Studs Terkel exhorts us not to give up the good fight in Hope Dies Last: Keeping the Faith in Troubled Times, an oral history of social activism that includes interviews with subjects ranging from pardoned Illinois death row inmate Leroy Orange to Latin American immigrants struggling to get by. The nonagenarian will sign books today at 2 at the University of Chicago Bookstore, 970 E. 58th in Chicago (773-702-7712), then give a talk at 3:15 at the U. of C.'s Donnelly Biological Sciences Learning Center, 927 E. 57th (773-702-2150). Tomorrow, June 5, Studs will take part in a panel discussion with writers James Atlas and Stuart Dybek as part of the Printers Row Book Fair. That's at 12:30 in the auditorium of Jones College Prep, 606 S. State in Chicago; call 312-222-3986 for more, or, for a complete schedule of book fair events, see page 22.
David Sedaris is back in the States to read from his new book, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, in which he recounts such childhood humiliations as his father demanding that a popular boy's parents pay for young David's root canal after the boy throws a rock at his face. That's at 7 PM at Unabridged Books, 3251 N. Broadway in Chicago, 773-883-9119. Sedaris also reads tomorrow, June 5, at 7 at Barbara's Bookstore, 1100 Lake in Oak Park, 708-848-9140.
The Believer, the McSweeney's crowd's oh-so-unsnarky monthly literary magazine, comes to town tonight to celebrate its June music issue with performances by the Mountain Goats, Archer Prewitt, and Buried Beds. There'll also be a raffle employing an "arcane Danish random-ticket-disbursement strategy." It starts at 9 tonight with music at 10 at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western in Chicago (773-276-3600); admission is $14 and includes a copy of the new issue, which has interviews with David Byrne and Q-Tip, plus a CD. See www.believermag.com or Spot Check for more.
Today you can scour the offerings at the Polish Museum of America's first-ever rummage sale for vintage clothing, toys, and kitschy knickknacks. It's free and runs from 9 to 3 today and 9 to 2 tomorrow, June 6, at the museum, 984 N. Milwaukee in Chicago; call 773-782-2605 for more.
The 57th annual 57th Street Art Fair is a juried show with paintings, ceramics, and sculpture from more than 300 artists. The free fair runs today and tomorrow from 11 to 6:30 at 57th and Kimbark in Chicago; call 773-493-3247 or see www.57thstreetartfair.org.
Those still harboring a sweet tooth for childhood favorites like Necco Wafers or the long-gone Marathon bar will find a kindred soul in Steve Almond, who says he keeps between three and seven pounds of candy in his house at all times. His book Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America details not just his sugary obsessions but also the fate of small candy manufacturers struggling against the big three: Nestle, Mars, and Hershey. He'll read today at 1 at the Nelson Algren Stage at the Printers Row Book Fair in Chicago. Almond will also take part in two group readings: the first today at 4, also at the Nelson Algren Stage, and the second tomorrow, June 6, at 10 AM at the Columbia College residence hall, 731 S. Plymouth Court. Call 312-222-3986 or see page 22 for more.
"It started out as something small and got really out of hand," says Suzy Mattay of the all-ages Devo party she's organized in honor of the band's first big gigs in lo these many years-they're playing New York's Central Park this summer and Chicago's Riviera Theater in September. DJ Magic Donut spins and Manaconda, Hyper Viper, and the Devo tribute band Dove, the Band of Love will cover favorite singles. There'll also be screenings of Devo videos, movies, and rare footage like the band's appearance on the early-80s TV show Square Pegs, plus a Devo costume contest. It starts at 8 at the Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton in Chicago (773-486-2700), and it's $7.
Last month the congregation of the Unitarian Church of Evanston voted to formally declare its support for same-sex marriage--and they're not going to be shy about it. Today they'll hang a 64-square-foot banner on the east side of the church declaring "Civil Marriage Is a Civil Right." Unitarian Universalists, who were among the first to admit women, gays, and lesbians to the ministry, have been performing same-sex union ceremonies for 30 years. A banner-raising celebration with readings and song will begin at 12:15 at the church, 1330 Ridge, Evanston. Call 847-864-1330.
Work has just begun on the Millennium Park Bicycle Station, which will include shower facilities and secure parking for 300 bikes. But while the city continues to encourage commuting by cycle, many people resist because of fears about safety-or dread of helmet hair. Today at Learning to Bike to Work or School a "bicycle ambassador" from the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation will give tips on handling hair, hygiene, bad weather, rude drivers, and more. It's at 12:15 today in the Chicago Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E. Washington in Chicago (312-744-6630), and it's free.
In her book Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species, Air America commentator Laura Flanders explores the agendas and corporate connections of female White House players like Condoleezza Rice and Karen Hughes. At tonight's An Evening With Laura Flanders: Bushwomen, a Performance Piece, local actors will perform scenes from Lynne Cheney's steamy 1981 romance novel, Sisters, and read Condi's father John W.'s 1971 speech against the Vietnam war, along with other material adapted from the book. Afterward there'll be a discussion between Flanders and Salim Muwakkil, senior editor at In These Times; a reception and book signing follows. It starts at 7 PM at the Lakeshore Theater, 3175 N. Broadway in Chicago, and it's $16, $12 for seniors, students, and actors with union cards or head shots. Proceeds go to Peace Pledge-Chicago. Call 773-472-3492 or see www.lakeshoretheater.com. Flanders will also read and sign her book tomorrow, June 8, at 7:30 at Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark in Chicago (773-769-9299).
From our vantage point on Earth, the second planet in our solar system doesn't often pass in front of the sun-the last time a transit of Venus occurred was in 1882. Today, though, you can witness the rare celestial event. A viewing begins midtransit at sunrise, 5:18 AM, and runs through 6:25 AM, when the transit ends, at the Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr. in Chicago (312-922-7827). It's free.
Missing from the wild for 30 years, the Mexican gray wolf is one of North America's most endangered mammals. On June 18 the Brookfield Zoo will open a new two-acre Mexican gray wolf exhibit area with five outdoor viewing alcoves, a 40-foot indoor window, a minicam trained on the den, and an environment designed to promote the wolves' natural behavior so that some of them can eventually be released into their natural habitat. Tonight the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Peter Siminski, coordinator of an international effort to help the species survive, will give a talk, Saving the Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf. It starts at 7:30 in the Discovery Center at the zoo, 3300 Golf Rd., Brookfield (off First Avenue between I-55 and I-290). Admission is $15, $13 for members. Call 708-485-0263, ext. 297, for more information.
Tonight Hiram Frederick Moody III (aka Rick), author of The Ice Storm and Demonology, among other works, talks about writing for radio at the latest installment of the Third Coast Audio Festival. "I think literature really benefits from being performed," he's said. "It makes the beauty of the language more apparent, and it makes an implied voice an actual instrument." Some excerpts from Moody's audio work, which includes a radio play, will also be aired. It's tonight from 7 to 9 at the Garage Theatre at Steppenwolf, 1650 N. Halsted in Chicago. Tickets are $10, $8 for Chicago Public Radio members and students. Call 312-948-4682 or see www.thirdcoastfestival.org.
Outside the Lines: Ordinary Pastimes, Extraordinary Art, an exhibit of arts and crafts by regular folks, features sock monkeys, macaroni crosses, clothespin constructions, paint-by-numbers paintings, and more. Tonight's opening reception will feature "folk/performance artist" Max Rada Dada doing some of his "Unexceptional Tricks"--such as balancing on an ironing board atop a ladder while wearing a Boy Scout uniform. The free reception is from 5 to 8 at Intuit, 756 N. Milwaukee in Chicago (312-243-9088). Upcoming related events include "make-your-own" workshops on sewing sock monkeys and building stuff out of Popsicle sticks. See outsider.art.org for more information.