Friday 11/23 - Thursday 11/29
23 FRIDAY Film and video artist Jim Finn estimates that he's seen about 600 of the 5,500 16-millimeter films in the Chicago Public Library's collection. This past summer, as he was putting together the two-weekend-long Out of the Vault Film Fest, he learned that the library planned to stop circulating its films as of August 1. The CPL still doesn't know what will become of the eclectic cache of features, documentaries, shorts, and educational fare--though a spokesperson promises it'll go to "a good home"--so Finn's festival may be its last hurrah. It kicks off tonight with three "Rats and Apes"-themed programs: at 5 there's a screening of Curious George, Zoo Animals in the Wild: Apes, and the 1982 animated feature The Secret of NIMH; at 7 it's Great Apes and Otto: Zoo Gorilla; and at 8:30 Finn will show Ratopolis and The Ugly Little Boy, in which, says Finn, "a fascist American scientist zaps a Neanderthal ape-boy into the future for experiments, but his nurse has other ideas." Saturday's themes are "Africa to Afghanistan" and "Revolution and the Little Children"; Sunday's films center on "The Charm of Old Chicago" and include Stockyards: End of an Era, Last Pullman Car, and three shorts from a series about the 1968 Democratic convention. The free festival continues next Saturday and Sunday in the Chicago Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E. Washington. For more information, see the sidebar in Section Two, or call 312-744-6630 or 312-346-3278.
24 SATURDAY This weekend the Museum of Contemporary Art will unveil Adam Siegel's Path of Remembrance, a community art project in memory of the victims of September 11, and waive its usual admission fees. Siegel is inviting the public to help him draw 4,000 flowers in chalk--each representing a lost life--to create a sidewalk path around the MCA, past a fire station to the lake, and back to Michigan Avenue. Other highlights of the museum's current displays include Felix, sculptor-prankster Maurizio Cattelan's giant cat skeleton--his answer to the Field Museum's Sue--and the exhibit "The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945-1994." The MCA is at 220 E. Chicago and is open today from 10 to 5 (312-280-2660).
The recent film The Deep End was based on Max Ophuls's 1949 thriller The Reckless Moment, which was in turn based on Elisabeth Sanxay Holding's 1947 novel The Blank Wall. In Ophuls's version--which is still not available on video or DVD--a housewife (Joan Bennett) tries to protect her daughter from being arrested for murdering her lover and winds up being blackmailed (and romanced) by a lusty Irishman played by James Mason. Reader critic Jonathan Rosenbaum calls the original "a much better film in almost every respect." It shows today and tomorrow at 11:30 AM at the Music Box, 3733 N. Southport (773-871-6604). Tickets are $6.50.
25 SUNDAY "I planned on screening it as a public service because I thought people were uninformed about the daily lives of Afghans," says Facets film program director Charles Coleman of last month's free showing of Jung (War): In the Land of the Mujaheddin. The award-winning 2000 documentary about the devastating effects of civil war in Afghanistan drew 700 people "thirsty for knowledge." Coleman suspended the other scheduled programs that day and added four more screenings of Jung but still had to turn people away. He's bringing the film back for six more shows: Saturday and today at noon and 2:15 and next Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 at Facets Multimedia, 1517 W. Fullerton. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted; call 773-281-4114.
Brian Donovan, chairman of the Irish American Heritage Center's genealogy committee, says people come to his monthly genealogy meetings for a handful of reasons, some of which are seasonal. "We will get some people today who have had Thanksgiving dinner and decided that they'll put together a family history to distribute at Christmas," he says. "We sort of ask them which Christmas, because trying to complete a family history between Thanksgiving and Christmas is not something that can easily be done." Donovan, who's been researching his own family tree for the past two decades and says that "every time you find one more ancestor, you have two more to look for--their parents," will lead the free meeting, which starts at 1 in room 100 B of the Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox (773-282-7035).
26 MONDAY For the past four years the Mental Graffiti open mike has offered a high-quality mix of music and poetry that's heavy on the hip-hop. Regulars of the series, which used to take place at Mad Bar, include Tara Betts, Shappy, Dennis Kim, and Tyehimba Jess. Tonight's installment, hosted by regular emcees Krystal Ashe and Anacron, will be a poetry slam. It starts at 8--and there's a strict three-minute limit for participants--at the Note, 1565 N. Milwaukee. A $5 donation is requested for admission; you must be 21 or over. For more info call 773-489-0011 or see www.mentalgraffiti.org.
27 TUESDAY The Bush administration's mantra over the last two months has been security over freedom, a stance that prompted White House press secretary Ari Fleischer's notorious remark that Americans--and specifically members of the press--"need to watch what they say." Today's panel on the Role of the Independent Press During Wartime will examine how the fourth estate can step up to the plate. Participants include Kari Lydersen, who writes for StreetWise, In These Times, and the Chicago IndyMedia Center; UIUC communications professor Robert McChesney, author of Rich Media, Poor Democracy; International Socialist Review editor Ahmed Shawki; In These Times editor and Tribune columnist Salim Muwakkil; and Progressive magazine editor Matt Rothschild. It's at 7 PM at UIC's Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted, and it's free. Call 773-583-7884 for more information.
28 WEDNESDAY "The fetal monitor, which was strapped around my belly, became the center of activity in the birthing room. My well-meaning midwives were primarily focused on monitoring the continual readout from the machine at my side. The baby and I seemed less real in that room than did the machine. At that point the birthing process was so technologized that the notion that 'I' was there to give 'birth' seemed like sort of a virtual aside." So writes Naomi Wolf in her recent book, Misconceptions: Truth, Lies, and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood, which details her experience of pregnancy and childbirth. Wolf, best known for 1991's The Beauty Myth, will read from and discuss her new work tonight at 7:30 at Women & Children First Bookstore, 5233 N. Clark. It's free; call 773-769-9299.
Chicago poet David Hernandez has performed with his interpretive acoustic ensemble Street Sounds since 1971; on their just-released 12-track CD, Satin City Serenade, the group captures its fusion of spoken word and Latin jazz for posterity. They'll perform tonight at a release party, where they'll be joined by poet Aide Rodriguez, at 7:30 at the Guild Complex at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. Admission is $5, $3 for students and seniors. Call 773-227-6117. Hernandez and Street Sounds also perform Sunday, November 25, at 7 at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo. Tickets to that event are $8, $5 for students. Call 312-362-9707.
29 THURSDAY The city's bungalow boom began when the post-World War I housing crunch spurred the construction of some 80,000 "workingmen's cottages" in a ring around the central city. The Arts and Crafts-inspired homes boasted all the modern conveniences, including electricity, a full basement, and a garage. One of the highest concentrations is on the northwest side, and tonight at 6 Ellen Skerrett, a contributing author of The Chicago Bungalow and coauthor of Chicago: City of Neighborhoods, will discuss how they got there at a lecture called It's More Than a Bungalow: Portage Park and the Making of the Bungalow Belt. It's at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan, and admission is $15; to reserve a seat call 312-922-3432, ext. 909, or log on to www.architecture.org.