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Ladyfest Midwest 

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The film and video component of this multidisciplinary arts festival continues Friday and Saturday, August 17 and 18, at the Biograph, 2433 N. Lincoln, 773-348-2143; Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, 773-278-1500; Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee, 773-509-5050; Heaven Gallery, 1550 N. Milwaukee, 773-342-4597; and Local Grind, 1585 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3490. Unless otherwise noted, all screenings will be video projection. Tickets are $7, available at the venue one hour before showtime; admission is free with a festival pass. For more information and complete festival listings, see sidebar in Section Three.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 17

I Say I Am: Women's Performance Video From the 1970s

These ten works from Chicago's Video Data Bank (some of them excerpts) demonstrate the diversity and complexity of modern feminism, as each of the artists asserts her uniqueness as a person. Susan Mogul seems proudly self-sufficient in Take Off (1974), talking about her vibrator, displaying all its spent batteries, and apparently using it under the table. Linda Montano, on the other hand, is devastated by the sudden loss of her ex-husband in Mitchell's Death (1978); the intense, high-contrast close-up of her face focuses attention on the spooky monotone of her voice as she reads her story. In Suzanne Lacy's bizarre Learn Where the Meat Comes From (1976) a cooking lesson morphs into an almost erotic interplay between chef and meat, and in Nina Sobell's Hey! Baby! Chickey! (1978) a woman cradles a cooking chicken like a baby as romantic songs on the sound track suggest a joke on the sexist uses of baby and chick. Also on the program, which will run about two hours, videos by Martha Rosler, Eleanor Antin, Barbara Latham, Janice Tanaka, and Steina Vasulka. Curator Maria Troy will attend the screening. (FC) (Chopin Theatre, 3:30)

Pirates, Zinesters, and Ciphers

Three documentaries about alternative media. Rachel Raimist's Nobody Knows My Name (58 min.) profiles a half dozen young women of color trying to make it in the macho world of hip-hop, including rap artist Leschea, turntablist DJ Symphony, and break-dancer Asia One. They're uniformly energetic in performance but long-winded and narcisstic as they address the camera, talking about their backgrounds and tough breaks. In Grrlyshow (18 min.), Kara Herold takes a wry look at women zine publishers (whose offerings include Bitch, Hues, and Plotz--"for happy Jews"); her mixture of tales from the trenches and anticorporate satire is delightful. Chicagoan Christine Gilliland directed Around the Dial (25 min.), an appropriately loose no-budget portrait of the anticonsumerist DJs who broadcast on the Wicker Park pirate station FRWT. (TS) (Congress Theater, 7:00)

Border Bandits

Short works by Garakot Prusantkul, Cassandra Voltolina, Yi-wei Loo, K.J. Mohr and Kelly Hayes, and Carolina Pfister. (Heaven Gallery, 11:00)

Saturday Morning Animations and Fantasy Shorts

Short works by Janet Wondra, Red Emma, Kim Collmer, Shoham Arad, Kelly Kirshner, Janice Inskeep, Sadie Benning, and Samuael Topiary. (Heaven Gallery, midnight)

SATURDAY, AUGUST 18

Saturday Morning Animations and Fantasy Shorts

See listing for Friday, August 17. To be shown on a video monitor. (Local Grind, 11:00 am)

Distance Marked

Short works by Susan Kim, Anne Olson, Rosyln Rhee, Salome Chasnoff, and Miranda July. (Heaven Gallery, 3:00)

Media Girls: Videos for and by Young Women

Short works curated by Women in the Director's Chair. (Chopin Theatre, 5:45)

Everybody's Dying Here

Ali Gardoki documents the rise and fall of her all-girl band Las Ultrasonicas, part of the nascent Mexico City punk scene. Each player gets a segment to talk obsessively about herself (Gardoki, who came to town to study film, is the least commonplace in her mannerisms and neuroses), and their profiles are intercut with casual analyses of the music underground. Girl bands are still unusual in Mexico, and the women all revel in their rebellious image (though their big anthem is called "Come in My Mouth"). Gardoki's in-your-face approach smacks of reality TV, but whenever she leaves her bandmates behind to wander the streets or visit some underground club, the video provides an unwittingly ironic ethnography of a music whose nationalistic sentiments are overwhelmed by the influence of the U.S. 75 min. (TS) (Chopin Theatre, 7:30)

Plaster Caster

Presented in partnership with the Chicago Underground Film Festival (see sidebar in this section for capsule review); Ladyfest pass holders will be admitted free. (Biograph, 9:45)

My First Time: Early Films by Bad Ass Lady Filmmakers

Short films by Jamie Babbit, Helen Stickler, Tamra Davis, Tamara Hernandez, Suki Hawley, Patricia Cardoso, Mary Harron, Nancy Savoca, and program curator Sarah Jacobson, who will attend the screening. (Heaven Gallery, 11:00)

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
July 19
Performing Arts
Guards at the Taj Steppenwolf Theatre
June 13

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