Friday 11/22 - Thursday 11/28
By Cara Jepsen
22 FRIDAY One of my friend's favorite pieces of art is a strange, beautiful painting he liberated from a dumpster behind the School of the Art Institute. Most of the ceramics, jewelry, sculpture, paintings, photography, prints, handmade books, and hand-printed textiles at the School of the Art Institute's Annual Student Holiday Art Sale will cost you a bit more ($5 to $500), but at least you don't have to dirty your hands to get them. It's today from 11 to 7 and tomorrow from 10 to 4 in the ballroom of the SAIC building at 112 S. Michigan. Admission is free; call 312-345-3596.
Local poet Lisel Mueller has written seven collections of poetry and a volume of essays; in 1981 she won the American Book Award for poetry for The Need to Hold Still. Her latest collection, Alive Together: New and Selected Poems, contains work that spans her 35-year career. Her daughter Jenny is also an accomplished poet whose work has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly and the Best American Poetry anthology in 1994. The two will read tonight at 7 at a release party sponsored by the Writer's Voice of the Duncan YMCA Community Service Center, 1001 W. Roosevelt. It's $6; call 312-738-5981.
Slightly less famous poets and authors will also get a chance to read their work tonight at Fish Stories' open mike/submission party. Editors will be accepting submissions for Fish Stories: Collective III, a national literary magazine published by the local WorkShirts Writing Center. They'll also be accepting submissions of artwork for the journal's cover. Participants can sign up to read from 7 to 7:30 (spots are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and are five to ten minutes in length). The readings will run from 7:30 to 8:30, and the party ends at 9:30. It's at Eclectic Junction, 1630 N. Damen, and it's $3; call 773-334-8510 for more.
Big hair isn't a sign of a suburban address but a source of pride and prizes at tonight's Hair Ball, where contestants will vie for first place in the wildest hairdo contest. The event, which benefits the AIDS Relief Fund for Beauty Professionals, also includes dancing, food, and, of course, people-watching. If you don't want to try it at home, professionals will help you create the do of your dreams for $30 at a preball do-a-thon. The ball is from 8 to midnight--do-a-thon's from noon to 5--at Studio Salons, 2551 N. Clark. Admission is $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Call 773-525-0215.
23 SATURDAY Where do girls who aspire to be artists find role models when books about female artists, especially those written by women, are still a rarity? Today painter/journalist/mother Jennifer La Civita-Kimbrough will tell stories about women artists to girls ages 7 to 13 at Woman Made Gallery, 4646 N. Rockwell. The girls will also get a tour and a preview of the upcoming Masks and Magic exhibit. It's from 1 to 2, and it's free. Call 773-588-4317.
It's hard to question the indie credibility of tonight's Performance Cabaret at the Museum of Contemporary Art once you know that former Lower Links proprietor Leigh Jones coproduced it. Hosted by Matthew Owens, the event is part of the "Time Arts Chicago" exhibit and includes performances by Jenny Magnus, Cheryl Trykv, Iris Moore, Edward Thomas-Herrera, Bob Eisen, and Chris Sullivan. It's at 8 in the theater at the MCA, 220 E. Chicago. Tickets are $12, $10 for students and seniors. Call 312-397-4010.
24 SUNDAY Once upon a time I dated a chef who cooked an all-vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner for my carnivorous family. The chef and I broke up long ago, but my family still speaks fondly about the tofu "turkey" roll they ate. You can put your own loved ones to the test at tonight's Turkey-Free Thanksgiving Dinner, which includes a cornucopia of vegan stir-fries, eggless pasta, milk-free desserts, salads, appetizers, and last but not least tofu turkey. The event, sponsored by the Chicago Vegetarian Society, also includes a silent auction, music by Samba Bamba, and a talk about vegetarianism by Dr. Frank Sabatino. It's from 5 to 8 in the East Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 151 E. Wacker. Tickets are $46. Call 773-463-0040.
Former presidential candidate Joan Jett Blakk, along with Ms. Alana, Osaka Hernandez, and a number of other drag divas, takes the stage tonight covering Chaka Khan's hits from the 70s and 80s. Proceeds from the event, Nite of a Thousand Chakas, go toward the making of For the Love of Chaka, a sex comedy by Reader contributor and independent filmmaker Derrick Mathis. It begins at 8 PM at Crobar, 1543 N. Kingsbury. Admission is $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Call 312-409-8952 for more information.
25 MONDAY "December 13. Once. A bar of chocolate. Three raw potatoes. Five marks." That's an entry in The Unloved: From the Diary of Perla S., Arnost Lustig's recently revised book that traces five months in the life of Perla S., a 17-year-old living in the Theresienstadt concentration camp during World War II who turns to prostitution for survival. The original 1979 version won the National Jewish Book Award for fiction. Lustig himself was interred at Theresienstadt, Buchenwald, and Auschwitz before escaping from a train bound for Dachau; he went on to fight in the Czech resistance in 1945 and today teaches at American University in Washington, D.C. He'll read from his book tonight at 7 at Great Expectations Bookstore, 911 Foster in Evanston. It's free; call 847-864-3881.
26 TUESDAY Most profs on sabbatical write, research, or publish. School of the Art Institute professors, on the other hand, paint, draw, take photos, and create photo collages and installations during their time off. The work of faculty members Dan Gustin, Michiko Itatani, Joyce Niemanas, Kenneth Josephson, Elizabeth Rupprecht, Ray Yoshida, and Raymond Martin is on display at the school's Faculty Sabbatical Exhibition. It's showing today from 10 to 5 at the Betty Rymer Gallery at the School of the Art Institute, 280 S. Columbus, and runs through January 1. Admission is free. Call 312-443-3703 for more.
For nearly 50 years, those intense, high-action Warren Miller extreme ski flicks have signaled the arrival of winter--and more important, the beginning of ski season. These days Miller's son Kurt directs the movies, and the protagonists now include snowboarders and women. The Millers' latest endeavor is Snowriders--shot in locations all over the world, including Italy, mainland China, and Scotland. It screens tonight and tomorrow night at 8 at the Park West, 322 W. Armitage. Admission is $12.50 and includes a chance to win skis and ski paraphernalia. Call 800-523-7117.
27 WEDNESDAY For the last several years student organizations at Harold Washington College have worked together to serve dinner to more than 500 homeless people from Pacific Garden Mission and Lower Wacker Drive. Today their Thanksgiving Dinner for the Homeless will include a jazz band and karaoke. If you want to help, cooking and setup starts at 11, and dinner runs from 5 to 9 in the basement of the college, 30 E. Lake. It's free; call 312-553-6088.
28 THURSDAY Swiss filmmaker Richard Dindo's Ernesto "Che" Guevara: The Bolivian Diary traces the life of the legendary Argentinean doctor-turned-revolutionary who believed armed struggle could achieve justice for the poor. In 1956 he fought alongside Fidel Castro to overthrow Fulgencio Batista and became Cuba's minister of industry until he left the country in 1966, after criticizing policies of Soviet bloc countries. Dindo uses interviews with Bolivians who met Guevara in his last days, excerpts from his diary, and archival footage to create a complete portrait that includes his 11-month attempt to create a revolution and his execution in 1967 by the Bolivian army. It's tonight at 7 and 9 at Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton. Tickets are $7. Call 773-281-9075.