If we were absolutely forced to decide which was tackier--wearing a fur coat or accosting an otherwise innocent passerby for the crime of wearing one--we'd probably come down on the side of the poor passerby. But it'd be close. You can join Animal Rights Mobilization Chicago in the fifth annual March Against Fur today at noon at 535 N. Michigan, right in front of D'ion Furs and down the street from another furrier. The event is free; call 993-1181 for details. There's also an hors d'oeuvres-and-dancing party to follow at Excalibur, 632 N. Dearborn, sponsored by Concerned Citizens for Ethical Research. It starts at 3; there's a $20 requested donation, $15 for students and seniors. Details at 792-7117.
Tonight's your first chance to see all of this year's gift offerings from the Lill Street gallery as the artists' cooperative kicks off its holiday foofaraw. Lill Street, founded in 1975, now has almost 40 resident artists, a learning center, a permanent gallery, and a metalworking studio; the whole joint is open from 6 to 9 tonight with live music, champagne, and work on display. Next Saturday at the center's annual open house, there'll be classes on all sorts of things--from making finger puppets to throwing pottery--for kids and adults. The open house runs from noon to 5; both events are free. Lill Street is at 1021 W. Lill; call 477-6185 for details.
If you already know what Taurus, Bigfoot, Bear Foot, Grave Digger, Let's Boogie, and Bad Habit are, you probably don't need to be reminded that the U.S. Hot Rod Association's Mud and Monster Truck Racing National Finals run tonight and tomorrow at the Rosemont Horizon. The object of these events is to take one of the aforementioned beasts--12-foot-high, 1,000-horsepower trucks--and drive it through an 80-foot-long pit filled with 30 inches of mud. The fun starts tonight at 8 and tomorrow at 3 at the Rosemont Horizon, 6920 Mannheim in Rosemont. Tickets are $12-$16, four dollars less for kids under 13. Call 708-963-4810 for details.
In the history of design-related contests this probably doesn't rank up there with the Tribune Tower competition, but it might do more good. Safe Sex Soviet Style is the result of a USSR government competition to promote safer sexual practices; the 30 works of art--which, organizers say, were summarily banned after the competition on the grounds of subject matter--will be on display at the Maya Polsky Gallery tonight. The reception, from 5 to 8, is a benefit for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and part of the national Day Without Art. (Art will be removed or shrouded at the Art Institute, the State of Illinois Gallery, and the Chicago Historical Society, among others.) Tickets are $35, and serigraphs, both signed and unsigned, will be for sale; a $75 ticket includes a signed print. There'll be caviar, vodka, other Russian food, and Russian music to boot. The gallery is at 311 W. Superior. Call 642-5454 for details.
Monsters--real, fake, and personal--are the subject of Monsters . . . Glimpses of Urban Lunacy, a collection of monologues and short plays by Rick Cleveland, S.L. Daniels, Douglas Post, Richard Strand, Cynthia Caponera, and more. It plays tonight, tomorrow, and every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday through December 16 at Club Lower Links, 954 W. Newport; shows start at 6 Saturdays and at 7 all other nights. Tix are $10. Call 248-5238 for more.
The ninth-floor Winter Garden of the new Harold Washington Library is the current home of an exhibit called Harold Washington: Vision of the New City, an extensive overview of Washington's life both before politics and as a state legislator, congressman, and mayor. It'll be up at the library, 400 S. State, through April of next year. Hours are 9 to 7 Monday through Thursday, 9 to 5 Friday and Saturday. It's free. Call 747-4052 for details.
The dedicated members of the National Geographic Society sponsored the expedition that found the ruins of Machu Picchu, the one that discovered Africa's oldest human remains, and the first one to the North Pole. The society's centennial exhibition has finally hit town (the centennial actually fell in 1988) and will be at the Chicago Academy of Sciences, 2001 N. Clark, through January 5. It covers everything: from the start-up of National Geographic to the magazine's controversial decision to add photographs and on through its distinguished 20th-century journalism and photojournalism. The museum's open daily 10 to 5. Admission is $1, 50 cents for kids. Call 871-2668.
Richard Nixon and the 60s zeitgeist issues of urbanization and commercialization are a few of the subjects tackled in animation and collage in Avant-Garde Film: The Sixties and Avant-Garde Film: Ake Karlung, Oscar Reutersvard, and Olle Hedman, showing tonight as part of Facets Multimedia's six-night Swedish avant-garde film series. Filmmaker Olle Hedman will speak at tonight's show, which starts at 6:30; tomorrow night at 6:30 director Louise O'Konor will be there. Different programs run each night, and the shows Friday through Monday start at 7. Facets is at 1517 W. Fullerton. Admission is $5, $3 for members. Call 281-9075.
One of the T-shirts Michael Stipe wore on the MTV Music Video Awards, the airbrushed "lollipop" guitar that belongs to Jane's Addiction lead singer Perry Farrell, and a pair of size 9D Nacona cowboy boots worn by INXS's Michael Hutchence are among the items up for auction at Jam Productions' third annual Christmas Is for Kids Rock 'n' Roll Charity Auction tonight at Park West. Jam solicits the stuff from artists as they come through town, and the last two holiday auctions have raised more than $40,000 for homeless, displaced, or abused kids. WMAQ's Bob Sirott emcees; things get under way at 7 at 322 W. Armitage. Tickets are $12.50, available only at ticket outlets and the Park West and not over the phone. Call 929-5959 for more info.
The Weavers' Project of Women for Guatemala markets weavings by Guatemalan women and tries to get word out about conditions there. Its event tonight, Dia Del Mercado: Taste of Guatemala IV, will feature a slide show and information update on Guatemala and a children's presentation; there'll also be music and food, and imported weavings for sale. It's at Saint Ita's Church, 5500 N. Broadway, from 6:30 to 9:30 tonight; admission is $6, $5 in advance. Call 431-1165 for details.
The title character of Karen Joy Fowler's first novel Sarah Canary is possibly mad, possibly unreal, possibly a killer; she roams the Pacific northwest in the 1870s, followed and pursued by an unfortunate Chinese emigre from a railroad gang, a circus impresario, a suffragist, and others. The "richly imagined tableau" of the book, wrote novelist Barbara Quick in the New York Times, "is similar in scope to E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime, and yet [the] book is as much a dreamscape as a panorama." Fowler will read and sign her book tonight at the Kroch's and Brentano's at 29 S. Wabash at 7:30. Call 332-7500.