Friday 4/25 - Thursday 5/1
25 FRIDAY "Behold the monstrous human beast / Wallowing in excessive feast!" wrote Charles Jennens in the libretto for Belshazzar, Handel's oratorio about the king of Babylon. Music from that scene will be part of Wine, Women & Song, tonight's program by Ars Musica Chicago. Also included among the baroque-era arias, songs, and cantatas will be work from Jean-Baptiste Lully's Les fetes de l'Amour et de Bacchus and Henry Purcell's "When Night Her Purple Veil Had Softly Spread." Appearing as a guest performer will be harpsichordist, recorder virtuoso, and early-music expert Rene Clemencic, who has headed the Vienna-based Clemencic Consort for more than 30 years. A buffet dinner begins at 6, the show at 8 at Northeastern Illinois University's Fine Arts Building recital hall, 5500 N. Saint Louis. Tickets are $40 with dinner or $15 for the concert only (students pay $35 or $12). To reserve a spot call 312-409-7874.
26 SATURDAY The Chicago Greens--one of the groups that used to organize Chicago's annual Earth Day festivities--started boycotting the event two years ago, when Com Ed became its primary corporate sponsor. This year Earth Day has been canceled altogether due to "today's uncertain funding climate," says the Chicago Earth Month Coalition, which is encouraging people to visit the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum on Sunday instead. Meanwhile, the Greens are holding a free lineup of lectures called Earthday: From Chernobyl to Baghdad, which will address such topics as the use of depleted uranium missiles in Iraq, environmental terrorism, clean-air struggles at the Fisk and Crawford coal plants in Little Village and Pilsen, and the transport of high-level radioactive waste through Illinois to Nevada's Yucca Mountain (part of a measure signed into law by the president several months ago). It runs from 10 to 3 today at Columbia College's Ferguson Auditorium, 600 S. Michigan; bring your lunch. For more call 312-939-2539.
The Field Museum's Eternal Egypt: Masterworks of Ancient Art From the British Museum exhibit opened yesterday, exploring 3,000 years of Egyptian civilization through 155 works that complement the museum's permanent exhibit "Inside Ancient Egypt." To guide visitors through the maze of mummies and hieroglyphics, the Oriental Institute's Robert Ritner will give an illustrated lecture called "Eternity Held Captive: The Social and Religious Context of Egyptian Art." It starts at 2 at the Field, located at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive and open from 9 to 5 today. Admission to the talk is $12 ($10 for students and teachers) plus museum admission ($10, $8 for Chicago residents, $4 for children under 11). To reserve a space call 312-665-7400.
27 SUNDAY Holocaust Remembrance Day is actually Tuesday, but the Spertus Institute is observing it today with a reading from the book Daughters of Absence: Transforming a Legacy of Loss, a collection of essays by women whose parents survived the Holocaust. Speakers include the book's editor, artist Mindy Weisel, the only daughter of two Auschwitz survivors and the first baby born in the Bergen-Belsen displaced-persons camp after World War II. She'll be joined by Miriam Morsel Nathan, poet and artistic director of the Washington Jewish Film Festival, and by Helen Epstein, author of Children of the Holocaust: Conversations With Sons and Daughters of Survivors. It's at 2 at the Spertus Institute, 618 S. Michigan. Admission is free, but reservations are required. Call 312-322-1769 or E-mail email@example.com.
Like tai chi, yoga was once a secret religious tradition, says Core of Culture executive director Joseph Houseal, whose group is devoted to preserving endangered dance forms. "This is part of the general unleashing of ancient secret practices in the world," he says of today's performance by Kathmandu-based tantric Buddhist master dancer Prajwal Ratna Vajracharya, who specializes in 1,000-year-old movements traditionally performed by priests in Nepal. He's in town for five days, but his only public performance takes place this afternoon as part of a benefit for C of C that includes a welcome by Columbia College anthropology professor and tabla drummer Joan Erdman and a screening of a few scenes from Lattoo, a 2001 video about the state of dance in Pakistan, where dancing has been banned. The program runs from 2 to 4 at Chase Cafe, 7301 N. Sheridan. There's a suggested donation of $25; for reservations call 773-262-3287.
28 MONDAY Haskell Wexler's neorealist 1969 film Medium Cool was shot against the backdrop of the 1968 Democratic National Convention and involves a detached TV cameraman (Robert Forster) whose footage of a protest against racism in the media is seized by the FBI. He loses his job and gets to know an Appalachian woman (Verna Bloom) whose husband is in Vietnam. But it isn't until he films protesters getting clubbed by police that he finally loses his journalistic cool. Life imitated art five years later, when the feds subpoenaed tapes from Wexler's documentary about the Chicago Weathermen, Underground. Medium Cool shows tonight at 7 as part of Doc Films' Monday-night "Chicago Stories" series, which continues next week with Cooley High (1975). The screening's at the University of Chicago's Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th. Admission is $4; call 773-702-8575.
29 TUESDAY "In the 1960s and 1970s, when...workers struggled for justice within their unions and workplaces, certain aspects of the society we lived in were considered to be permanent," writes former factory worker David C. Ranney in his new book, Global Decisions, Local Collisions: Urban Life in the New World Order. "At the time, we didn't have any idea we were in such a transitory state." Ranney, now a professor emeritus in UIC's College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs and a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., examines how globalization has wiped out manufacturing jobs in Chicago and offers some possible solutions to the resulting social ills. He'll give a free reading tonight at 7 at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th (773-684-1300).
30 WEDNESDAY Veronica Diaz opened her No Friction Cafe down the street from a Starbucks in Logan Square last year. She describes her place as "pretty multicultural," with programming that includes live jazz, poetry, dance workshops, game nights, and exhibits by local artists. She also offers high-speed Internet access for $5 an hour. "It's pretty friendly around here," she says. "I'm Mexican, and a lot of people try to be cute and start speaking Spanish with me." So tonight she'll launch Spanish conversation tables, an informal (and free) night of dialogue in which people can sip joe and improve their language skills at one of the mosaic-covered tables designed by Diaz. It runs from 6 to 8 at the cafe, 2502 N. California (773-235-2757).
1 THURSDAY On March 21, the morning after hundreds of antiwar demonstrators were arrested following their procession up Lake Shore Drive, police took 60 more into custody for blocking the doors to the Dirksen Federal Building. "I was there holding a sign, and the police pushed me down onto the ground," says activist and longtime Chicago Greens member Lionel Trepanier, who contends that nonprotesters standing nearby were also locked up. He was in the clink for 23 hours, but others were there even longer. "There was no phone call, no blankets, no food. They turned away people with the bond money and wouldn't even let the families into the police station to post the bond." Trepanier was arrested for blocking the same doors after the U.S. began bombing Iraq in 1991; those charges were dropped. He and many of the people he was arrested with this time are scheduled to appear in court today, and the Greens are asking people to attend and wear red in solidarity--and in celebration of May Day. The hearings, which are open to the public, start at 9 AM at Branch 43-2 of the Cook County Circuit Court, 3150 W. Flournoy. For more info call the Greens at 312-593-0996.