Friday 11/15 - Thursday 11/21
15 FRIDAY Delaware-based freelance writer John Riddle came up with the idea for I Love to Write Day while driving to a Christian writers' conference last April. In the months since he's spun the concept into a nationwide event that takes place today with talks and workshops at over 11,000 schools, bookstores, libraries, and other public places. But Riddle--a former fund-raiser who once organized an (unsuccessful) attempt to break the Guinness world record for the greatest number of people doing the twist in one spot--says you can participate by doing anything from signing a greeting card or composing an E-mail to finishing a novel. "[It] will show many people how important writing is in their everyday lives," he explains. "Whether you're a student in school, a worker on the job, or retired, writing and writing well impacts everyone's lives." For more see www.ilovetowrite.com.
Dancers Nicole LeGette and Becca Hopson interact with more than 100 limes in their butoh-influenced performance piece Constant Constraint. The limes, says LeGette, "stand in for things that are lost or regained." The piece is featured in a program called What Is Lost, which also includes a new work by Hopson for two dancers and LeGette's solo performance with a cello. It runs tonight and Saturday, November 16, at 8 at the Spareroom, 2416 W. North. Admission is on a sliding scale; those attending Saturday's performance are invited to bring bags and take home as many limes as they can carry. For more call 773-645-8075.
16 SATURDAY Today's Visions Blu symposium, Building a Door to Opportunities in Film in Chicago, will include African-American heavy hitters from the film, music, and television industries, including Robert Teitel and George Tillman Jr.--the producer and director behind Barbershop and Soul Food. The daylong event starts with workshops on distribution, writing, casting, and "Urban Culture and Its Influence in Film"; they'll be followed by afternoon film screenings and a reception. The 90-minute workshops are $25 each and run from 9:30 to 12:45 (registration starts at 9); the screenings are from 1 to 3:30 and cost $3 to $6. It's all at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. For more information call 773-791-9031.
According to its fans, capoeira Angola, an intricate Brazilian martial arts form that sprang from an Angolan dance called n'golo, has more to do with playing than fighting. The Capoeira Angola Foundation Chicago celebrates its move to new digs in Logan Square with "Pastinha Weekend," which is named in honor of Mestre Pastinha, founder of the first capoeira Angola school, and includes workshops with Mestre Cobra Mansa, Mestre Jurandir, and Contra Mestre Valmir. It's open to practitioners of all levels and takes place Friday through Sunday, November 15-17; registration is $90. Tonight's benefit party includes Brazilian acoustic guitar and Colombian salsa and starts at 9 at the new studio at 1757 N. Kimball. It's free to those registered for the workshop; the $15 suggested donation for everyone else also covers a helping of feijoada--the Brazilian stew of black beans, beef, pork, and sausage traditionally served on Saturday nights. For more call 773-227-8879 or see www.capoeira-angola-chicago.org.
17 SUNDAY When West Nile hysteria was escalating last spring, 19th Ward alderman Virginia Rugai's constituents asked her (she's also chair of the City Council committee on energy, environmental protection, and public utilities) to convene a public meeting about the possible risks of the virus and city strategies to combat it. "There was no response until after the pesticide spraying occurred," says Chicago Green Party member Lionel Trepanier. "One of our members--a woman who'd just started treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma--had no notice of the spraying. She was getting out of her car and carrying her infant when the truck came by and just fogged her. That could have been avoided." Discussion of alternatives to spraying, as well as of affordable housing, living wages, budget cuts, police brutality, civil rights, the fate of the city's public librarians, and "the blue bag hoax," are on the agenda at today's free open meeting, City Issues for the 2003 Election: A Green Approach. It's from 2 to 6 at the New World Resource Center, 2600 W. Fullerton. For more information call 312-593-0996 or 773-227-4011.
18 MONDAY The Hubbard Street Dance training ensemble, Hubbard Street 2, will perform five new works tonight at Dance Chicago, including the premiere of Awakened in Slumber by 2002 National Choreographic Competition winner Camille Brown, and work by fellow NCC honorees Katarzyna Skarpetowska (Stand Back) and Meredith Rainey (Through the Wake). Also on the bill are a preview of former HSD company member Ron De Jesus's Diminishing Returns and world champion ballroom dancers Tommye Giacchino and Gregory Day's A Spanish Feel. It's tonight at 7:30 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. Tickets are $15; call 312-902-1500.
19 TUESDAY In his 1999 book The Pig and the Skyscraper: A History of Our Future, Italian writer Marco d'Eramo uses the history of Chicago to illustrate how American capitalism creates grand things such as stockyards and skyscrapers and then destroys them. D'Eramo, a former physicist and protege of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, calls the latter "costly monuments to the overinflated egos of their patrons." He'll discuss his book, which was translated into English last year, tonight at 7 at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th; it's free (773-684-1300).
Dance Chicago continues through the end of the month; another highlight is tonight's Dance Slam--also at the Athenaeum--where audience members will vote on the best short (five minutes or less) pieces by local choreographers and companies. The winners will be invited to perform at future Dance Chicago events. It's at 7:30 and all tickets are $5. Call 773-935-6860 for more information; call Ticketmaster (312-902-1500) for tickets.
20 WEDNESDAY According to the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition, two dozen transgendered people were murdered worldwide between January 1 and October 31 of 2002--13 of them in the U.S. In Illinois, eight people have been killed for "real or perceived gender variance" over the past few years, says Lisa Scheps of the advocacy group It's Time, Illinois. The group is sponsoring a candlelight vigil tonight as part of a national Transgender Day of Remembrance. It's at 6 outside the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph; for more call 312-409-5489 or see www.itstimeil.org.
21 THURSDAY In my decade of waitressing, I often encountered groups of 12-steppers chain-smoking and mainlining coffee after their meetings. That's definitely not what happens after Nicotine Anonymous meetings, says a member who smoked for 18 years and has been clean since joining NA in 1996. "We hang out and talk or go to a restaurant to have a meal," she says. "We're not engaging in other addictive behaviors." Tonight's free open meeting of Nicotine Anonymous includes a short panel discussion and Q & A session, and coincides with today's Great American Smoke Out. It's at 7 at Unity in Chicago, 1925 W. Thome. Call 312-458-9826 or go to www.nicotine-anonymous-chicagoland.org.