You can buy a Christmas tree and help out one of Chicago's leading AIDS groups at the Stop AIDS Christmas Tree Sale, starting this afternoon at 4 at 3245 N. Halsted. The sale runs for three weekends: Fridays 4 to 10, Saturdays 10 to 10, and Sundays noon to 7. Stop AIDS Chicago concentrates on spreading information about AIDS prevention. For more info, stop in at one of its offices, 2835 N. Sheffield and 7350 S. Jeffrey, or call 871-3300.
Thrift Store Paintings is the first exhibition of the Society for Outsider, Intuitive, and Visionary Art--whose purpose is to "celebrate artists who, for one reason or another, seem motivated by a unique personal vision and demonstrate little influence from the mainstream art world." The traveling show was originally put together by LA artist and collector Jim Shaw for the Brand Art Library in Glendale, California; it's made up of anonymous works purchased at secondhand or thrift stores, swap meets, and the Salvation Army. This exhibit--at World Tattoo Gallery, 1255 S. Wabash, through January 4--includes items gleaned from Chicago thrift stores as well. There's a free opening reception there tonight from 5 to 8. Regular gallery hours are noon to 5 Monday through Saturday. Call 751-1156 for details.
Tim Miller was one of a gang of four artists who lost their National Endowment for the Arts funds last year because of the sexual nature of their work. This weekend he performs his retrospective work Sex/Love/Stories at Beacon Street Gallery, 4520 N. Beacon. What's it about? "My dubious goal has been to pull the juiciest, queerest, funniest, and most political stuff from five years of work to share with you, dear audience. I do this in the spirit of let's get down to it, oh Dudes and Dudettes, this big job of knowing ourselves, restructuring society, doing sex, ACTING UP, telling our stories." The performances are tonight and tomorrow at 8, Sunday at 7; it's $10, $8 for students and seniors. Call 784-2310 for more. Miller will also be speaking at the School of the Art Institute auditorium, Columbus and Jackson, at 6 PM Monday; that's $3 and the number is 443-3711.
The muscular, digestive, circulatory, and reproductive systems of the dogfish shark will be on the examination table today at the Shedd Aquarium's class for kids, Advanced Dissection: Shark. The hour-long program is designed for third- through fifth-graders and is offered three times today, at 9:30 AM, 11 AM, and 1 PM. It's $20. The aquarium's at 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive; call 939-2426 for more.
An ongoing support group for women who are HIV positive continues in Oak Park today; it's sponsored by the AIDS service group Community Response. They won't reveal the address; you'll have to call 708-386-3383 to learn that or for other info. The group meets 3 to 4:30 every Saturday afternoon and charges a sliding fee based on income.
"There's only one thing you can do with high expectations, and that's lower 'em," says Elvis Presley in Terry Spencer's new play, Christmas With Elvis. The scene is Trudy Davis's Lakeview studio, the time a sad Christmas Eve for its repressed and lonely inhabitant. Then Elvis shows up, for a mad night of pizza, sex, Jack Daniels, and lots of talk about eating disorders. The play shows Sundays at 3 and Mondays at 7 through December 30 at the hospitable Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont; tix are $6. Call 281-0010 for details.
The Wolford Memorial Clock Tower in Lincoln Park was built as a memorial to Jacob Wolford, an original member of the Chicago Board of Trade, in 1931; but its 25 Deagan chimes mysteriously stopped working about ten years later. Some neighborhood residents have been restoring the chimes and clockworks for about four years, and tonight at 6 there's a celebratory rededication of the tower, with representatives from the city and the volunteers who nursed it back to health on hand to hear the chimes once again. The tower's next to the Waveland Field House, just north of Addison. The free goings-on run till 8. Call 922-3307.
Sojourner Truth was the nom de abolition of the early (1797-1883) civil rights activist and noted orator Isabella Baumfree. Actress, playwright, and director Donna Washington will perform her one-woman show Sojourner Truth: Speaking Out for Freedom tonight at 7:30 at an affair sponsored by the Chicago chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women. Refreshments are included in the $7 ticket; it's at the North Lakeside Cultural Center, 6219 N. Sheridan. Call the council at 987-1927 for details.
There's a TriQuarterly doubleheader at the Kroch's & Brentano's in Evanston tonight. Northwestern English prof and TQ editor Reginald Gibbons's new book of poetry is called Maybe It Was So; one of its entries, "From a Paper Boat," won the 1991 John Masefield Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America. Associate editor Susan Hahn's first collection of poetry is Harriet Rubin's Mother's Wooden Hand. They'll both be reading from and talking about their work tonight at 7:30 at the store, 1711 Sherman in Evanston. The books are $8.95 each. Call 708-328-7220 for details.
The Dreamerz Fiction Series--named after the Wicker Park nightclub--moves north tonight with a pair of readings at the Greenview Arts Center Gallery, 6418 N. Greenview. Reading will be Tim W. Brown, who teaches English at Roosevelt University and edits the literary journal Tomorrow Magazine, and Eckhard Gerdes, author of Truly Fine Citizen. Things get under way at 8; it's $3. Call 508-0085 for details.
A superstar doubleheader at Orchestra Hall tonight raises money for the Jewish Community Center. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emanuel Ax perform tonight at 7:30 at Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan. $25 gallery tickets are still available. Call 346-6700 for details.
"Petty personal problems, thoughtless presents and remarks, and an ambience of blistering callous pleasantries" are the order of the evening at Gurlene and Gurlette Hussey's Dysfunctional Family Christmas, a show at Club Lower Links tonight starring Marc Almondine, Vaughn Baronezz, Joan Jett Blakk, Blossom, Billy Jo Casino, and Marci Dunkin'. Tickets are $8; the show starts at 8:30. Lower Links is at 954 W. Newport. Call 248-5238 for details.
Actress Emily Hooper and singer Glenda Baker describe their current production, Telling Our Stories! Celebrating Black Expression!, as an evening of "poetry, songs, games, essays, folktales, hollers, and chants [that] illustrate the beauty of African American survival." The dynamic duo perform at Cafe Classico, 3257 N. Broadway, at 8 tonight. There's a requested donation of three bucks. Call 883-2087 for details.
In the 50s Bill Russo was Stan Kenton's lead trombonist and chief composer and arranger; later he founded the Chicago Jazz Ensemble and collaborated with the likes of Leonard Bernstein and Duke Ellington. Russo got a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1990, and he's directed Columbia College's contemporary American music program since 1965. This weekend, he'll lead his latest group, the Classic Jazz Ensemble (which includes instrumentalists and singers), through works by Ellington, Kenton, and Jelly Roll Morton, as well as some of his own ("The Horn Blower," "Gluttony," "The Death of Anne"). Jazz Panorama also features dance interpretations of selected songs. The shows are at the Getz Theater, 72 E. 11th St., today at 12:30 and 8, Friday at 7:30, and Saturday at 8. Tickets are $3-$10; call 663-9465 for more info. The ensemble will also perform a free concert (sans dancers) at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, next Tuesday, December 17, at 12:15 PM; call 346-3278.