The Hell's Angels and Outlaws biker outfits can put their much-hyped turf war on the back burner this weekend, finding common ground at the 1995 Cycle World Chicago International Motorcycle Show at the Rosemont Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road in Rosemont. Besides getting a peek at this year's models, you can check out new motorcycle accessories, a BMW fashion show, Miss Harley-Davidson, and stunt demonstrations by Doug "Wheelie King" Domokos. The show runs tonight from 5 to 10, Saturday from 10 to 10, and Sunday from 10 to 6. Tickets are $7, $4 for children. Call 800-854-3112 for more information.
La Musgana is a Spanish folk quintet that focuses on the music of the western and central provinces of Leon and Castile. They mix clarinet, fiddle, and electric bass with indigenous three-holed flute and tom-tom drums, basing their sound on the traditional tunes and rhythms of that region. They'll be performing at 7 and 10 tonight at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 909 W. Armitage. The opening act will be local Mexican trad-dance band Sones de Mexico Ensemble. Tickets cost $11 to $15; call 525-7793.
Set on New Year's Eve in 1989--during the final days of South Africa's violent occupation of Namibia--Athol Fugard's drama Playland centers on the stories of two men talking outside a traveling carnival--a black watchman and an alcoholic white veteran of the South African Defense Force. Steppenwolf Theatre's current production features stellar performances by actors Lou Ferguson and Gary Cole. It finishes its run on Sunday, but tonight's 8 PM show is a special benefit for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. Admission is $50, which includes a reception an hour before show time. Steppenwolf is at 1650 N. Halsted. Call 708-808-7480 for benefit tickets.
Weather permitting, the Will County Forest Preserve District will host a dog sledding demonstration from 1 to 4 PM today at the Monee Reservoir. The event is free and close to a concession building with snacks, hot drinks, and a wood-burning stove. The reservoir is located at 27341 Ridgeland Ave., two miles south of Monee. For more information, call 708-534-8499.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe lures thousands of theater performers to Scotland each year to participate in what's billed as "the world's largest arts festival." Fringe director Hilary Strong will be in town today to give a free talk about the festival and tell fledgling thespians how to participate. It's at 1 PM in the Theatre Building, 1225 W. Belmont; call 327-5252 for details.
Hip New Zealand director Peter Jackson (Heavenly Creatures) racked up some negative points on the taste meter with his 1989 film Meet the Feebles, a scatological send-up of Jim Henson's The Muppet Show. Jackson created a squalid cast of singing and dancing puppets who run amok in a world of kinky sex, drugs, and bodily fluids. Never released locally, it's having its Chicago premiere tonight at 6 PM at Delilah's, 2771 N. Lincoln. It's free. Call 472-2771 for info.
Journalist John Schultz has written a new book, The Chicago Conspiracy Trial, examining the government's efforts to frighten and intimidate both the jury and the public at large in the aftermath of the 1968 Democratic Convention. He'll be in town this afternoon for a 2 PM book signing at Barnes & Noble, 659 W. Diversey. Admission is free. Call 871-9004 for more.
The hypocrisy of "pro-life" violence cries out for some kind of response. Two options spring to mind: one involves throwing frigid water balloons at the protesters on Western Avenue, the other is attending today's benefit concert for the Illinois Pro-Choice Alliance. The event was organized by labor activist and Chicago Symphony violist Max Raimi, who will be joined by five other CSO musicians at 3 PM at the Three Arts Club, 1300 N. Dearborn. The show honors former Democratic Party chairman David Wilhelm and lawyer Fay Clayton, who brought the RICO statute into the abortion struggle. Tickets are a pricey $125, but proceeds go toward projects like the Alliance's Clinic Escort Program, which at this point should be providing flak jackets and firearms training. The concert concludes with a tea and jazz reception. Call 477-7026 for tickets and info.
Going to work is bad enough, but missing daytime television is the pits. Bub City Crabshack and Bar-B-Q seeks to remedy this situation by showing two to three hours of soap operas on a large screen TV at lunchtime each weekday. It begins today at 11:30 AM with CBS's The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, As the World Turns, and The Guiding Light. Bub City is at 901 W. Weed; call 266-1200 for more.
Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's decision to slash social programs and pension plans went over like a turd in a punch bowl. Italian foreign minister Antonio Martino, who must feel a bit like Custer's assistant at Little Big Horn, will try to put a positive spin on the whole thing today in a lecture sponsored by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. It starts at 5:30 PM with a cash bar and hors d'oeuvres before the 6 PM lecture, at the University Club, 76 E. Monroe. Tickets are $22, $12 for members. Call 726-3860 for more information.
The Adler Planetarium is offering a five-week astronomy-for-boneheads course beginning tonight at 6 PM. Stargazing for the Absolute Beginner covers planetary motion, the seasons, moon phases, shooting stars, and solar eclipses, as well as how to find constellations. It costs $40, and runs every Tuesday through February 28. A second section will run on Thursdays from 7:30 to 9 PM. The planetarium is at 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive. For information on other classes call 322-0323.
U. of C. professor and archaeological revisionist Norman Golb traces the origins of the Dead Sea Scrolls to Palestinian Jews in his new book Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Search for the Secret of Qumran. He'll discuss his hypothesis today at 4 in the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, 5757 S. University Ave. It's free. Call 752-4381 for more.
Samana, a local combo mixing contemporary jazz with African and other traditional musical forms, performs today at 6:30 PM as part of the Landmark Jazz series sponsored by the Three Arts Club. Tickets are $12, which includes a drink and finger food. It's at 1300 N. Dearborn. Call 944-6250 for reservations and information.
"Plants can heal the human soul," says Eliot Cowan, a licensed acupuncturist and practicing shaman. He'll talk about his upcoming book Plant Spirit Medicine from 7 to 9 tonight in room 210 of the College Center building of Triton College, 2000 Fifth Ave. in River Grove. Cowan will repeat the lecture at the same time Thursday night at Ohashiatsu Chicago, 825 Chicago Ave. in Evanston. It costs $5 to get into either lecture. Call 708-383-0469 for more.
Swank city streets in their heydays will be the focus of the exhibit The Grand American Avenue: 1850-1920, which opens today at the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State. More than 200 photos and drawings document the rise of New York's Fifth Avenue, LA's Wilshire Boulevard, Cleveland's Euclid Avenue, D.C.'s Massachusetts Avenue, New Orleans's Charles Avenue, and Chicago's Prairie Avenue. New York University art historian Mossette Broderick will give a 5:30 PM gallery talk titled From Mrs. Astor to Mr. Astaire: American Images of the Millionaire Take Shape on Fifth Avenue. Admission to the lecture and the exhibit are free. Call 747-4740 for hours and information.
Cassy Harlo, a Detroit-born actress and correspondent for WTTW's Wild Chicago, started out doing advertising voice-overs before moving to the stage. She's appeared in Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding and the Factory Theatre's production of Reefer Madness, as well as the ongoing improv show ComedySportz for the past seven years. Now Harlo's written her own one-woman multimedia show Cardboard Boxes, in which she portrays several women in different places and eras, each coping with some sort of crisis. The show runs Thursdays at 8 through March 3 at the Turn Around Theatre, 3209 N. Halsted. Tickets are $5; call 296-1100 for reservations.