FRIDAY 6/2 - THURSDAY 6/8
By Cara Jepsen
2 FRIDAY Barbra Streisand's 1983 film Yentl struck a chord with Bonnie J. Morris when she was growing up, but it wasn't until she saw The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love (1995) that she found a film she could really relate to. In her new memoir, Girl Reel, Morris, now a professor of women's studies at George Washington and Georgetown universities, examines how women, and especially lesbians, have been portrayed in film over the past three decades and draws connections between these portrayals and her own life. She'll read from the book tonight at 7:30 at Women & Children First Bookstore, 5233 N. Clark (773-769-9299). It's free.
3 SATURDAY The penalty for revealing the secrets of second-degree Masons is to "have your breast torn open and left prey to the vultures of the air." That didn't stop John Wayne, Voltaire, John Glenn, 14 presidents, nine signers of the Declaration of Independence, Wendy's founder Dave Thomas, and millions of others from becoming members of the ritualistic, semisecret fraternity. The worldwide organization is looking for new blood; today the local Paul Revere Masonic Temple hosts a free open house, with refreshments and music by the Horner Jazz Band. It's from 1 to 5 at the temple, 1521 W. Wilson. Call 773-334-9150.
The Grand Illinois Trail will eventually form a 475-mile loop that crosses northern Illinois and connects the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan not once but twice. Planning began five years ago, but the trail has run into snags--most recently a state supreme court decision regarding bicycle rights-of-way that has many town elders unwilling to mark the highway portions of the trail, which also includes off-road, railroad, and canal paths. They're holding the grand opening today anyway. It's from 2 to 3 at Gateway Park in front of Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand. Call 312-595-7437.
"Nothing is sacred and everything can be sexualized, from Disney characters and B-Movie monsters to baked beans, children's birthday balloons and the all-American ceremony of Thanksgiving," writes Katharine Gates in the intro to her new book, Deviant Desires: Incredibly Strange Sex. Gates, founder of Gates of Heck press and "an enthusiastic collector of niche pornography," covers pony play, balloon fetishism, body inflation, giantess fans, crush freaks, messy fun, and fat admiration in her chronicle of the DIY porn movement. Tonight at 7 she'll give a free slide show and sign books at Quimby's Bookstore, 1854 W. North (773-342-0910). Earlier today, at 3, Shawna Kenney reads from her book I Was a Teenage Dominatrix. At 10, Kenney, Gates, and their entourage will move a few doors down for a reception at the Feitico Gallery, which hosts an exhibit of Gates's original artwork for her book. It's at 1821 W. North (773-384-0586).
4 SUNDAY Most Chicagoans have heard of Jane Addams, but how many know the story of Ella Flagg Young, who taught herself to read and write and went on to earn a PhD from the University of Chicago and become the first female superintendent of a major city school system back in 1909? Today at 2, Northeastern Illinois University history professor June Sochen will discuss Young, birth control advocate Dr. Rachel Yarros, and other little-known women of note at a lecture called Women Progressives in Turn-of-the-Century Chicago. It's at the Glessner House Museum, 1800 S. Prairie, and it's $6. Call 312-326-1480.
Tim Slagle, the creator of Mudslingers Ball, a new TV comedy whose pilot episode aired in Minneapolis in April, describes his concept as "Crossfire gone haywire": Some of the nation's top political satirists break into teams and debate a chosen political topic. The audience chooses who will proceed to the next round. Tonight Slagle, Lewis Black, Will Durst, Jeff Jena, and host Mike Lukas will duke it out in a live, R-rated version of the show as part of the Chicago Comedy Festival, which runs through Tuesday, June 6. It starts at 7 at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln. Tickets are $20. Call 773-935-6100. For other events in the festival, see the sidebar in Section Three.
5 MONDAY The new American Pharaoh: Richard J. Daley--His Battle for Chicago and the Nation is a comprehensive biography of the late mayor. Authors Adam Cohen, a senior writer for Time, and Elizabeth Taylor, editor of the Tribune Sunday magazine, portray Daley as a secretive, power-mad despot who opposed desegregation and the Vietnam war not out of personal belief but because each posed a threat to his authority (as did protesters at the '68 Democratic National Convention). The 558-page book also explains, in understandable terms, just how the machine really worked. Taylor and Cohen will discuss their work tonight at 7:30 at Barnes & Noble, 1441 W. Webster. It's free. Call 773-871-3825.
6 TUESDAY Congress defines a hate crime as "a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim, or in the case of a property crime, the property that is the object of the crime, because of the actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person." Tonight an attorney from the Chicago Bar Association will lead a discussion on the topic at a seminar called Hate Crimes: How Are They Different? The free Law at the Library discussion is from 7 to 8 at the Conrad Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln. Call 312-747-4050 for more.
7 WEDNESDAY Earlier this year the Splinter Group Theatre Company spawned the Irish Repertory of Chicago. The latter has revived the former's Buckets o' Beckett festival, an evening of short plays by Samuel Beckett. This year's bill includes a rare stage version of the Nobel laureate's 1982 German TV play Quad, which he described as a "piece for four players, light, and percussion." Rounding out the festival are Act Without Words 2, Play, and Krapp's Last Tape. "Buckets o' Beckett" opens tonight and runs through June 25 at the Victory Gardens Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln. Tickets are $28 to $32. Call 773-871-3000.
8 THURSDAY J. Edgar Hoover spent a lot of time, energy, and federal money trying to discredit and ridicule first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. But when he tattled to FDR about her circle of female friends, many of whom were lesbians, the prez replied that he knew all about his wife's "he-shes." Tonight historian and gay activist Marie Kuda will give a slide lecture about Eleanor's circle of "women-loving women" and their influence on her personal and political life. Eleanor Roosevelt: A Second Life takes place tonight at 7 in the Veteran's Room of the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake in Oak Park. Call 708-383-8200, ext. 119. Author Blanche Wiesen Cook will address similar material when she discusses the second volume of her comprehensive biography, Eleanor Roosevelt, which covers the years from 1933 to 1938. It's at 7:30 at Women & Children First Bookstore, 5233 N. Clark (773-769-9299). Both talks are free.