Friday 10/2 - Thursday 10/8
By Cara Jepsen
2 FRIDAY Set in China in 1912, David Henry Hwang's play Golden Child follows a wealthy Chinese merchant whose flirtation with Christianity turns his household-- which includes three wives--on its head. Polygamy is condemned, feet are unbound, people are baptized, and ancestral spirits are ignored. The story is told by the ghost of the merchant's favorite daughter, "the golden child," who as a ten-year-old watched the political maneuvering among family members. You have to go to New York to see the show, but Hwang will discuss his Tony-nominated play tonight at a reception for the Center for Asian Arts and Media. It's from 5:30 to 7:30 at Douglas Dawson Ethnographica, 222 W. Huron. Tickets are $20, which includes food, wine, and a one-year membership with the center. Call 312-344-7870 for reservations.
3 SATURDAY According to local environmentalist Ed Ponder, the U.S. had the capability to turn organic matter into fossil fuel all the way back in 1865. The machine that did the trick was a heat compressor that took anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to do what the earth needed millions of years to accomplish. But the idea didn't take off: "You didn't need oil to run horses," says Ponder. He claims shadowy interest groups have blocked such environmentally safer sources of energy, but says the time is right to reexamine the thermo-depolymerization process. He'll discuss turning Garbage Into Gasoline tonight at 8 at the College of Complexes, Lincoln Restaurant, 4008 N. Lincoln. Tuition is $3, plus a food or drink purchase. Call 773-326-2120 for more.
4 SUNDAY When the Rock Island Railroad was built in the 1870s, the area now known as Beverly-Morgan Park was touted as a comfortable "village in a city" just minutes from downtown. The neighborhood's historic homes are on the map for today's History Mystery Bike Tour, a scavenger-hunt-style game in which players have to find clues to solve an acrostic puzzle. Those who complete the puzzle will be eligible to win prizes at a drawing. The tour is held in conjunction with the Beverly Area Planning Association's Oktoberfest, which takes place Saturday and today from noon to 7, at the recreation field of Morgan Park Academy, 2153 W. 111th. Registration for the bike tour is from noon to 2; the deadline for solving the puzzle is 5. It's $8 to do the tour (or $18 per family), which also admits you to the festival. Admission to the Oktoberfest is $5, free for kids. Call 733-233-3100.
5 MONDAY "The Gospel Jesus is intimate, emotional, physically expressive, and even sensual in many ways," writes psychotherapist Thomas Moore in his new book, The Soul of Sex: Cultivating Life as an Act of Love. Martin Scorsese got a lot of flak for exploring the same theme. But Moore, a former monk, just wants us to overcome our fear of sex, which, he says, is behind our obsession with it. He's not endorsing the ol' wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am: "Through a meaningless sexual fling we may find ourselves in the biggest emotional mess of our lives." Tonight he'll explain how you can play it safe. He'll speak at 7 at Transitions Bookplace, 1000 W. North (312-951-7323). It's free.
6 TUESDAY Another person wishing people would change their attitudes toward nocturnal activities is Alice Walker. In her new book, By the Light of My Father's Smile, the Pulitzer Prize winner creates a tribe of African-Indian people called the Mundo, who believe that sexuality is a blessing and who reconcile a father and daughter who become estranged when he beats her for sleeping with a Mundo boy. "It's a reflection of how I think things should be rather than how they've been," Walker told Ms. magazine. "I think that many fathers have not known they could have a positive role in sanctioning their daughter's sexuality." She'll read from her book and discuss her views on father-daughter relationships tonight at 7 at the University of Chicago's Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th. It's free, but you must pick up a ticket beforehand at the Seminary Co-op, 57th Street Books, or the Newberry Library bookstore. Call 773-684-1300 for more.
7 WEDNESDAY The press release for tonight's "Poets Across the Generations III" identifies disgraced journalist Patricia Smith as "a former Metro columnist
for the Boston Globe." I guess it's not really the place to mention she was fired for making up stuff. The former poetry slam champ who helped throw editors everywhere into a fact-checking tizzy is appearing with Adrienne Rich; they'll read from their writings and discuss their similarities and differences at 7 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. It's $7, $5 for students and seniors. For more information, call the Guild Complex at 773-296-1108.
8 THURSDAY As if there weren't enough sex talk already in this column: Dan Savage will hit town tonight to promote his new book, Savage Love: Straight Answers From America's Most Popular Sex Columnist. As he writes in the introduction, "I am often asked what professional qualifications I have, if any. Well, to be honest, none." That doesn't seem to matter to all the people who surreptitiously turn to Section Four each week to read his cheeky prose. In case you've been missing out, the book covers everything from herpes to cock rings to making cheese out of human breast milk. My favorite chapter: "Almost Everything Breeder Boys Need to Know About Women's Genitals," in which Savage gives the lowdown on the female orgasm and tries to defend himself for once comparing women's privates to "canned hams dropped from great heights." He'll sign copies and answer questions at 7:30 at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells (312-642-5044). It's free.