Friday 8/13 - Thursday 8/19
13 FRIDAY Who would've thought that the creator of a misanthropic Santa impersonator, an egg-hatching elephant, and a cat in a hat could achieve artistic immortality? The touring retrospective The Art of Dr. Seuss uses advertising art, magazine covers from the 20s and 30s, and drawings for animated military training films to document Theodor Seuss Geisel's rise from editorial cartoonist to beloved author and artist. It opens today at Atlas Galleries, 535 N. Michigan, and runs through September 6. The gallery's open Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 9 PM, Saturday from 10 to 6, and Sunday from 11 to 5; a portion of the exhibit moves to the gallery's 900 N. Michigan location on August 16. Admission is free; call 312-329-9330.
Today's events at Wizard World Chicago--a three-day extravaganza celebrating comics, gaming, anime, and other geek pursuits--include a panel on marketing your own comic, an intro to selling on eBay, and instruction on how to draw women. There'll also be auctions, signings, and exhibits. Guests include Buffy and Angel creator Joss Whedon, filmmaker Kevin Smith, and Superman and Batman artist Jim Lee, plus such where-are-they-now stars as Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk) and Gil Gerard and Erin Gray (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century). Hours are 10 AM to 6 PM today and Saturday and 10 to 5 Sunday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road in Rosemont. Tickets are $25 per day or $45 for a weekend pass; children under ten get in free with a paying adult. See www.wizarduniverse.com.
Forget prison reform--we should just scrap the whole damn system. Or so says the Anarchist Black Cross, the Chicago chapter of which has organized this weekend's Prison Abolition Conference. It kicks off today at 3 with a rally at Cook County Jail, 26th and California. Following that, at 6, everyone will head to Decima Musa, 1901 S. Loomis, for a buffet dinner and discussion. The rally is free, dinner costs $6. Saturday and Sunday feature panels and workshops on abolition tactics and strategies; speakers include Fred Hampton Jr., Voices in the Wilderness cofounder Kathy Kelly, and former death-row inmate Aaron Patterson, who was one of four men pardoned by George Ryan last year. The free conference runs Saturday from 8 AM to 4 PM at Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson, and Sunday from 10 to 6 at United Electrical Workers Union Hall, 37 S. Ashland. There's also a dinner Saturday night from 5 to 11 at the People's Church of Chicago, 941 W. Lawrence, with live music and vegan food; admission to that is $5. Call 708-534-1334 or see www.chicagoabc.org for info.
14 SATURDAY Want to do more to save the environment at home than turn off the lights? Today George and Susan Sullivan will present The Sullivan Residence: A Green Building Case Study, a talk about how they renovated their four-flat to reduce its impact on the urban environment. It's from 10 AM to noon at the Chicago Center for Green Technology, 445 N. Sacramento. It's free, but registration is required; call 312-746-9642.
For today's Ina-Q BBQ, chef-owner Ina Pinkney of Ina's has enlisted the aid of Chicago Smoke, two guys who built a custom barbecue rig that they drive to competitions around the country. The vehicle, which Pinkney calls "the monster truck of barbecue," can handle about 700 pounds of meat at a time. It's from 11 AM to 8 PM in the parking lot at Ina's, 1235 W. Randolph. The $15 admission fee ($8 for kids under eight) covers all the smoked and grilled pork, beef, and chicken you can eat, but drinks are extra. Reservations are requested; call 312-226-8227.
The only rule guiding the short videos in tonight's installment of the Fast Forward Film Festival is that they must somehow feature footage of Bob and Zach, two guys whose only credentials are that they are friends of festival ringleaders Atom Paul and Sean U'Ren. The festival, currently in its 15th iteration, requires participants to produce a three-minute video in about 21 hours. After working all night, the weary auteurs will turn in their work this afternoon; the results will be shown at 8 at Wesley Kimler's studio, 2046 W. Carroll. A $5 donation is requested. Call 773-263-7057 or see www.fastforwardfilmfest.com.
15 SUNDAY Vintage clothes have their drawbacks: stains that won't come out, that persistent mothball smell, darts meant for bras that point skyward. To address the problem, designers Julie Fehler and Holly Greenhagen (a former Reader editor) launched their own line of vintage-inspired cocktail, wedding, and casual dresses last year under the nom-de-needle Dame Couture. Today the pair cohost Style Council, a trunk show where their creations will be on view alongside jewelry, handbags, and gloves from Vintage Deluxe. Dessert divas the Cake Girls will also be on hand to provide sweet sustenance. It's from 2 to 6 PM at Vintage Deluxe, 1846 W. Belmont, and it's free to browse; call 773-529-7008 or see www.damecouture.com.
For the last few years the activist ladies of the Pink Bloque have danced their protests of wage inequity, the Patriot Act, and the war in Iraq to tunes by the likes of Nelly and Justin Timberlake. Today members are holding a fund-raiser to get themselves to New York for the Republican National Convention. The night includes a bake sale, a raffle (among the prizes are subscriptions to Bust and Bitch and gift certificates to Rodan and Reckless Records), and, of course, dancing to tunes spun by DJs B, the Mayor, Mary Nisi, and Very Moonlight. It's from 9 PM to 2 AM at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western (312-276-3600), and there's a suggested donation of $7. You must be 21 or older; see www.pinkbloque.org for more.
16 MONDAY Bernardo Bertolucci's third feature, Partner, based on a novella by Dostoyevsky, tells the story of a young man who passively allows a double to take over his life, against the background of the social unrest of the late 60s. The Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum says it's "very much a reflection of its period--1968--but no less fascinating for that." The film's being shown tonight at 7 and 9 PM as part of a retrospective of the director's work that runs at Facets from August 13 through 28. It's at 1517 W. Fullerton, and tickets are $9. Call 773-281-4114 or see this week's full schedule in the movie listings.
17 TUESDAY Children's TV shows of the 50s and 60s like Kukla, Fran, and Ollie and Ray Rayner and Friends may have been short on resources, but they were long on creativity. Today Jack Mulqueen, who produced and performed in several shows of the era, and film historian Ted Okuda will talk about their book, The Golden Age of Chicago Children's Television, present a collage of video clips, and dish some behind-the-scenes gossip. It's at 7 PM at Borders Books & Music, 4718 N. Broadway; call 773-334-7338.
18 WEDNESDAY In 1990 Australian mountaineer Tim Macartney-Snape set out from a sea-level dip in India's Bay of Bengal and trekked by himself to the foothills of the Himalayas. From there he climbed to Everest base camp and proceeded--without bottled oxygen--to the highest point in the world. His unprecedented feat was recorded in an award-winning film, Everest: Sea to Summit. Now he leads expeditions to peaks in the Himalayas, Africa, and the Andes and has three books under his belt. He'll talk about his experiences tonight at 7 PM at Uncle Dan's, 2440 N. Lincoln. It's free; call 773-477-1919.
In Peter Hyman's new collection of essays, The Reluctant Metrosexual: Dispatches From an Almost Hip Life, he reflects on his gentle puzzlement at a male masseur's offer of a "release," his frustration at being constantly presumed to be gay, and his breakup with the one who got away. He'll read from and sign copies of the book tonight at 7:30 PM at Barbara's Bookstore, 1218 S. Halsted. It's free; call 312-413-2665.
19 THURSDAY Some home owners make a big deal about buying an old home, then gut the inside. That drives preservationist and restoration consultant Marty Hackl crazy: "If you put your historic house in a landfill, it's not a historic house anymore." Today he'll talk about ways to meet the needs of 21st-century life while retaining the historical integrity of old houses by using the example of one of his current projects--remodeling a kitchen for a 1910 Oak Park bungalow designed by architect E.E. Roberts. Fitting a New Kitchen in an Old House, part of the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois' free "Preservation Snapshots" series, is at 12:15 PM in the Claudia Cassidy Theater of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Call 312-922-1742.