Friday 4/27 - thursday 5/3
By Cara Jepsen
27 FRIDAY Iconoclastic filmmaker and onetime Chicagoan Jon Jost has been living in Italy and making digital videos of late. Two recent shorts, Watersong #1 and Dharma Do as Dharma Does (which he describes as "a selection of shorts that make a short with a philosophical view"), will be screened tonight along with a 55-minute piece called Asylum by Chris Petit and Iain Sinclair as part of Pulse 2001, a conference on media in the digital age. The two-day event also includes panels, performances, and free workshops on everything from "digital activism" to making your own DVDs. The screening is at 8:45 in room 302 of Columbia College's Ludington Building, 1104 S. Wabash. Admission is $5. For more info call 773-293-1447 or visit www.chicagofilmmakers.org.
28 SATURDAY After a massive expansion that's cost over $7 million, the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum inaugurates its new facility tonight at 6 with the opening of a comprehensive permanent exhibition. Mexicanidad: Our Past Is Present traces Mexico's development in art, culture, religion, and politics from the pre-Columbian era through today. Also opening is an exhibit of photos of Frida Kahlo and another of work by printmaker Leopoldo Mendez. The museum also sponsors a Dia del Niño--"Children's Day"--celebration today and tomorrow from noon to 4, followed by live music starting at 6. It's at 1852 W. 19th and all events are free (312-738-1503).
29 SUNDAY May Day--the international labor holiday, not the pagan celebration--has its roots in the U.S., where in 1886 the American Federation of Labor declared a national strike May 1 in support of an eight-hour workday. At least 350,000 workers around the country walked out, and this city was nearly shut down; three days later Chicago police tried to disperse a peaceful protest in Haymarket Square and all hell broke loose. Haymarket and the 1871 uprising that led to the short-lived Paris Commune will be the main topics at today's May Day Meeting from 2 to 5 at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo (312-362-9707). Admission is $2; there will also be entertainment, including singer-songwriter Minna Bromberg. On May Day itself-- Tuesday--the Chicago May Day Coalition will hold a rally and march "to oppose global capitalism and the rule of corporate bosses which constitutes a dictatorship over the world economy and society." It starts at 11:30 at the Chicago Board of Trade at Jackson and LaSalle; call 708-494-0390 or see www.chicagoindymedia.org. Later that night, at 7, HotHouse hosts the May Day-themed Paint the Screen Red video and music festival; admission is $3.
Four years ago filmmaker Denis Mueller was jet-lagged in London and looking for something to read when he ran across historian Howard Zinn's collection of essays Failure to Quit. Soon Mueller, who'd been trying to come up with an angle for a documentary on the making of history, found himself instead making a documentary about Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States and professor emeritus at Boston University. Now Mueller and coproducer Deb Ellis are trying to raise funds to finish shooting the story of the World War II bombardier turned civil rights and antiwar activist. They'll hold a benefit with food, prizes, music (from Covered in Honey and Michael Greenberg), and a video screening of Zinn's one-man play, Marx in Soho, today from 4 to 7 at Phyllis' Musical Inn, 1800 W. Division. A $10 to $15 donation is requested; call 773-545-9638 for more.
30 MONDAY On April 25, 1974, troops from the Armed Forces Movement peacefully overthrew Portugal's 48-year-old fascist regime. Music--especially the censored song "Grandola"--played an important role in the brief "Carnation Revolution," just as it does in the directorial debut of actress Maria de Medeiros (Pulp Fiction), April Captains, which takes place during the revolution and stars Medeiros as a teacher whose students are tortured. It'll be screened tonight at 6:40 at the Biograph, 2433 N. Lincoln, as part of the Chicago Latino Film Festival, which started on April 20 and runs through May 3. Tickets are $9; for more information call 312-409-1757 or visit www.latinoculturalcenter.org.
1 TUESDAY "It's a subtle thing. A story involving blacks takes longer to get approved. And if it is approved, chances are that it will sit on the shelf a long time before it gets on the air. No one ever says anything. The message gets through." The message being, of course, "Don't bother." That's what a veteran news producer told former 20/20 executive producer and Time Warner senior VP Av Westin when he was researching an article about racism and ratings for last month's Brill's Content. Dozens of other broadcasters echoed that view, convincing Westin that "racism is alive and well in many television newsrooms across the country." He'll give a keynote address on the subject tonight at 6 in Columbia College's Conaway Multicultural Center, on the first floor of the Ludington Building at 1104 S. Wabash. A panel discussion moderated by Channel Five investigative reporter Renee Ferguson will follow. It'll focus on finding solutions to all types of discrimination and will include Westin, Tribune reporter Teresa Puente (president of the Chicago Association of Hispanic Journalists), Reader contributor Ted Shen (president of the Chicago chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association), and Tribune editor and Pulitzer winner Jeff Lyon. Things start with a reception at 5:30; it's all free (312-344-7643).
2 WEDNESDAY Deprivation, loneliness, criticism, intimacy, boredom, and rejection are some of people's biggest fears. Chicago-based clinical management psychologist David Thompson says to overcome them people should examine their origins, examine the influence of people in their lives, and then "build relationships that are supportive and positive." Thompson explains further in What You Fear Is Who You Are, a book he cowrote with his daughter, Krysten; he'll give a free reading tonight at 6 at Barnes & Noble, 1130 N. State (312-280-8155).
3 THURSDAY Afrikaner novelist Andre Brink began writing his books in both Afrikaans and English after his first novel, 1974's Looking on Darkness, was banned by South African censors. These days Brink--whose political novels include A Dry White Season (also banned) and A Chain of Voices (called by a member of the Swedish Academy "the greatest novel ever written about slavery")--has been exploring African magic realism in his work. His new book, The Rights of Desire, examines the relationship between an aging widower, his black housekeeper, a vivacious boarder, and the ghost of a 17th-century slave girl. He'll discuss it tonight at 7 at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th (773-684-1300). It's free.