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Friday 30

Performance artist James Grigsby introduces a new collaborative work, Unexplained Mysteries, and a new solo piece, Hard Coin, at 8 tonight at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 4730 N. Sheridan. Tickets are $7, $5 for students and seniors. Call 271-7928.

"Was mealtime a more meaningful experience when the peas were allowed to mingle with the mashed potatoes? What does all this have to do with the poststructuralist semiotic debate anyway?" Those are just two of the questions posed by The Loofah Method, a poetry-dance band. Their new show, TV Dinner Theatre, features film, slides, video, exercise, new and old verse, and an old-style TV dinner served hot out of the oven. It all begins at 8 tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday at Chicago Filmmakers, 1229 W. Belmont. Tickets are $8. Call 486-6813 to make a dinner reservation.

Saturday 31

Today's your last chance to get ten free Colorado blue spruce trees. To collect, you have to join the National Arbor Day Foundation. The trees will be shipped to you postpaid by May 31, along with planting instructions. The trees are guaranteed to grow, or they'll be replaced free of charge. Send a $10 membership contribution, postmarked no later than today, to Ten Blue Spruces, National Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor, Nebraska City, NE 68410. Call 402-474-5655 for more information.

The Old Town School of Folk Music's four-week "Masters of the Guitar" rock 'n' roll workshop begins at 1:30 today. Students will study the techniques and styles of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Eddie Van Halen. If you prefer Keith Richards, wait for the folk-rock workshop, which starts April 28. It's at 909 W. Armitage. Admission is $72, $63 in advance. Old Town members pay $63, $54 in advance. Call 525-7793.

Some things just don't change. "It's always been an artist's town and it's always been a torpedo's town, the most artistic characters in the strong-arm industry as well as the most muscular poets get that way just by growing up in Chicago," wrote Nelson Algren more than 30 years ago. There will be homegrown writers, hustlers, and other weirdos at Fools' Eve, a benefit for the Links Hall performance series. The show starts at 2 PM and features 50 local talents. Conjunto Areyto will lead the dance party, which starts at 2 AM. It's all at 3435 N. Sheffield. Tickets are $10. Call 281-0824.

Sunday 1

The Baha'is, who believe in a spiritual solution to economic problems and in universal peace upheld by a world government, think they may have a way through the current global mess. Achieving World Peace: The Process, a talk by Caswell Ellis, will be given at 1:30 PM, directly after the 12:15 devotional service, at the spectacular Baha'i House of Worship, 100 Linden Avenue in Wilmette. Music will be provided by Jose Orona and Gerard Martinez. It's free. Call 708-256-4400.

Chlordane and heptachlor, two deadly pesticides, are banned for agricultural use in the U.S. But Velsicol, a Rosemont corporation, continues to make and export the poisons, particularly to Latin America. "We're exposed to the pesticides every time we eat fruit, particularly tropical fruits such as bananas," says Phyllis Hasbrouck, director of Terra, an environmental group that has targeted Velsicol in its fight for a cleaner, safer planet. Tonight's Pesticide Free Jam is a benefit dance for Terra; it features music by Roots Rock Society and Animal Farm. It's at 8 at Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln. Tickets are $6 in advance, $8 at the door. Call 509-1808.

Monday 2

It's easy to understand why Indiana governor Evan Bayh is so annoyed with Mayor Daley's proposal for an airport on Chicago's southeast side. If Daley gets his way, Bayh won't be able to offer much in terms of jobs and economic development to Gary, the ghostly steel town Bayh wants to turn into a hub for a major airline. Last year Gary passed an advisory referendum approving gambling, which may have seemed the only way out of economic despair. Gambling on Gary, a talk by Otto Silha--the executive director of City Innovations, an organization devoted to making cities better places to live and work--kicks off the Bright New City's six-part series on urban issues. The lecture starts at noon in the auditorium of the First Chicago Center, 1 S. Dearborn. Tickets are $5, $20 for the series. For a full schedule call 996-2006.

The avant-garde Wooster Group begins with "source" texts that are quoted, reworked, and juxtaposed with pieces of popular, cultural, and social history. The results are then combined with the personal experiences of the group's members. The final text often includes monologues, videos, and poetry. Elizabeth LeCompte, the group's director, will talk about their current work in progress, Brace Up!, tonight at 7 in the auditorium at the School of the Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. Admission is $3. Call 899-5155.

Tuesday 3

In 1824 a group of free blacks from Philadelphia migrated to what is now the Dominican Republic. They learned Spanish as well as many of the native customs. But they also retained much of their African American culture and influenced their new home. Dominican Sketches, a photo essay by Dominican-American photographer Kenn Greene-Velez, looks at the influence of black Americans on the Caribbean island. The show will be on exhibit through Thursday at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, 9525 S. Halsted. It's free. Call 881-6910.

Wednesday 4

Before she started doing coffee commercials with former "Bozo" Willard Scott, Linda Ellerbee polished her journalistic credentials with the highly acclaimed TV documentary series Our World. Unfortunately, ABC stuck it up against The Cosby Show, and Ellerbee's efforts were soon dead meat. The series looked back at 20th-century America through its politics, events, and entertainment. It was cohosted by Ray Gandolf, who now serves as a weekend sports anchor for ABC network news. "Our World": The Complete Series can be seen at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 800 S. Wells, today through Sunday. Screenings run continuously. The museum is open noon to 5 Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, and 10 to 5 Saturday. Admission is a suggested donation of $3 for adults, $2 for students, and $1 for seniors and kids under 13. It's free for MBC members. Call 987-1500.

Twelve of Robert Longo's monumental black-and-white drawings from his series "Men in the Cities" are part of the Museum of Contemporary Art's current show. The drawings feature isolated figures in suits and ties and other corporate drag who appear to be dancing or writhing against unknown forces. Longo, a sculptor and performance artist who has also directed music videos for groups such as New Order and R.E.M., will give a lecture at 6 PM at the Arts Club, 109 E. Ontario. There will be a cash-bar reception at 5:30 PM. Tickets are $9, $6 for MCA members, students, and seniors. Call 280-2697 to make a reservation.

Thursday 5

Writer-producer-director-actor Spike Lee--adored by critics, snubbed by the Academy Awards, and despised by Whoopi Goldberg, Arsenio Hall, and Eddie Murphy--will discuss his work at 12:30 PM in the auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. Saint Louis. The free program is sponsored by the school's Black Caucus. For more information call 583-4050, ext. 3159.

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