Friday 9/4 - Thursday 9/10
by Mike Sula
4 FRIDAY Legendary community organizer Saul Alinsky believed in citizenship through conflict. According to some historians he was one of the first to realize that combining voting power with fear of the black masses was a great way to get the establishment's attention. In 1961, while working in Woodlawn, he brought 46 busloads of black Chicagoans down to City Hall to register to vote. The unforgettable image is still a model for community activism. Herb Schapiro's play The Love Song of Saul Alinsky begins with the flamboyant and flawed Alinsky looking back on a lifetime of accomplishment and controversy. Terrapin Theatre presents the world premiere tonight at 8 at the Blue Rider Theatre, 1822 S. Halsted; it runs through October 3 before moving to the Duncan YMCA Chernin's Center for the Arts, 1001 W. Roosevelt, through October 25. Call 773-989-1006 for tickets, which are $20 on Fridays and Sundays, $22 on Saturdays.
5 SATURDAY When Princess Diana died last August, local royalists bedecked one end of the Michigan Avenue bridge with a monstrous load of flowers, stuffed animals, and letters of condolence expressing a collective sorrow as profound as the spelling errors and grammatical mistakes within them. Presumably editors Rick Blalock and K. Thomas Oglesby employed modern proofreading techniques when compiling Remembering Diana: The People's Tribute to Their Princess, a collection of over "400 heartfelt words of sympathy, reflections and original works of poetry" culled from the global eulogy. Blalock and Oglesby have invited locals who made the cut to read their contributions tonight at 6 at Borders Books & Music, 2817 N. Clark (773-935-3909). It's free.
6 SUNDAY How do the ladies spell "class"? J-A-Z-Z. That's why every self-respecting tomcat needs a well-rounded selection of essentials shelved prominently next to the hi-fi. Reader critic Neil Tesser's first book, The Playboy Guide to Jazz, is a resource for the aspiring fan who wants to start a collection but thinks Birth of the Cool refers to the invention of air conditioning. Tesser draws on 26 years of scribbling on the subject, selecting 50 of the "most important CDs" available and explaining why you need them. He'll sell and sign copies tonight at 9:30 at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo (312-362-9707), as part of the club's Jazz Fest celebration. Additionally, saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell will play jazz for anyone who'd like to hear some before buying the book. Admission is $8; the book's $13.95.
7 MONDAY Volkswagen, ever on the alert for shtick to soften that old association with a certain German dictator, understands the power of "cutesy-poo." Their upcoming introduction of the "Beanie Beetle" just may exceed the planet's tolerance for adorability. Beetle enthusiasts should be prepared for a cataclysm today at the culmination of the "Bug Me" Tour '98, a combination all-Volkswagen car show and Beanie Baby trade show. Hundreds of rare and classic VWs will share Navy Pier's Festival Hall with hundreds of Beanie Baby hucksters, climaxing in a raffle of a restored 1963 Karmann Ghia and a Tabasco red 1998 Beetle. It's from 10 to 4 Saturday through today at 600 E. Grand and it's free. Call 708-692-0691 for more information.
8 TUESDAY When French absurdist and hard-drinkin' little guy Alfred Jarry's play Ubu Roi opened in Paris in 1896, the audience rioted upon hearing the play's opening line: "Merde." Jarry was also the father of pataphysics, or "the science of imaginary solutions [that] examines the laws governing exceptions." Tonight on Jarry's 125th birthday "philosophical instrument maker" Mark Hayward will open his exhibit "What's New in Pataphysics?" While his windup daisy cross-pollinator Sex Machine and his lethal communications system Message in a Bullet may not inspire much looting and burning, Hayward says they meet at the pataphysical intersection of science and nonsense. The show opens tonight at 6 and includes a performance piece by Charley Knapp at 8 at the New Center for Pataphysics, 1105 W. Lawrence, #218 (773-271-4091). It runs Saturdays through October 3, noon till 5 PM, and it's free.
9 WEDNESDAY Mexican Nobel laureate Octavio Paz's historical biography The Traps of Faith tells the story of 17th-century poet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, who at the height of the Inquisition entered a convent to avoid getting married and to continue her writing. As a tribute to Paz, who died last April, Chicago Latino Cinema is screening Argentine director Maria Luisa Bemberg's 1990 adaptation, I, the Worst of All, tonight at 6:30 at the Fine Arts, 418 S. Michigan. It's $8. Call 312-431-1330 for more.
10 THURSDAY A hundred years ago, when the population in this country was decidedly more WASPy, readin', writin', and religion were all part of the lesson plan in public schools. Students said their prayers or stayed after school. Thank God immigrants of different faiths started to make a fuss and separation of church and state started to become more than just a few pious words in the Bill of Rights. This morning eminent theologian Martin Marty kicks off a ten-month breakfast lecture series at DePaul University on the changes in church-state issues over the last century with his talk, "The Protestant Nation: How Has the Last Century Changed Protestant Understandings of the Relationship of Church and State?" Nine more lectures will be held, on the second Thursday of each month, and each will feature a prominent representative of a different major belief system, including Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and secularism. They're free but reservations are required. Marty's talk is at 8 in the Union League Club of Chicago, 65 W. Jackson. Call 312-362-8818 to claim a spot.