Friday 9/27 - Thursday 10/3
By Cara Jepsen
27 FRIDAY Dia de los Muertos takes place in the beginning of November and is rooted in the belief that the spirits of the dead come home to visit at that time. To celebrate the Day of the Dead, people adorn the graves of deceased family members with ornately decorated sugar skulls. Mexican artisans Alejandro Mondragon Arriga and Elvira Garcia Zinzu will make the skulls as part of the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum's Dia de los Muertos: Where Past & Present Meet, an exhibit that features the work of more than 30 artists, including Chicagoans Elizandro Carrington, Ricardo Santos Hernandez, Georgina Valverde, Clemencia Calderon, Jeff Abbey Maldonado, Maria Evangelina Soliz, and Esperanza Gama. The opening reception is tonight from 6 to 8:30 at the museum, 1852 W. 19th, and the exhibit continues through December 8. It's free. The skull demonstrations run from 10 to 4 Tuesdays through Sundays through November 3. Admission is free. Call 738-1503 for more.
Sydney Lewis, longtime associate of Studs Terkel and author of the well-received Hospital: An Oral History of Cook County Hospital, has a new interview-based book out. For "A Totally Alien Life-Form": Teenagers, Lewis talked to 40 members of the species about everything from race relations to technology to religion to the environment, as well as the obligatory teen topics of sex, drugs, and violence. She'll speak about what she discovered tonight at 7:30 at Women & Children First Bookstore, 5233 N. Clark. It's free; call 769-9299. Lewis will also participate in a panel discussion on teens and education tomorrow at 3 at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, 5757 S. University. It's also free; call 752-4381.
28 SATURDAY Last year Whitney Young High School senior Miguel Ayala helped start Pride Club as a support group for gay students at his school. Now he's forming Pride USA to encourage other students to create similar clubs at high schools across the nation. "The clubs are needed because gay students often have nowhere else to go," he says. He'll oversee Pride USA's organizational meeting today at 2 at 28 E. Jackson, suite 1910. It's free. For more information call 922-5153.
At 23 bassist Christian McBride is one of the hottest jazz musicians of his generation: his two solo recordings have been critics' favorites, and he's played with such elder luminaries as Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, and Dave Brubeck. Today he and his band will perform and answer questions as part of the Cultural Center's Rollin' on Randolph series, which takes place on the fourth Saturday of each month. Reader jazz critic Neil Tesser hosts today's free event from 2 to 3:15 at the Chicago Cultural Center theater, 78 E. Washington. Call 744-6630 for info.
"If there is a checklist to see if your kid is queer, I must have hit every one of them....A farm boy listening to show tunes? My parents must have seen it coming"--so says Wisconsin farmer Joe Shulka in Well Fellows's new book Farm Boys: Lives of Gay Men From the Rural Midwest. Shulka is one of more than three dozen men, ranging in age from 24 to 84, whom Fellows interviewed for his collection of oral histories of rural gay farmers. Fellows, who grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, will read from his book today at 4 at People Like Us Books, 1115 W. Belmont. It's free; call 248-6363.
29 SUNDAY Organizers of AIDS Walk Chicago hope to raise $1.9 million from today's seventh-annual ten-kilometer lakefront stroll. The event features opening-ceremony performances by local Latin American combo Casolando and Show Boat's Marilyn McCoo, who'll lead participants in the Macarena. Stationed along the route will be 15 bands and entertainers, including the Patty Elvis Band (led by a female Elvis impersonator), the Shakes, and the Wilde Boys comedy group. The walk starts at Monroe Harbor, where Randolph meets Lake Shore Drive, and continues along the lakefront to Burnham Harbor and back. Registration is at 8:30 (you can sign up at the last minute, but you need $25 in pledges to participate), opening ceremonies are at 9:30, the walk begins at 10, and the event ends with more performances on the main stage at noon. Entertainment is free. For more information call 422-8200.
Shaped like a full moon, Chinese moon cakes are made of rice flour and filled with either sweet mashed lotus seeds or red beans. In the 14th century rebels hid messages in the cakes to foil their Mongol rulers; today the desserts are integral to the celebration of the Chinese Autumn Moon Festival, when families and friends gather to see a parade, gaze at the full moon, and eat the cakes. The fest takes place today, three days after the full moon, in Chinatown--complete with lanterns, a sidewalk sale, a sunset concert, an herb tour, a kung fu demonstration, and a Chinese wedding parade. It's from noon to 6 at Chinatown Square Mall, Cermak and Wentworth. Admission is free; call 326-5320.
Because his music united Lebanese of all backgrounds during the country's civil war--when he played in bombed-out concert halls--classical composer, innovator on the oud (a Middle Eastern predecessor to the lute), and singer Marcel Khalife has been called Lebanon's Pete Seeger. A mix of traditional Arabic folk themes and classical Western instrumentation, his music has been credited with reinventing Arab classical music. Tonight his group, the Marcel Khalife Al Mayadine Quartet, performs at 8 at the Moraine Valley Community College Fine and Performing Arts Center, Dorothy Menker Theater, 10900 S. 88th in Palos Hills. Tickets are $20 and $35. Call 581-4458 for tickets or info.
30 MONDAY Like Monet, French impressionist Edgar Degas worked in series and used landscape as subject matter. Unlike Monet, his later works are virtually unknown to the public. Degas: Beyond Impressionism is the first exhibit devoted to the artist's work during the 1890s and the 1900s. The exhibit opens today from 10:30 to 4:30 and runs through January 5 at the Art Institute, 111 S. Michigan. Tickets are $8 Mondays through Thursdays, $10 Fridays through Sundays (special dated and timed tickets are required). For more information call 443-3600.
1 TUESDAY In his new book, Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin, paleontologist and writer Stephen Jay Gould suggests that progress is not characteristic of evolutionary life on earth and that evolution simply embraces a "full house" poker hand of organisms, with mankind no more important or advanced than, say, bacteria. He'll explain it all in layman's terms tonight at 7 at Breasted Hall in the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, 1155 E. 58th. It's free; call 752-4381.
Wild costumes, acrobatics, and surreal sleights of hand characterize Le Cirque Invisible, a two-person circus that's said to combine vaudeville with the theater of the absurd. Helping inventor/performers Victoria Chaplin and Jean Baptiste Thierree with the theatrics is a supporting cast of rabbits, ducks, and other birds. It starts tonight at 7:30 and runs through October 13 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. Tickets are $10 to $36; kids 12 and under get in for half price at matinee performances. Call 722-5463 for info, 902-1500 for tickets.
2 WEDNESDAY Since missing out on the high post, former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork has been busy writing books and providing his political opponents with even more reasons to hate him. In his latest book, Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline, he outlines how the world is going to hell in a handbasket because of the weakening of such societal cornerstones as religious restraints and the discipline of work. He'll speak today at 4 in the University of Chicago's law school auditorium at the Laird Bell Quadrangle, 1111 E. 60th. It's free; call 752-4381 for info.
3 THURSDAY The new Vagabond Reading Series at the north-side Powell's Bookstore aims to nourish Chicago's writing community by showcasing a different local scribe on the first Thursday of each month. Tonight performance poet and editor and publisher of Hyphen magazine Mark Ingebretsen reads and performs at 7:30 at the Vagabond Cafe located in the bookstore, 2850 N. Lincoln. It's free. Call 477-5142 for more.