With Neptunemania sweeping the land, what better to do on a Friday night than join "the world's oldest amateur astronomical society" for Last Stop for Voyager 2: Close Encounter at Neptune, as three special guests discuss the Voyager 2 mission's success? The three--all Chicago Astronomical Society members--are Bart Benjamin, director of the Cernan Earth and Space Center, and Daniel Joyce and Daniel Troiani, who were both at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory monitoring Voyager's Neptune flyby. Benjamin will narrate a videotape; Joyce and Troiani will share "images" from their stay at the JPL. Tonight's meeting is free and takes place at the Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, beginning at 7. Call 725-5618.
Jacques Tati, one of the greatest comic filmmakers of recent times, released only five feature films; a recently discovered short will augment his career nicely. In each of Tati's best-known works--Jour de fete, Monsieur Hulot's Holiday, Mon oncle, Playtime, and Traffic--an everymanish character battles the almost anthropomorphic characters of Progress, the Modern City, and Technology, as Tati's visual and aural burlesques set off fireworks around him. Tonight the Experimental Film Coalition presents a rarely seen short, Soigne ton gauche (Swing to the Left), one of six Tati made in the mid-1930s. This film about a farmhand who gets involved with a boxer will be part of a two-hour program of shorts that shows at 7:30 and 10 at the Randolph Street Gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee. The program includes films by Peter Greenaway, Max Fleischer, and Kenneth Anger. Admission is $4, $3 for students. For more information call 666-7737.
The Evanston Environmental Association's seasonal birdseed sale is on again: you can call Ecology Center at 864-5181 for ordering information, or buy it today at the Recycling Center, 2222 Oakton in Evanston, from 10 AM to 3 PM. A 25-pound bag of safflower seed will cost you $15.75; of millet, $7.60; of thistle seed, $26.40. At these prices, it's a teal.
"I belong to no organized political party," Mark Twain is supposed to have said. "I am a Democrat." A 43rd Ward political-grudge-match softball game, disorganized Dems versus rapacious Republicans, starts at noon on the softball field south of Buckingham Fountain and east of Columbus Drive in Grant Park. If the GOP can get nine people together, it might be fun. Watching is free; if you want to play call 477-6443 if you're an ass, 525-4157 if you're an elephant.
"A lot of people are afraid of snakes and other scaly creatures," says Dr. Paul Heltne, director of the Chicago Academy of Sciences. You only got it half right, doc: honest revulsion plays a part as well. While it's not clear that what the world needs right now is an empowerment session for reptiles, the seventh annual Herpetological Weekend goes on today at the academy. You can pet a python--a two-hundred-pound python--and generally help more than one hundred other snakes, turtles, and lizards feel better about themselves from noon to 5 today. The academy is at 2001 N. Clark; admission is a buck for adults, 50 cents for freethinking kids. Call 549-0606.
The premiere historical home tour hosted by the Edgewater Historical Society gets under way at 12:30 today. The tour leaves from the Bethany Lutheran Church, 1244 W. Thorndale, and wanders through the Magnolia Glen district of Edgewater, visiting a number of homes built from 1885 to 1910. Advance reservations are $7, $8 at the door--so to speak. The society can be reached at 792-7110.
The Fundamental Concepts of Analytical Psychology, Jungian style, are the subject of an eight-week course, presented by the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago. "Participants will explore the major theoretical concepts of Jungian psychology. including the Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. the Ego, Psychological types, Persona and Shadow, Anima and Animus, and the Individuation of the Self." Heavy. The class will meet Mondays from 7 to 9, beginning tonight. The cost is $85 for members of the institute, $95 for nonmembers. Call 475-1848 for details on registration. The institute is at 550 Callan in Evanston.
Further adventures in evening education are available this fall from the Newberry Library, and participants are to be respected: at the end of the day Roseanne is too complex for some of us. Chaucer, Renaissance politics, the American Indian, calligraphy, and fiction are the subjects of just a few of the classes offered in the Newberry's Lyceum Seminar series. Most classes meet in the library, 60 W. Walton, on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday evening. Course costs average $60 for eight sessions. You should register by Friday, September 22. For info call 943-9090, ext. 482, between 9 and 5.
A panel of "truly astute observers and razor sharp wits" will assess Mayor Daley's first 100 days in office at a pricey luncheon way the hell out at the O'Hare Marriott today. The six observant wits are: the Trib's Clarence Page, WGN TV political commentator Joel Wiseman, Crain's Chicago Business's Paul Green and Mark Miller, WBEZ FM economics commentator George Kalidonis, and Jacky Grimshaw, consultant and former adviser to Mayor Washington. Tickets, which include lunch, are $25 or $20 if you're a member of the North Business & Industrial Council, which is sponsoring the program along with Crain's and WGN. Registration and cocktails begin at 11:30, lunch is at noon. The O'Hare is at 8535 W. Higgins. For more information, call 588-5855.
Make It Fun: Fitness Will Follow is a Northwestern Memorial Hospital course in health education designed to get kids exercising early on in life: a hospital health educator says that kids who don't exercise are more susceptible to obesity and heart disease later on. First step? Cut down on the TV. The $8 course is an hour and a half, from 6 to 7:30 PM, and will be held at 215 E. Chicago, room 206. You must preregister; call 908-7432.
Performance poet Jean Howard "explores current and past perceptions of books, from Dr. Suess to pornography, and questions their meaning in everyday life" at 8 tonight at Guild Books--in a piece called "Invitation to a Book Burning." Howard asks that participants bring a book they would consider burning. The reading is $3; Guild is at 2456 N. Lincoln. The phone is 525-3667.
A planning session for a study group on Che Guevara meets tonight at the New World Resource Center. Tentative title: "Che: A Marxism for Our Time?" The center is at 1476 W. Irving Park; the meeting is at 7:30. It's free. For more information, call 525-4043 or 348-3370.
You probably didn't even know he was missing, but Where's Animal? is the subject of the latest Muppets extravaganza at the Rosemont Horizon tonight. The show, which features the Muppet Babies as opposed to the genuine Muppets, is an elaborate revue that hangs on Baby Kermit et al's search for Animal after a game of hide-and-seek goes awry. The Horizon arena is at 6920 N. Mannheim in Rosemont. The show runs through Sunday; show times are 7:30 tonight, 10:30 AM and 7:30 PM Friday, and 1 and 4:30 PM Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $9.50 and $8.50; kids under 12 get in for $1.50 less. Call 635-6601.