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 & 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 in Chicago. 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.
The future of Metropolis Performing Arts Center still hangs in the balance as Arlington Heights considers whether to purchase the facility; in the meantime executive director Tim Rater is forging ahead with programming intended to keep everybody laughing. A Metropolis production of the classic British backstage farce Noises Off previews this weekend. Under the direction of Schadenfreude comedy troupe member and Metropolis producer Sandy Marshall, the play within a play will incorporate Metropolis as its setting, throwing the audience members into the action as soon as they walk through the door. Performances are tonight at 8, Saturday at 4, and Sunday at 3; tickets range from $19 to $26. The regular run begins April 15; see the theater listings for information. Metropolis is at 111 W. Campbell in Arlington Heights. Call 847-577-2121.
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 in Chicago. Call 312-747-8529.
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.
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 in Chicago. It's free, but you must be 21 or older. Call 773-777-1700 or see www.wxrt.com for more.
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 in Chicago. 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 in Chicago. The free event is sponsored by Nextbook, a program designed to promote Jewish culture. Call 312-747-4074 or see www.nextbook.org.
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, in Chicago. 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.
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 in Chicago. It's free; call 312-744-6630.
Samuel R. Delany published his first science fiction novel, The Jewels of Aptor, in 1962, at the age of 20. By the time he was 26 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America had awarded him four Nebulas. His massive novel Dhalgren, in which a bisexual protagonist makes his way through a ruined urban landscape, came out in 1975 and is credited with pushing the genre into new intellectual, literary, and social territory. Known as sci-fi's James Joyce, the prolific Delany--a gay, African-American college dropout--is now a university professor and a reclusive legend. He'll deliver Northwestern University's 2004 Leon Forrest lecture today at 4:30 in the Abbott Auditorium of the Pancoe-Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Life Sciences Pavilion, 2200 Campus Dr. in Evanston. Delany will also be on hand for "The Politics of the Paraliterary: A Symposium on Afro-Diasporic Speculative Fiction and Theory," which takes place from 2 to 6 on Friday, April 16, in room 107 of Harris Hall, 1881 Sheridan in Evanston. Both events are free and open to the public; call 847-467-5122.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Paul Natkin, Becket Logan.