Friday 11/14 - Thursday 11/20
14 FRIDAY The legacy of the covert U.S.-backed removals of Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953 and Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz in 1954 is the focus of this weekend's conference Thwarting Democracy in Iran and Guatemala: What Lessons Have We Learned Fifty Years After the U.S. Sponsored Coups?, which started November 13 and runs through tomorrow, November 15. Today's programming goes from 9 AM to 9 PM, with keynote addresses at 7 by Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and Latin-American studies scholar Suzanne Jonas, author of The Battle for Guatemala: Rebels, Death Squads, and U.S. Power. It's all at Northeastern Illinois University's Alumni Hall, 5500 N. Saint Louis, and admission is $25, $10 for the keynote speakers only. Call 773-442-5443 or see www.neiu.edu/IranGuat for more information.
To get the most out of a Merce Cunningham Dance Company performance, audience members should check their expectations at the door, says Bonnie Brooks, chair of the Dance Center of Columbia College. "The best thing is to go in with an open mind and bring your own life to it, and it can be wondrous." Brooks will elaborate tonight and tomorrow, November 15, in a lecture called "How to Watch a Cunningham Concert." It's part of this weekend's Conversations on Cunningham symposium, which will examine the 84-year-old choreographer's impact on contemporary dance over the past 50 years. It's being held in conjunction with the Cunningham company's engagement this weekend at the brand-new Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph. The conference began Thursday, November 13, and runs through tomorrow at the Harris Theater and at the Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan. It's $50 per person to attend the entire conference, $10 for a single event, and half price for students. Brooks's talks start at 7 Friday and Saturday (performances are at 8) and are free to concert ticket holders. For more information call 312-344-8300 or see www.dancecenter.org. For more on the Cunningham company's performances see the Dance Critic's Choice in Section Two.
15 SATURDAY In 1951, Wobbly and former hobo Slim Brundage used a $6,000 workers' comp settlement to open the original College of Complexes in an Old Town tavern, where he wrote on the ceiling in two-foot-high letters: "No television, no jukebox, no 26 game--just beer, booze and bull-oney." He dubbed himself the bar's janitor and brought in nightly speakers and guests ranging from Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens and United Nations delegate Archibald Carey to Ziegfeld Follies star Frances Stuart Kenyon. In between Brundage, who died in 1990, wrote at least five novels plus many short stories and plays. Today from 1 to 3 a group of speakers including former alderman Leon Despres, current C. of C. organizer Charles Paidock, poet and historian Franklin Rosemont, and artist Carlos Cortez will celebrate Brundage's 100th birthday at a free event that doubles as a College of Complexes reunion and a launch party for Rosemont's new book, The Rise & Fall of the Dil Pickle: Jazz-Age Chicago's Wildest & Most Outrageously Creative Hobohemian Nightspot. Featuring music by Ella Jenkins and Allen Schwartz, the party takes place at the Conrad Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln. Call 312-744-7616.
Arizona Communist Party head Lorenzo Torrez, his wife, Anita, and two of their children appeared in the controversial 1953 film Salt of the Earth, which was produced by blacklisted Hollywood filmmakers and based on a real strike at the Empire Zinc mine in New Mexico that the couple had participated in and helped win. "They expected trouble," Lorenzo Torrez said of the filmmakers recently. The pair will discuss the strike and the film (which was suppressed for many years) at a screening today at 4 at UNITE Hall, 333 S. Ashland. It'll be followed by a banquet and program honoring the Torrezes and other activists at 6. Admission to the movie is $5; tickets to the banquet--which includes entertainment by Cesar Casamayor and Chuy Negrete, who'll play songs from the film--are $45 and include the screening. For reservations call 773-446-9920, ext. 208.
Artist Jennifer Karmin says her text-sound composition Aaaaaaaaaaalice, which incorporates language from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and a 1963 Japanese textbook, is based on her experience teaching English in Japan. "It was fun and frustrating to be a poet with so much knowledge of language but not be able to really communicate with the people around me," she says. She'll perform tonight at 9, along with Robb Drinkwater and Jason Soliday, as part of the Outer Ear Festival of Sound, which began November 14 and runs through Monday, November 17. Tonight's event is at Candlestick Maker, 4432 N. Kedzie. Admission is $10; call 773-784-0449 or see the Music listings in Section Three for more information.
16 SUNDAY Loyola law professor and Hyde Park institution George Anastaplo--dubbed "the Socrates of Chicago" by Leon Despres--has written 13 books, was nominated a dozen times for a Nobel Peace Prize, and is a lecturer at the University of Chicago, where he graduated at the top of his law school class. Yet the institution has never offered him a professorship, and he's never practiced law. His outsider status may have something to do with his refusal to respond yea or nay when asked whether he was a member of the Communist Party back when he took the bar exam in 1950 (he said the question was irrelevant, since the Constitution guarantees the right to organize into political parties). Anastaplo, who's also been expelled from the Soviet Union and Greece in the past for publicly criticizing their governments, will give a free talk today at 2 called If You're As Good as You Look, Why Aren't You a University of Chicago Professor? It's at the Hyde Park Historical Society, 5529 S. Lake Park; call 773-493-1893.
17 MONDAY "Sometimes it seems easier for [white men] to have the texts of their drivers' licenses produced than for the female or nonwhite playwright to have her best play produced," says Velina Hasu Houston. Her play Tea, about the experiences of five Japanese women who emigrated to the U.S. as war brides, appears to be an exception, as it'll be produced in January at the Loop Theater. Houston, who based the play in part on the life of her Japanese mother and her friends, will attend a free staged reading and discussion of her work tonight at 7 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; call 312-744-6630.
18 TUESDAY Three things you never want to see are water coming out of your electrical sockets, flames shooting out of your sock drawer, and a press release that begins, "The Bush Administration today announced revised standards for...," says lefty populist Jim Hightower in his new book, Thieves in High Places: They've Stolen Our Country and It's Time to Take It Back. "When you see that eight-word lead you just know it's going to be yet another piece of awful news, yet another revision of the rules that'll let yet another industry or specific corporation have a free hand to clobber us regular folks." Hightower will speak and sign books tonight at 7 at a benefit for Sustainable Chicago at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo. Tickets for the event, which includes a panel discussion on environmentally friendly companies, are $25 ($30 after November 15), or $10 for students. A $100 donation also covers admission to a VIP reception at 6 featuring organic food from Frontera Grill, Thyme, and Trotter's to Go. Call 630-836-1864 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations.
19 WEDNESDAY The Bush administration's recent ban on certain late-term abortions is likely to wind up in the Supreme Court--where Roe v. Wade "hangs by a thread," according to the four national women's groups sponsoring this spring's pro-choice demonstration in D.C. There will be a local planning meeting for the April 25, 2004, March for Freedom of Choice, which organizers hope will be the largest such march on Washington ever, tonight at 5:30 at Planned Parenthood, 18 S. Michigan, on the sixth floor. For more information call 312-592-6800 or see www.marchforchoice.org.
20 THURSDAY Tonight at 7 film buff and former Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians official John Low will show clips of movies from Custer's Last Fight (1912) to Cheyenne Autumn (1964) to demonstrate "how Hollywood westerns contributed to the mythology of the American Indian as a savage presence in opposition to American/white 'civilization.'" His presentation, "Conquest Mythology and the American Western," is part of the lecture series Indians in the Movies and takes place at Kendall College's Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, 2600 Central Park in Evanston, 847-475-1030. It's free with museum admission, which is $5, $2.50 for students, seniors, and children.