Friday 9/18 - Thursday 9/24
By Cara Jepsen
18 FRIDAY How many takes does it take to incite a film crew to mutiny? Filmmaker William Greaves attempted to find out when he shot the scene of a marital breakup over and over again in Central Park for his 1968 film Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One. The critique of cinema verite had cameras focused on both the scene and the crew; the split-screen result captured everything from technical mishaps to the crew criticizing Greaves's purposely incompetent direction and passersby wandering on camera to indulge in free-form monologues. The fact that Greaves is African-American and most of the crew was white only adds to the drama. The film will be shown at a rare screening tonight at 7 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington (312-346-3278). Admission is free.
19 SATURDAY "I remember when we used to go to the 12th Street Store / There was the Earvin, Bertells, Levetts and Smoky Joe's / You may be big now and financially tall / But guess what, one day you may fall / UIC, are you smart at all," sings bluesman and Maxwell Street old-timer Jimmie Lee Robinson in his song "Maxwell Street (Tear Down Blues)." Robinson, who cut his teeth in the neighborhood, will join other old-timers today at the free Maxwell Street Heritage Festival to protest the destruction of what has been called the capital of Chicago blues. Performers include Johnny Too Tough, Frank "Little Sonny" Scott Jr., and Johnnie Mae Dunson. There will also be food, drink, speakers, and a dedication ceremony for the Maxwell Street Wall of Fame, a mural with the names of famous and important folks who got their starts there. It's from noon until 3 at the northeast corner of Maxwell and Halsted. Call 312-341-3696 for more information.
20 SUNDAY The Old Town School of Folk Music's new digs may include a parking lot, a public garden, a store, a concert hall, and 31 teaching spaces, but the school's goal remains the same--to be a place where "teacher and student would be partners in learning," as founder Frank Hamilton once said. Musicians and nonmusicians alike are invited to finger the curtains and sniff the flowers at a free open house at this weekend's Old Town School of Folk Music Grand Opening Festival, which also features workshops, demonstrations, and tours. The open house is from 10 to 5 Saturday and today at the Chicago Folk Center, 4544 N. Lincoln. Call 773-525-7793 for more.
21 MONDAY Robert Taylor was just beginning to acknowledge his homosexuality when he was sent to serve as an intelligence officer in Vietnam. The protagonist of his first novel, The Innocent, is a gung ho desk clerk in Saigon who falls in love with a Vietnamese busboy and grows progressively more disillusioned with the war. But unlike at least one notable American in public service, Taylor never considered having an affair while serving his country; not only would it have compromised security, he says, "It would not have been possible for any officer to be gay." Taylor will read from and discuss his book tonight at 7 at Borders Books & Music, 2817 N. Clark (773-935-3909). It's free; the book's $14.95.
22 TUESDAY In the 19th century the British faced their own national scandal when toast of the town Oscar Wilde was accused of having a homosexual dalliance. He was eventually convicted of gross indecency and sent off to a labor camp, where he contracted an ear infection that contributed to his death a few years later. Court Theatre's new production of Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde examines in detail the court proceedings that caused his downfall. The opening performance is tonight at 7 (it runs through October 11) at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis. Call 773-753-4472 for tickets, which are $26 to $36.
23 WEDNESDAY Where photographer Doris Kloster's eponymous first book examined New York City's S-M culture, her new one, Forms of Desire, is broken into chapters that explore androgyny, fantasy, fetishism, and the sexual basis of seemingly innocuous feminine preoccupations with food, fashion, and motherhood. Kloster's female models, who range in age from 19 to 43, are shown in compromising positions like holding a whip and striking a Statue of Liberty pose, being straddled by a dog, and sporting a dildo and heels while squatting to urinate. "They are women breaking out of old stereotypes," writes Kloster in the prologue. "All of them manipulate their own images to exhibit their appetites, revealing myriad forms of desire." She'll sign copies of her book tonight from 6 to 7 at the Museum of Contemporary Art's bookstore, 220 E. Chicago. It's free, but the book's $45. Call the bookstore at 312-397-4001 for more information.
24 THURSDAY Amy Krouse Rosenthal is not proud that she went to a Neil Diamond concert in junior high. Once upon a time she had trouble pronouncing the word "colonel." And she tends to smirk when someone tells her something "really tragic and horrible." Those are just a few of the things Rosenthal "would admit for a small amount of money" in her new Book of Eleven, which contains her unique thoughts on subjects that include bad people, air travel, food, sex, and pennies. ("I LOVE paying in pennies, and then how light and fresh my wallet feels after. It's cathartic in a way I don't fully understand.") As number ten on the cover's list says, "You may be thinking, 'Man, I could have written this.' Well, that's probably true." Rosenthal will explain how she got a book deal and you didn't tonight at 7:30 at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells (312-642-5044). It's free, unless you shell out $10.95 for the book.