Political snake-oil purveyor Ross Perot speaks at an Executives' Club of Chicago luncheon today, and there's still limited walk-up space available. Seating begins at noon in the Grand Ballroom on the fourth floor of the Palmer House, 17 E. Monroe. Tickets are $48 for nonmembers. Call 263-3500 for information.
Bring-a-Chair/Buy-a-Chair is the slightly quizzical title of the third annual benefit and auction for Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. Attendees are requested to bring a "unique, handsome, decorated, functional, or purely fun" chair to be auctioned off; members of the group have donated items of outsider art for auction as well. If you don't bring a chair, admission is $35. It all happens in the fifth-floor atrium of the 900 N. Franklin building from 5:30 to 8:30. To get more info, call 759-1406.
The Hollywood Casino continues to turn sleepy Aurora on its head with a day of country and western folderol in honor of Willie Nelson's two sold-out appearances at the Paramount Arts Centre tonight and tomorrow. The Wild, Wild Westfest, which runs from 10 to 10 today out in front of the Paramount, 23 E. Galena, offers movies (The Electric Horseman at 10:30 AM, High Noon at 12:30, and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral at 3:30), square dance lessons and a stunt demonstration (at 2), performances by various lesser-known C and W bands, and a Tex-Mex barbecue. Everything is free. Call 800-888-7777 for details.
You can see the horrific expressionist story of Dr. Caligari and his maniacal designs on the hypnotized Cesare when the 1919 silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari plays at the University of Chicago's Rockefeller Memorial Chapel tonight at 7 and 9:30. Wolfgang Rubsam, internationally known recording artist and concert performer, professor of church music and organ at Northwestern, and the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel's organist since 1981, will improvise accompaniment on the chapel's E.M. Skinner organ. A share of the $7 ticket ($5 for students) goes toward restoring the organ. The chapel is at 5850 S. Woodlawn. Call 702-2100 for information.
The Old Town School of Folk Music's tenth Festival of Latin Music brings a continent-spanning selection of music to Orchestra Hall tonight. Included: Los Kjarkas, which the school describes as "the premier Bolivian ensemble," the Mexican traditional band Los Folkloristas, Mexican American singer-songwriter Tish Hinojosa, and the Puerto Rican Los Pleneros del Yucayeque. The show's at 7:30; tickets are $12.50-$27.50. For an additional $6 you can attend a preshow dinner catered by La Cocina de Santa Rosaura in the hall's Grand Ballroom. Orchestra Hall is at 220 S. Michigan. Call the school at 525-7793 for more info.
The Remains Theatre is having its foundation knocked out from under it--literally--as the 1800 N. Clybourn mall, its home for four years, faces demolition. The company celebrates its uncertain future tonight at The Wrecking Ball, a night of dancing, fund-raising, and live music at the theater. Starting at noon today a temporary Remains Store will be open next door to the theater, selling off theater props, costumes, and other paraphernalia. The dance party starts at 8, with 'XRT DJ Lin Brehmer hosting. Tickets for the party are $15, $10 in advance; admission to the store, which will stay open through the end of the party, is free. Call the theater at 335-9595 for details.
The Mid-South Hunger Walk is designed to be "more than just another walk along the lake for a good cause," say organizers. The event, for which participants collect pledges for south-side hunger organizations, begins at the First Presbyterian Church, 6400 S. Kimbark, and goes through Woodlawn, Hyde Park, Washington Park, and more before it reaches the Saint James United Methodist Church, 4611 S. Ellis, where there'll be supper and gospel music for participants. Walkers start moving at 1:30; for more info, call 363-6063.
Kultur-Kommerz-Kommunikation is a three-month lecture series organized by the Smart Museum designed to track social change in Germany and Austria in the first half of the century. Things kick off this evening at 5:30 with "Kathe Kollwitz and the Image of the Proletarian Woman in the 1931 Abortion Debate," a paper by independent art historian Joan Weinstein. She'll talk about how depictions of women changed with the 1929 economic collapse and how that change affected the abortion debate. Lectures continue every Monday at 5:30 through December 13 at the Cochrane-Woods Art Center, 5540 S. Greenwood (across from the museum). They're free, with no reservations required. Call 702-0200.
Filmmakers Deb Ellis and Alexandra Halkin, producers of a new documentary, Skin Deep: Norplant and Its Effects on Reproductive Rights and Informed Consent, are raising money for their project with a work-in-progress screening tonight at the HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee. The film features interviews with women who've experienced deleterious side effects from the contraceptive--six silicon rods implanted in the arm that prevent pregnancy for up to five years. The event starts at 7 with the filmmakers talking about Skin Deep; the documentary itself will be screened at 7:30, 8, and 8:30. The $10 admission includes Yoko Noge's regular Monday night blues show at 9. Call 226-7911 or 327-5639 for more info.
Morning Edition host Bob Edwards has a book out called Fridays With Red: A Radio Friendship, and Kroch's and Brentano's Wabash store has a new coffee bar on its mezzanine. The two come together tonight when Edwards makes an appearance at 5:30 to talk about his book and his relationship with the late sportscaster Red Barber. Tomorrow, same time and place, political scribe Richard Reeves peddles his new book, President Kennedy. Both events are free; the store is at 29 S. Wabash. Call 332-7500.
The Japanese music ensemble Chikurin Shoja, which plays two shows in Chicago this week, combines the sounds of instruments traditional and modern. Its five members play shamisen (a three-stringed banjo), shakuhachi and shinobue (bamboo flutes), and the taiko drum, plus modern drums and keyboards. Tonight at 7 they're in the James Simpson Theater of the Field Museum, Roosevelt Road and Lake Shore Drive; tomorrow at 7:30 they appear in the auditorium of Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. Saint Louis. Both shows are free. Call 280-0430 for more.
The Chicago Park District and the Cooperative Extension Service are looking for a few good gardeners, but the requirements are quite strict. To get into the nine-week Master Gardener program, which meets Wednesdays from 9 to 3 starting January 26, you have to pay $100, go through an interview with the program coordinators, and commit to 60 hours of volunteer work afterward. There are a couple of two-hour orientation sessions on the class, today from 1 to 3 and tonight from 7 to 9 at the Humboldt Park Field House, 1400 N. Sacramento. The orientation sessions are free, but the group warns that you'll be sitting "for two hours on a hard bleacher seat." Still want more info? Call 286-6767.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, those 2,000-year-old bundles of manuscripts on papyrus, leather, and copper that include much of the Old Testament and many other documents about life at the time of Christ, have for years been in the hands of a small cabal of scholars, but this lock was recently broken by an enterprising professor and a computer program. The story of the scrolls' liberation is the subject of The Dead Sea Scrolls: Discovery and Controversy, a lecture by Joseph Fitzmyer at Loyola tonight. Fitzmyer is a biblical languages lecturer at the Catholic University of America in D.C.; his talk is Loyola's 18th annual Edward Surtz Lecture. It starts at 7:30 in the Crown Center for the Humanities, 6525 N. Sheridan, and it's free. Call 508-2239.