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Friday 2/25 - Thursday 3/2

FEBRUARY

By Cara Jepsen

25 FRIDAY "Someone who creates art is like an antenna that picks up a moment which corresponds to a moment of life of the people in its area, recording their sorrows and joys, expressing what they themselves cannot say." So said renowned Ecuadoran painter Oswaldo Guayasamin, whose work often depicted the social ills of his country. Tonight's opening of an art exhibit created in tribute to Guayasamin serves as a benefit for people displaced by violence in Colombia. The entertainment includes music by Raiz Viva, classical guitarist Steven Vazquez, and William Cepeda Afrorican Jazz. It starts at 7 at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo (312-362-9707). Admission is a $10 to $15 donation.

The 1973 blaxploitation movie The Spook Who Sat by the Door focuses on a black man hired by the CIA as a token who recruits a ragtag group of ghetto youths and turns them into an efficient antiwhite army. Jonathan Rosenbaum calls it "one of the great missing (or at least unwritten) chapters in black political filmmaking." It'll be shown tonight with 1993's End of the Nightstick and 1970's Burn! at 7 at the Autonomous Zone's "Radical Film Night #2." It's at 2012 W. Chicago (773-252-6019), and a $3 donation is requested.

26 SATURDAY The goal of the League of Chicago Theatres' ten-day-long Sears Theater Fever festival is to introduce families to the dramatic arts. At today's "sampler day," mom, dad, and the kids can check out the local theater scene on five stages. Venues include the Second City, 1616 N. Wells (where people can "try out" for Blue Man Group), and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand (which will sell tickets to its abbreviated version of Romeo and Juliet at 12:30 for $12, $8 for kids). Some downtown theaters are offering backstage tours. The workshops and tours, which run from 11 to 3, are free. Call 312-922-7201 for details, or see the loooong capsule in the Section Two theater listings.

Norman Rockwell, long dissed for depicting cherub-faced children and a sentimentalized America, has been getting more respect in recent years. A retrospective of his work, "Pictures for the American People" (which includes all 322 of his Saturday Evening Post covers), opens today and runs through May 21 at the Chicago Historical Society, Clark at North (312-642-4600). Opening festivities take place from 11 to 4 and include live jazz, dancing, film clips, and a lecture by Maureen Hart Hennessey, curator at the Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Tickets are $13, $11 for students and seniors, and $1 for children.

27 SUNDAY Last fall a group of peaceniks staged a mock funeral at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, where soldiers from Latin America are trained in combat techniques and, some charge, methods of abuse and coercion. A number of the protesters were arrested for trespassing, including four from the Chicago area. Today's Illinois SOA-Watch fund-raiser will include an update on the situation. It's from 2 to 4 at Saint Ita's Church, 1220 W. Catalpa. It's $5 to $10, or pay what you can. Call 312-641-5151.

On February 27, 1973, about 200 members of the American Indian Movement took over Wounded Knee, the site of an 1890 massacre of Sioux men, women, and children, vowing to stay put until the government met their demands for an investigation into the treatment of Native Americans. They surrendered about two months later after two AIM members were killed in the standoff. Tonight poet, musician, and activist James Yellowbank will mark the 27th anniversary of the siege at Wounded Knee with a discussion and music about Native American struggles. It starts at 7:30 at the Saint Francis House of Hospitality, 4652 N. Kenmore. Admission is free. Call 773-561-5073 for more.

28 MONDAY Historian Garry Wills says Macbeth was inspired by the Gunpowder Plot, an unsuccessful plan to destroy King James and Parliament widely attributed to the Jesuits--who at the time were often linked to witchcraft. He outlined his thesis in the 1994 book Witches and Jesuits: Shakespeare's Macbeth, which he'll discuss at tonight's installment of Speaking of Shakespeare. It's at 7:30 at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand. Tickets are $15; call 312-595-5600.

29 TUESDAY Noam Chomsky's new book, The New Military Humanism: Lessons From Kosovo, will provide the stepping-off point for tonight's discussion of whether recent peacekeeping and humanitarian actions in other parts of the world are justified. Debaters include Socialist Party presidential hopeful David McReynolds, Illinois Peace Action executive director Roger Romanelli, and others. It's at 6:30 at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo (312-362-9707), and it's free.

Tightwad diners probably won't appreciate local artist Lara Lepionka's project now on view at Gallery 400, which is made up of restaurant place settings engraved with real-life waiters' comments about their customers. Tonight at 5 Lepionka will take part in a free panel discussion with fellow artists Jennifer Talbot, Christine Tarkowski, and Anne Wilson on "the decentralized relationship between the experience of art and the materials of life." Their work is on display at the gallery, 400 S. Peoria, which is also the site of the discussion. Call 312-996-6114.

MARCH

1 WEDNESDAY The Park District recently released its current and five-year capital budgets, which city residents are encouraged to pick up, peruse, and discuss at a series of forums. Tonight's free hearing takes place from 6:30 to 8 at the Washington Park Refectory, 450 E. 55th. For info on other forums and where to pick up budget materials, call 312-742-7529.

2 THURSDAY Nearly 300 rapes take place each day in the U.S., say FBI statistics, and according to the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, one in five women can expect to be raped in her lifetime. Tonight some of the faces behind these facts will be revealed at a free event called Rape: Breaking the Silence. Authors reading from their memoir-based books include local writer Jamie Kalven, whose Working With Available Light examines life after his wife was sexually assaulted while jogging on the lakefront, as well as Nancy Venable Raine, Patricia Weaver Francisco, and Charlotte Pierce-Baker. There's a reception at 5; the program starts at 5:30 in the auditorium of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State (312-747-4050).

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