"One cultural implication of having gender segregation in sports is that it reaffirms the stereotype that all men and all boys are inherently better athletes than all women and all girls," says Sarah Fields, assistant professor in physical education and sport studies at the University of Georgia in Athens. "When you have little kids playing in single-sex leagues, the boys never learn that girls can be their equal and can be better than they are." Almost every Sports Illustrated story about a women's team, she claims, is greeted with a slew of letters to the editor complaining that women athletes are inferior and their sports are a waste of time. "The result is a constant struggle for women's sports to gain popular and media attention," says Fields, author of the forthcoming book Gender, Law, and Contact Sport in America. She'll give a free lecture today from 3:30 to 5 called Examining the Constitutionality of "Separate but Equal" for Women and Sports as part of an ongoing seminar on sport and culture at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton in Chicago; call 312-943-9090.
Studs Terkel's 1999 book American Dreams: Lost and Found examines the lives and aspirations of a wide range of Americans, from a Boston Brahmin to a disillusioned former Miss U.S.A. The NYC-based Acting Company will present a theatrical adaptation of the book tonight as part of its "American Century" series, which has also featured productions of Willa Cather's O Pioneers! and Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson. The show runs tonight and tomorrow, March 8, at 8 at the Beverly Art Center, 2407 W. 111th, Chicago; there'll be a reception with Terkel following tonight's performance. Tickets are $25, $15 for children 12 and under. For more information call 773-445-3838 or see www.beverlyartcenter.org.
In honor of International Women's Day, HeartLight Chicago--a nonprofit learning and healing center--is hosting today's Gather the Women Festival, asking women to "bridge cultural differences" and lead the way to "a more peaceful and sustainable planet." The festival includes a session on taking control of your life through hypnosis, a sacred drum circle, and a forum on peace, ending with performances by sketch-comedy troupe Gayco Productions and the Lauretta Tagli band. The festival runs from 11 AM to 9 PM at HeartLight, 865 E. Wilmette Rd. in Palatine. Daytime events are free; tickets for the evening show, which starts at 7, are $10, and reservations are required. Call 847-221-2221.
For years the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian's public resources have amounted to two shelves of books in its small second-floor reading room. But after today the 26-year-old museum's collection of 5,000 tomes and 250 videotapes will be accessible in a new 484-square-foot library (a former garage) that features walls painted the colors of a Native American medicine wheel (black, red, yellow, and white), a sky blue ceiling, and brickwork that recalls Navajo rug patterns. There's a dedication ceremony tonight at 6 at the museum, part of Kendall College, 2600 Central Park in Evanston, and a free open house tomorrow, March 9, from noon to 4. Call 847-475-1030 or see www.mitchellmuseum.org for more information.
"Jewish women are the source of the majority of stereotypes Jews hold about one another," says University of Minnesota anthropologist Riv-Ellen Prell. "Jews' anxieties, economic and cultural, were projected onto Jewish women. Their bodies, desires, and qualities all became the subject of incessant criticism. What all sorts of experts and ordinary people said about what was wrong with Jewish women can be read as a guide to understanding what made Jews uncomfortable about themselves as a minority in a majority culture." Prell will further explore stereotypes of Jewish-American womanhood at today's free lecture, Ghetto Girls, Jewish Mothers, Princess Daughters: The Issue of Gender for American Jews. It starts at 2 at the Spertus Institute, 618 S. Michigan, Chicago, and coincides with the opening of the exhibit "Shaping History: Chicago Jewish Women in the 20th Century." Reservations are required; call 312-322-1769 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford are the honorary cochairs of Cover the Uninsured Week, a nationwide effort intended to publicize the predicament of the 41 million Americans who lack proper health coverage. Local events kick off today at noon with a free town hall meeting designed to give a few of Illinois' uninsured a chance to speak out; it'll be moderated by newswoman Carol Marin and takes place at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State, Chicago. Before the meeting starts there'll be a light lunch and local dignitaries will be invited to sign a proclamation expressing concern with the current state of affairs. Reservations are required; E-mail ChicagoCTUW@aol.com. For a complete schedule of the week's events go to www.covertheuninsuredweek.org.
Before becoming a darling of the theater, British playwright Tom Stoppard wrote many plays for TV and radio. His 1967 radio drama Albert's Bridge, considered one of the best, will be performed live today--along with work by American radio legends Bob & Ray--by the seniors committee of the local chapter of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Screen Actors Guild, most of whom performed live back when Chicago was the center of the nation's radio industry. It's tonight at 7 at the Chicago Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E. Washington, Chicago (312-744-6630). It's free.
For his photo series Every Playboy Centerfold, The Decades, Jason Salavon used software of his own design to combine and average the characteristics of all the Playboy centerfolds from each decade between 1960 and 2000. The resulting creatures are blurry figures who seem to get lighter in complexion as the decades progress. Three pieces of Salavon's work (which also includes photo compositions based on portraits from his high school class) will be on display starting today as part of the Midwest Photographers Project at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 S. Michigan in Chicago. The show, which runs through April 24, is open today from 10 to 5 and admission is free; call 312-663-5554. Work by digital imaging pioneer Paul Berger also goes on display today, and will be up through April 29.
Former freedom rider Diane Nash led lunch-counter sit-ins in Nashville in 1959, was a founding member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960, and was one of four American women invited to visit North Vietnam in 1966 (she went). The longtime activist lives in Chicago now; she's working on a book about her life and the pivotal but unsung role of women in the civil rights and antiwar movements. She'll give a free talk at noon today at DePaul University's Barat Campus in the Duchesne Room of the Old Main Administration Building, 700 E. Westleigh Rd. in Lake Forest. The lecture will be followed by lunch; reservations (accepted no later than March 10) are required. Call 847-574-4220.