Friday 9/19 - Thursday 9/25
By Cara Jepsen
19 FRIDAY A man who claims he was protecting himself from sexual advances, a self-hating religious gay man, a child-abuse victim, an army sergeant, and a self-proclaimed homeboy looking for easy pickings are among the convicted killers of gay men Arthur Dong interviews in his 1996 film Licensed to Kill. Dong combines videotaped confessions, news reports, evidence, and courtroom scenes to examine the role societal forces played in the men's actions. Tonight's opening, which benefits Horizon's Anti-Violence Project, will be followed by a panel discussion called Confronting the Face of Hate; the movie starts at 8, and admission is $20. The film will be screened again tomorrow at 8 and Sunday at 6 for $6. All showings are at the Film Center at the School of the Art Institute, Columbus and Jackson. Call 312-443-3737 for more.
20 SATURDAY Empire of the Senseless is both a Mekons album and one of the many books by Bay Area-based avant-garde artist Kathy Acker. "Neither I nor anyone else I knew could figure out which title had come first, and anyway, that didn't matter, because plagiarism in my world creates community," Acker says. In 1995 the band recorded the musical version of Acker's novel Pussy, King of the Pirates; Acker wrote the words and narrated the tale of a female pirate's adventures on the high seas. The record, at least, is surprisingly engaging. They'll perform it live tonight (as well as Friday and Sunday) at 7:30 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. Tickets are $15, $13 for students and seniors. Acker and the Mekons will also attend a free book and album signing at the MCA bookstore today at 5 and tomorrow at 2. Call 312-397-4010 for tickets and information.
21 SUNDAY Once upon a time, inner-city schoolteacher Kyra had an intense, adulterous affair with upscale restaurateur Tom. Years later he comes back into her life and tries to get her to join him and leave her career behind. Yeah, it sounds like something out of Melrose Place, but it's actually David Hare's Tony-nominated play Skylight, which opens tonight at 7 and runs through November 2 at the Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted. Tickets are $31.50 and $36.50; call 312-335-1650. The roving gallery Anatomically Correct has produced an exhibit related to the play, called Head of the Class: Art by Inner-City Teachers. It features work by six artists who teach their trades in the Chicago public schools. The exhibit opens at 6:30 Friday and can be viewed from 7 to 8 Tuesday through Friday through November 9 at Steppenwolf's second-floor gallery. Call 312-514-1802 for more.
22 MONDAY The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings are just a few of the books that people have tried to have pulled from libraries. When that happens, the American Library Association steps in. "The library wants to present materials that present a variety of viewpoints," says Cynthia Robinson, associate director of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom. "Parents can choose what's appropriate for their children and only their children, but they cannot make the decision for everyone else who uses the library." Some of the cases have gone to court; the ALA recently supported some Kansas City students who fought to keep Annie on My Mind, a young-adult book about two girls who develop a lesbian relationship, on the shelves. They won. Robinson will discuss her group's activities and the history of Banned Books Week tonight at 7 at Borders Books & Music, 830 N. Michigan. It's free. Call 312-573-0564.
23 TUESDAY Where does electronic art fit in the creative spectrum? Is it cold and distant schlock slapped together by dilettantes, or will it go down in history as a medium that spawned contemporary masterworks produced by visionaries? Those are some of the questions the attendees at the eighth International Symposium on Electronic Art will be trying to answer during the expensive, weeklong series of lectures, performances, exhibits, and workshops. Author, performance artist, and honorary chair Laurie Anderson will give a presentation today at 6 in the Art Institute's Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus. The conference runs from Monday to Saturday; it's $425 to register, or $190 per day ($175/$80 for students). The symposium is held in conjunction with the School of the Art Institute's more accessible citywide electronic art festival, featuring 170 artists from 22 countries, which will be held on the third floor of the school's White Tower Building, 847 W. Jackson, as well as at the MCA, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Most of the exhibits are free. Call 312-345-3602 for information on both events.
24 WEDNESDAY Poets Melysha Sargis, who is of Palestinian descent, and Julie Parson-Nesbitt, who is Jewish, were discussing their work when they discovered that they had each written a feminist revision of the same story from the Bible. After talking further, the two women found they shared similar cultural outlooks. Figuring they weren't alone, Sargis and Parson-Nesbitt decided to organize tonight's Bridge of Voices: A Reading by Arab and Jewish Poets, which will include readings by Rosellen Brown, Mary Abowd, Jeremy LaHoud, Phil Klukoff, and Helen Degan Cohen, among others. "We want people to see that these two groups who are often seen as not getting along can come together through our voices," says Parson-Nesbitt. "When you hear about somebody's personal life, they become a real person." She and Sargis will also read. It starts at 7:30 at the Guild Complex at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. Admission is $5; call 773-278-2210.
25 THURSDAY "The aging female body comes into deep conflict with cultural representations of feminine beauty, which in U.S. society--and increasingly across the world--today demands youth, slenderness, agility," writes ethnographer and DePaul religious studies professor Frida Kerner Furman in her book Facing the Mirror: Older Women and Beauty Shop Culture. Consequently, older women and their contributions are often ignored, even by feminists. Furman conducted a long-term study of a group of older women who let their hair down at a Chicago beauty shop, dubbed Julie's International Salon; she discovered what writer May Sarton calls "a foreign country with an unknown language to the young." Furman will discuss her findings tonight at 7:30 at Women and Children First, 5233 N. Clark. It's free. Call 773-769-9299.