Friday 10/10 - Thursday 10/16
By Cara Jepsen
10 FRIDAY Afro-Chinese-American filmmaker Lee Lew-Lee met Martin Luther King in 1967, when Lew-Lee was 14. Three years later, he joined the Black Panther Party in Harlem. Antagonism within and outside the group forced him to split, and he spent seven years underground working odd jobs and dreaming of making a documentary that would tell the truth about the 1960s. By 1995 he had raised enough money to make a rough cut for All Power to the People!: The Black Panther Party and Beyond. The 54-minute film combines rare film footage and heavily censored FBI and CIA documents as well as interviews with federal agents, past and current political prisoners, journalists, civil rights activists, 1960s New Left activists, and Black Panthers to show the legacy of J. Edgar Hoover's 1968 statement before Congress that "the Black Panther Party is the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States." Tonight's screening is at 7 at Kino-Eye Cinema at Xoinx Tea Room, 2933 N. Lincoln. Admission is $6. Call 773-384-5533.
11 SATURDAY Why would Jeff Dorchen complain about the alternative media when his "episodic collage cabaret" show Arrogant Living made Critic's Choice last week, not to mention the column you're reading right now? Maybe he's still irritated about a past profile of him in the Reader. And last week's New City included only a perfunctory mention of the show. Or perhaps his disillusionment is fed by residual resentment picked up from his cohosts this weekend, Dave Awl and Edward Thomas-Herrera, former members of the performance group Pansy Kings. Whatever the case, criticizing the city's alternative media is the theme of this weekend's episode. "Actually there may not be a whole lot of griping," quips Dorchen. "There might be a lot of grandstanding and cheering." Performances are Friday and tonight at 10 at Donny's Skybox Studio at the Second City in Piper's Alley, 1608 N. Wells. Tickets are $10; call 312-337-3992.
12 SUNDAY Occasionally the Reader receives a flurry of letters taking movie critic Jonathan Rosenbaum to task. Why not go straight to the source? Die-hard cinephiles can get a chance to do just that when the Chicago Historical Society and the Guild Complex present Jonathan Rosenbaum in a conversation with Michael Wilmington. They'll discuss Rosenbaum's recent book Movies as Politics and film in general; there will also be a Q & A session afterward. It's today at 3 at the Chicago Historical Society, Clark at North. It's $5; call 312-642-5035, ext. 383, for information and tickets.
Too many conversations these days deal with topics we've been spoon-fed by the media--the latest sex scandal, Princess Di, the local sports team. Crazy roommates and neighbors, why there are no famous living painters, cosmetic surgery, the preponderance of bagel stores, and public funding of the arts are among the compelling topics that could come up at tonight's Coffee With David Hauptschein and Joseph Fosco. These subjects and others will be drawn from a hat, and up to 25 audience members will get a chance to sit onstage with Fosco and Hauptschein and riff on the topic they pull. The duo will also take suggestions from audience members who choose to stay on the sidelines. "You never know what will set something off in someone's head," says Hauptschein. The dialogue starts tonight at 7 at Angel Island Theatre, 731 W. Sheridan. $5 gets you all the java and jive you can endure. Call 773-871-0442.
13 MONDAY Last week I called a major storage company to find out the monthly rent on a five-by-ten-foot unit. The man on the phone couldn't tell me when, if ever, one would be available. "People move out all the time," he said. "But we don't have anything today." Nor could he give me a price. "Anywhere from $1 to $200." What's the average? "That depends." Smell a fraud? Maybe. Attorney Lance Raphael will teach you how to avoid getting screwed at today's free Consumer Rip-Offs seminar. It's from 12:15 to 1:15 in the Chicago Authors Room on the seventh floor of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State. Call 312-554-2010 for more.
14 TUESDAY In the late 1800s women wore hoop skirts and corsets, suffered from neurasthenia, and didn't get out of the house much. In the late 1900s, women wear jeans and T-shirts, work, schlepp the kids, take step classes, and suffer from chronic fatigue. Have we come a long way, baby? "Is women having liposuction much different than Scarlett O'Hara clinging to her bedpost while Mammy is lacing her up?" asks costume designer and fashion historian Lynda A. Bender, who suggests we've only exchanged one set of assumptions for another. "Not really. It has the same consequence; it's tied into the cultural expectation of what a woman is supposed to look like." Tonight Bender, who teaches corset making, will elaborate further when she presents a slide show and lecture entitled The Gilded Cage: 19th-Century Fashion and Women's Place. It's at 6:30 at Glessner House, 1800 S. Prairie. It's $4; call 312-326-1480 for reservations.
15 WEDNESDAY Ah, the price of success. Once upon a time, the Jim Rose Circus was an underground freak show that shocked and scared even the supercool. But after a successful run on the 1992 Lollapalooza tour the circus went international, hitting the European rock festival circuit, and Rose made a whole slew of rock-star friends. He even appeared on a Halloween episode of The X-Files. Tonight Rose is back to his old tricks, backed up by favorites Enigma, Armenian Rubber Man, the Amazing Mr. Lifto, and Bebe the Circus Queen, plus some new additions. The 18-and-over-only carnival of the bizarre hits town tonight at 9 at Metro, 3730 N. Clark. Tickets are $15. Call 773-549-0203 for information or 312-559-1212 for tickets.
16 THURSDAY Anthony Davis, whose new opera about the slave revolt aboard the ship Amistad opens at the Lyric Opera next month, was working in a grand old tradition when he created a time-traveling trickster character to fill in gaps in the story and add comic relief. His narrator is invisible to white people, acts as a mediator for the slaves, and explains historical issues to the audience. The trickster pops up throughout history and literature: think of Prometheus the fire stealer and Br'er Rabbit. Often possessing supernatural qualities that allow him to cross the barriers of time, space, life, and death, the trickster walks the line between good and evil. Today Davis and African-American studies authority and New Yorker contributor Henry Louis Gates Jr. will preview the annual Chicago Humanities Festival with a free lecture called The Trickster as Cultural Hero. It's at 6 (a reception for Gates and Davis starts at 5) in the Winter Garden of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State. Call 312-422-5350, ext. 230.