Voices STD (Stuff to Do)—November 2, 2007

By Ben Rossi

Friday / November 2

The Center for East Asian Studies, the Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop, and the Korean Film Council are sponsoring an ongoing Korean film festival at Doc Films this month. On Friday night don’t miss Grain in Ear, about an ethnic Korean struggling to survive in Chinese society, and Save the Green Planet, in which a young man believes that aliens are taking over the Earth. This Korean double feature is a must-see. (Max Palevsky Cinema, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., $5)

About one part play and three parts “magical clown show,” as its creators bill it, The Magnificents is a show that engages a certain type of person’s fascination through the story of an aged magician’s last days. And, thank the Lord, it’s not for kids. There are plenty of tricks onstage, including the reliable old saw-her-in-half. And if you really are turned off by the magic, well, take comfort in the fact that the magician is on his way out. (Viaduct Theater, 3111 North Western Avenue, 8 p.m., $17)

Saturday / November 3

Hutchinson Commons comes to life tonight with Synesthesia, an ORCSA-sponsored concert. Synesthesia is defined as a subjective sensation or image of a sense (as of sight) other than the one (as of sound) being stimulated. Basically this entails a rock concert with a light show. But it isn’t your average Kiss concert light show. Fire Escape Films will screen some of its finest experimental films as well as selected segments from its archives as underground bands play through the night. Can I just point out that one of the bands is called Immanuel Won’t? Bravo. (Hutchinson Commons, 8 p.m., free)

Second City’s Between Barack and a Hard Place has almost attained the status of an institution by now; it’s in the seventh month of a continuous run. It’s also just about the perfect introduction to Chicago sketch comedy, more of a collection of time-honed sure-fires than a grope in a new direction. The Art Institute sketch in particular exemplifies one of the central themes of Chicago comedy: the hilarious encounter between the white, working-class denizens that give Chicago its “big shoulders” and the institutions of that part of Chicago that want to be the cultural New York of the Midwest. (1616 North Wells Street, 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., $24)

Hiking. Near Chicago. The very idea gives me a head-splitting case of cognitive dissonance. Yet it’s true: Not two hours from here lies Starved Rock State Park, a sylvan Arcadia. The Environmental Concerns Organization is leading the five-hour hike. They’ve rented a bus, so all you have to do is bring a jacket, water, and lunch, though a $5 donation to pay for the bus would be highly appreciated. (Meet at the Reynolds Club, 10 a.m., free)

Sunday / November 4

As easy as it unfortunately is to see non-University Hyde Park as a cultural wasteland, there are a few exceptions that should make any aesthete second-guess himself. One such exception is the Checkerboard Lounge (in conjunction with the Hyde Park Jazz Society), which hosts prominent local jazz artists every Sunday, many of whom played at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival a few weeks ago. Saxophonist Audley Reid will play his Jamaican-inflected smooth jazz this Sunday night. (5201 South Harper Court, 7:30 p.m., 21+, $5 for students)

Kim Stanley Robinson is a sci-fi writer known for highly literate accounts of outlandish alternative histories. An example: one title, The Years of Rice and Salt, envisions a world where the death of 99 percent of the European population from bubonic plague clears the way for Asian global hegemony. His latest trilogy deals with the effects of global warming—not that outlandish, actually. He’s at Columbia College at noon to discuss the series. (1104 South Wabash Avenue, Eighth Floor, noon, free)

Monday / November 5

The editors of The Onion are in town this evening to remind us that the status of climate change is hilariously grave with their Our Dumb Century: Atlas of the Whole World (73rd Edition). In an event sponsored by the Chicago Humanities Festival, the Onion editors will show us rejected designs for national flags and tell us where each country sees itself in five years. (Thorne Auditorium, Northwestern University School of Law, 375 East Chicago Avenue, 6 p.m., reservations required, $5)

Tuesday / November 6

Best known for his beautiful and terrifying depictions of global industrial landscapes, Edward Burtynsky is one of Canada’s most renowned photographers. His photograph of a neon-red river of nickel tailings has achieved almost-iconic status. Kathe Telingator, producer of Chicago Public Radio’s Stories on Stage, will interview him Tuesday. (Chase Auditorium, 21 South Dearborn Street, 6 p.m., reservations required, $15)

Wednesday / November 7

The Goddamn Shame, a noise-pop band founded by U of C graduates with noticeable influences ranging from The Dandy Warhols to Wilco to Tom Waits to Sonic Youth, will be playing at The Empty Bottle Wednesday night with the Lab Partners. (1015 Western Avenue, 10 p.m., $7)

The Hindi Film Society shows the choicest Bollywood films every Wednesday. This week they’ll be showing Chak De! India, about an Indian hockey team and their struggle to claim the Hockey World Cup for their homeland. The Society will serve samosas and pass out a short Hindi vocab sheet for those who want to learn a bit of the language. Rest assured, though: the films are still shown with English subtitles. (Stuart 101, 6 p.m., free except the samosas, which are two for $1)

Thursday / November 8

The Chicago Friends of Israel sponsors a screening of Israeli director Shimon Dotan’s documentary, Hot House, this evening. The film explores the lives of the nearly 10,000 Palestinians incarcerated in Israel. While focusing on the everyday lives of the prisoners, the film is in no way allergic to politics: Dotan makes it clear that the prisons are incubators for Palestinian nationalism. The unrepentant account of a female Hamas leader serving 16 life sentences for blowing up a Jerusalem restaurant is perhaps the high point of this disturbing and provocative film. (Hutchinson Commons, 8:30 p.m., free)