Chicago artist Sonya Baysinger has been dwelling on duality, worrying about the tense relationships be-tween heavy and light, rigid and pliable, male and female. The world is full of opposing states, says Baysinger, and her work is concerned with the journey between them--with cocoons, metamorphosis, and the transformations wrought by the artist on her medium. Anathema, Baysinger's show at the Riverside Arts Center's Freeark Gallery, consists of 43 pieces--mostly oil paintings on plywood coated with several layers of beeswax, sometimes accompanied by bowls carved from tree burls that are filled with powdered pigment. "The wax smells like honey and makes for a translucent surface about one-eighth of an inch thick," Baysinger says, "so the images look like they're floating." "Anathema" continues at the center, 32 Quincy in Riverside, through July 5. Gallery hours are 11 to 5 Wednesday, 11 to 7 Thursday and Friday, and 11 to 5 Saturday.
Last year I saw an orthopedic surgeon about a swollen knee. When it turned out the consultation wasn't covered by my insurance, I got a $400 bill--but after a long conversation with the billing department, I got off for half of that. That was how I learned what the folks behind the Service Employees International Union's Hospital Accountability Project have known for a while: self-paying patients in Cook County often have to cough up more than double what insurance companies negotiate for the same services. The union released "Uninsured and Overcharged," a study of discriminatory pricing, in January, and has been lobbying for hospitals to stop the practice ever since; it'll host a free town hall meeting on the topic today at 1 at the IBEW Hall, 600 W. Washington, Chicago. Speakers include Physicians for a National Health Care Plan national coordinator Dr. Quentin Young, state senator Barack Obama, and SEIU Local One president Tom Balanoff. The panel, moderated by WVON's Cliff Kelley, will be followed by a rally at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, 836 W. Wellington; shuttles will be provided. For more information call 312-541-9588 or see www.hospitalmonitor.org.
By nurturing a climate of fear and conformity, the cold war was a godsend for Soviet and U.S. leaders alike, writes In These Times founder James Weinstein in his new book, The Long Detour: The History and Future of the American Left. The cold war "provided the Soviet Union with a rationale for the Communist Party's unquestioned rule at home and in Eastern Europe," says Weinstein. The long-term effect stateside was to derail the progressive agenda: "By equating opposition to corporate domination of public life with disloyalty, our country's rulers disoriented the left, stifled public discussion of the most basic public policy issues, and transformed the left into a plethora of single-issue movements." Weinstein, a lifelong socialist and "pathological optimist," says it's high time progressives regrouped. He'll attend a release party for his book tonight from 7 to midnight at the offices of In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee in Chicago; call 773-772-0100, ext. 246, or see www.thelongdetour.com for more information.
"Joyce is difficult stuff to get through reading, but it's wonderful hearing it spoken," says a spokesperson for the Irish American Heritage Center's annual Bloomsday show, Rattlin' of the Joists. Staged by the IAHC's resident theater company, Shapeshifters, the one-night-only event commemorates June 16, 1904, the date on which Ulysses is set (and the day Joyce met his wife to be, chambermaid Nora Barnacle), in music, song, and story. It starts at 8 at the center, 4626 N. Knox in Chicago; tickets are $10, $8 for seniors. Call 773-282-7035, ext. 17, for more information.
Chicago's Lake Shore Drive will be closed between 57th and Hollywood this morning for the second annual Bike the Drive; some 18,000 two-wheelers are expected to take part. Organizers emphasize that there's no typical rider for the event--"We have everyone from little kids on training wheels to professional racers," says the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation's Cathy Haibach--but the 30-mile round-trip should take an intermediate-level biker about three hours; those not game to go the distance can do less, as long as they get off the road before 10 AM, when LSD reopens to automobile traffic. Cyclists must register in advance and can start pedaling between 5:30 and 8 AM from Grant Park at Columbus and Balbo (laggards be warned: if you show up after 8 you won't be allowed to ride). The $35 fee ($20 for kids under 14) benefits the CBF and includes water, snacks, help with flats, and admission to the postride festival in Grant Park from 8 to noon. Helmets are required; to register call 312-427-3325 or go to www.bikethedrive.org.
In March the Illinois state house passed the Health Care Justice Act of 2003, which would provide uniform health benefits for all Illinois residents by 2007. The bill made it through the senate insurance committee in April and will be taken up by the full senate during the fall veto session. This is a busy week for health care reformers; tonight senator Barack Obama and representative William Delgado, sponsors of the bill, will speak at a fund-raiser for the umbrella group Campaign for Better Health Care. It's from 5:30 to 7:30 at La Decima Musa Restaurant, 1901 S. Loomis, Chicago. Tickets are $50 and include light refreshments. For more information call 312-913-9449 or go to www.cbhconline.org.
Last week attorney general John Ashcroft called for the expansion of the Patriot Act, explaining that "we need for the law to make it clear that it's just as much a conspiracy to aid and assist the terrorists, to join them for fighting purposes, as it is to carry them a lunch or to provide them with a weapon." But a Justice Department report released a few days earlier found "significant problems" with the administration's treatment of the 762 foreign nationals held on immigration violations under the current version of the law (some were held up to eight months, and 505 were deported, but only one--Zacarias Moussaoui--was charged with a crime related to terrorism). Tonight Emma Lozano of Centro Sin Fronteras and Jim Fennerty of the National Lawyers Guild will discuss the Patriot Act and immigrants' rights at a meeting of Logan Square Neighbors for Justice and Peace. It starts at 7 at Grace United Methodist Church, 3325 W. Wrightwood in Chicago, and it's free. For more information call 773-252-9956.
Two years ago Steve Pickering and a couple of buddies from the Chicago theater scene, Kevin Theis and Charlie Athanas, formed the nonprofit Shanghai Low Theatricals with the intent to turn popular literature from the past into plays. They promised to take "great care" with work by writers who, often under the pressure of commercial dictates, "created for their time those dreams of love, power, and surprise that still for our time make the simple process of reading an escapade." Their first project, an adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Sign of the Four, has Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson helping a young woman figure out why she's the recipient of a mysterious annual gift: a single priceless pearl. Directed by Pickering (who now lives in Los Angeles), it's the last offering of Apple Tree Theatre's 20th-anniversary season. Preview performances are at 7:30 tonight and June 19, 8 on June 20, 8:30 on June 21, and 3 and 7 on June 22 at 595 Elm in Highland Park. The regular run starts Wednesday, June 25, and continues through July 20; tickets range from $27 to $38. Call 847-432-4335.
Last year the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois launched its annual Chicagoland Watch List of endangered historic places. "It cuts through the arguments that a lot of people have--that the building isn't that good, it isn't that important, or it's not on the National Register," says LPCI president David Bahlman. "[This] gives the issue credibility and status that it wouldn't have otherwise." Only one building from last year's list--the W.H. Knight House in Hinsdale--has been demolished, although Alfred Alschuler's 1927 Chicago Mercantile Exchange could fall to the wrecking ball any day now. "The demolition permit was issued before anybody in the city knew about it, including the planning department, the mayor's office, and the Commission on Chicago Landmarks," says Bahlman. The oversight prompted an amendment to the building-department ordinance that created a 90-day delay for endangered buildings of some historical significance to the surrounding community. Bahlman and LPCI board chairman John Stassen will unveil the 2003 list today at a free brown-bag lunch event in the Chicago Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater. It starts at 12:15 at 78 E. Washington in Chicago; call 312-744-6630 for more. For more on the list see www.landmarks.org.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Brosilow.