Visions From Within: Art From Prison, an exhibit of work by prisoners Hector Maisonet, Michael Harms, Harvey Ford, and Arkee Chaney at the Illinois Art Gallery, also includes photographs by Reader contributor Lloyd DeGrane. It opens tonight with a free reception from 5:30 to 7:30 and remains on view from 9 to 6 weekdays through May 26 (gallery admission is free). DeGrane gives a free talk about his work this Wednesday at 7 at the gallery, Suite 2-100 of the James R. Thompson Center at 100 W. Randolph. Call 814-5322.
Lovers, Pilgrims and Tortured Souls: New Translations of Medieval Hebrew Poetry From Spain, a free talk by professor Raymond P. Scheindlin of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, starts at 8:30 this evening at the Hillel House, 5715 S. Woodlawn in Hyde Park. Call 752-1127 for details.
Seven Mile Funeral Cortege of Genl. Grant in New York, August 8, 1885, chronicles the funeral procession of President Ulysses S. Grant with more than 200 photographs. Only about 25 copies of the book remain, and one of them has been donated to the Chicago Public Library. It'll be unveiled at a ceremony featuring a group of Civil War reenactors at noon today in the main lobby of the library, 400 S. State. It's free to attend. The book will remain on display until May 1. Call 747-4740 for details.
Music From China, an acoustic ensemble of music scholars who emigrated to the U.S. in the 1980s, have played with the Kronos Quartet and for the Broadway production of M. Butterfly. They're making their Chicago debut with two shows tonight at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 909 W. Armitage. Tix are $12-$16. Show times are 7 and 10. Call 525-3655 for more.
The work of New City cartoonist Chris Ware ranges from whimsical fake back-of-the-comic-book ads to the surreal and involving strip Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth. He'll be signing copies of his latest comic, Acme Novelty Library #4, at Quimby's Queer Store, 1328 N. Damen, from 3 to 5 today. Call 342-0910 for details.
Organizers expect nearly two dozen artists from all over the world to participate in this year's Flo-Tilla, the annual procession of floating sculpture and performance art on the Chicago River. To prepare for the event, scheduled for May 7-14, they're holding a fund-raiser tonight at 8 at HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee. Twelve bucks gets you music from the bands Lovey Howell and Carbuncle, performances from Cheryl Trykv, John Spear and Luke Dohner, and others, plus fun at assorted game booths. Call 278-1111 for more.
Known as a female Charlie Chaplin, Yiddish theater megastar Molly Picon was adored by millions in the 30s and 40s for her work in the theater and later on Broadway and in the movies. Molly Picon's Return Engagement, Sarah Blacher Cohen's musical tribute to her, stars Renee Matthews as Picon and features Jerry Preskill as her husband, Jacob Kalich. The Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies presents the musical at 1 PM today at the Mather High School Auditorium, 5835 N. Lincoln. Tickets are $12; call 322-1769.
A rather different revue featuring a rather different female entertainer can be seen later tonight when Miss Mod Memphis Hits the Big Time comes to the Park West. In addition to its namesake, this female-impersonator extravaganza includes the dance line from the Baton Club, the Creme de la Creme Girls, and Chili Pepper in a benefit for Chicago House. Tickets, which cost $40 and $25, include hors d'oeuvres and a reception with cast members after the show. Doors open at 4; show starts at 5. The Park West is at 322 W. Armitage. Call 248-5200.
"Claims that welfare moms "won't work' ignore the fact that mothering is work," says Northwestern law prof Jane Larson. She's one of the organizers of the law school's fourth annual feminist symposium. Breaking the Contract With America: Feminist Perspectives on Welfare Reform runs from 3:30 to 7:30 today in the school's Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago. Speakers include state representative Janice Schakowsky, NU economist Rebecca Blank, and scholars. It's free. Call 503-2907 for more.
In 1946 at the age of 17, William Heirens was convicted of a nasty triple murder. Now 66, he has been incarcerated longer than any other prisoner in Illinois, but many remain unconvinced of his guilt, citing the hysterical public mood of the time as a factor in his conviction. (The case was the subject of an August 1989 Reader cover article.) Today Heirens faces a clemency hearing at which his lawyer, Jed Stone, will argue that he was convicted on inconclusive evidence and that he was coerced into confessing. You can check it out at 1 PM today in room 9-40 of the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph. Call Dolores Kennedy at 419-0252 for more.
Catherine Foley, who wrote the world's first dissertation on traditional Irish dance and is currently working on a book about it, gives a talk tonight at 7:30 at the Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox. It's $5. Call 282-7035 for more.
Two big names will be in Hyde Park today. At 4 PM Jeane Kirkpatrick, who horrified many in her tenure as Ronald Reagan's UN ambassador, will speak as part of the University of Chicago's Virtues of Modern Democracy lecture series. Her free talk is in room 122 of the Social Science Research Building, 1126 E. 59th. Call 702-8374 for more. Next up, Sidney Lumet, one of Hollywood's more venturesome mainstream directors, talks about his memoir Making Movies and his experiences on the sets of Serpico, Network, The Verdict, and Running on Empty. That's free as well, and it starts at 7:30 in Breasted Hall of the Oriental Institute, 1155 E. 58th. Call 684-1300 for details.
The fourth annual Poetry Video Festival takes over Wicker Park for three days this week. Tonight the fest opens with a poetry video slam, in which filmed poetry performances will face the audience's cheers and jeers. That's at HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee. Tomorrow the fest moves to Kino-Eye Cinema at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Division, for a preview of highlights from The United States of Poetry, an upcoming four-part PBS series. At the same location Friday, teenagers from Community TV Network and Young Chicago Authors present a poetry show called Yo! Vid. Each show starts at 7:30 and costs $6. Call 278-2210 for more.
Tonight at its monthly Women Obsession lesbian night Berlin celebrates "women who won't take any shit." Performances and a raffle will raise scholarship funds for women's self-defense classes; the bar's donating a buck from every Absolut drink sold. It gets under way after 9 PM at the club, 954 W. Belmont. Call 348-4975.
Spectrum Press thinks the future of publishing lies in publishing books on computer disks, which can be manufactured and distributed very cheaply. Two of the press's first authors--Arnie Bernstein, the author of Wonderlands, and Tim W. Brown, the author of On Sangamon and Townee and the editor of Tomorrow magazine--will give a free reading tonight at 7 at the Evanston Barnes & Noble, 1701 Sherman in Evanston. Call 984-6092.
One of these things is not like the other: lawyer and financier Charles Gates Dawes served four years as Calvin Coolidge's vice president, was ambassador to Great Britain, helped devise how Germany would pay reparations after World War I, and cowrote the 1958 rock 'n' roll hit "It's All in the Game." An Evanston Historical Society series of lectures on this unusual American statesman begins tonight with Charles Gates Dawes: From Private Face to Public Place, a talk by historian Sigrid Pohl Perry at 7 at the Charles Gates Dawes House, 225 Greenwood in Evanston. It's $10, $25 for the series of three, which continues April 23 and May 11. Call 708-475-3410 for more.