Friday 4/24 - Thursday 4/30
By Cara Jepsen
24 FRIDAY In Latino culture, the quincea–era is a rite of passage for 15-year-old girls that resembles a wedding minus the groom. Performers Alberto Araiza and Paul Bonin-Rodriguez and visual artist Michael Marinez decided to use the ritual as a metaphor to mark the 15th anniversary of the HIV-AIDS epidemic and discuss how they've been affected by it (Araiza is HIV positive). The resulting multimedia theater piece, Quincea–era, combines dance, music, and slide projection to examine what it means to be gay in the Latino community. The second installment of the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum's eight-week-long Del Corazon performing arts festival, it'll be staged at 7 tonight and tomorrow night at the museum, 1852 W. 19th. Tickets are $15, $12 for students and seniors. Call 312-738-1503.
25 SATURDAY Director Lee Mun Wah wants his new film, The Color of Fear, to "shake up Euro-American assumptions of what life is like for those of color." His documentary follows eight men from diverse ethnic backgrounds on a three-day retreat as they discuss their encounters with racism, their defense mechanisms, their prejudices against each other, and the future. Past screenings (including one on The Oprah Winfrey Show) have elicited intense responses from audiences; today's will be followed by a structured group discussion, and clergy and teachers experienced in conflict resolution will be on hand to deal with the emotional fallout. It's from 1 to 5 at the First Presbyterian Church, 1427 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. It's free. Call 847-475-1150 for more.
26 SUNDAY While there are similarities in the music of Poland and Mexico, you won't hear the oompah of the polka at today's Polish/Mexican Gala, a free concert celebrating both Cinco de Mayo and Polish Constitution Day at Holy Name Cathedral. "It's a little inappropriate for church," says Lucyna Migala, artistic director of the Lira Ensemble. Instead, expect the quick changes in tempo and rhythm of the ensemble's singers to be contrasted with the lush, melodic folk music of Cuerdas Clasicas String Ensemble. The two groups will play together for the grand finale, a trilingual, no-holds-barred Polish-Mexican-American patriotic medley that promises to have "people hugging each other and going bonkers." It's at 3 at Holy Name Cathedral, 730 N. Wabash. There's no charge, but donations will be accepted. Call 773-539-4900.
27 MONDAY When a Japanese jazz drummer discovered and deciphered an old, yellowing score for taiko drums in 1947, he found the music intriguing but monotonous. He solved that problem by introducing rhythmic patterns to the mix; the resulting aural onslaught was the beginning of the modern taiko ensemble, which relies entirely on rhythm, rather than melody, to convey its message. Leonard Eto, a former lead performer and composer for the Kodo drummers, one of Japan's most famous taiko groups, will perform tonight both by himself and with a group of local musicians that includes Steven Hashimoto, Tatsu Aoki, Michael Zerang, Mwata Bowden, and Willy Schwartz; Jellyeye drum theater will also perform. It starts at 7:30 at Saint Scholastica High School, 7416 N. Ridge. Tickets are $25 and benefit the Noyes Cultural Arts Center and the Actors Gymnasium. Call 847-328-2795 for more info.
28 TUESDAY When Amy Backus started college at Central Michigan University in 1975, female athletes were neither recruited nor offered scholarships. Now an assistant coach for women's basketball at Northwestern University, Backus says these days "we're recruiting kids 10 or 12 years old who are playing summer basketball." Some thank Title IX for the change, but the 1972 law prohibiting discrimination against girls and women in federally funded education, including athletics programs, wasn't strongly enforced until relatively recently. Today a group that includes Backus, Eastern Illinois University associate director of athletics Deborah Polca, and NU basketball guard Megan Chawansky will discuss the statute in a free panel called Throw Like a Girl: How Title IX Has Changed the Face of Sports in America. It's at noon in the video theater of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State. Call 312-747-4050.
If you've been within 200 feet of a bookstore recently, you've probably been subjected to the sight of tressed, undressed, over-being-depressed Elizabeth Wurtzel flipping the bird to one and all on the cover of her new "bitchography," Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women, in which the pretty li'l feminist offers her take on everyone from Delilah to Amy Fisher to Sylvia Plath. "Quite simply, the bitch role offers women the only option they have to be both powerful and sexual; all other representations of powerful women essentially come down to Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir," she writes. Maybe you can judge a book by its cover. Wurtzel will appear (clothed, I assume) from 7 to 8 tonight at Barnes & Noble, 659 W. Diversey. It's free; call 773-871-9004.
29 WEDNESDAY "Shall I tell you what direct action means? The worker on the job shall tell the boss when and where he shall work, how long and for what wages and under what conditions," reads one pamphlet by the Industrial Workers of the World. It sounds nice on paper, but how could one possibly coerce the Man into giving up even a tiny bit of his power without walking off the job? Sabotage might do the trick: some of the IWW's strategies include the slowdown, the sit-down, the sick-in, whistle-blowing, and something called the good-work strike, in which workers provide free or cheaper service to consumers at the boss's expense. Tonight representatives from the IWW will explain how workers can stick together to stick it to management in a free discussion called What Is Direct Action? It's at 7 at the A-Zone, 2012 W. Chicago. Call 773-252-6019.
30 THURSDAY After the initial media orgy is over, you don't hear much about those unfortunate victims of tornadoes and floods, except maybe for a few brief follow-ups a year or so later. Filling in the blanks is the ostensible purpose behind filmmaker Ross McElwee's latest ambling personal documentary. In Six o'Clock News, McElwee contemplates new fatherhood, biblical catastrophes, and selling out to Hollywood. This is the last night of a four-day screening of the film; show times are tonight at 7 and 9 at Facets Multimedia, 1517 W. Fullerton. It's $7; for more information, check out Jonathan Rosenbaum's review in this section or call 773-281-4114.