The effect of changing relations among the superpowers on Middle East politics, the Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the Islamic revolution in Iran and other countries is the topic of today's The Middle East: Quest for Stability, a one-day conference presented by the history and political-science departments of Saint Xavier College. Philip Klutznick, President Carter's secretary of commerce and an adviser to five presidents, will be the principal speaker. The conference--on the school campus, 3700 W. 103rd St.--runs from 8:30 to 5 today. Admission is $5 to the conference only, $10 to just hear Klutznick at the luncheon, and $15 for the whole show. Call 779-3300, ext. 423 for details.
One or another of the tenants at 28 Barbary Lane, San Francisco, in the "Tales of the City" novel series has cruised, loved, married, tangled with a cannibalistic cult, crashed a lesbian festival, changed race from white to black and back again, become a TV personality, won wet-B.V.D.s contests, died from AIDS, inherited English castles, and had babies. Christopher Isherwood compared the quirky long-running serial, which comes to a close with the recent publication of Sure of You, to the novels of Charles Dickens. Author Armistead Maupin will sign copies of his latest book at 7:30 tonight at Unabridged Books, 3251 N. Broadway. Autographs are free. Call 883-9119.
Mary's Kitchen, the quaint little Uptown luncheonette with fishing memorabilia all over its walls, isn't a five-and-dime, but its authentic 50s-style lunch counter is the perfect setting for Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, Vanguard Studio's first production. The on-location presentation premieres tonight at 1775 W. Sunnyside; it runs through November 19. Show times are 8 on Friday and Saturday, 3 and 7 on Sunday. Tickets are $10 in advance. Seating is limited. Call 545-7948.
Women's-music singer Dianne Davidson got in trouble this summer when she blithely and arrogantly introduced a song about the black woman her white parents hired to raise her, talking only about how good the experience was for her without acknowledging how difficult it must have been for the woman. Davidson also told a Boston interviewer: "I do believe . . . that I was not white in a previous lifetime, and that in order to make the transition, I was given somebody who could help." Needless to say, her words--and her refusal to respond to criticism--are having an effect on her national tour, which stops tonight at Mountain Moving Coffeehouse, the nation's oldest women-only space. CLEAR, a group of concerned white women, will lead an antiracism workshop right after the show. The concert begins at 8:30; the suggested admission is $8. The free workshop begins at about 11:30. Both are at 1655 W. School. Call 769-6899.
It's posh and it's weird and, by now, it's a Lincoln Park institution. Dress your pet tarantula as Dracula, your cat as Scarlett O'Hara, or, to make it easy, your German shepherd as Rin Tin Tin, and come celebrate the 20th annual Halloween Costume Party for Pets at 1 PM at the Park View Pet Shop, 2222 N. Clark. There will be prizes for creativity, outrage, and effort, as well as treats for you and your animal friends. It's free. Call 549-2031.
When Rodolfo Robles was in charge of the union in Guatemala City's Coca-Cola bottling plant, he led a yearlong occupation of the plant that eventually saved the workers' jobs and helped revitalize the country's labor movement. Robles is the keynote speaker at a luncheon today that also features Equinox Theater Group's Bananas and Coke in the Turmoil, a short play about the lives of Guatemalan workers. The meal, catered by Mama Makin Guatemalan Women's Co-op, will be served at 2; the program begins at 3. It's at Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, 600 W. Fullerton. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Call 276-2425.
The Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence's list of local and state government supporters of more stringent handgun control doesn't include any aldermen, who seem to like being surrounded by tough guys in suits with bulges under their arms. State's Attorney Cecil Partee--who's looking to keep his job in 1991 without an endorsement from Mayor Daley, who put him in office--tops the list, which also includes police superintendent LeRoy Martin. ICAHV is sponsoring tonight's gun-control fund-raiser to support lobbying efforts in Springfield; it's holding the gig at Second City, 1616 N. Wells. The cash bar opens at 6:30, the show starts at 7:30. Tickets are $30, $50 for a pair. Call 641-5575.
The Celtic year originally ended on October 31, but on that day spirits wandered out of the underground, and a mortal might easily be swallowed by the night world. The only safe way to travel was to imitate spirits. "The qualities of impersonation and the dangerous business of crossing over from one world to another help explain why Halloween--with its elaborate drag balls and costume parades--is the most significant gay holiday," explains writer Judy Grahn in her gay and lesbian history, Another Mother Tongue. Kinheart Women's Center is taking a quieter, more personal approach to the celebration by starting a new Basic Coming Out Group at 7:30 tonight at 2214 Ridge in Evanston. It's $45, $35 for members, and $20 for students and low-income women. Call 491-1103 to register.
Slip on a pair of Ray-Bans and drape a Palestinian scarf around your neck and face and you can be dreaded "flag artist" Scott Tyler. Enough whips and chains and you might pass for Robert Mapplethorpe. Or, if you really want to take on a challenge, try being "piss artist" Andres Serrano at tonight's come-as-your-favorite-censorship-victim Halloween party, sponsored by the Committee for Artists' Rights. CFAR also presents PAPtarts of 1990, a music-puppet-dance-comedy revue that's the culmination of the group's two-month schedule of anticensorship activities. It all starts at 8 at Prairie Avenue Gallery, 1900 S. Prairie. There's a $5 cover. Call 670-2060.
"Shadow two grandfathers following me . . . / At night they both walk / dreaming, dreaming. / In me they meet," wrote poet Nicolas Guillen about his dual cultural heritage. The Day of the Dead, a celebration combining pre-Columbian and European elements, is a sort of indigenous Mexican Halloween involving a bit of ancestor worship, lots of papier-mache, incense, and a good dose of humor. The Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum offers free introductory lectures on the holiday at 6:30 tonight (in English) and tomorrow (in Spanish). Come to 1852 W. 19th St. For more information call 738-1503.
Since Richie Daley took office, his hypnotic hold on City Council has been hard to break--he's gotten just about everything he's wanted with only token opposition. But what if you don't agree with him? The Citizens Information Service is ever optimistic that the people's voice might still be heard. How to Make the City Council Work for You is a one-day conference featuring workshops on council mechanics, lobbying, and the strange and delicate politics of different council allies. It starts at 8:30 in room 605 of the University of Illinois' Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted. It's $10, which includes lunch. Call 939-4636.