Friday 11/8-Thursday 11/14
By Deanna Isaacs
8 FRIDAY Despite publishing 30-some books, local-boy-turned-legendary-author Ray Bradbury has never done a book tour--until now. His virgin stop is tonight at 6 at Borders Books and Music, 830 N. Michigan, where he'll discuss and sign a new collection of short stories, Quicker Than the Eye. It's free. Call 312-573-0564.
Sleep with the fishes and live to talk about it at Shedd Aquarium's family overnighter. Cost is $45 per person and includes a marine-mammal behavior presentation, access to the frogs exhibit, and a pizza dinner and continental breakfast. Participants should bring their own sleeping gear (no flashlights--you'll scare the fish). Doors open tonight at 6:30 at the aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore; party's over at 8:30 tomorrow morning. Attendance is limited, and kids must be at least eight years old. Call 312-939-2438 for reservations.
Jamie Jersha seemed like a healthy kid until age three, when she was diagnosed with Batten Disease, a fatal hereditary neurological ailment most often afflicting children. Jamie died three years ago at age six. Her dad, Eugene, helped put together the Batten Disease Support and Research Association benefit to be held tonight at 9 at the Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont. Music by the Riptones, Ron Cannon & the Sharecroppers, and the Drapes. Admission is $7. Call 773-281-4444.
9 SATURDAY Every course in the Chicago Humanities Festival feast is served on the same platter, though they don't all fit equally well. That's either part of the fun, or a bit of an irritation. This year's theme is birth and death. According to festival publicity, keynote speaker Edward Albee "sees birth and death as an analysis of our era--a warning about the emptiness of our lives, the threats to our communal nation, our culture, our educational system, and our moral health." Today you can see a performance of Albee's 1959 play The Sandbox, a stripped-down ditty about Grandma's passing that presents Albee's trademark sardonic take on the American family. It's at 10 this morning at Roosevelt University's O'Malley Theater, seventh floor, 430 S. Michigan. In the best Humanities Festival spirit, there will be a postplay Great Books-type discussion for people who have read the script. Albee will be giving the keynote address, "The Rise of the Inhumanities," tomorrow morning at 10 at Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan. Cost for each festival event is $3; tickets can be purchased by phone at 312-294-3000 or at the Orchestra Hall box office. (The only way to guarantee admission is to purchase a ticket, but show up ticketless at any event that has seats available at starting time and you'll get in free.)
It's obvious bad form to start celebrating Christmas while the Thanksgiving turkey is still strutting around the barnyard, so probably no one will show up today when Marshall Field's flicks the switch on its three-story tree, and we'll have the Frango mint pie and the nearly 17,000 lights all to ourselves. After a leisurely lunch we'll head outside to State Street and enjoy the unobstructed view at the 12 holiday windows where animated scenes from A Christmas Carol bring Scrooge and Tiny Tim to turn-of-the-last-century Chicago. Then we'll stroll over to the Goodman Theatre to see the Dickens classic live in a preview of the annual holiday production. After that we'll go home and start cutting out little red paper hearts. The performance starts at 8 at the Goodman, 200 S. Columbus; tickets are $14. Call 443-3800. Marshall Field's lights the tree at noon in the Walnut Room, 111 N. State; its windows will be in operation from 7 AM to midnight daily until January 1. Call 312-781-5454.
10 SUNDAY It's been a year since Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other environmental and human rights activists were executed in Nigeria, three months since Carol Moseley-Braun paid a friendly visit to the man responsible, Nigerian military dictator General Sani Abacha. Saro-Wiwa had been a critic of Shell Oil's impact on the environment in his oil-rich country. Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and a coalition of Nigerian organizations will mark the anniversary of his death with a demonstration at the Shell station at Broadway and Hollywood today at 2, followed by a memorial service at 3:30 at Saint Ita's Church, 5500 N. Broadway. Call 312-427-2060 for information.
The Chicago Children's Choir and more than 140 kinds of chrysanthemums will be on hand for today's opening reception of the Garfield Park Conservatory Chrysanthemum Flower Show. The free event is from 2 to 5 at 300 N. Central Park; the show will be open 9 to 5 daily through December 1. Call 312-747-1470.
11 MONDAY "Shoot. Chute. Black boys shoot each other. Murder themselves. Shoot. Chute. Panicked cattle funneled down the killing chute, nose pressed in the drippy ass of the one ahead. Shitting and pissing all over themselves because finally, too late, they understand. Understand whose skull is split by the ax at the end of the tunnel." Two-time PEN-Faulkner award winner John Edgar Wideman will read more of this or other passages from his new novel The Cattle Killing tonight at 7:30 at the Guild Complex at Chopin Theater, 1543 W. Division. Harmonica virtuoso Sugar Blue will also perform. Admission is $5, or free with the purchase of a book. Call 773-278-2210.
Sound poetry sounds redundant to me, but anyone named Jaap Blonk should be able to carry it off. The visiting artist from the Netherlands will talk about using his voice as an instrument today at 6 in the School of the Art Institute auditorium, 280 S. Columbus. It's $5, $3 for students and seniors. Call 312-443-3711 for more information.
12 TUESDAY In the days before we knew anything about animal rights, cholesterol, or leukemia, a dollop of luscious marrow scooped from a simmering beef roast and spread on a fresh slice of white bread was a bit of heaven. Well, what goes around comes around: the Leukemia Research Foundation is looking to suck a little marrow from our spine. A bone marrow drive will be held today from 11 to 3 at Two First National Plaza, 27th floor, 20 S. Clark. Anyone 18 to 60 in good health is eligible for a free donor screening, which requires only two tablespoons of blood and is painless (they say). Call 847-982-1480 for info.
Chicago has the nation's only city-sponsored Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. Its 1996 inductees--including activists Jack Delaney and Arlene Halko, costume designer Tony Midnite, and the Bailiwick Repertory Pride Series--will be honored today at a ceremony at the Chicago Cultural Center. It's from 5:30 to 7 at 78 E. Washington, fourth floor. It's free; call 773-281-5095.
13 WEDNESDAY Looking for something to cover that nasty hole in the wall? The banners that sprout from the city's lampposts, promoting everything from the Bulls to the Blues Fest, will be auctioned off from noon to 1:30 today and tomorrow at Daley Plaza, Dearborn and Washington. Admission is free; sale proceeds benefit the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation (cash and checks only). Call 312-744-3315 for more information.
Samuel Epstein, University of Illinois professor of occupational and environmental medicine, is sure to confirm our worst suspicions in his lecture on Bovine Growth Hormone and Other Toxins in Our Food. The Nutrition for Optimal Health Association, which is sponsoring the program, says it will "inform the public on the hidden dangers of toxins in staples of the American diet such as meat, milk, eggs, fish, and cheese." It's tonight at 7:30 at the North Shore Hilton Hotel, 9599 Skokie Boulevard in Skokie. Admission is $10. Call 773-477-1934.
14 THURSDAY The lineup for tonight's annual Hopefest benefit for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless includes Bo Diddley, Son Seals, Billy Branch, Junior Wells, and Otis Rush. Doors open at 6:30 at Park West, 322 W. Armitage. Tickets are $30; call 312-435-4548.