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Friday 5

You've got to be pretty good to dare to play bluegrass in the backyard of the legendary Bill Monroe. But while Monroe was kicking off his festivals in nearby Bean Blossom, Indiana, Bob Lucas was pickin' his way through bluegrass, folk, and even a little rock 'n' roll in Bloomington. Last year, Lucas joined Special Consensus, an eclectic bluegrass band, and his presence is guaranteed to bring an offbeat touch. Come see and hear tonight and tomorrow at the Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren in Woodstock, at 8 (there's also a Saturday matinee at 2). Tickets are $12, $10 for students and seniors (the matinee is half-price); for more information, call 815-338-5300.

Saturday 6

You know there's a story you want to tell, but it's not going to be in paperback. You're saving this one for the big screen and the big bucks, right? Get some pointers at Nuts and Bolts of Screenwriting for Film and Television, a two-day writing seminar sponsored by the American Film Institute. It'll be led by Carl Sautter, the guy behind Moonlighting's one great episode--the black-and-white mystery dream sequence when Maddie sang and David purred. The class costs AFI members $195 and outsiders $215, and runs from 10 to 5 at Northwestern University's Annie May Swift Hall, 1905 Sheridan Road, Evanston. Advance registration required. Call 800-221-6248 for more information.

Parents seem to be the topic at the children's story telling hour at Powell's Bookstore, 2840 N. Lincoln. Karen Jonas and Greg Allen will be reading from The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate and When Daddy Comes Home, among other parent-kiddie tales. The reading--free, beginning at 10:30 AM--marks the start of the bookstore's children's series on the first Saturday of each month. For more information, call 248-1444.

If you can forget that there are Palestinians in the occupied territories with broken bones caused by official Israeli policy, then, hey, kick up your heels and dance, sing, and make merry with Shalom '88, a celebration of Israel's 40th anniversary. Tickets are $18 and $20 for shows tonight at 8 and tomorrow at 2. A special Sunday evening program at 7 is only $17 and $19. Centre East, 7701-A N. Lincoln in Skokie. Call 673-6300.

Sunday 7

If spring holds up, the Morton Arboretum might make a fun place to go on a lazy Sunday afternoon. If you've never been there, today would be perfect. An introductory tour of the grounds and facilities starts at 2. It's quite the woodsy, natural environment. The tour is 90 minutes long and free, tho' entry to the arboretum is $3 per car, $2 if you're senior citizens. To get to the arboretum, take the Eisenhower Expressway west, then I-88 to Route 53 in Lisle. There'll be signs to guide you. In case you get lost, call 719-2465 for directions and other information.

For an entry fee of only $2 (plus a $2 cover for poets and listeners alike) you can join the verbal slugfest at the Uptown Poetry Slam and read your latest inspiration. Have a drink, have a laugh, and check out gangster Al Capone's old hangout (rumor has it that there's still a getaway tunnel from the Green Mill to the Uptown Theatre next door). The fun starts at 7 at the venerable Green Mill Jazz Club at 4802 N. Broadway. For more information, call 788-9417.

Monday 8

Maria Irene Fornes, a painter, started writing when she tried to nudge her roommate, a struggling novelist, out of writer's block. Years later, Cuban-American Fornes has become one of this country's most important playwrights, with six Obies on her shelf (only Samuel Beckett and Arthur Miller have as many). Her quirky, provocative plays The Danube and The Conduct of Life make their Chicago debuts tonight at 7 and February 15 at 7 respectively and run in repertory through March 27 at the Organic Theater, 3319 N. Clark. Tickets are $14 for one show, $20 for both. Please call 327-5588 for a complete schedule. (If you're wondering about her roomie, she turned out fine: Susan Sontag is a literary luminary.)

Tuesday 9

Can-Can, written in 1953, was one of Cole Porter's last musicals. It includes the hit "I Love Paris"--which Porter certainly did, since the City of Lights inspired his first success, Fifty Million Frenchmen, in 1929. Longtime Broadway star Chita Rivera joins the legendary Radio City Music Hall Rockettes for this production at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. Show time is 8 PM. Tickets range from $4.50 to $34.50 and are available at 853-3636. The show runs through February 14.

Wednesday 10

If anyone can speak on Handling Stress Successfully, it's got to be Colonel Charles Scott. A former Iranian hostage, Scott was held for 444 stressful days by Tehran radicals. Unlike that other famous colonel, this one seems calm for all the right reasons. He talks tonight at 7:30 in the Building J Theater of Harper College, Algonquin and Roselle roads in Palatine. Lecture tickets are $2 for Harper students and $3 for the general public. For further information, call 397-3000, ext. 2547.

Thursday 11

The great Argentine writer and thinker Jorge Luis Borges said his compatriots would have beef for desert if they could, so much do they love meat. But Maria Baez Kijac's new south-of-the-border cookbook, Cooking With a Latin Beat, promises an Argentine vegetable pie. This is fascinating stuff, not only because beef is Argentina's main export and the number-one domestically consumed food, but because it's nearly impossible to find vegetables treated with respect on an Argentine menu. Kijac is sure to have more Latin surprises when she gives a free cooking demonstration at noon today at Kitchentech at Carson Pirie Scott, 1 S. State. For more, call 641-4756.

No one watching reports of the recent Haitian "elections" could forget the full-color savagery of the government thugs who turned the scam into a horror. William Crotty, a political science professor at Northwestern University, speaks at 7:30 tonight on Nightmare in Haiti: A First-Hand Report on the Recent Haitian "Election," room 205 of Northwestern's Harris Hall, at Sheridan and Chicago. The free forum is sponsored by the Evanston Committee on Central America, which will answer questions at 475-1294.

The last time we checked out Hudson's Feature Gallery, there was a bathtub full of ink balanced precariously on a pedestal in the middle of the room. Tonight is bound to be at least as interesting, with Body Double, a video screening sponsored by the gallery and Instituting Contemporary Idea, featuring Todd Haynes's Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, Paul McMahon's Uncomfortable Interlude and Weird Interlude, and Bruce Nauman's Revolving Upside Down, Bouncing in the Corner #1, and Bouncing in the Corner #2 (Upside Down). See? Feature is at 340 W. Huron on the third floor. Show time is 8:30 PM and admission is $5. Call Hudson at 751-1720 for more information.

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