Friday 11/1 - Thursday 11/7
1 FRIDAY Bahman Farmanara's career was clipping along nicely until the Iranian filmmaker's work was banned in 1978 by postrevolutionary censors. His next ten scripts were rejected by the Iranian film board, but he came back from artistic exile in 2000 with Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine. An autobiographical black comedy in which the protagonist, a filmmaker, uncovers the dark side of his culture while researching a documentary on Iran's funeral rites, it won the audience award at the 2000 Gene Siskel Film Center Festival of Films From Iran. Farmanara's latest, A House Built on Water, premieres tomorrow, November 2, at 6:15 as part of this year's festival (which runs through November 3). Farmanara, independent filmmaker Caveh Zahedi (A Little Stiff and I Don't Hate Vegas Anymore), and NYC-based film critic Godfrey Cheshire will sit on today's free panel discussion, Cinema After 9/11; independent filmmaker and Columbia College professor Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa will moderate. The talk will cover topics such as how the marketing and distribution of movies has changed in the last year and whether or not film can counter the demonization of Arabs in the media. The evening starts with a reception at 6 and the discussion kicks off at 6:30 at Columbia College's Hermann D. Conaway Center, 1104 S. Wabash (312-344-6708).
2 SATURDAY The mainstream media hasn't examined the agenda behind post-9/11 changes to laws regarding our civil liberties, and this failure is the subject of today's CMW conference, Propaganda: War, Terror & U.S. Empire. Speakers include locals like UIC education professor Bill Ayers and David Schippers, the attorney representing FBI whistleblower Robert Wright (who was told to stop discussing terrorist cells and 9/11), as well as folks like University of Massachusetts communications professor Sut Jhally, who'll talk on "The Selling of Patriotism," and Matthew Rothchild, editor of the Progressive, who'll give the keynote address. The day wraps up with a panel discussion on media activism featuring many of the conference speakers. Admission is $35, $10 for students and others of limited means. Registration starts at 8:15 AM; the conference runs from 9 to 5:30 at Loyola University's Crown Auditorium, 6525 N. Sheridan. For more information call 773-604-1910 or see www.chicagomediawatch.org.
DuSable Museum founder Margaret Burroughs, art collector and patron Ruth Horwich, building preservationist Marian Despres, sculptor Ruth Duckworth, and social psychologist and architect Doe Thornburg are among the ten octogenarian and nonagenarian movers and shakers who will discuss how living in Chicago has shaped their lives at today's Chicago Humanities Festival panel "My Life in the City," part of the festival's "Growing Up Female" series. It's from 10 to 11:30 at the Chicago Historical Society, 1601 N. Clark; tickets are $5. The Humanities Festival runs through November 10. For more information call 312-494-9509, go to www.chfestival.org, or see the festival schedule in Section Two.
Oregon-based filmmaker Bill Daniel spent a dozen years documenting the lives of freight-train riders and the propagation of hobo graffiti for his audio-video installation The Girl on the Train in the Moon, which is set up to resemble a hobo camp and features rear-projected footage of freight-hopping adventures and interviews with tramps and graffiti artists. Fellow Portland filmmaker Vanessa Renwick specializes in ultralow-budget experimental and documentary movies, including a recent piece on Washington State outsider artist Richard Tracy (aka "Richart"), who's spent the past 17 years filling up three residential lots around his house with giant sculptures made out of scrap. Daniel and Renwick have been on the road showing their films (and Bryan Boyce's State of the Union) since September, and they'll bring their Lucky Bum Film Tour to the No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood (773-743-3355), tonight at 8. There's a suggested donation of $5.
3 SUNDAY Poets Krystal Ashe and Anacron have hosted and booked the Mental Graffiti Monday night poetry slam and open mike for nearly five years--first at Mad Bar and now at the Note. But the event's always been open only to folks over 21. Today Ashe will host a special all-ages, nonsmoking edition of Mental Graffiti featuring New York City poet and 1999 National Poetry Slam champ Roger Bonair-Agard, local youngster Dot Dot Dot, and DJ Itchyfingers. It starts at 3:30 in the basement of Square One Cafe, 1561 N. Milwaukee. Admission is $3 or pay what you can; for more information log on to www.mentalgraffiti.org.
Warren Miller's been making extreme skiing movies for over 50 years; this fall's installment, Storm, includes footage of Doug Coombs and Seth Morrison heli-skiing in Valdez, Alaska, and Hilaree Nelson and Rick Armstrong on a monthlong Antarctic expedition to remote South Georgia Island. Other segments showcase shredding snowboarders, back-country skiers in Sun Valley, and a group of unkempt athletes being put through their paces by a squad of marines in the High Sierras. Storm screens tonight at the Park West, 322 W. Armitage (773-929-5959); tickets are $16 for the 5 PM screening, a buck cheaper for the show at 8.
4 MONDAY At press time ten members of the mass transit watchdog group Citizens Taking Action were set to testify at the CTA's annual budget hearings, addressing such topics as fares, safety, services for seniors and the disabled, and crosstown bus routes. The group will convene to discuss how it went and hammer out a plan for the upcoming year at tonight's free monthly meeting, which takes place from 7 to 9 on the fourth floor of the Chicago Temple, First United Methodist Church, 77 W. Washington. For more information call 312-353-0446 or see www.ctariders.org.
5 TUESDAY Since 1998 the Chiapas Media Project, based in Chicago and Mexico, has provided video cameras to 47 communities in Chiapas and Guerrero and trained some 200 kids to use them. Twenty of the students now have the technical skills to teach others, which might allow the CMP volunteers to bow out of the endeavor by next year. The CMP will hold a benefit for the project tonight, where it'll screen the videos Zapata's Garden, Reclaiming Justice: Guerrero's Indigenous Community Police, and Song of the Earth: Traditional Music From the Highlands of Chiapas; the films will be followed by a Q&A session with CMP director Alexandra Halkin and production coordinator Carlos Efrain Perez. It's from 7 to 9 at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo (312-362-9707), and admission is $3. For more information call 773-583-7728 or visit www.chiapasmediaproject.org.
6 WEDNESDAY Longtime local radical Nelson Peery wrote his new book, The Future Is Up To Us: A Revolutionary Talking Politics With the American People, in response to the many dissatisfied citizens he spoke with while touring behind his 1995 memoir, Black Fire: The Making of a Revolutionary. Arguing in The Future that America is at a pivotal point in its development, he speculates on what a communist revolution might look like now that technological advances have transformed the relationship between labor and capital. Peery will join writer and labor lawyer Thomas Geoghegan, author of, most recently, In America's Court: How a Civil Lawyer Who Likes to Settle Stumbled Into a Criminal Trial, at tonight's installment of the Guild Complex's "Exploring America in Change" series, Human Rights and Global Change: The Role of the United States. The discussion will be moderated by poet Sterling Plumpp and starts at 7:30 at the Guild Complex at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division (773-227-6117). Admission is $5, $3 for students and seniors.
7 THURSDAY Before 2001 most downtown residents belonged to part of a larger north-side state senatorial district. But so many people have moved into the area in the past decade that recent political redistricting based on the results of the 2000 census has split them into three new districts--two anchored to the south side and another that extends to the west. Today urban sociologist and Friends of Downtown member Mitch Pracatiner will examine the political ramifications of this population boom at a free Friends of Downtown brown-bag lecture, The 2000 Census: What It Has to Say About Downtown. It's at 12:15 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington (312-744-6630).