Friday 4/9 - Thursday 4/15
9 FRIDAY Former waitress Edith Edit got the idea for her "sci-fi queer sex romp," Dominatrix Waitrix, at work, where she noticed that the power dynamic between customers and servers bore a strong resemblance to the one between tops and bottoms in S and M. The title character of the 44-minute video, an immortal, multigendered clone, seeks to give harried restaurant workers a much-needed break and satiate its own sexual appetites by taking over their bodies and having its way with their customers. The all-volunteer cast, which includes burlesque performer Mistress Minax and former dominatrix Sache, was plucked from the local BDSM community. Tonight's celebration of the video's Chicago premiere begins at 7 with a reception and performance by chamber-punk ensemble Apartment, followed by a screening of Waitrix at 8:30. Afterward there'll be a Q and A with the cast and crew and an auction of clothes and props from the movie. It's at the Leather Archives and Museum, 6418 N. Greenview. Tickets are $30, $20 for students, service- and sex-industry workers, and "anyone who can't afford $30." Call 773-271-1219 or see www.dominatrixwaitrix.com. There'll be additional screenings tomorrow at 7 and 9 PM; the suggested donation for those is $8. You must be 21 or over to attend all events.
Not only is Chicago a major transportation crossroads for people--it's also one for birds, who tend to migrate along natural barriers like lakes, oceans, and mountains. "The city gets a tremendous amount of bird traffic along the shoreline," says Chicago Park District natural areas manager Mary Van Haaften--about 3.5 million birds on their way north and south each spring and fall, all in need of food, shelter, and rest. To meet their requirements the city has a number of lakefront bird sanctuaries and is planning to build more, including one on Northerly Island. Van Haaften will show slides and discuss the sanctuaries at tonight's free presentation, Chicago's Lakefront Bird Habitat: Past, Present, Future, at the North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski. Refreshments will be served at 7 and the talk starts at 7:30; call 312-744-5472.
10 SATURDAY Artists who think their erratic income excludes them from buying a home or a studio may not have all the facts. While the Chicago Department of Housing often runs programs on home ownership, today's Chicago Artists Space and Housing Expo is the first to target the needs of the arts community. Besides seminars on city assistance programs and working with tradespeople and architects, there will also be workshops on how to open a storefront theater and the safety issues presented by home studios. In addition, representatives from government and community housing agencies and organizations, banks and lenders, and neighborhoods looking to host a theater or two will be on hand to answer questions and discuss the benefits of working with them. It's from 9 to 3 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Call 312-747-8529.
11 SUNDAY Sherman Alexie's 2002 film The Business of Fancydancing follows the story of a gay Native American poet who finds fame and success in Seattle, his boyhood pal who lives on the Spokane Indian reservation, and the half-Jewish, half-Indian woman who's loved them both. Reader critic Fred Camper called it "a richly detailed version of the identity contradictions Native Americans wrestle with." It'll be screened today at 2 at Kendall College's Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, 2600 Central Park in Evanston, as part of the series "Indians in the Movies." Following the film, series curator John Low, a member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and a friend of Alexie's, will speak. It's free with a suggested donation to the museum of $5, $2.50 for seniors, students, and children. Call 847-475-1030.
12 MONDAY Die-hard Cubs fans too excited to sleep yet not lucky enough to get a ticket for today's home opener can head over to Clark and Waveland, where WXRT will start broadcasting live at Yak-zies Bar & Grill at 6 AM. Attendees will be kept awake with performances by singer-songwriter Matthew Ryan, the Cathy Richardson Band, and the Waco Brothers until 1:20, when the first pitch is thrown out. Yak-zies is at 3710 N. Clark. It's free, but you must be 21 or older. Call 773-777-1700 or see www.wxrt.com for more.
13 TUESDAY At tonight's GameRiot expo, hard-core gamers can play new and unreleased titles like Ninja Gaiden, Battlefield Vietnam, and Tony Hawk's Underground on state-of-the-art home systems. In addition, Spike DJ Crossphada will provide tunes and lead a few lessons in scratching, and the GameRiot Girls will "keep the energy kicking." The event is open to all ages from 3 to 6 PM and then for those 18 and over from 7 to 10 at the House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn. Tickets are $15; call Ticketmaster at 312-559-1212 or go to www.gameriot.com.
Tel Aviv writer Etgar Keret has only released one book in the United States, but in his native Israel he's practically his own industry, with three best-selling collections of short stories, two comic books, two screenplays, and an award-winning film to his credit. Tonight at 7:30 Keret, whose short, mordantly absurd stories have earned comparisons to Kafka, Isaac Babel, and Amos Oz, will appear with Ira Glass at the Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace. The free event is sponsored by Nextbook, a program designed to promote Jewish culture. Call 312-747-4074 or see www.nextbook.org.
14 WEDNESDAY When Irish filmmakers Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Briain went to Caracas two years ago to make a movie about Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, they had no idea that they'd wind up documenting the attempted coup from inside the presidential palace. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, their 2003 account of the 48-hour coup, has been hailed as a masterpiece of documentary filmmaking and a riveting exploration of how the media can manipulate the truth. It'll be shown tonight as part of a free three-day series at Columbia College called "Globalization, Immigration, Revolution, and Rebellion." It's at 6 at 1104 S. Wabash, room 302. The series also includes screenings of the last section of the new Kartemquin Films documentary The New Americans, and The Weather Underground, Bill Siegel and Sam Green's Oscar-nominated feature on the 60s radical group. Call 312-344-6725 or see the movie listings for more information.
15 THURSDAY I spent some time in Rome recently, and the respect that Italians have for their architectural treasures made me wonder yet again why Chicago city leaders seem so willing to launch the wrecking ball at lovely old buildings to make way for characterless condos. Eleanor Esser Gorski, supervising architect for the city's Commission on Chicago Landmarks, has studied how European cities, including Rome, have tackled the challenges of merging the requirements of modern society with the architectural legacy of the past. She'll give a talk about her findings, Preservation Planning in Europe: Lessons Learned, today from 12:15 to 1 in the Claudia Cassidy Theater of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. It's free; call 312-744-6630.
Harold Washington would have been 82 today. While for many his death marked the end of hope for an integrated, progressive local government, the idea behind the free conference Political Transformation: Beyond the Ballot Box is to celebrate his achievements and take stock of the present state of local politics. After an opening reception Manning Marable, founding director of Columbia University's Institute for Research in African-American Studies, will talk about African-Americans in political history and recent progressive developments in politics. He'll be followed by Studs Terkel, political consultant Kitty Kurth, and local entrepreneur and businessman Dempsey Travis discussing Chicago politics and Washington's legacy; WBEZ political reporter Carlos Hernandez Gomez will moderate. It starts at 5:30 on the lower level of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State; call 312-747-4875. This event is being staged in conjunction with the Chicago Historical Society's current exhibit "Harold Washington: The Man and the Movement," which is up through May 31, and the library's ongoing exhibit "Called to the Challenge: The Legacy of Harold Washington."
In 2002 writer and Illinois State University English professor Curtis White wrote an essay in Harper's decrying the rise of "the Middle Mind"--a term he coined to describe the swathe of Americans who let their thinking be dictated by infotainment conglomerates and concern for their own lifestyle choices. "I had to conclude that the Middle Mind's version of thought was indistinguishable from not thought," he wrote--"from what we should call mere entertainment." In his 2003 book-length treatment of the subject, The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don't Think for Themselves, White--the current president of the Normal-based Center for Book Culture--asks how we became so intellectually lazy and how we can snap out of it. He'll appear tonight at 7 at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th; call 773-684-1300. It's free.