A number of free events are planned today for World AIDS Day, the "day without art." At 9:30 this morning President Clinton's chief AIDS policy adviser, Patricia Fleming, will talk and answer questions about what Washington's been doing about AIDS lately, at the Congress Hotel, 520 S. Michigan (747-9436). At noon the Chicago Department of Public Health will host the city's World AIDS Day ceremony in the lower-level auditorium of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State. There'll be speakers, awards to local AIDS agencies, a video message from President Clinton, and music from a gospel choir. At 1:30 in the library's video theater Steve Totland will present his Jeff Award-winning one-man show Talking AIDS to Death. And six sections from the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display in the Congress corridor. Call 744-9644 for more information. Other events marking the day are noted in the galleries and museums listings in Section Two.
Mark Richard's newest play, Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit, involves the lovable fathead Bertie Wooster, his impassively brilliant butler Jeeves, and an imbroglio involving a stolen necklace, several romantic misalliances, breaking and entering, mischief with a blackjack, and a night in the pokey, but this is merely to say that the play is based on the works of P.G. Wodehouse. This is Richard's third Wodehouse production, and his busiest, wittiest, and most polished yet, with help from a veteran cast. The show's tonight at 8 at the Ivanhoe Theater, 750 W. Wellington, and runs through January 21. Performances are Fridays at 8, Saturdays at 5 and 8:30, and Sundays at 3; tix are $19 to $24. Call 975-7171 for reservations.
To celebrate their seventh anniversary the Neo-Futurists are offering a special show of 1995's greatest hits. Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind sees the comedic ensemble attempting to roar through "30 plays in 60 minutes," with the lineup of miniplays shifting a bit each week to keep the mix fresh. Beginning tonight and running through next weekend the group's regular Friday and Saturday shows at 11:30 will be joined by additional ones at 8. Admission is $3 plus the roll of a single die. The Neo-Futurarium headquarters is at 5153 N. Ashland. Call 275-5255 for more.
Berkeley English prof Frederick Crews wrote a pair of articles critical of Freud for the New York Review of Books that generated one of the publication's largest letter-writing campaigns. Now he's collected the original pieces and dozens of responses to them as well as some new work in a book called The Memory Wars: Freud's Legacy in Dispute. Crews gives a free talk about his theories today at 12:15 in the Chicago Authors Room at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State. Call 747-4700.
L'Ecole Francaise is celebrating 100 years of cinema tonight at 7 with a rare showing of some of the first films ever made: a series of newsreels shot in various cities between 1896 and 1900 by the Lumiere brothers. This will be the second time the footage has been shown in the U.S. Jonathan Miller, film critic for WBEZ's Artistic License, will host the event. The $50 ticket covers the screening and a nice French meal at the school, 613 W. Bittersweet. Call 665-0066 for more.
The Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies takes a long hard look at Yiddish today. A conference called Why Yiddish? begins at 1 with a keynote talk by Rabbi Allan Nadler, research director at New York's YIVO Institute. After that, you can attend one of three in-depth workshops--Yiddish drama, Yiddish language, or Yiddish literature--at the institute, 618 S. Michigan; admission is free, but advance registration is required. For more information or to register, call 322-1769.
"French cuisine goes well beyond the body of recipes that comprise it," write the organizers of a conference on the subject. "Eating not only sustains the body, it is an act of profound--if at times obscure--psychological, social, religious, economic, and political significance." La Bouffe: French Food, French Culture, French Identity is a daylong investigation of this theory that includes a series of talks by historians. Things kick off today at 10 at the Alliance Francaise de Chicago, 810 N. Dearborn. Admission is $20, $17 for alliance members, $10 for students, and includes lunch, which will be catered by Kiki's Bistro and Albert's Cafe. Call 337-1070.
Northlight Theatre got to know Jenny Armstrong when she played banjo, dulcimer, guitar, and fiddle for last year's production of Quilters. Armstrong, a longtime area folkie and the daughter of musicians George and Gerry Armstrong, is now on her second Northlight show, Carry the Song, storytelling 'n' songs that pay tribute to women musicians who've influenced her. The show is tonight and the following two Monday evenings at 8 at the Northwestern University Theatre and Interpretation Center's Ethel M. Barber Theatre, 1979 South Campus Drive on the Northwestern campus in Evanston. Tickets are $15, $10 for students and seniors. Call 708-869-7278 to buy tickets.
Titicut Follies, the only American film that was banned for reasons other than obscenity or national security, comes to the Film Center today as part of its ongoing series on censorship. The film is a searing look at conditions in a Massachusetts prison for the criminally insane; while filmmaker Frederick Wiseman got the necessary clearances, a judge ruled that it invaded the privacy of its subjects. After some early festival screenings, the 1967 film wasn't shown publicly until the ban was lifted nearly 15 years later. It plays tonight at 6, complete with a lecture by Susan Doll, at the center, Columbus and Jackson; admission is $5, free for members. Call 443-3737 for details.
The Makropulos Affair is a strange story fashioned by composer Leos Janacek about a woman who's been kept young by an elixir for centuries. Her concern that the elixir is wearing off prompts an ultimately tragic search for its original formula, invented by her father 370 years before. The opera is one of a trio of Janacek's works with women characters thought to be based on an unrequited love. You can get the full story behind the Lyric Opera's latest offering at a free lecture and preview tonight at 6 at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton. Call 255-3700.
For some, "that holiday spirit" is depression. If all these Christmas tree lights, department-store window displays, and carolers have you reaching for sleeping pills, check out Holiday and Other Depressions, a free talk tonight by Kevin Hartigan and Sandra Ullmann of the Evanston Psychological Group. They'll discuss feelings of sadness and isolation during the holiday season at 7:30 in the Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington. Call 708-869-9300 for more information.
For nearly 50 years the Chicago-based Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has provided the world with the Doomsday Clock, which dramatizes the precarious state of survival for a world with nuclear weapons. The movement of the clock's hands, symbolizing growing or waning nuclear threat, has always been determined in private. In 1953 the clock was set at 11:58. It's been at 11:43, the most optimistic setting ever, since 1991, when the START treaty reduced the threat. From 9 to 5 today the Bulletin is holding an unprecedented public hearing at which a panel of scientists, politicians, and peace negotiators will debate the state of world safety and decide if (and to what time) the clock should be reset. It's free (a $10 lunch will be offered) at the University of Chicago's Max Palevsky Theater, 1212 E. 59th. The magazine will announce the panel's decision at noon Friday, December 8. Call 702-2555 for more information.
The Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois marks its 25th birthday with a lunch meeting of the Friends of Downtown today. The council's executive director will talk about the economic importance of landmarks in Chicago and the group's current imbroglio over Michigan Avenue's McGraw-Hill building. It's a free meeting at noon on the fifth floor of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Call 726-4031.
The Muntu Dance Theatre begins its 19th season tonight with We Move as One, which includes the world premiere of a new work by Ghanaian choreographer Kofi Jantuah, Ghanaian Suite. The show runs tonight and Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 3 at Kennedy-King College's Katherine Dunham Theatre, 6800 S. Wentworth. Admission is $15, $10 for students, and $7 for seniors and kids. Call 602-1135 for tickets and information.