More than 40 cars, including 11 Corvettes, a 1987 Benz, a '68 Jaguar, a pink 1959 Cadillac, two motor homes, and a '79 Harley 1200 are part of the court-ordered vehicle auction being held today by Dunning's Auction Service. Whose vehicles were they? "We're not at liberty to tell you," says a spokesperson, but they all belonged to one person. Buyers and gawkers can check it all out for free at 755 Church Road in Elgin; previews go from 10 to 6 today and from 9 to noon tomorrow, when the auction starts. Call 708-741-3483 for more information.
Get your hands on some designer furniture for (relatively) cheap at the ninth annual Institute of Business Designers auction tonight. Preview the stuff and put in your written bid from 3 PM to 6 PM in space 841 at the Merchandise Mart; then move down to the second-floor M&M Club for a buffet from 6 to 7. Oral bidding starts at 7, and admission is $7. Proceeds go to educational programs and scholarships for furniture design. Details at 951-0791.
If you're convinced that your teddy bear is better than their teddy bears, the Brookfield Zoo's Teddy Bear Contest is just for you. Bears will be judged in five categories: largest, most snuggled, best dressed, most original, and most resembling its owner (the last category seems a bit of a dubious honor). It's all a part of the zoo's Teddy Bear Picnic today and tomorrow, which includes (both days) breakfast at 9 AM (all you can eat, $9.75 for adults and $6.50 for kids), a teddy bear clinic from 11 to 3 for worn or frayed teddies, and a parade at 1 PM. The contest is at 1:30. Everything but the breakfast comes with zoo admission, which is $2.75 for adults, a buck for kids and seniors, and free for the under-three set. The zoo is at First Avenue and 31st Street in Brookfield. Call 708-485-0263.
What we call shooting stars are really meteors--small fragments of cosmic iron, nickel, or stone--passing through the earth's atmosphere. They range in size from a grain of sand to a large car, though most are on the small side. This weekend is the scheduled arrival of the Perseid meteor shower, and the best place to see it is away from city lights. The Volo Bog State Natural Area is sponsoring a watch tonight, led by astronomer Richard Wend, from 10 PM to midnight. Bring a reclining lawn chair and binoculars, and watch out for the big ones. The Volo Bog State Natural Area is in Ingleside, on Brandenburg Road west off highway 12. It's free; you don't even need reservations. Call 815-344-1294.
The bathtubs will be provided at the first annual Lambs Farm Bathtub Races across Lambs Lake. The affair, a fund-raiser for Lambs Farm and Waukegan Firefighters Local 473, is based on a hellacious annual event in Pensacola, Florida, which Waukegan fire fighter Charles Moberly says regularly attracts 25,000 people. Lambs Farm is a nonprofit vocational facility for mentally retarded adults. Admission is free to the shops, games (miniature golf and more), and petting zoo on the farm; entries in the bathtub race are $30, and paddles and life jackets are provided along with tubs. Wear something that can stand a dunking. Lambs Farm is at the intersection of I-94 and route 176 in Libertyville. Call 708-362-6774 for more info.
In his notes for the movie The Frigid Wife, Psychotronic Film Society poobah Michael Flores feels compelled to gloss the title: "For you younger readers, 'frigid' was an expression used to describe women who do not respond to men in bed. . . . Now if a woman doesn't respond it is because the male is insensitive." The film, Flores says, is an "unintentionally hilarious" soft-core sex film disguised as an educational vehicle. The Frigid Wife plays tonight at the Crash Palace, 2771 N. Lincoln. Doors open at 6:30; the film starts at 7. It's $2.50. Call 738-0985 for more information.
Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo, and . . . Rubens? No--Pissarro? No, that's not it . . . Anyway, the four terrapin terrors ride again--or continue to ride, actually--in a screening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at the Public Library Cultural Center. "Lean, Green, Into the Soup Tureen!" suggested one newspaper, but the fightin' shellbacks are making lots of greenbacks and will be back soon in a sequel. (Titian? Turner?) The film is free, and starts at 2 for kids nine and up at the Cultural Center theater, 78 E. Washington. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 346-3278.
A poet laureate, a cartoonist, and a Tribune reporter are among the participants in Lexis Praxis, a chancy undertaking by the Zebra Crossing Theatre. The idea is to take work by the writers--Gwendolyn Brooks, Lynda Barry, and Robert Blau, respectively, plus a half dozen more--and turn them into playlets. Each writer gets his or her own director, whose vision dictates the script and performances. "It's pretty daring, it's pretty experimental, and it's making me a nervous wreck," reports Zebra Crossing honcho Robert Buck. The program starts at 8 tonight at the Halsted Theatre Centre, 2700 N. Halsted; tickets are $5. The program will be repeated August 19 and 21 as part of the Bucktown Rhinoceros Theatre Festival. More at 728-0082.
The Kohl Children's Museum is celebrating the 121st anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad with Train Days, a flurry of events today through Sunday. Today at 10:30 and 2:30, kids can meet a real train conductor, be part of a human train, and take home a conductor's hat and railroad patch. The rest of the week's events include story telling, song singing, and toy train making. The museum is at 165 Green Bay Road in Wilmette, and admission is $2.50. Details at 708-256-6056.
Nana Shineflug and the other members of Chicago Moving Company--whose goal is to bring a "modern dance experience to people who do not normally have access to it"--perform for free today at noon at the Saint James Cathedral commons, 65 E. Huron. If it rains, they'll be inside. More info at 787-6410.
The Ravenswood Garden Club meets tonight, as it does the third Wednesday of every month. Featured? Plant swaps, garden tips, speakers, refreshments, etcetera. The club meets at Welles Park, 2333 W. Sunnyside, at 7:30. Call 728- 9681.
Oxymoronic concept of the week: the Make-a-Wish Foundation has awarded "personality" awards to two local newscasters. Channel Seven's Linda Yu and Channel Two's Bill Kurtis are the organization's female and male "media personalities of the decade." Also to be feted at the Dine on a Dream luncheon today are Rich Melman (male entrepreneur of the decade), Sherren Leigh of Today's Chicago Woman (female ditto), and Carlyn Berghoff, of Carlyn Berghoff Catering (new entrepreneur of the decade). Lunch is at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker; things start at 11:30 and go till 2. Tix are $35 each, and proceeds go to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, a nonprofit group that fulfills wishes of children suffering from fatal illnesses. Call 947- 3734 for more details.
The Radiators play a pungent olio of New Orleans R & B, freewheeling jazz, and upbeat rock 'n' roll. They're playing--free--at Navy Pier tonight, in a concert sponsored by a stupid cigarette company we're not even going to name. The show starts at 6:30 at Grand Avenue and the lake; it's one of a series at the pier over the next few weeks that will bring nuclear-strength cabaret act Buster Poindexter August 23 and the blistering grooves of Kid Creole and the Coconuts August 30. Details? Call 751-2121.