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Friday 5

If you're interested in anything UFO-ish--crash retrievals, human abductions, crop circles, cattle mutilations, "physical trace" cases, the worldwide government cover-up, or (whew!) alien purpose and technology--the 22nd annual MUFON International UFO Symposium is just your plate of spaghetti. MUFON tries to position itself as noncrackpot; made up largely of professionals who volunteer their time, the organization tries to provide relatively objective research and analysis into unexplained phenomena. Fourteen national and international experts are scheduled to speak over the course of the symposium's five lecture sessions, on everything from "Clinical Hypnotherapy" and "Government UFO Connections" to rather more adventurous stuff like "The Twelfth Planet--Key to the UFO Enigma." (Twelfth planet?) There's an opening get-acquainted reception tonight at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, 9300 Bryn Mawr in Rosemont, starting at 6 and going till 9; it's $5. The rest of the symposium costs $50 for all events ($40 for students) or $10 per session (there are two or three lectures per session). Call 708-892-8271 or 708-963-4542.

For nearly 50 years, pianist and torch singer Miss Eve provided the sound track to early evening rendezvous at the Green Mill. In February she dropped out of sight, a victim of heart surgery; now she's back. A celebration tonight--dubbed the Comeback Player of the Year Party--will feature Miss Eve and a "battle of the saxes" between Green Mill regulars Von Freeman and Edward Petersen. There's a $5 cover. It all gets under way at 9--and over the next few weeks, Miss Eve will slowly make her way back into her old schedule of Wednesday through Friday, 5:30 to 8:30 PM. The Green Mill is at 4802 N. Broadway; call 878-5552.

Saturday 6

Today's your last chance to see the first annual Invitational Gay Pride Queer Art Show, presented by Queer Nation/Chicago and Bucktown Fine Arts and displaying the work of more than 50 artists. It will be open from noon to 5 today, then closes for a few hours before reopening at 8 for a closing-night party. It's at Beret International, 2211 N. Elston; there'll be poetry from Robert Klein Engler, D. Travers Scott, Joan Jett Blakk, and others, with an open mike to follow. The party costs a suggested $4; daytime admission is free. Call 226-5149 for more info.

A Life in the Theater is David Mamet's two-man play about a pair of actors, one the mentor, one the protege, working through their roles as teacher and student. A version directed by Scott Williams and starring Brooks Palmer and David Clayton opens tonight at 7:30 and then runs Fridays through Sundays through the end of July at the School Street Cafe, 3528 N. Sheffield. Tix are $10; call 404-5308 for more information.

Sunday 7

Sometime between I Dream of Jeannie and Dallas, Larry Hagman turned his skills to hippie exploitation flicks, directing the campy Son of Blob, which starred Del Close, Godfrey Cambridge, and Cindy Williams. "The pro-hippie nature of the film kept its release limited at the time," writes Psychotronic Film Society theoretician Michael Flores, but "today it is both enjoyable as a campy take on 1950s horror films and a unique peek at America's counterculture." The film shows tonight at the society's weekly presentation at Crash Palace, 2771 N. Lincoln. Shorts begin at 6:30. It's $3. Call 738-0985 for info.

Kevin Kaplan's charity group, With a Little Help From My Friends, takes as its charter the rather difficult tasks of convincing people 22 to 35 to volunteer more and making them more aware of small local charities. To this end, Kaplan's been coming up with creative projects ("putting the 'fun' back into fund-raising"), taking no salary, and ensuring that 75 percent of any money he collects goes to such charities. The group's genesis? Kaplan's own (ultimately successful) fight with Hodgkin's disease. His latest project was organizing a special performance of Metraform's The Real Live Brady Bunch, tonight at 7 at the Chicago Riverfront Antique Mart, 2929 N. Western. Tickets are $25, with a reception and hors d'oeuvres to follow; proceeds benefit the Families' and Children's AIDS Network. Call 943-0332 for details.

Monday 8

One of Catherine the Great's most memorable undertakings was her campaign to encourage settlement in the Crimea, the Ukraine, the Caucasus, and other areas: lured by her promises of free land, religious freedom, and 100-year exemptions from taxes and military service, thousands of farmers and craftspeople from Germany moved to Russia. It didn't all work out so well, and by the late 1800s many of their descendants were emigrating again, this time to America, where quite a few took up residence in the midwest. The American Historical Society of Germans From Russia has a 23-year history of investigating and preserving the history of these immigrants. The group's convention is being hosted this year by the northern Illinois chapter over the next five days at the Hyatt Regency Woodfield, 1800 E. Golf Road in Schaumburg. It begins tonight with a movie, Siberia: The Forgotten Land, showing at 8, and over the next six days there'll be a bookstore and a large data bank of genealogical material set up in the hotel and various special events: a quilt exhibit, a demonstration of an ethnic wedding, various speakers, a dinner dance, and even tours of some local sights. Registration costs $30, $25 for members, which gets you admission to all the programs; things run roughly 9 to 9 Tuesday through Saturday. Call 708-541-8869.

Tuesday 9

As the Art Institute's major exhibit on photographer Paul Strand continues (through July 21; call 443-3600), the Film Center is detailing some of his work on film, notably his left-leaning documentary work. In 1937 he formed a progressive filmmaking group called Frontier Films with the help of Dos Passos, Lillian Hellman, and Archibald MacLeish. One of Frontier Films' first efforts was The Heart of Spain, a look behind the scenes of the Spanish Civil War; the 30-minute documentary will be screened with three other flicks (including Strand's Manhatta) tonight at 6 at the Film Center, Columbus and Jackson. (There's another program of Strand films July 23.) It's $5, $3 for members. Call 443-3737.

Wednesday 10

South-side Irish stand-up comic Tim Cavenaugh, Chicago Women in Comedy prez Marcia Wilke, and humorous poet Dan Pearson are three panelists in a session called "What's So Funny? Techniques for Writing Humor," the highlight of today's program of the Taste of Chicago Writing Conference. The three-hour session tonight at 7--at Saint Xavier College, 3700 W. 103rd--is one of a dozen or so all this week at the conference; there are also week-long workshops on writing in various fields (children's books, fiction, mysteries, poetry, and more, each three hours daily at $120 a class) offered concurrently. Tomorrow night, same place and time, another panel features a phalanx of Reader theater critics (Lawrence Bommer, Albert Williams, and Tom Valeo) chatting with playwrights Claudia Allen, John Logan, and Charles Smith. Full registration for the conference is $145; there's a partial registration available for $90. Call 779-3300 for details.

Body Smelling of Shit Like Most Men is C.J. Laity's newest poetry-and-spoken-word presentation. The subject? The "bad" relationship, AIDS, and ("of course") Ken and Barbie. It's at Club Lower Links, 954 W. Newport, tonight at 8:30. It's $6; call 248-5238.

Thursday 11

If you ride the el for fun, think Belmont-Sheffield is fine except too tame sometimes, and wouldn't think of living anyplace where you couldn't get an order of French toast at 3 AM, tonight's evening of performances, Urban Worship, is for you. Poet Tim Andersen is the host: he'll be presenting Marc Smith, capo of the Uptown Poetry Slam, and his new band, Pong Unit One; Brendan deVallance, who plays a combination guitar/record player and does all sorts of other weird things; Marvin Tate, a recent Uptown Poetry Slam champion; and performance artist Anna Brown. All will discourse widely on the modern urban metropolis and its accompanying pathologies starting at 8 at the Beacon Street Gallery and Theatre, 4520 N. Beacon. It's $10. Call 561-3500.

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