other is at the strike's climax, when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I've been to the mountaintop" speech and then was assassinated the next day. King, who was only 39 at the time of his death, was attempting to extend the civil rights movement into the workplace. The film shows today in honor of King's birthday--which is actually tomorrow but officially celebrated on Monday--at 1 and 5 PM in room 8005 on the eighth floor of DePaul Center, 1 E. Jackson. Admission is $5, which benefits News & Letters, a 40-year-old Chicago-based newspaper dedicated to labor and civil-rights issues. A discussion follows the film; call 663-0839 for more information.
"Everyone has his reasons," said French filmmaker Jean Renoir, who's celebrated for his realistic stories lacking clear-cut heroes and villains. Commercially unsuccessful for most of his career, Renoir still managed to direct 37 movies over nearly five decades in four different countries. His films of the 1930s became revered 20 years later; in 1962 an international poll of critics ranked his 1939 tragicomedy of manners, The Rules of the Game, as one of the three greatest works in film history. The second son of impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir would have been 100 last September. To mark the occasion (better late than never), the Film Center hosts a two-month retrospective of 22 Renoir films, starting with his final work, The Little Theatre of Jean Renoir, a quartet of short stories made for French television in 1969. It shows tonight at 4 and 8 PM, along with a 6 PM screening of The Elusive Corporal, a 1962 movie set in a German POW camp (recalling Renoir's first bona fide success, 1937's Grand Illusion). This month features flicks Renoir made after 1952; February surveys his earlier period. The Film Center is located in the School of the Art Institute, Columbus and Jackson; tickets cost $5. For a complete schedule, call 443-3733.
Women survivors of the Bosnian civil war have enlisted the aid of a number of American women lawyers (including feminist Catharine MacKinnon) to form the Bosnian Rape/Genocide Law Project. Dreams of Peace, a benefit concert for the group's witness protection program, will have performances by the lesbian chorus called the Artemis Singers, the Women's Action Coalition Drum Core, Rennie Sparks, and others. It's at 3 PM today in the Howard Theater, 1627 W. Howard. Tickets are priced from $10 to $50 on a sliding scale. Call 764-4465 for details.
The Chicago Historical Society's offering a free program called The Struggle for Freedom: Martin Luther King Jr. Actor Kevin McIlvaine will deliver a couple of King's more noted bits of oratory, and there'll also be a presentation by the Chicago-based black history troupe known as the Young Urban Preservationist Society. The museum is at Clark and North; call 642-4600 for more.
"Echoes of his childhood in the streams, mountains, and abandoned mining towns of Idaho resonate" through the work of artist Gregg A. Schlanger, say the organizers of his new show Cutthroat Trout, New Rivers, New Dreams at Fassbender Gallery. His site-specific installations "typically incorporate moving water, sluices made of sheet metal and raw lumber, and works on paper. Schlanger's art is concerned with the interdependence of natural and man-made environments, with water quality and conservation, and with the aesthetics of moving water." The show will be up at the gallery, 415 N. Sangamon, through February 4. Admission is free. Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 to 5; call 421-3600.
More MLK events. At 11:30 this morning, Roosevelt University will offer a free panel discussion on King's life and work, followed by music from the school's gospel choir. On the panel: the West Side Organization's Reverend Archie Hargraves; Roosevelt professor Gary Wolfe; and representatives from several associations targeting the problem of domestic violence. It takes place in the Congress Lounge, on the second floor of the school, 430 S. Michigan; call 341-3617 for more info. Later this evening, the Chicago Sinfonietta presents a tribute concert honoring Dr. King that includes a reading by state poet laureate Gwendolyn Brooks; a performance of Aaron Copland's 1942 A Lincoln Portrait, narrated by King's daughter Yolanda; spirituals from the Apostolic Church of God Gospel Choir; and other music from the Sinfonietta. It's at 7:30 PM at Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan. Tix range from $12 to $50; call 435-6666. Yolanda King, the civil rights leader's oldest child, is an actress, teacher, and human rights activist; she'll give a free lecture titled The Dream Is Still Alive at 12:30 PM tomorrow in the Fine Arts Recital Hall of Rosary College, 7900 W. Division in River Forest. For more information, call 708-488-5057.
The Chicago River, polluted and ignored, has long been a waterway in need of a good friend. The Friends of the Chicago River's annual meeting tonight has a full agenda: a review of significant events from the last year; awards for volunteers, agencies, and developers who've cared for the river; and a talk, The River as a Classroom, from Glenbrook North High School's Mike Piskell. It takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Chicago Academy of Sciences, 2001 N. Clark. They'd like a $5 donation to cover expenses. There'll also be refreshments. Call 939-0490 for more info.
Local fiber artists the Fab-ewe-lous Flockettes will demonstrate techniques for spinning wool, mohair, silk, and rayon in a free program today from 11 to 1:30 on the concourse level of the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph. For more information, call the Illinois Artisans Shop at 814-5322.
The Chicago Cultural Center--the city's central library from 1897 until 1974--was the nation's first free municipal cultural venue. Each day brings a wide range of exhibits, lectures, workshops, and music, dance, and theater performances. It's also home to the Museum of Broadcast Communications. The building's third annual salute to itself, A Toast to the Chicago Cultural Center, will honor hometown dance historian and critic Ann Barzel with a special show by Ballet Chicago. The event encourages people to explore the entire building; there'll be wandering musicians and performers, dancing to big band music, lots of food, and an array of art exhibits from Navajo textiles to work by Chicago artists. It runs from 5:30 to 7:30, and tickets cost $35 ($50 at the door). The Chicago Cultural Center is at 78 E. Washington. Call 744-6630 for details.
The Ounce of Prevention Fund helps inner-city kids by focusing, as its name implies, on the little things: early child care, medical assistance, and programs preventing drug and alcohol abuse and teen pregnancy. Four midwestern bands are giving the group a hand tonight with a benefit show at the Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison. The lineup includes local alternative rockers the Webstirs and Crackpot; Indianapolis's 15 Minutes, and Chicago jazz guitarist Dale Prasco. A buffet starts at 8, with music sometime after 9. The cover is $4, and the fund would appreciate donations of children's clothes, toys, and books. Call 708-974-9120 for more.