Friday 8/10 - Thursday 8/16
10 FRIDAY Harvard-educated economist and Native American activist Winona LaDuke didn't make it to running mate Ralph Nader's presidential rally here last fall. But she's slated to appear at tonight's Campus Greens Super Rally, part of a four-day convention to build support for the next time around. Joining the pair are Ani DiFranco, Patti Smith, Cornel West, Jello Biafra, Kensington Welfare Rights Union executive director Cheri Honkala, and Elizabeth Horton Sheff--a member of the city council in Hartford, Connecticut, she's the first African-American Green Party member to hold elected office. Doors open at 6 and the rally starts at 7:30 at the Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Call 773-684-0015 or visit www.campusgreens.org for more.
When Michael James and Katy Hogan first opened the Heartland Cafe in 1976, they envisioned a place that would offer good, reasonably priced food, a positive work environment, and a space to exchange information on progressive politics. "We only planned to run the restaurant for a couple of years," says James. A quarter century later, they oversee a Rogers Park empire that includes the Heartland Studio Theater, No Exit Cafe, the Red Line Tap, and Heartland on the Lake; they also publish the Heartland Journal, a magazine of essays, art, reviews, and other writings pertaining to social justice issues, and host the WLUW show Live From the Heartland. To celebrate 25 years of business they've planned a weekend of events that includes a performance tonight by legendary folkie Ramblin' Jack Elliott, who recently turned 70. Tim Grimm opens. It starts at 10 at the Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood. Tickets are $25; call 773-465-8005. The anniversary party starts tomorrow at 8 with a $10 buffet dinner, followed by music and entertainment.
11 SATURDAY "It's more difficult to do something new as a black filmmaker," says Melvin James, director of the female boxing drama Honeybee--especially when most producers and distributors are not willing to innovate. "It doesn't matter if I want to make a film about a natural disaster. It's more difficult to make a film about a black love story, getting people to believe people want to see black love on the screen." Today at 2 he'll be joined by directors Kirby Ashley (a Columbia College grad and director of the short Faithless) and Raymond Thomas (an SAIC grad and director of 12 Minutes) at a free panel discussion called "Is Black Film Dead?" It's part of the seventh annual Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video and will be moderated by local journalist and screenwriter Sergio Mims, who's also one of the festival programmers. It's at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State (where Honeybee will be screened Friday night at 8 and tonight at 5:45, and 12 Minutes today at 3:45 and Tuesday night at 8). Tickets to all films are $8. For a complete schedule, call 312-846-2800 or visit www.siskelfilmcenter.org.
Artist Nancy Hild's new installation, The Bird Room, is a rich, dark room-within-a-room that's meant to recall a mausoleum or Victorian library. The three paintings housed inside are interpretations of displays of bird taxidermy that Hild found in a history museum and describes as having "no taxonomic cohesion whatsoever." The free exhibit, which opens today and runs through October 7 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington (312-744-6630), is open from 10 to 5.
12 SUNDAY In 1998 grassroots groups in Rogers Park successfully fought to keep the new Gateway Plaza shopping center from forcing out Pivot Point, a beauty school for low-income people. In 1999 they mobilized to save two buildings near Howard that used to belong to a nonprofit developer. Last year they went to bat for the Clark Street Mega Mall, which houses 54 small businesses and was going to be replaced by a new fire station, and it looks like they've won that one, too. "What's next? I don't know," says Francisco Ramos, executive director of the Rogers Park Community Action Network. But the themes of today's Walk for Justice are the same--affordable housing and social and economic justice for all. It starts at 1 at Touhy Park, at Clark and Chase; call 773-973-7888.
"I have heard so many stories and seen so many bizarre situations that I will never run out of plots," says local mystery writer Denise Swanson, referring to her 18 years as a school psychologist. Swanson, whose Scumble River mysteries are set in the rural midwest, says her protagonist, school psychologist Skye Denison, "is the kind of person I'd like to be. She's ten years younger and ten years dumber, but she gets to say a lot of things I'd like to say but could never get away with." She may utter a few of those things at a free reading from Murder of a Sweet Old Lady tonight at 5 at Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark (773-769-9299).
13 MONDAY For the second installment of a new summer cabaret concert series at the Bailiwick Arts Center, Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael will revive the Broadway, Our Way show they performed at Davenport's earlier this year. Their set list runs the gamut from Kurt Weill's "Lost in the Stars" to Elton John's "Written in the Stars" and includes both solos and duets. The show starts at 7 at the Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 W. Belmont. Tickets are $10; call 773-883-1090.
14 TUESDAY The buildings highlighted at the Chicago Architecture Foundation's LaSalle Street Walking Tour range from classic Chicago school and art deco specimens to Helmut Jahn's dizzying James R. Thompson Center. The $5 tour starts at 12:30 in front of Daniel H. Burnham and J.W. Root's venerable 1880s Rookery Building at 209 S. LaSalle. For more information call 312-922-3432 or see www.architecture.org.
15 WEDNESDAY The protagonist of Achy Obejas's new novel, Days of Awe, is born in Havana on January 1, 1959--the same day Fidel Castro comes to power. Shortly thereafter, her parents escape to the U.S. and land in Chicago, where the girl grows up and becomes an interpreter. Eventually she returns to Cuba, where she learns that her Catholic family was once Jewish, forced to convert during the Spanish Inquisition. Obejas will read from what critics have called "the first Jewish-Cuban-American novel" tonight at 7:30 at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 1441 W. Webster. It's free; call 773-871-3825.
16 THURSDAY Last August women in Olympia, Washington, launched the original Ladyfest--six days of girl-oriented music, art, and discourse. This year women in NYC, Glasgow, Bloomington, and Chicago have been inspired to host their own versions of the event. Ladyfest Midwest Chicago kicks off tonight with an all-ages show at the Congress Theater that includes spoken word, film and video screenings, and performances by Puerto Muerto, Tami Hart, Amy Ray, the Butchies, and Le Tigre. It's from 5:30 to 10:30 at 2135 N. Milwaukee, and tickets are $15 at the door. LMC runs through Sunday at multiple locations, with the Congress as the designated hub, and includes discussions and workshops on everything from guitar maintenance to health care. Most events are open to men; festival passes are $65 to $70. For a complete schedule and ticket information see the sidebar in Section Three or visit www.ladyfestmidwest.org.