By Cara Jepsen
Krzysztof Kieslowski, arguably one of the great filmmakers of our time, died last week at the age of 54. Though some likened his films to perfume commercials--beautiful but empty exercises--Kieslowski clearly was an ambitious artist, embracing spiritual subjects in an intentionally ambiguous manner, reflecting his self-proclaimed preoccupations with coincidence, loneliness, love, hate, fear, isolation, and responsibility. Most Americans' introduction to Kieslowski was 1991's The Double Life of Veronique, a film about chance and destiny that starred the same actress, Irene Jacob, playing two different roles. His final trilogy, "Three Colors," broadly dealt with themes of liberty (Blue), equality (White), and fraternity (Red). In 1988 he made the ten-part series The Decalogue for Polish television. Each episode is an hour-long parable about how one of the Ten Commandments functions in today's world. The complete series will be shown, two parts a night, through April 14 at Facets Multimedia, 1517 W. Fullerton. Parts one and two are screened tonight at 6:30 and again at 8:45. Tickets for the entire series cost $25; admission per two-film "feature" is $7. Call 281-4114 for more.
Reverend Robin Scroggs is an expert on the New Testament, and his book, The New Testament and Homosexuality, suggests that the gospel takes a tolerant stance on homosexuality. "I see no way of reading the Christian gospel except that it is one which totally accepts in love all persons, regardless of inadequacies or moral failings," he writes in the preface. Scroggs, who by the way is not gay, will kick off this weekend's program "A Place at the Table: Homosexuals Within the Church." Tomorrow's offerings will include the workshop "Family Crisis--Your Teenager Has Just Announced He/She Is a Homosexual." Scroggs speaks tonight at 7:30 at Saint Pauls United Church of Christ, 2335 N. Orchard. It's free; call 348-3829 for more.
Discovered two months ago by an amateur Japanese astronomer using high-tech binoculars, Comet Hyakutake will bolt past the earth starting next week in what is supposed to be the brightest show by a comet in at least a quarter century. We'll just see about that. The Adler Planetarium's new sky show "Comets Are Coming!" examines such recently discovered comets as Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake. The next couple days have been designated Comet Weekend and will feature special events tomorrow and Sunday. The sky show plays today at 11, 2, 4, 6, and 8; it's offered Saturday and Sunday every hour on the hour. Admission is $3, $2 for kids and seniors; there's a separate $2 fee for the sky show. The planetarium is located at 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive; call 922-7827 for more.
It had to happen: a movie's being made about the short life of slain Tejano singer Selena, and the producers, who have the cooperation of her family, are holding a nationwide casting call for the role. They're looking for two girls: one to play the singer at age 8, and one to play her from age 18 to 20. Singing ability is not required, but lip-synching skills will probably come in handy. The auditions go from 10 to 6 today at Roberto Clemente High School, 1147 N. Western. Uninhibited, perky hopefuls are asked to bring a nonreturnable photo; for more info, call the bilingual toll-free number 888-473-5362.
Since 1987 the women's self-defense group called IMPACT has taught more than 900 students how to deliver a knockout blow within eight seconds of being attacked. The nonprofit organization also teaches sexual-assault prevention, setting verbal boundaries, and defense against armed and multiple assailants. Today's fund-raiser, "A Musical Event With IMPACT," will feature live performances from folk artists Sons of the Never Wrong, Kat Eggleston, Andrew Calhoun, and Erin Corday, as well as live defense demonstrations using fully padded mock assailants. It's at 3 at Martyr's, 3855 N. Lincoln. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. For more, call 338-4545, ext. 2.
Finally there's a place to wear that over-the-top gown you picked up at the thrift store last year. Tonight's Ultimate Oscar Party promises red-carpet treatment as well as an auction and a pick-the-winner contest. It benefits the AIDS Alternative Health Project, a free clinic for people with HIV and AIDS that incorporates the use of alternative therapies like massage and acupuncture; last year they served over 600 clients. The party starts at 7 at the Park West, 322 W. Armitage. Tickets are $60, which includes beer, wine, and food; call 561-2800 for more.
African music, Chicago blues legends and folklore, women and the blues, and the link between blues and rock are among the topics that will be covered during the Newberry Library's eight-week Blues University Seminars. Students will also take field trips to such nightclubs as Blues Chicago and Rosa's. Lecturers include harp player Jerome Harper, blues pianist A.J. Binder, singer Liz Mandville-Greeson, and Reader contributor David Witter. The series runs for eight Tuesdays starting tonight at 7. It's at the Newberry Library, 60 E. Walton. Tuition is $90; call 943-9090 for more.
Everywhere you turn, there's more hoopla about the Lyric Opera's current production of Wagner's "Ring" cycle, including cast updates and advice on how to survive the 15-hour opus. For a change of pace, the Famous Door Theatre and Room 41 are presenting a one-night-only adaptation of The Ring of the Nibelung performed by four actors and a sock puppet. The 90-minute farce adds a subplot about a tyrannical director who attempts to perform the "Ring" cycle in one night. It's at 8 tonight at the Famous Door Theatre, 3212 N. Broadway. It's free; call 409-4911 for more.
Comic books meet fine--make that canine--art in Thacher Hurd's Art Dog. By day, Arthur Dog guards the Dogopolis art museum. At night, when the moon is full, he becomes Art Dog, covering the city with murals. The book's fast-paced plot includes a frameup, a trip to a medium, crimefighting, and numerous jokes on dogs and art, including ruff renditions of famous works by Vermeer and Matisse (make that Muttisse). Hurd signs copies of his book tonight from 6 to 7:30 at the Art Institute's museum shop, 111 S. Michigan. It's free; call 433-3533 for more.
Organizers of the School of the Art Institute's visiting artists program say Berlin photographer Brigitte Maria Mayer's work is "inspired by Renaissance and classical period paintings and informed by the people around her." The resulting beautifully composed photographs have socially relevant themes. Mayer, for example, reinterprets Jacques-Louis David's Marat as a dying drug addict and Socrates as an AIDS victim. She's in town to give a talk, Photography: Crisis of Representation, tonight at 6 in the SAIC auditorium, 280 S. Columbus. Admission is $3, free for seniors and students. Call 443-3711 for more.
The six-year-old Redmoon Theater is known for creating vivid spectacles that are hard to tear your eyes away from. Using professional actors and musicians as well as amateurs, they combine large-scale puppets and masks with animation, movement, and original music. Redmoon's new show, Frankenstein, based on Mary Shelley's novel, starts tonight at 7:30 at the Steppenwolf Studio Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted. Tickets are $14.50. Call 335-1650 for more.
String bassist Liz Payne, who works with the Betsy Years and Maestro Subgum and the Whole, teams up with alto saxophonist Chris Heenan to perform structured improvisations, compositions, and exploratory free improv tonight at 9 as part of the ongoing experimental-music series at Urbus Orbis, 1934 W. North. Tickets are $6. Call 252-4446 for more.