Friday 8/2 - Thursday 8/8
2 FRIDAY This weekend's the last chance to catch Susan McLaughlin Karp and Stephanie Shaw in their highly lauded one-woman shows at Live Bait: they're off to the New York Fringe Festival later this month. Karp's Still is a frank exploration of the 1987 stillbirth of her daughter three weeks before her due date; Shaw's Duct is a dark look at motherhood in which she spends most of her time onstage trapped inside a three-by-four-foot metal duct that her husband found in an alley. The problem for her is getting the thing to the Big Apple. "People ask, can't you simply buy a duct when you get to New York?" says Shaw, who also directs Karp in Still. "You'd think you could get one there, but I don't want to chance it." At press time the best bet looked to be shipping it to an NYC friend, Urinetown cocreator and Tony winner Greg Kotis. "I'm just hoping the success hasn't gone to his head," she says, "and he'll be there to accept this huge box." Shaw and Karp will perform back-to-back tonight and tomorrow at 7 (Duct) and 8:30 (Still) as part of the Fillet of Solo Festival, which runs through August 25 at Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark. Tickets are $10 for each show; for more information call 773-871-1212 or see www.livebaittheater.org.
3 SATURDAY Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video co-coordinator Sergio Mims and a friend were talking about the summer movie season and realized there were only two major black releases--Like Mike and Juwanna Mann. "She said, 'Is this all we're going to get?' So many independent black films are made, but they hardly get any kind of release or distribution," says Mims. "But films like Tadpole are made for $200,000 and picked up by Miramax for five million--and I've seen black independent films way better than Tadpole." Today filmmakers Alison Lonesome, Cheryl Matlock, Neema Barnette, and Kirby Ashley will sit on a free Black Harvest panel called Does Black Cinema Get Respect?, which Mims will moderate. It starts at 3
at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. The festival runs through August 15; for a complete schedule call 312-846-2800 or visit www.siskelfilmcenter.org.
In the early 1960s director Herschell Gordon Lewis hit pay dirt with his "Blood Trilogy"--Blood Feast (1963), Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964), and Color Me Blood Red (1965). He went on to make another two dozen horror films, culminating in 1972's The Gore Gore Girls. He also spent two decades as an adjunct lecturer in mass communications at Roosevelt University and wrote a handful of books about advertising and marketing. Today, Lewis is a sought-after business consultant, but he says he's been ready to make Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat for years. "Until [producer] Jacky Morgan put the deal together, all the conversations about such projects were just that--conversations. I love making movies and always have been ready to jump when someone's whistle had the suggestion of reality behind it." Lewis is in town to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Flashback Weekend Horror and Sci-Fi Convention, which started Friday, August 2, and runs through Sunday, August 4. He and Morgan will introduce the sequel at its premiere tonight at 10:30 at the Pickwick Theatre, 5 S. Prospect in Park Ridge. Lewis will also appear at tomorrow's 1:45 screening of Two Thousand Maniacs!, which was inspired by the musical Brigadoon. Admission to each film is $10; convention passes (for one to three days) are also available. For tickets and information call 847-478-0119 or go to www.flashback weekend.com.
4 SUNDAY Since Gus Giordano organized the first Jazz Dance World Congress at Northwestern University in 1990, the annual get-together of master classes and performances has roamed from Nagoya, Japan, to Wiesbaden, Germany. This year the five-day event returns to Chicago along with the concurrent Jazz Dance World Festival, which began on Wednesday and concludes with today's matinee program, "Razzmatazz." It includes performances by Odyssey Dance Theatre, Masashi Action Machine, Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, the Joel Hall Dancers, and Gus Giordano Dance Chicago. It starts at 3 at Navy Pier's Skyline Stage, 600 E. Grand. Tickets are $20 and $30 (half price for children). Call 312-922-1999 or see www.jazzdanceworldcongress.org.
In other dance news, the 12-year-old Chicago Human Rhythm Project, which began as a workshop at Giordano's Evanston dance center, now bills itself as the world's largest forum for tap, percussive, and rhythmic dance. This weekend the CHRP is holding two concerts showcasing work by students of Chicago tap masters Jimmy Payne Sr., Sammy Dyer, and Tommy Sutton, plus a salute to "tap classicist" Paul Draper by CHRP artistic director Lane Alexander. Performances are Saturday night at 8 and today at 4 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago; tickets are $20 (312-397-4010 or www.chicagotap.com).
5 MONDAY A recent database search on the Chicago Botanic Garden's Web site for perennials native to our area brought up 81 plants--everything from the Shasta daisy to Siberian catnip. What the database doesn't explain, though, is what to do with them once you've found them. Tonight at 6:30 an expert from the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners program will demystify ornamental grasses and late-season perennials at a free workshop called Chicago's Best Perennials. It's part of the Chicago Public Library's ongoing "Blooming Branches" program and takes place at the Logan Square location of the CPL, 3255 W. Altgeld; call 312-744-5295.
6 TUESDAY Some amateur investors who lost their shirts over the past few years--er, weeks--might have fared better if they'd practiced basic asset allocation, which Morgan Stanley financial adviser Josh Quail describes as "diversifying across bonds, small capital stocks, large capital stocks, mid capital stocks, and international stocks--an area that has done well over the past 18 months." Quail will explain further at a free lecture tonight at 7:30 at Barbara's Bookstore, 1100 Lake in Oak Park (708-848-9140).
7 WEDNESDAY "I don't know if people know exactly what's going on, but you can see what's happening from Lake Shore Drive," says philanthropist Frances Comer, the brains behind the Field Museum's multimedia Chicago Pageant: A New Canvas. The impressionistic 22-minute show on the city's history--back this summer for its second year--is dominated by images projected onto the museum's 115-by-90-foot north facade. The recorded sound track includes local actors reading Chicago-themed passages by Gwendolyn Brooks, Theodore Dreiser, Mike Royko, and others. "It's a great way for people to learn a little bit about Chicago," says Comer. "But at the same time it's not one of those boring history lessons that makes the eyes glaze over." Free presentations started last Thursday and run Wednesdays through Sundays throughout August on the lawn of the Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive. Tonight's shows are at 9 and 10; Thursdays through Sundays they're at 9 and 9:30. Call 312-665-7114.
8 THURSDAY "We've been having a genitalia party lately," says poet, performer, and health worker Sharon L. Powell, referring to Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues, Inga Muscio's 1998 book Cunt: A Declaration of Independence, and her own poem "All Hail the Coochie," which she's been performing for the past three years and just expanded into a multimedia show called All Hail the Coochie II: The One Coloredgirl Coochie Self Determination Circus. "It's for women of color in particular," she says of the event, which includes a live band, slide projections, spoken word, "lots of circus antics," and "specula girls" (in lieu of cigarette girls). The show, which she hopes to spin into a regular series, takes place tonight at 8 at the Women in the Director's Chair theater, 941 W. Lawrence. Tickets are $14 in advance, $16 at the door; for more info call 773-665-4749.