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Desispotting: April 2011

2011 March 30
by Ramona

Last updated April 25.

Spring continues to bring us a plethora of opportunities to catch desis doing fascinating things around Chicagoland…

As always, we’ll continue to update this post throughout the month. Send your events to or leave a comment here.

South Asian Progressive Action Collective logo


Don’t forget: Artist applications for Voices of Resistance 10: REVISION are due Friday, April 15!


Enemies of Silence @ Chicago Cultural Center
Friday, April 1 @ 7:00pm

Rape Victim Advocates presents an evening of poetry and performance to kick off Sexual Assalt Awareness Month, as part of the public programming around the Off the Beaten Path exhibition at the Cultural Center. Performers include Friends of SAPAC Sarwat Rumi and Lani Montreal.

Enemies of Silence

Krishan vs. Kanhaiya @ North Shore Center for the Performing Arts
Friday, April 1 @ 8:00pm

Bollywood star Paresh Rawal stars in this Hindi play directed by Umesh Shukla.

Krishan vs. Kanhaiya

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor @ Gaylord
Saturday, April 2 @ 7:00pm

Gaylord’s downtown restaurant features a special dinner and talk by the world renowned chef and author of the new book How to Cook Indian.

Sanjeev Kapoor

SEVEN @ Gene Siskel Film Center
Saturday, April 2 @ 8:15pm

Silk Road Theater Company presents a staged reading of SEVEN, a documentary play based on interviews with seven women’s rights activists from seven countries around the world: Afghanistan, Cambodia, Guatemala, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, and Russia. The interviews were conducted by seven award-winning women playwrights: Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deveare-Smith, and Susan Yankowitz. The show features an ensemble of local actors that includes Mouzam Makkar and Amira Sabbagh and is presented as part of the 16th Annual Asian American Showcase.


Ravi Shankar film @ Chicago Cultural Center
Sunday, April 3 @ 2:00pm

In recognition of his 91st birthday, the Cultural Center’s Reel Music series debuts the rerelease of Ravi Shankar, Raga: A Film Journey to the Soul of India, the long out-of-print documentary film about the life of the legendary sitarist.

Ravi Shankar

50th Ward Run-off Election
Tuesday, April 5 @ 6:00am-7:00pm

Among the many Chicago aldermanic run-off elections we’ll be watching is the 50th Ward match between incumbent Bernie Stone and Debra Silverstein. Full election info can be found at


Katarzyna Pazucha @ University of Chicago
Thursday, April 7 @ 4:30pm

Pazucha, of the university’s Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, speaks as part of the school’s Theory and Practice in South Asia graduate student workshop series.

Brownstar @ UIC
Thursday, April 7 @ 7:00pm

As part of their APA Heritage Month calendar, UIC’s Asian American students present an open mic night featuring spoken word artists Brownstar and Beau Sia.


Tabla Master Class with Prafulla Athalye @ Andy’s Music Chicago ADDED 4/7
Thursday, April 7 @ 7:00pm

Prafulla is a life long disciple of Ustad Alla Rakha, father of Zakir Hussain. He’ll present an overview of his very popular lineage of techniques and styles on the tabla.

Indo-American Center Wine & Cheese Social @ TBA
Saturday, April 9 @ 4:00pm

The Center’s Leadership 21 junior board hosts a networking event for young professionals.

Indo-American Center

Bollywood in My Soul @ Gene Siskel Film Center ADDED 4/1
Saturday, April 9 @ 8:00pm

Rasaka Theatre Company debuts a short piece called Bollywood in My Soul, written by Friend of SAPAC Kareem Khubchandani, prior to a film screening at the 16th Annual Asian American Showcase. Featuring Ranvijay Raazdan, Kamal Hans, Minita Gandhi, Mouzam Makkar, and Vyjayanthi Vadrevu.

Natya Dance Theatre Student Showcase @ Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts
Sunday, April 10 @ 3:00pm

The school shows off its students’ progress at this family-friendly introduction to Bharatanatyam.

Natya Dance Theatre School

SAPAC Voices of Resistance 10 Info Session @ Chicago Cultural Center ADDED 4/11
Monday, April 11 @ 5:30pm

Thinking of applying to be part of our 10th VOR show but have some questions or concerns? Come to one of our info sessions (the other is April 15) and meet with our VOR organizers!

Lakshmi Rengarajan and Ramona Gupta @ Columbia College Chicago ADDED 4/11
Monday, April 11 @ 6:30pm

SAPAC’s own Rengarajan and Gupta (er…me) speak on a panel of Asian American Professionals in the Arts for Columbia College’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebrations.

Asian American Professionals in the Arts

Eboo Patel @ Old St. Pat’s Church ADDED 4/8
Wednesday, April 13 @ 7:00pm

Interfaith Youth Core founder Patel gives a talk as part of the church’s Lenten Series “Life Beyond Borders.”

Anupama Rao @ University of Chicago
Thursday, April 14 @ 4:30pm

Rao, Associate Professor of South Asian History at Barnard College, addresses “Stigma, Precarity, and Everyday Life in Dalit Bombay” as part of the U of C’s South Asia Seminar series.

Anupama Rao

Pushpika Freitas @ Women & Children First
Thursday, April 14 @ 7:30pm

The founder of fair-trade apparel group MarketPlace: Handwork of India, an Evanston-based company that employs more than 300 artisans, joins authors Mary A. Littrell and Marsha A. Dickson for a reading and discussion of their new book Artisans and Fair Trade: Crafting Development.

Stir-Friday Night! Benefit for Japan @ The Playground Theater ADDED 4/8
Thursday, April 14@ 8:00pm

The Asian American comedy troupe hosts a benefit for disaster relief in Japan.

Market Place – Handiwork of India Spring Benefit @ In Fine Spirits ADDED 4/1
Thursday, April 14 @ 8:30pm

The organization hosts a reception to support the women artisans whose wares it sells.

SAPAC Voices of Resistance 10 Artist Applications Due!
Friday, April 15

Chicago South Asian artists, don’t forget to submit your appliction for our annual showcase, Voices of Resistance 10: REVISION!

South Asian Progressive Action Collective logo

SAPAC Voices of Resistance 10 Info Session @ Coffee Chicago ADDED 4/11
Friday, April 15 @ 5:30pm

Thinking of applying to be part of our 10th VOR show but have some questions or concerns? Come to one of our info sessions (the other is April 11) and meet with our VOR organizers!

Sehla Ashai @ NIU ADDED 4/11
Friday, April 15 @ 9:00am

SAPAC’s own Ashai, of the National Immigrant Justice Project’s Counter-Trafficking Project, speaks on a panel titled “Litigating Human Trafficking Cases” at NIU’s two-day Law Review Symposium on Human Trafficking.

Honoring South Asians in Public Office @ D4 Restaurant and Pub
Friday, April 15 @ 7:00pm

NetIP Chicago, the Indian American Bar Association, South Asians for Opportunity, and the Washington Leadership Program host a reception honoring young four South Asian leaders elected to public office: Ameya Pawar (Chicago Alderman), Jay Goyal (Ohio State Representative), Sam Arora (Maryland State Representative), and Raja Krishnamoorthi (former Illinois Deputy State Treasurer). Proceeds benefit the Washington Leadership Program to support South Asian interns on Capitol Hill for Summer 2011.

Ameya Pawar

Bollywood Dream @ Chicago Cultural Center ADDED 4/1
Friday, April 15 @ 8:00pm

Catch a free screening of this Brazilian film about three women hoping to make it in Bollywood. Part of the 3rd annual Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMM Fest)–and the rest of the fest is worth checking out, too.

Bhutto film @ Chicago Cultural Center ADDED 4/8
Saturday, April 16 @ 2:00pm

ITVS, CAIR-Chicago, WTTW Channel 11, and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events present this special screening of Bhutto, the story of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s life. With special guest Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.S. in an interview with Ash-har Quraishi, a journalist from Chicago Tonight.


South Asian Women’s Conference @ Oak Brook Marriott ADDED 4/11
Sunday, April 17 @ 1:30pm

Indo-American Community Services presents a day of motivational speakers and educational workshops for women of South Asian descent. Speakers include Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky; Anurima Bhargava, Chief of Educational Opportunities Section, U.S. Department of Justice; K.Sujata, President/CEO of Chicago Foundation for Women; Mukta Dutta Tomar, Indian Consul General in Chicago; and Rohini Dey, Founder and Owner of Vermilion Restaurants. Featured performers include Natya Dance Theatre and Anila Sinha Foundation.

Teaching South Asia Critically Conference @ Oakton Community College ADDED 4/8
Thursday, April 21 – Friday, April 22

SAPAC’s own Ahalya Satkunaratnam and Samip Mallick, as well as several Friends of SAPAC, will speak at this gathering focused on developing South-Asia-related curricula in a variety of fields.

Aishwary Kumar @ University of Chicago
Thursday, April 21 @ 4:30pm

Kumar, Assistant Professor of Modern South Asian History at Stanford University, speaks as part of the U of C’s South Asia Seminar series.

Aishwary Kumar

Kalapriya: The Liquid Network @ Jordan Mozer and Associates, Ltd. Design Studio ADDED 4/20
Thursday, April 21 @ 6:00pm

Kalapriya presents The Liquid Network, a site-specific performance that brings “the myriad facets of Indian dance culture…face to face with modern design.” Includes a post-show reception and conversation with the choreographer and dancers.

Kalapriya: The Liquid Network

Stir-Friday Night Benefit for Japan @ Second City ADDED 4/8
Friday, April 22 @ 7:30pm

SFN presents “Asians Do Your Homework for $$$ to Aid Relief Efforts in Japan.” Hee. Click the link above for full details.

Immigrant Youth Justice League open meeting & info session @ ICIRR ADDED 4/23
Saturday, April 23 @ 2:00pm

Not a desi-specific event, per se, but an opportunity to meet with other youth immigration activists.

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam @ Avery Coonley School
Saturday, April 23 @ 5:30pm

The visiting former Indian president speaks to middle and high school students at the Downers Grove school.

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Eboo Patel on ABC’s “This Week” ADDED 4/23
Sunday, April 24 @ 9:30am

The founder of Interfaith Youth Core joins Cokie and Steve Roberts, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention for a roundtable on religion and government for a special Easter Sunday edition of “This Week with Christiane Amanpour.”

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam @ UIC
Sunday, April 24 @ 12:00pm

Former Indian President Kalam is also a renowned scientist and aeronautical engineer, humanitarian, and advocate for youth empowerment. As part of his Chicago visit, he discusses his Vision 2020 for India, the importance of environmentalism, and youth empowerment at a colloquium for college students.

Zero Bridge @ Gene Siskel Film Center ADDED 4/23
Sunday, April 24 & Monday, April 25

A rare chance to see a film set in Kashmr; this is its Chicago premiere.

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam @ Oak Brook Marriott
Sunday, April 24 @ 6:00pm

The Indo-American Center hosts a benefit dinner featuring former Indian President Abdul Kalam.

Eboo Patel and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf @ Hilton Chicago ADDED 4/11
Tuesday, April 26 @ 5:30pm

IFYC founder Patel interviews the founder and chairman of the American Society for Muslim Advancement and the Cordoba Initiative in a program sponsored by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The two will discuss “Religious Pluralism and Muslims in the United States.”

Vijay Prashad @ Columbia College Chicago ADDED 4/25
Tuesday, April 26 @ 6:00pm

Prashad, Director of International Studies at Trinity College and author of The Darker Nations: A People’s History of The Third World and The Karma of Brown Folk, joins a panel discussing “Rap Sessions: From Precious II For Colored Girls: The Black Image in the American Mind.”

Sarah Hodges @ University of Chicago
Thursday, April 28 @ 4:30pm

Hodges, Associate Professor of History at University of Warwick, addresses “The Afterlives of Afterbirth: Stem Cells and the Devil in ‘New’ Chennai” as part of the school’s South Asia Seminar series.

Sarah Hodges

Kavi Gupta Gallery & more @ Merchandise Mart ADDED 4/25
Thursday, April 28 – Monday, May 2

Artropolis (Art Chicago, NEXT, and the International Antiques Fair) is back again this weekend, with an opening preview Thursday night. Check out Kavi Gupta Gallery‘s booth at NEXT as well as a number of desi artists showcased around the fairs.

Honoring Akshaya Trust’s Narayanan Krishnan @ Elephant & Castle ADDED 4/25
Friday, April 29 @ 7:00pm

NetIP Chicago welcomes the CNN Hero of the Year Finalist for a social mixer and food drive Friday night. The events continue with a service breakfast Saturday morning at Lincoln Park Community Shelter and/or the Indo-American Center, followed by a luncheon at Gaylord.

Narayanan Krishnan

Delhi 2 Dublin @ Darkroom
Friday, April 29 @ 9:00pm

Bhangratheque hosts the Vancouver-based world music group along with DJ Jimmy Singh, DJ Krush, and Bhangra instructor Ajanta.

Delhi to Dublin

4th Annual Global Activism Expo @ UIC Forum ADDED 4/8
Saturday, April 30 @ 12:00pm

WBEZ hosts this gathering of hundreds of Chicago-area global activists, each providing ways you can immediately get involved and join their efforts. Several South-Asian-related organizations will participate, and attendees will have the opportunity to live video chat with children in India via the LIFT Foundation (Leading India’s Future Today).

Anindita Dutta @ Robert Bills Contemporary ADDED 4/23
April 30 – May 31, 2011

The West Loop gallery presents Wrest in Peace, a solo exhibition of Dutta’s recent sculptural work, performance documentation, and video installation.

Anindita Dutta sculpture

Huma Bhabha @ Rhona Hoffman Gallery ADDED 4/23
Through May 14, 2011

The Karachi-born Bhabha’s “sculptures and photo-drawings address universal themes of colonialism, war, displacement, and memories of home. Made from discarded materials such as clay, chicken wire, leaves, Styrofoam, metal chains, paint and wood, the work in this exhibition evokes a sense of suspended creation and decomposition, as if salvaged from wreckage.”

Huma Bhabha sculpture

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