The Goodman Theatre Discovery Board--composed of the theater's younger, more adventurous supporters--offers its second rather graspingly titled but intelligently programmed Cutting Edge Chicago. This night of performance art at the Chicago Cultural Center brings together a half dozen of the city's more outre performers, from Lynn Book and Tatsu Aoki and Betty's Mouth to the Neo-Futurists. Dinner and a reserved seat at the performance will cost you $125. Drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and a general-admission seat cost $75. Things get under way at 6 PM; the Cultural Center is at 78 E. Washington. Call 435-2771.
An exhibition at the Polish Museum of America featuring maps dating from the 16th century to the present will give you a graphic view of the changing political fortunes of Poland--its origins as a powerful monarchy, its virtual obliteration at the hands of Austria, Prussia, and Russia in the early 18th century, its early-20th-century independence, its control by Germany and Russia, and its current independence. The show opens with a reception tonight from 7 to 9. The museum, 984 N. Milwaukee, is open from 11 to 4 daily. Admission is $2, $1 for kids, seniors, and students. Call 384-3352.
Dreaming Lucia, the newest play from the Lookingglass Theatre Company, looks at the life of James Joyce's troubled daughter Lucia. After a peripatetic childhood she had a series of mental breakdowns in her 20s and was eventually institutionalized. According to writer and star Joy Gregory, the play explores the "lost histories of a young woman's life." Previews are tonight, tomorrow, next Thursday, March 9, and next Friday, March 10, at 8 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. Tix are $10. The show opens next Saturday, March 11, at 8; that's $35. For more information see theater listings or call 871-0671.
Today at an awards luncheon Women in Film honors Joan Cusack (star of Addams Family Values, Broadcast News, Toys, and other films), and Marilu Henner (the former Taxi star who now hosts a talk show). Woody Allen producer Jean Doumanian and Screen magazine's Joanne Bittmann will also be honored. The reception, music from Joanie Pallatto and a singer named Wandachristine, lunch, and the ceremony cost $65 ($50 for members). It's at the Four Seasons, 900 N. Michigan, from 11 to 2. Call 467-0500.
In his free talk Judging Books by Their Covers: The Paperback Revolution and the Canon of American Literature the Newberry Library's William Savage will look at the evolution of the American paperback book, from 19th-century dime novels to the famously successful Pocket Books imprint. It starts at 10 this morning at the library, 60 W. Walton. A reception follows. Call 255-3665.
Since Hammond Beeby and Babka has been named Chicago firm of the year by the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Chicago Historical Society is sponsoring a tour of the firm's offices. Sounds like a good opportunity to ask someone there why the firm designed the Harold Washington Library Center in such a way that patrons must navigate three escalators and a half dozen hallways to get to the actual library. The tour begins at 10 this morning in suite 360 of the firm's offices, 440 N. Wells. The cost is $5, $3 for Chicago Historical Society members. Call 642-4600 for details.
In the mid-70s the Red Krayola collaborated with a group of conceptual artists called Art-Language/Music-Language to produce Four Songs, a short black-and-white film of the band playing four songs in a small room, and Nine Gross and Conspicuous Errors, a 25-minute video of the band, again performing in a small room. In conjunction with Drag City Records, which has been rereleasing the Red Krayola's work, Chicago Filmmakers screens both works tonight at 8 at Kino-Eye Cinema at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Division. Afterward the Red Krayola will play live (but not in a small room). Tickets are $8, $6 for Chicago Filmmakers members. Call 384-5532.
You can experience eight hours of hip hop-oriented art today at the Vision Village, 1836 W. North. A Female Did That? is an art exhibit and open mike by women artists. The Flick Pool is a photo archive of current graffiti art, and The Real Deal includes interviews and photos from an oral history of Chicago hip hop. The show runs from 1 to 9. Admission is $2. Call 409-3556.
Chicago Commons, the 100-year-old service agency, fetes retiring U.S. senator Paul Simon at a dinner this evening. For $175 you get a reception, dinner, and remarks from emcee Bill Kurtis. If you don't have a bow tie to wear Marshall Field's will lend you one at the door. The affair, which begins at 4 with a reception, will be held at the Park Hyatt, 800 N. Michigan. Call 342-5330.
When filmmaker and photographer Liz Chilsen says that her current installation is her attempt to "come to terms with the destruction of one of the most optimistic social movements of the 20th century and to understand one of the most significant abuses ever made to America's democratic principles," she's talking about the failed Sandinista revolution and the successful U.S. attempts to undermine it. Chilsen's Faultline: Managua Diptych is a series of large-scale photographs of a pair of Managuan cathedrals, both on an earthquake fault, one in tatters and one under construction. Photos from the work will be included in the Albert P. Weisman Scholarship Exhibit opening today at the Columbia College Hokin Center Gallery, 623 S. Wabash. The gallery's free and open 8 to 7 Monday through Thursday, 8 to 5 Friday, and 10 to 3 Saturday. Call 663-1600 extension 696.
Tonight at "Let the Church Say Amen" Stories on Stage presents three stories with religious subjects. Oscar Brown Jr. will read Langston Hughes's Big Meeting, in which a pair of black teens and a bigoted white couple watch a revival meeting. Celeste Williams reads The First Fig Tree by Vivian Glover, a twist on the story of Eve. Finally Josette DiCarlo reads the Old Testament story of Esther. The trio of stories, directed by Michael Myers, runs for one night only at the Organic Theater, 3319 N. Clark, and costs $12. Call 327-5588.
A year ago Washington Post reporter Nathan McCall's memoir of his working-class childhood and his career switch from crime to journalism was hailed by some as a powerful portrait of the African American experience--a work on the order of Richard Wright's Black Boy. The book's title, Makes Me Wanna Holler, is a tip of the hat to Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues." To plug the paperback publication of his book McCall will talk at 7:30 tonight at Breasted Hall in the Oriental Institute, 1155 E. 58th. It's free. Call 684-1300 for more.
To celebrate International Women's Day a broad coalition of local groups, including Women's Action Coalition and National Organization for Women, have organized a rally and march starting at noon today at Federal Plaza, 220 S. Dearborn. It's free. Call 918-9161 or 278-6706.
In The Mother Tongue and his new Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States Bill Bryson concentrates on words and expressions that tell us something about our country's history or culture, from G-string to hamburger to "the real McCoy." He talks tonight at 7 at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells. It's free. Call 642-5044 for details.
The 14th International Women's Film and Video Festival kicks off tonight with "Fanning the Flames: Video for a New Generation." This collection of works produced by the Community TV Network, which encourages low-income kids to make videos about their communities, shows tonight at 7 at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Division. "Homegirls" follows at 9. The three-day fest includes works by Asian women and gay teens, and a panel discussion on violence against women. Sessions are $6, $4 for students, seniors, and members of Women in the Director's Chair. Saturday and Sunday events are at Randolph Street Gallery and the Center for New Television. Call 281-4988 for a schedule.
A new club on the site of the former Avalon attempts to get hip hop moving on the north side. Owners Andrew Klemen and Kevin Reynolds are opening the B Side Cafe tonight with a party. Del tha Funkee Homosapien performs tomorrow, and Saturday there's a party for the Digable Planets (after their show at Metro). Tonight's party is free. Things get under way at 8 at the club, 959 W. Belmont. Call 472-3020 for more.