The folks at Poetry magazine have published 900 consecutive issues since 1912, making it the oldest monthly periodical of verse in the country. It is distributed in 45 countries, putting it near the top in "little magazine" circulation; it has published poems by Carl Sandburg, Ezra Pound, and Gwendolyn Brooks, among others; and it's one of the few poetry publications to pay its contributors. To celebrate its 75th anniversary, this year's Poetry Day will feature three past editors and present editor Joseph Parisi talking about the magazine and American poetry. A special commemorative issue of Poetry and posters by New Yorker artist Edward Koren will be for sale, and a benefit dinner will follow. It all starts at 6 at First Chicago Center, Monroe at Dearborn; the program costs $5, $3 for seniors and students; the dinner $125. Details at 280-4870.
Prep for tomorrow at the Coach Horse Equestrian Center's Headless Horseman Halloween Haunting. Actors on horseback will present The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and visitors can tour a "haunted forest." A cash bar, snacks (including roasted chestnuts), and music round out the party. The haunting runs 6 PM to 1 AM tonight and noon to 1 AM tomorrow, 1410 N. Orleans. Admission is $10, $6 for kids; 266-7878 for a performance schedule and other tidbits.
If you find the current U.S. administration more terrifying than headless horsemen, try the Axe Street Arena's ContraGate Fright Night, starting at 8:30 at 2778 N. Milwaukee. Guests are encouraged to come as their favorite Contra-gate character or revolutionary hero, and Richard Henzel ("Rap Master Ronnie") will emcee the raffle, dancing, and general good times. The $4 admission benefits the Nicaragua Solidarity Committee; 227-2720.
Today may be an ancient holiday but children of the video age need not suffer. You can learn more about the Loch Ness monster in Man, Monsters and Mysteries, this weekend's short film at the Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive. It shows every hour, starting at 10:30. $2, $1 for kids, and 50 cents for seniors; 939-2426. Or try the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 800 S. Wells, whose program of spooky TV shows runs 10 to 5 today. $3, $2 for students, and $1 for kids and seniors; 987-1500. A third option is The Hound of the Baskervilles, showing as part of a free seminar on Sherlock Holmes at the Rogers Park Library, 6907 N. Clark. The program starts at 10 AM; details at 353-7833, 973-1060, or 764-0156.
In pre-Christian Europe, people built bonfires on the eve of Samhain ("summer's end"), the new year's celebration of witches, to burn away the frustrations and problems of the old year. Tonight's Witches' Ball & Samhain Celebration, presented by the Heartland Pagan Association, will feature pagan rituals, psychic readings, food, videos, and music. The rites start at 8 PM at the Avalon Niteclub, 959 W. Belmont. Tickets, available at several locations, are $4 in advance, $5 at the door. Info at 274-4567.
U. of C. prof Gerald Mast signs copies of his book Can't Help Singin': The American Musical on Stage and Screen 2 to 4 today at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th. More info at 684-1300.
The Patio theater's 3/17 Barton pipe organ cost $25,000 in 1929, when the theater first opened. In the 60s, Chicago Area Theatre Organ Enthusiasts (CATOE) spent several years restoring the organ before giving its first public show there 20 years ago; over the past few months, the theater itself has been refurbished. In honor of the Patio's restoration by its new owners and CATOE's 25th anniversary, former Lawrence Welk band member Bob Ralston stars in a Pipe Organ Extravaganza today at 2:30. The theater is at 6008 W. Irving Park; tickets are $6 in advance, $8 at the door. Reserve at 757-4176, or purchase at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport.
No matter how you may feel about miniskirts--ecstatic or frustrated--Mad Over Minis, the fashion show, has you covered, so to speak. Featuring the work of students at the International Academy of Merchandising and Design, it starts at noon today at the Signature Room and Ragamuffin restaurants, Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, 350 N. Orleans. The same students will show their work again Friday, November 6, in the hotel's cocktail lounge and lobby. All designs are available for immediate purchase; more at 266-9660.
The recent conviction of Ivan Boesky for insider trading reflects a serious problem among Jewish businesspeople, says Dr. Meir Tamari: the separation of economic from religious practices. Tamari, chief economist for the Bank of Israel, notes that at least 120 of the 613 Torah commandments concern economic activity. He'll speak on The Moral Challenge of the Market Place: A Jewish Perspective, noon to 1:30 today at DePaul University's Lewis Center, 25 E. Jackson, room 241. Free; 341-8824.
For more than 50 years, the Chicago Police Subversive Activities Unit (the "Red Squad") spied on law-abiding political, religious, and civic groups, maintaining dossiers on more than 800 of them. These days, electronic technologies--personal computers, bank machines, and the like--seem to have made the potential for social control even greater. The Randolph Street Gallery's current exhibition, Close Watch, focuses on issues of privacy and individual autonomy in Western society; in connection with the exhibit a lecture/discussion on surveillance and its effects starts at 7:30 tonight at the gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee. Speakers include Richard Gutman, the prosecuting attorney on the case against the Red Squad; George Trubow, a John Marshall Law School professor; and Richard Prelinger, a New York film archivist and publisher. $4; 666-7737 for info.
English textiles industrialist Samuel Courtauld and his wife, Elizabeth, early in this century began to put together what has come to be one of the world's greatest collections of late 19th- and early 20th-century French painting; among the 48 pieces now on display at the Art Institute are works by Degas, Manet, Cezanne, Seurat, van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Gauguin. Acquaint yourself with the exhibition, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces: The Courtauld Collection, by attending today's free gallery talk, 12:15, Michigan at Adams. The show runs through January 3; daily orientation lectures start at 11:15 and 1:30. More on the gallery talk at 443-3500; info on the show's special ticketing procedures at 454-8484.
Department of bodily functions not usually discussed in polite society: the junior board of the Gastro-Intestinal Research Foundation presents No Guts, No Glory: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Digestive Health But Were Afraid to Ask from 4 to 6 today at River City's City Club, 800 S. Wells. Several doctors will talk about everything from vitamin abuse to eating abroad to nutritional therapy. Free, including use of City Club facilities; details, if you must, at 332-1350.
The Windy City wasnt nicknamed for its weather, but rather for its endless boasts about the 1893 Columbian Exposition. Just the same, Chicago's weather is a common topic of conversation. Channel Seven weatherman Steve Deshler gives a free talk, Chicago Weatherwise, at 12:15 at the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; 269-2891.
You'll have to sit in a room full of strange people, but you won't have to say anything about your problem if you dont want to. Ravenswood Hospital's Self-Help Group for Shy People meets 6 to 8 tonight at the hospital's Consultation and Education Department, 4545 N. Damen, first floor. Practice your assertiveness by preregistering at 878-4300, ext. 1455; the fee is $12.