Amanda Kay Dunsmore's sculpture The Big Pussy, which up until recently has been hanging in the lobby of Idao gallery, inspired the work that the British-born, Northern Ireland-based sculptor will display at the gallery this summer in a show called "The Fall and Rise of Big Pussy." The exhibition opens tonight with a free reception from 7 to 11 at Idao, 1616 N. Damen. Call 235-4724 for details.
Folks at the Swedish American Museum Center say Vikings are too often maligned for their "early raiding activities." Actually, they contend, the Vikings were "mariners, colonizers, merchants, and craftsmen"--your basic warm and fuzzy colonizers. To prove their point they've been screening the PBS series The Vikings with Magnus Magnusson. Tonight at 7:30 you can catch episodes three and four, "From the Fury of Northmen" and "Halfdan Was Here." It's $5, $2.50 for students and seniors. The museum is at 5211 N. Clark; call 728-8111.
Amnesty International is hoping to generate 1,000 letters with a Writeathon today at Tower Records, 2301 N. Clark. From 10 to 5 they'll hand out T-shirts, posters, and mugs in exchange for letters demanding that various governments halt or investigate human rights abuses. Call 427-2060 for more information.
If you've ever had a bike stolen in Evanston this could be your chance to recover it. The Evanston police department is holding a bike auction this morning at 10 in the basement of its headquarters, 1454 Elmwood. Call 708-866-5029.
For its X-Po '95, Fans of X-rated Entertainment (FOXE) has lined up exotic dancers, a Jell-O wrestling exhibit, a striptease show, demos of new sex products, and even a seminar titled "Sexuality and Spirituality." It's today from 11 to 5 and tomorrow from 11 to 4 at the Ramada Woodfield Hotel, 920 E. Northwest Highway in Palatine. Admission is $10. Call 800-457-7556 for more.
Just when you thought they'd run out of reasons to have a street fair, along comes the Gathering of Herbs festival off Rush Street. The fest, in its second year, isn't a congregation of folks with the same given name as our 31st president. It brings together some local chefs--Jackie Chen of Jackie's, Jack Jones of Daniel J, the uninomenclatured Francis of Cafe du Midi, and John Hogan of Kiki's Bistro--to dispense advice on cooking with herbs and samples of herb-based tasties. It's from 11:30 to 1:30 today in the courtyard of Quigley Seminary, 103 W. Chestnut. Admission is $2. Call 787-9343 for details.
If you didn't find what you were looking for last weekend at the Printers Row Book Fair, you might want to check out the world's largest used book sale, going on today through next Sunday, June 18, in the parking lot of Northbrook Court shopping center, 2171 Northbrook Court in Northbrook. In addition to the 400,000 books in more than 40 categories that will be for sale, first editions of works by the likes of Raymond Chandler, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, and Joseph Heller will be auctioned off. Organizers of the sale, the North Shore chapter of the Brandeis University Women's Committee, request a $5 donation on opening night, but otherwise admission is free. Hours are 6 to 10 tonight, 10 to 10 tomorrow, 11 to 9 Monday through Thursday, 11 to 5 next Friday, June 16, 6 to 10 next Saturday, June 17, and 10 to 5 next Sunday, June 18. Call 708-724-9715.
The Chicago Historical Society exhibit Douglas/Grand Boulevard: The Past and the Promise traces the history of the near-south-side African-American community Bronzeville, and to accompany the show, CHS is presenting Street Cries: The Sounds of Bronzeville, a concert in which a trio of Browns--noted composer, director, and playwright Oscar Jr., his son Oscar III, and daughter Maggie--will perform the music of Duke Ellington and Lester Young. It's at 3 this afternoon at the society, Clark and North. Admission is $10, $8 for members. Call 642-4600, ext. 386.
The Illinois Gay Rodeo Association holds its final dance contest of the season tonight at 7 at Whiskey River, 1997 N. Clybourn. Competitors must dance a two-step, a waltz, and a freestyle number. Entrance fees for association members are $5 in advance and $10 at the door. Nonmembers pay $10 in advance, $15 at the door. For those who just want to watch, the cover is $3. Call 883-1880.
Fainting brides, screwups in the vows, food poisoning: Martha Stewart may not give you the gory details, but what's a look at weddings without at least a nod or two in the direction of disaster? That's the thinking behind Once Upon a Wedding, a 90-minute video of wedding high jinks and problems being shown as part of the Chicago Cultural Center's monthlong celebration of the nuptial process. It's at 5:30 this evening in the building's theater, 78 E. Washington. Admission is free. Call 346-3278.
Noted gay journo Michelangelo Signorile--columnist for Out magazine and author of Out in America--talks about Outing Yourself: How to Come Out as Lesbian or Gay to Your Family, Friends and Coworkers, his new step-by-step guide to taking a walk out of the closet, today at 6 at Rizzoli Bookstore in Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan. Call 642-3500 for more.
For most people, climbing Argentina's Mount Aconcagua, which at about 23,000 feet is the tallest point in the western hemisphere, would be the challenge of their lives. For a group of women who scaled that peak last year, it was the second biggest challenge: they were all survivors of a bout with breast cancer. Their expedition is the subject of a one-hour episode of the PBS series The New Explorers, which is executive produced by Chicago's own Bill Kurtis. The episode broadcasts nationally July 12, but you can see it tonight at a special reception for expedition organizer Laura Evans, mountaineer Peter Whittaker, and former TV newsperson Jeannie Morris, who produced the documentary. Things get under way at 5:30 at Thorne Hall of Northwestern Law School, 375 E. Chicago. It's $20, $15 for students. Call 708-256-6909 for more.
Should you happen to wake up this morning with the urge to forge within the smithy of your soul the uncreated conscience of your race, you might want to jot down the first 200 words that stream through your consciousness and drop them off at Borders Books & Music, which is sponsoring a bad Joyce contest in honor of Bloomsday--also known as June 16, the day on which Joyce's Ulysses takes place. Contest cosponsor Black Bush Irish Whiskey recommends turning to the last chapter of Ulysses, Molly Bloom's punctuationless soliloquy, for inspiration. And with good reason. As Nabokov once said, "In this typographic broth many a minor poet has been generated." Entries must be turned in by 10 tonight to the store, 830 N. Michigan. Winners will read their entries Thursday night at a free pre-Bloomsday celebration from 7 to 9 at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton. You must be 21 to enter. For further info, call Borders at 573-0564 and ask for Leah Vaselopulos.
"You can't just wake up one morning and say, "Hey, I think I'll run a marathon,"' says the Chicago Area Runners Association's David Patt. Hence the group's 18-week marathon training program, which leads up to the Chicago Marathon on October 15. If you get with the program, you get six Tuesday-night clinic sessions including advice on shoes, training, and diet and a regimen of weekend group runs. Clinics begin tonight at 6:30 at the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, 1001 N. Dearborn. The program costs $80, $65 for CARA members. Call 666-9836 for more.
By day Danny Hoch works in New York University's Creative Arts Team, which uses drama to teach kids about conflict resolution. By night he's an acclaimed performance artist with a pile of press clips comparing him to John Leguizamo, Eric Bogosian, Sandra Bernhard, and Whoopi Goldberg. His one-man show Some People premieres at 8 tonight at the Organic Theater, 3319 N. Clark. The show continues Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 and Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and 10:30 through June 24. Tix are $15.50. Call 327-5588 for more.
At tonight's monthly meeting of the Nation Associates, a group of subscribers to the venerable political magazine, Dr. Quentin Young, the Chicago-based doctor who's a past president of Physicians for a National Health Program, will talk about the status of President Clinton's national health-care proposals. It's at 7 tonight at Ann Sather, 929 W. Belmont, and it's free. Call 708-871-9070.
"0.999999985621,' I whispered, setting everybody off into spasms again, and finally we had to leave because we were annoying too many people with our giggling. I guess if you find jokes about decimal places interesting, then you truly are a geek." And geeks are indeed the heroes of Douglas Coupland's Microserfs, a parodic fantasy about dissatisfied worker bees in the great house of Microsoft. Still attempting to live down his authorship of the novel Generation X, Coupland reads from the new book tonight at 7:30 at the New Town Barbara's Bookstore, 3130 N. Broadway. It's free. Call 477-0411.