Friday 5/18 - Thursday 5/24
By Cara Jepsen
18 FRIDAY Since creating the giant Earth Harp at the Field Museum in 1999, the Pilsen-based MASS Ensemble has been busy "playing" famous buildings around the country. Their latest undertaking is Mies van der Rohe's 1956 Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology. They've spent the past two weeks stringing 24,000 feet of brass wire from different points on the building, and the music they'll play on the "Crown Instrument" was composed by laying the architect's drawings out on staff paper and marking musical notes where the lines intersected. They'll perform Acoustics and Vision--a work that combines sculpture, music, dance, and visual art--tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday (and also next weekend) at 8 at Crown Hall, 3360 S. State. Tickets are $10 and $15; call 312-243-2366.
19 SATURDAY The pumping station below Grant Park, soon-to-be-history historic Maxwell Street, and the City Hall rooftop garden, as well as south-side murals, northwest-side bungalows, and the city's "really bad buildings," will be showcased at the city's third annual weekend of Great Chicago Places & Spaces tours. In all, over 120 free walking, trolley, bus, boat, and self-guided tours are being offered today and tomorrow. Advance registration is recommended for some of the tours; the rest are first come, first served. Tickets can be picked up after 8 AM on the day of the tour at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan. For a complete list of tours visit www.cityofchicago.org/specialevents, or call 312-744-3315.
It doesn't make much sense, but today's Burnham Vision Bike Ride departs from Daley Plaza, while Mayor Daley's Lakefront Bike Ride starts just north of Burnham Park, in front of Buckingham Fountain. But don't get the two mixed up--the former isn't sanctioned by the city, while the latter is. The two-hour Burnham Vision ride, sponsored by the Campaign for a Free and Clean Lakefront, is led by a Daniel Burnham impersonator who will guide cyclists to a number of sites and explain the lakefront's history and the group's plans to depave Lake Shore Drive. The tour is also scheduled to include appearances by other historic figures, such as Montgomery Ward and Captain Streeter. It starts at 1 at Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, and it's free (773-486-4861). Daley's 13.5-mile ride starts at 10 at Congress and the lake and will be followed by food, prizes, and entertainment. It's $12 and is not likely to feature any impersonators, or the mayor (312-744-3315).
There will be more site-specific music tonight at 8, when electronic experimentalist Phill Niblock plays with flutist Niki Mitchell, baritone singer Thomas Buckner, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, and reedist Michael Colligan in the midst of Helen Mirra's installation Sky-Wreck, a large textile work based on the geodesic designs of Buckminster Fuller. It's at the Renaissance Society, 5811 S. Ellis (773-702-8670); tickets are $10, $8 for students. Sky-Wreck will be on display through June 24.
Eighteen DJs, six video artists, six visual artists, and six CTA el cars all will come together tonight to create Motionness, the Conjugate Projekt collective's latest happening. From 9 to 12 the train, which will be transformed into multiple multimedia environments, will travel around town to neighborhoods that have been influential in the development of the local electronic music scene. To find out where to board, you must visit www.conjugateprojekt.org sometime today. A portion of the proceeds from the $35 tickets will benefit El Hogar del Nino community center in Pilsen; tickets must be purchased by Friday, May 18. Passengers are asked to bring
a book to donate to the Duncan YMCA library. A party with Mr. Egg Germ and other DJs follows from midnight to 3 at Big Wig, 1551 W. Division. Call 773-370-4995 or stop by 1848 W. Hubbard between 6 and 9 PM on Friday for tickets.
20 SUNDAY After U.S. bombs killed 600,000 Cambodians in the early 1970s and Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge forces executed two million more in the killing fields, Cambodian art all but disappeared. But lakhon bassac--an elaborate form of folk opera--has been preserved by a group of actors, dancers, and musicians from the University of Phnom Penh who fled to Taiwan in 1973 and settled in France two years later. Today the group performs an excerpt from the fable Preah Leaksinvong, about the son of a Cambodian king, which in its entirety usually takes a month to perform. The evening benefits the Cambodian Association of Illinois' campaign to build a killing fields memorial and museum in Chicago, which is home to more than 7,000 Cambodians. It's at 2 PM at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo. Tickets are $15; call 773-362-9707.
Tonight from 5 to 11 the Chicagoland Greens, a group of local green activists unaffiliated with the Chicago Greens, will hold their first fund-raiser at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia. The performers will include Christine Back, Bittersweet Tears, and the improv troupe Baby Wants Candy; there will also be a raffle and snacks. A $5-$10 donation is requested; you must be 21. Call 773-275-3329.
21 MONDAY "A lot of municipalities have zoning that makes it virtually impossible to build affordable housing," says Jo Patton, a policy analyst for Business and Professional People for the Public Interest. "I've heard it said by municipal officials that they have no interest in having 'those people' move into their community. But 'those people' are teachers, janitors, and nursing assistants who are being forced to commute long distances because there's not enough affordable housing where the jobs are." Today developers David Galowich and Jerry James, both members of the Urban Land Institute and the Campaign for Sensible Growth, will join urban planner Alan Mallach at a roundtable forum called Tackling Barriers to Affordable Housing. The program starts with a reception at 11:30; the lunch and discussion run from noon to 1:30 at the Hotel Monaco, 225 N. Wabash. It's $10 and reservations are required; call 312-641-5570, ext. 295.
Tonight at 7, Doc Films screens Public Housing, Frederick Wiseman's 1997 documentary about life in the Ida B. Wells housing project. It's at the Max Pavlesky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th (773-702-8575); tickets are $3.
22 TUESDAY A few years ago filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev followed two elderly Czech Jews as they traveled from the U.S. to revisit their native country. During the trip the group retraced the route one of the men--a taciturn, combative boxer named Jan Wiener--took in his escape from Nazi-occupied Europe. Fighter, which one critic has said features "the most thrillingly philosophical [conversations] since My Dinner With Andre," will be shown tonight at 6 (and Sunday, May 20, at 3) as part of the Silver Images Film Festival at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Columbus Drive at Jackson (312-846-2800). Admission is $7.
23 WEDNESDAY Last year kids wore placards to the Edgewater Uptown Family Learning Center's annual Book Lover's Parade. This year they'll carry posters and banners and dress up as Corduroy the bear, Arthur the aardvark, the Cat in the Hat, Pinocchio, Peter Rabbit, and other favorite story characters as they march around the neighborhood chanting "I love books!" The free procession, which is open to readers of all ages, takes place from 3 to 5 and starts at the Edgewater Presbyterian Church, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr; call 773-561-9518.
24 THURSDAY In his recent book, My Job, My Self: Work and the Creation of the Modern Individual, Loyola philosophy professor Al Gini suggested that work is not just a chore most of us must endure in order to eat but something that's as important to adults as play is to children. Initiation into the workforce is the focus of Sydney Lewis's new book, Help Wanted: Tales From the First Job Front, for which she interviewed scores of teenagers about their first job experiences. Gini and Lewis will be joined by Studs Terkel, for whom Lewis works as an assistant, to discuss the meaning of work tonight at 7:30 at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells (312-642-5044). It's free.