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Friday 6

Brazilian-born Len Paschoal has achieved some success as a designer of interiors for computer companies, graphic-design firms, and museums--the kinds of institutions that like slick, modern work. Yet his paintings and sculptures have a totally different feel. Mostly self-taught, Paschoal uses organic materials and earthy colors in his explorations of religious themes and iconography. His one-person show opens tonight at the Latino Arts Gallery, 850 N. Milwaukee, with a reception from 5 to 10. The show runs through October 31; regular viewing hours are 1 to 6 Tuesday through Saturday. It's free. Call 243-3777.

Las Vegas Night at Saint Ignatius is state approved, so there's a ceiling of $200 in winnings--but that's a nice chunk of change. There will be blackjack, poker, craps, a numbers wheel, and other games of skill and chance in the very clean Angel Guardian Gym, 6250 N. Winchester, from 7 to midnight tonight, and from 6 to midnight tomorrow. Chips are $1 and $5 apiece. There's a $3 suggested donation at the door, but parking's free. All proceeds benefit the parish's school. For more call 764-0671.

Saturday 7

Autumn is heavy-duty travel time for midwestern birds, so the Morton Arboretum is offering bird walks for migration watchers. Today's hike, from 8 to 10:30 AM, is for beginners. Next Saturday's excursion, also from 8 to 10:30, is for those with previous bird-watching experience. The walks cost $3; bring binoculars and a field guide. The arboretum is at I-88 and Route 53 in Lisle. If you're registered for the class, there's no parking fee. Call 968-0074.

Saint Francis of Assisi was never ordained into the clergy, although he founded a nature-loving order of friars. So you and your favorite animal friend don't have to be Catholic to join in today's Saint Francis of Assisi Pet Blessing. Sponsored by the Immaculate Conception Church, the blessing of dogs, cats, horses, frogs, fish, snakes, hamsters, and other creatures starts at 1:30 in the church parking lot at 1415 N. North Park. It's free. Call 944-1230.

During the last presidential campaign the alternative press used quite a bit of ink describing George Rush's questionable activities, from his 1963 CIA exploits to the 1988 campaign coddling of anti-Semites. But the mainstream media barely mentioned anything. The alternative press also ran stories about President Reagan's invitation to corporate leaders to discuss how EPA guidelines might be written to minimize corporate expenditures. The mainstream media missed that, too. Just like they missed the story about the threat in the 50 pounds of plutonium (enough to wipe out everyone on earth) carried in each shuttle rocket. These are just three of the Ten Most Censored Stories of 1988 selected by a panel of media experts, which included Bill Moyers and Noam Chomsky. They'll be discussed by Herbert Schiller, author of Culture Inc., and a group of local journalists at 3 PM at Guild Books, 2456 N. Lincoln. It's free. Call 525-3667.

Sunday 8

The Aragon Ballroom, which opened in 1926 and cost a staggering $2 million to build, was headquarters for the big bands until the late 50s. Over the last few years owner Willy Miranda has been rehabilitating the dance palace--stripping off the psychedelic paintings that went up in the 60s and restoring the old Moorish-castle-courtyard motif. Today's Sentimental Journey Dance Party in the ballroom will have music by Tony Barron's ten-piece band, organist Hal Pearl, and balladeer Jimmy Roberts of the Lawrence Walk Show. The music begins at 2:30 PM at the Aragon, 1106 W. Lawrence. Tickets are $9 at the door; there's parking in nearby supervised lots. Call 282-0037.

"You can't leave A Constant State of Desire without discussing it, and you can't wake up the next morning without really giving it some thought," wrote San Francisco Chronicle critic Mick LaSalle about Karen Finley's provocative performance piece. This is your last chance to catch Finley, a native Chicagoan, in her original show, which exploits graphic sexual imagery to comment on consumerism and the current political climate. The piece concludes its local run at 7 tonight at Edge of the Lookingglass, 62 E. 13th St. Tickets are $10. Call 939-4017.

Monday 9

The Newberry Library, which has the best French Revolution collection in the U.S., will be the sole U.S. host of the Collection Privee du Comite Colbert. This free exhibit of graphic arts, jewelry, crystal, and haute couture designs was culled from the archives of members of Comite Colbert, an "elite trade association of France's premier designers, businessmen, and craftsmen" that includes Chanel, Givenchy, and Christian Dior. It's all on view through October 28 at the library, 60 W. Walton. Hours in the gallery are 9 to 5 Monday, Friday, and Saturday; 9 to 7:30 Tuesday through Thursday. Call 943-9090, ext. 310.

Tuesday 10

Yugoslavian artist Sava Sekulic lost an eye as a young soldier during World War I, but that didn't stop him from painting. He continued to work for more than 30 years without any contact with the art world, developing a unique blend of the primitive and the sophisticated. Now, a year after Sekulic's death at 85, the Andre Gallery presents 20 of his pieces in the first show of its kind in this country. The show runs through October 15. The gallery, at 449 N. Union Ave. in River West, is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 7 PM, Viewing is free. Call 243-4004.

When Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space in April 1961, he completed one full orbit of the planet in just under two hours. Then in May, the U.S. sent Alan Shepard up to orbit for about 15 minutes. Cooperation between the two nations seemed impossible then. No longer. Loren Acton, an American astronaut, and Yuri Victorovich Romanenko, a Soviet cosmonaut, will talk about U.S.-Soviet space exploration during tonight's presentation, Only One Earth, at 7:30 at Northeastern Illinois University's Alumni Hall, 5500 N. Saint Louis. Admission is free. Call 583-4050, ext. 3291.

Wednesday 11

The mayor's Committee on Gay and Lesbian Issues, created in 1985 by Harold Washington, has been pretty moribund since his death. Many members resigned or simply became inactive under Mayor Sawyer. And while the committee has tried to patch itself up recently, Mayor Daley has been slow to approve new members and has yet to meet with the group. Tonight COGLI will host Can We Talk?... Straight Talk About Lesbian and Gay Issues, a free forum about issues affecting the gay and lesbian community and the Daley administration. There will be presentations on AZT, the relocation of the gay archives of the Gerber-Hart Library, and domestic-partners legislation, as well as an open mike for anyone with something to say. It starts at 7:30 tonight at Ann Sather's, 929 W. Belmont (744-4152).

Thursday 12

The United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a utopian little document on which the hundreds of UN members, including China and Libya, have ostensibly agreed. "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression," it says in article 19. "Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association," states article 20. Everyone Has the Right to . . ., the Peace Museum's new show, is ten midwestern artists' interpretations of the declaration. Also included in the show is a sculpture on human rights by Chicagoan Ed Larson, and a series of portraits by Maureen Seeba of Terry Anderson, the AP bureau chief still held hostage in the Middle East. The show runs through January 8 at 430 W. Erie. Hours are noon to 5, Thursdays until 8. $3.50; students and seniors pay $2. Call 440-1860.

"I wanted to use an extremely well-known piece of music," says Stephanie Skura about her choice of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony for her modern-dance piece, Cranky Destroyers. "So the juxtaposition of 'classical' music with very contemporary movement rides, in its irony, on top of a deeper harmony between dance and music." Skura and her New York company perform at MoMing Dance & Arts Center, 1034 W. Barry, at 7 tonight. Additional performances are at 8 PM Friday and Saturday, and 3 PM Sunday. $12, $ 10 for students and seniors. Call 472-7662.

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