An estimated 81 percent of women in Illinois jails and prisons are mothers; 63 percent of them have been convicted of nonviolent felonies, according to the group Chicago Legal Aid to Incarcerated Mothers. As part of a nationwide campaign, CLAIM will hold a rally today to draw attention to issues that affect female prisoners and their children and to speak out against the newly proposed minimum-security prison for women in Decatur. The rally starts at 4 at the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph. Call 332-5537.
The first two albums by Canadian sisters Kate and Anna McGarrigle charmed nearly everyone who heard them in the mid-1970s with their stark harmonies and bittersweet songs. While the pair have been out of sight for a while, to support the CD release of those two albums they're doing two shows tonight at 7 and 10 at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 909 W. Armitage. Tix are $13 to $17. Call 525-3655.
If you sometimes catch yourself murmuring something about "poisoning pigeons in the park," you're probably an unrepentant fan of Tom Lehrer, the Harvard math professor who established an unlikely second career writing and singing smart and funny songs at the piano. Chicago's Close Call Theatre has exhumed a 1980 musical tribute to Lehrer, Tomfoolery, originally staged by Les Miserables impresario Cameron Mackintosh. The show debuts tonight at 10:45 at the Red Bones Theatre, 4147 N. Broadway, and will run Fridays and Saturdays at that time and Sundays at 2:30 PM through June 11. It's $14; call 409-3274 for more.
Call it Potapalooza. At the annual Windy City Weed Festival lovers of the aromatic hemp congregate to groove to live music and cheer speeches promoting marijuana decriminalization. It runs from 11 AM to 10 PM today and tomorrow at Lincoln Park's Cricket Hill, Montrose and the lake, and it's free. Call 561-8337 for more.
The new Chuck Norris movie teams the vacant-expressioned martial-arts expert with a tiny terrier. The movie's tag line is "One's tough; one's smart," but no one's laughing. Norris appears today in the suburbs at Martial Arts Expo '95, whose tag line is "Kick Drugs Out of America." If you get out of the Windy City Weed Festival early enough, you can catch Norris and 20 martial arts demonstrations starting at 6 PM at the Odeum Sports Arena, 1033 Villa in Villa Park. Tickets are $14, $9 if you get them in advance. Call 708-961-5425.
Fred Holstein is marking his 30th year as a folksinger and storyteller. His bar Holsteins, which he ran with his brother Ed, was the center of Chicago's bustling folk scene for years. Still capable of emotional balladeering, Fred plays with Bob Smerch tonight at 8 at the Abbey Pub, 3420 N. Grace. Tickets are $10; call 559-1212 or 478-4408.
Carta al Artista Adolescente, an adaptation of James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man by Mexico City's Teatro de Arena, has its U.S. premiere tonight at the Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 W. Belmont, where it's being performed alternately in English and Spanish through next Sunday, May 21. Tonight's show, the English-language version, starts at 8:30; tickets are $15. See theater listing in Section Two for details or call 883-1090.
The Tour of Illinois and Wisconsin, a multistage bike race much like the Tour de France, hits town today in Hyde Park. Monsters of the Midway Criterium, the ninth and final stage in the tour, takes place on a 1.1-mile course consisting of the Midway Plaisance and Ellis and Dorchester avenues. The women's professional race starts at 1 and the men's at 2:15. It's free to watch; for a schedule of starting times for other categories, call the university's Velo Club at 684-6553 or 324-4602.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation notes that Harvard Business School prof Michael Porter's book The Competitive Advantage of Nations did a lot to alter the way corporations look at the global economy. Now Porter's written an analysis of urban economics--The Competitive Advantage of the Inner City--and the foundation has assembled some local economic-development experts to join him in a free panel discussion. Thom Clark of the Community Media Workshop moderates. It starts at 4 PM on the lower level of First Chicago Center, 1 First National Plaza. Call 642-6813 for more.
"Because we love this game and the kids who play it" the White Sox are trying to entice kids and families to lay out a cool $159 for summer baseball and softball camps known as White Sox Training Centers. Open to boys and girls aged 7 to 14, the camps will take place at 11 Chicago-area parks and at dozens of others in outlying areas. You save $10 if you register at least a month in advance. For a complete schedule or more information, call 708-752-9225.
Franz Kline's black-and-white abstract paintings gain power from their large scale, a technique he adopted after seeing his work enlarged on an opaque projector. In conjunction with the Museum of Contemporary Art's ongoing exhibition Franz Kline: Black and White, 1950-1961 museum staffer Margaret Farr will talk about Kline's work at a free brown-bag luncheon today at 12:15. The museum, 237 E. Ontario, is open 10 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 Sunday; admission is $5, free on Tuesdays. Call 280-2696 for more.
Eight times in the last 15 years the U.S. government denied a visa to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. He finally visited the U.S. last fall; now he's back and making his first appearance in Chicago. He'll give a firsthand account of the Irish republican view of the peace process and raise money for new Sinn Fein offices in Washington and Brussels tonight at 7 at Lane Tech, 2501 W. Addison. Doors open at 6. It's $20. Call 708-636-0543 for details.
Alexander Cockburn, perhaps the last of the great ptomaine-tongued leftist journalists, makes a free appearance tonight to promote his latest book, The Golden Age Is in Us: Travels and Encounters, 1987-1994. The former Village Voice polemicist and current columnist for the Nation will also talk about a book by his friend the late Andrew Kopkind--The Thirty Years' War: Dispatches and Diversions of a Radical Journalist 1965-1995. It starts at 7:30 in Breasted Hall of the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, 1155 E. 58th. Call 752-4381 for more.
"I imagined a more consensual, deliberative, and participatory democracy for all voters, despite religious, political, racial, or sex differences . . . [but] the "Q' word stuck," says Lani Guinier of how she was tarred a "quota queen" by congressional right-wingers during Bill Clinton's ultimately unsuccessful bid to make her assistant attorney general for civil rights. In fact Guinier opposes quotas but did explore ways to give more voice to outgunned minorities without quotas or radical redistricting. To plug the paperback release of her book The Tyranny of the Majority Guinier gives a free talk tonight at 7:30 at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells. Call 642-5044. Tomorrow she leads a forum on electoral fairness at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The $40 luncheon and discussion starts at noon in the Illinois Room of the Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted. Tickets must be purchased in advance; call 782-3511 for reservations.
Tonight at the second Silver Images Film Festival, organizers dedicated to "celebrating visions of long life" will screen A Great Day in Harlem, the Academy Award-nominated documentary that marks the directorial debut of septuagenarian Jean Bach. In the film Bach tracks down and reminisces with the subjects of a famous 1958 Esquire photo that assembled reigning jazz greats. It shows at 9 tonight at Facets Multimedia, 1517 W. Fullerton. Admission is $5, $3 for seniors. The fest continues through Saturday. For a complete schedule call 881-8491.