Friday 2/14 - Thursday 2/20
By Cara Jepsen
14 FRIDAY The Saint Valentine's Day Massacre Memorial has more to do with the relationship between the prohibition of yesteryear and today's war on drugs than the tired old legend of Al Capone. The daylong conference includes such lectures as "Contemporary Prohibition," "Law-Drug Policy and Constitutional Rights," "Medical Marijuana Decriminalization," and "Personal Use and Legalization: A Discussion." Speakers include reps from the Chicago Police Department, the ACLU, and the San Francisco Cultivator's Club. It's today from 8:30 to 6 at the Chicago Historical Society, Clark and North. Tickets are $15 to $50. Call 773-486-8085 for more.
Topless waitresses, exotic dancers, and a bondage rack with hot-wax torture are just a taste of the naughty menu available at tonight's King VelVeeda's Court of Porn. The smut fest kicks off a monthlong exhibit of the artist's dark work (featured in such comics as Horny Biker Sluts and She-Male Trouble) and includes a special appearance by porn star Seka, music by Three Blue Teardrops, and free cheesecake. It starts at 8 at Poop Studios, 1947 W. North. It's $8. Call 773-927-5008.
15 SATURDAY "I have seen sucrose beaches and water a very bright blue. I have seen an all-red leisure suit with flared lapels. I have smelled suntan lotion spread over 2,100 pounds of hot flesh. I have been addressed as 'mon' in three different nations. I have seen 500 upscale Americans dance the Electric Slide. I have seen sunsets that looked computer-enhanced. I have (very briefly) joined a conga line." So begins David Foster Wallace's 1996 Harper's essay "Shipping Out," which chronicled his adventures on a cruise. The caustic, heavily footnoted masterpiece is included in Wallace's new collection of nonfiction, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. The prolific author and Illinois State University prof will read from his book tonight at 7:30 at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells. It's free; call 312-642-5044.
Amy Rigby's Pork Chop Casserole, Jo Carol Pierce's Bad Girl Biscuits and Gravy, and Moonshine Willy's Smashed Bread Appetizers are among the easy-to-make colon-cloggin' recipes collected in The Original Alt.Country Community Cookbook. Compiled from on-line submissions sent by musicians, promoters, and fans, the book also includes reading lists, listening suggestions, and home remedies. Tonight Moonshine Willy will offer samples of their specialty and play a live set at 5 at Borders Books and Music, 1629 Orrington in Evanston. It's free; call 847-733-8852.
If being large just means there's more of you to love, then there'll be plenty to swoon over tonight at the Colossal Cuties' belated Valentine's Day dance. The social group for "people of size" and their admirers promises an overabundance of fun, including live music, a DJ, and a buffet. It starts at 8 at the Days Inn, 1900 N. Mannheim in Melrose Park. It's $15, $10 with a room reservation. Call 312-458-9144.
16 SUNDAY For the last 22 years, the Chicago Women's Health Center has provided services to women on a sliding scale; when it comes time to pay, the patient is handed an envelope, and she puts what she can afford inside. To help raise money for the center, more than 30 massage therapists will donate their services at today's Massage-a-Thon. It's from 10 to 5 at the CWHC in Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield. An hour-long massage is $50 to $80. Call 773-935-6126 to make a reservation.
Prior to becoming a TV star, attorney Johnnie Cochran represented everyone from Michael Jackson to Todd Bridges to Reginald Denny--and it's all painstakingly detailed in his autobiography, Journey to Justice. In Dennis Kimbro's new book, What Makes the Great Great: Strategies for Extraordinary Achievement, the author, professor, and business consultant examines the lives of successful African-Americans and offers guidelines on how to be like them. Kimbro and Cochran will appear together to discuss their books today from 3 to 6 at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place. It's free. Call 773-947-0600.
17 MONDAY Denounced by the press as "the wickedest woman in New York," Madame Restell went from being an English butcher's maid to becoming America's most notorious abortionist of the 19th century. Catering to the rich kept her illegal business a step ahead of the law and made her a millionaire, yet she also helped poor women for a nominal fee. Kira Obolensky's The Abortionist consists of three short chamber plays that examine Restell's life and times. The New Plays Lab final reading is tonight at 7 at the Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted. It's free. Call 312-335-1888 for reservations.
18 TUESDAY How did Evita's husband amass the power to rule Argentina? Today Northern Illinois University professor Samuel Amaral will give an account of Juan Peron's rise in the lecture Peron: From Exile to Power as part of the U. of C.'s Latin American History Workshops. It starts at 4 in room 155 at the University of Chicago's Harper Hall, 1116 E. 59th. It's free. Call 773-702-8420 for reservations.
You'd think Homer Simpson were manning the controls: Com Ed got slapped recently with a record-setting fine of $650,000 for safety problems at its LaSalle nuclear reactor, and in January, 6 of its 12 reactors made the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's watch list. Doh! Tonight David Kraft, director of the Nuclear Energy Information Service, discusses Nuclear Lemons: A Look at Illinois' Worst Nuclear Power Plants. It's from 7 to 9 at the Evanston Public Library, 1701 Orrington in Evanston. It's free; call 847-869-7650.
19 WEDNESDAY Now that they've got their welfare reform, what's going to happen once the attention-challenged politicos move on to the next cause du jour? Tonight Cecilia Perry of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and Nik Theodore of the Chicago Urban League will discuss welfare reform and its effect on the poor and working class. It's from 7 to 9 at the Unite Center, 333 S. Ashland. It's free; call 312-666-3037.
20 THURSDAY For four days they gather in the Nevada desert and dance naked or dress up in costumes, race rocket-powered cars, bathe in mud, and shoot automatic weapons. On day five they burn a 40-foot-tall human effigy and undulate to its flames. Wish you'd been there? Tonight Joe Winston's 39-minute documentary of the Burning Man Festival will screen at 8 at Delilah's, 2771 N. Lincoln. It's free; call 773-472-2771.
Has it been a while since you've been able to make the "I really value you as a friend, but..." speech? Perhaps it's because you can't get past the first date. Tonight relationship expert Paige Grant will lead a First Dates, First Moves workshop designed to ease the transition from strangers to lovers--so that in no time at all you'll be able to say, "It's not you, it's me." It's from 6:45 to 10 in Grant's offices at 4158 N. Greenview. It's $59 in advance, $69 at the door. Call 773-388-2452.