For the show Dictated By Life: Marsden Hartley's German Paintings and Robert Indiana's Hartley Elegies, the Terra Museum of American Art has paired a series of Hartley's paintings from the early years of the century with Indiana's reinterpretations of them. Indiana will explain the peculiarities of the exhibit at a lecture today at 5:30 at the museum, 666 N. Michigan. The lecture is $6, and reservations are required. Call 664-3939.
Summer Opera Festival '95 at the University of Chicago begins this weekend with Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, performed by the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, directed by Michael Kotze, and conducted by Antoinette Arnold. Next weekend the Summer Opera Chorus and the University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra, both under the direction of Barbara Schubert, present a sort of mini Gershwin fest--An American in Paris and excerpts from Porgy and Bess. The week after that the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists--the training arm of the Lyric--essays two one-acts: Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi. Weather permitting, shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM in Hutchinson Courtyard, near Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th. Admission to this bring-your-own-lawn-chair affair is $15, $12 in advance; students and kids pay $11, $8 in advance. Picnickers are welcome. Call 702-8069 for info.
Oz Fest had its wings clipped by complaining neighbors after a decade in Oz Park. Now it's moved to Lincoln Park proper. Today and tomorrow south of Fullerton between Cannon Drive and the lagoon you'll find the usual array of street festy stuff (arts and crafts and bands like Uptighty and the Drovers) along with wandering Wizard of Oz characters and a performance of the story by the National Marionette Company. The fest runs from 10 to 10 today and 10 to 8 tomorrow. Admission is $3, $4 after 6 PM, $1 for kids under 10 and seniors. Free trolleys to the new site will leave every 15 minutes from the Fullerton and Armitage el stops and from various points in the fest's old neighborhood; call 929-8686 for details.
If Taste of Chicago wasn't quite to your taste you may want to check out Taste of Devon, where the entertainment includes Indian, Croatian, Greek, Romanian, Irish, Assyrian, and klezmer music and the food options are almost equally diverse. It's today and tomorrow from 11 to 8 at Rockwell and Devon. There's no charge. Call 743-6022 for info.
The Wicker Park drinkery called Mad Bar may turn Concord Street just west of Damen into hog heaven from noon to 6 today with the first Mad Custom Bike Show. Custom motorcycles of all types will compete in categories such as best chrome, best paint, most radical, best street custom, and people's choice. The best of show takes home a $1,000 prize. It costs $10 to enter your bike in advance, $15 the day of the show. Concord Street is right next to the bar at 1640 N. Damen. A $2 admission fee for those who want to check out the competition goes to Around the Coyote. Call 227-2277 for more.
Only two rules must be observed by those who want to enter their pets in the South Loop Pet Pageant: pets must be alive and they can't be human. Otherwise, anything goes at the event, now in its tenth year. Categories include best-looking, best costume, best performance, most obedient, most unusual, and pet of the year. A total of $1,000 in prizes will be up for grabs. Registration begins at 11:30 in Dearborn Park, Ninth Street and Plymouth Court, just south of Dearborn Station. There's no entry fee, and it's free to watch. Call 659-8937.
A photographer whose work has been featured in many publications of the National Geographic Society passes through town today on his way to Iowa to romance neglected farm wives. Wait, sorry, wrong guy. This particular photographer, Merlin Tuttle--who's also a behavioral ecologist and a renowned bat expert--talks on bats today at 2 at the Field Museum, Roosevelt and Lake Shore Drive. The talk's $5, which includes museum admission; entrance to the bat exhibit Masters of the Night is an additional $3. Call 322-8859 for info.
The USS Samuel Eliot Morison, one of the navy's guided-missile frigates, is named after a Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard historian who helped negotiate the treaties that ended World War I. As part of the navy's 1995 Great Lakes Cruise--which looks to be one giant recruiting event--the ship will be docked at Navy Pier for the next week. The official welcoming ceremony is today at 3; free tours are available from 1 to 7 tomorrow through Thursday and next Saturday, July 22, through next Monday, July 24. Call 708-266-1370 for more.
A half dozen chefs of Asian descent are contributing their time tonight to a fund-raising dinner for a pair of Rogers Park charities. The setting is the oddly named My Place for ? restaurant and bar, and the chefs are Bill Kim from Charlie Trotter's, Don Yamauchi of the Bistro in Highwood, Kevin Shikami, onetime chef at Jimmy's Place, Takashi Yagihashi of Ambria, Jacky Shen from Lawry's, and My Place for ?'s own Mike Kurotobi. The Asian Connection, a six-course dinner with wine, starts at 6:30 and costs $75, tax and tip included. The Community Arts Program of Peoples Housing and the Employment Agency Servicing Youth of Chicago get the proceeds; the restaurant is at 7545 N. Clark. Call 262-5767 for reservations.
To raise money for the various projects they'll present in August at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a group calling itself the Chicago Theatre Mafia performs tonight at 7 at Second City E.T.C., 1608 N. Wells. For $10 you can see performances by ImprovOlympic, ComedySportz, the Annoyance Theatre, the Off-Off Campus Players, Moonglow Productions, Shirley Anderson, Interface Performance Group, WNEP, Nude Coffee, and Second City itself. Call 337-3992.
John Prine--the onetime Chicago mailman, Old Town School of Folk Music alum, and celebrated song crafter who's now back in recording action as the proprietor of his own Oh Boy label--returns to town this week for a pair of shows at Navy Pier's Skyline Stage. Tonight and tomorrow at 8 he'll be playing songs from his well-received 1991 album The Missing Years and his new Lost Dogs & Mixed Blessings as well as old favorites. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand. Tix are $20 and $22. Call 525-3655 or 559-1212.
Some might say there's no there there in the suburbs--culturally and in particular architecturally--but a group of local architects will give an overview of what's new and different, if anything, in 708 land at Civics in the Suburbs or "If I Only Had a Heart": New Village Halls and Municipal Centers. Organized by the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects, this free lecture starts at 5:30 this evening in the theater of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Call 670-7770 for details.
Bill Kurtis takes the stage at a Women in Film/Chicago meeting tonight to talk about his PBS series The New Explorers and give his insights into documentary film and video making. A half-hour reception precedes his talk, which starts at 7 at the Editel postproduction facility, 301 E. Erie. Admission is $10, $6 for students, $5 for Women in Film members. Call 467-0050 for reservations.
For Crossing Boundaries II: The Tower of Babel Project Strawdog Theatre is mounting a half dozen one-acts and a quintet of staged readings relating to the common theme of language and communication. According to the theater, the project includes works in languages such as "Spanish, English, sign, movement, gender-speak, music, poetry, sex, Madison Avenue, Portuguese, and Pinter." The series opens tonight at 8 with a staged reading of Silvia Gonzales S.'s The Tower of Babel. Thursday-night staged readings continue through August 17. Admission is pay what you can; the suggested donation is $5. The evening of one-acts begins tomorrow and runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM through August 19. Admission is $10. The theater is at 3829 N. Broadway. Call 528-9696 for more.