By Cara Jepsen
As part of a series of Lesbian and Gay Pride Month celebrations Blacklines, a new monthly publication aimed at the African-American, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered communities, is sponsoring an open mike reading tonight. The audience will choose the winner, who will receive $100. Blacklines is also seeking submissions for its poetry section. It takes place at Icon, 710 N. Clark. The party starts with hors d'oeuvres at 6:30. The open mike starts at 7. Readers must show up by 6:45. It's $3. Call 871-7610.
A few years ago I was lucky enough to catch Sergei Eisenstein's film Alexander Nevsky accompanied by a live orchestra at Ravinia. The performance was magical and infinitely better than New Ager Philip Glass's accompaniment to Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast last year. Tonight you can see Eisenstein's 1925 classic Potemkin, accompanied by the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, which will perform a reconstructed score by Dmitri Shostakovich, who penned the original music. It's free and starts at 9; there will be a preconcert lecture at 8. It happens at the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson. Call 742-4763 for more.
Just when it finally warms up enough to discard your cold-weather togs and find out what your body looks like, those tan, fit pro volleyball players hit town and make you wish you'd stayed in your winter hole. This weekend the Bud Light Pro Beach Volleyball League tournament takes place, featuring both men's and women's four-person teams, all appropriately outfitted and sponsored. Men's teams play today from 9 to 5, women's teams from 11 to 3. On Sunday only the men play. It happens at North Avenue beach, North and the lake (the finals will air on ESPN in July). It's free; call 818-782-8920, ext. 114.
Free spirits are invited to bring food, love, and acoustic instruments to a summer solstice party today. The solstice, which signals the official start of summer, actually occured Thursday night at 9:24. But so what. The informal gathering is in its tenth year and happens at the birthplace of Weedfest, Peacefest, and FreeFest. The free event starts at noon at Cricket Hill at Montrose Harbor and the lake. Call 363-2942.
Today is the second--and last--day of a Japanese cultural festival. The event includes exhibits of bonsai plants and of calligraphy and ink brush paintings by Shizan Matsumoto. There will be demonstrations of martial arts and taiko drumming, a tea ceremony, and Japanese classical dancing as well as food, including sushi plates and barbecue chicken teriyaki. It's from 11 to 6 at the Buddhist Temple of Chicago, 1151 W. Leland. Admission is $3 for families, $1.50 for individuals. Call 334-4661.
Last year lawyer William R. Marks and a German colleague won a landmark victory for Holocaust survivor Hugo Princz, who had been seeking reparations from Germany for 40 years. Marks is in town today to discuss Holocaust Reparations, Restitution, and Related Claims at 2:30 at the Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois, 4255 W. Main, in Skokie. Afterward HMFI vice president Adam Starkopf will give a talk titled "Israel's History Should Be Better Understood." Both talks are free; call 847-677-4640.
Asantewaa is a nonprofit group of 25 African-American flight attendants who raise money to send single mothers to college. They've awarded three scholarships since forming in 1993. Today they'll hold an art fair fund-raiser that will include paintings, sculpture, and ethnic clothing at the South Shore Yacht Club, 6401 S. Richards. It runs from 4 to 9. The $15 admission includes food and beverages. Call 708-758-9351.
After registration and a brief physical, giving a pint of blood takes less than ten minutes and can save up to three lives. And at Wilbur Wright College's summer emergency blood drive, the bloodletting is followed by a ten-minute snack-and-recovery period. People who are over 17, are healthy, and weigh more than 110 pounds can donate from 9 to 3 today at the college, 4300 N. Narragansett. It's free, of course. Call 481-8143 to make an appointment.
Set 'Em Up Joe's evokes an image of the fictitious olden days, when women with moxie and great gams wore long, tight dresses and smoked cigarettes while their less fabulous dates ordered manhattans at the bar. Upstairs is the Cricket Club, which has an old-school dress code (no jeans or sneakers, men must wear jackets) and where from 8 to midnight tonight piano player Mark Burnell will take requests and host an open mike that includes everything from stand-up comedy to singing and dancing. It's at 22 W. Elm. The cover is $5, and there's a two-drink minimum. Call 280-4735.
Actress Lisa Tejero is the mistress of ceremonies for 11 Minutes Max, Bailiwick Repertory Theater's short-form performance series. The outdoor fund-raiser has some of the city's most innovative performers doing their acts on the back of a flatbed truck, illuminated by car headlights. Each performance lasts 11 minutes or less--so if something is excruciating, it's over quickly. Tonight's performers include James Schneider, Amy Armstrong, Tanya White, Kevin McCoy, the women's drumming corps Lunacy, Jimmy Doyle, and Lynda White and her puppets. The $10 show starts at 8 in the parking lot of La Novita Restaurant, 1230 W. Belmont (it'll take place indoors if it rains). Call 883-1090.
As a lawyer in the 1950s, Bella Abzug defended blacklisted Hollywood actors as well as Willie McGee, a black man from Mississippi sentenced to death on a trumped-up rape charge. In the 1960s she worked with the peace movement and in 1970, when she was 50, Abzug won a seat in Congress, where she addressed women's issues and worked to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. She's also the cofounder of the Women's Environment and Development Organization and the National Women's Political Caucus. She'll be the keynote speaker at a luncheon today that benefits Women Employed Institute. The reception and luncheon start at 11:15 at the Chicago Hilton and Towers, 720 S. Michigan. Tickets are $65. Call 782-3902.
The press release speaks for itself: "Join together in a synchronized worldwide ceremony to dissolve all boundaries within and around us and celebrate 13 Moon Victory Day." The ceremony happens at Indian Boundary Park, 2300 W. Lunt, between 7:30 and 9:30 this morning to celebrate the first day in the new "13 Moon 28-Day Calendar Change," which, since I'm on my own 28-day cycle, makes sense to me. Call the Heartland Rainbow Warriors at 276-7963 for a deconstruction. It's free; bring a drum (if you have one) and food.
I've waited on a fair number of celebrities during my (long, unfinished) tenure as a waiter. A few were rude, many were hurried, but most were polite and friendly and left decent tips. Two of my favorites were actors Ellen Burstyn, who fed her extra mineral water to the plants, and John Astin, who didn't flinch when we called him Gomez. But the nicest was former Chicago Bull Norm Van Lier, who will be waiting tables himself tonight at the American Lung Association's Time Out Celebrity Waiters Dinner. He'll be joined by former Blackhawk Darren Pang, current Blackhawk Chris Chelios, and Bears Kevin Butler and Keith Jennings. The buffet dinner starts at 7 and takes place at the Fairmont Hotel, 200 N. Columbus. It'll be followed by a silent auction of autographed sports memorabilia. Tickets are a pricey $125, and the celebs will sign autographs in exchange for tips. Call 243-2000.
Author Douglas Rushkoff believes that kid culture--which includes such things as skateboards, pogs, Q-101, and body piercing--can teach adults about the future. To find out how he came to that conclusion, you can read his new book, Playing the Future: How Children's Culture Can Teach Us to Thrive in an Age of Chaos. Or you can cut to the chase and ask him in person tonight when he discusses the topic and signs books at 7 at Borders Books and Music, 830 N. Michigan. It's free; call 573-0564.