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Friday 11

As part of their long ongoing protest against University of Illinois sports mascot Chief Illiniwek, an alliance of political groups are holding a rally outside the U of I board of trustees meeting today. "A white guy in "war paint' who dances and does gymnastics at sports events is no way to honor the Native American people," organizers say. The involved groups are Humanity Allied Against Racist Mascots, Women of All Red Nations, and the Progressive Student Network. The rally starts at noon outside the Chicago Illini Union, 828 S. Wolcott. Call 278-5376 for more.

The Animal Protective Association--a three-story house full of free-roaming cats and kittens--is holding a cat adoption fair this weekend. From 2 to 8 today and 11 to 4 tomorrow and Sunday, there'll be door prizes and free refreshments for potential adopters, plus added inducements for seniors and anyone adopting more than one adult cat. All the animals have been neutered and vaccinated. The shelter is at 3809 N. Kedzie. Call 463-6667.

A band of weirdly ambitious and absurdly grandiose performance artists are making their Chicago debut this week at the Beret International Gallery. Cathcart/Fantauzzi/Van Elslander specialize in elaborate, costly, and seemingly pointless projects. For instance, they recently bought a house in Detroit, spent three days dismantling it by hand, and then displayed the parts in a gallery before transporting them to a dump. In another gallery, they rigged up an electrical ceiling grid to consume vast amounts of electricity from the power-generating facility next door. For their Chicago show (which runs through May 14), they're printing up ten-foot-by-two-foot computer-generated images of girders from the nearby Stewart-Warner factory, which is in the process of being demolished. The gallery's at 2211 N. Elston; there's a free reception from 6 to 11 tonight. Regular gallery hours are 1 to 7 Thursday and 1 to 5:30 Friday and Saturday. Call 489-6518 for details.

Saturday 12

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago's annual fund-raising gala tonight stars comedian Paula Poundstone. Not Just Song and Dance begins with cocktails at 6:30; dinner's a little more than an hour later, followed by appearances by Poundstone, Broadway and TV star Nell Carter, saxophonist Richard Elliot, and the Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus. Tix are $300-$500; it's at the Chicago Hilton and Towers, 720 S. Michigan. Call 642-5454 for more.

The Lookingglass Theatre Company's six-months-in-the-making production of Mikhail Bulgakov's surrealistic epic The Master and Margarita opens tonight at 8 in the Steppenwolf Studio Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted. The book entwines three different stories: the first sees the devil wreak havoc in Moscow; the second is a love story between the title characters; the third is an idiosyncratic version of the gospels. For the stage version the company has essayed everything from Russian folk dancing to magic to acrobatics. The show runs through April 23 with shows Wednesday through Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 8, and Sunday at 2:30. Tix are $10-$14; call 335-1650.

Sunday 13

The St. Patrick's Day 5 Miler gets under way at 10 this morning on Cannon Drive just south of the Lincoln Park Zoo entrance. You can take the course walking or running, and there'll be prizes for the top three men and women in each of 13 age groups; more than 1,500 participants are expected. Race-day registration is $15, $12 if you're walking, and there'll be a postrun party and awards ceremony at the Tequila Roadhouse, 1653 N. Wells, at 10:30 PM. Call 664-4903 for more info.

The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago is marking its 75th birthday and the 20-year tenure of director Susanne Ghez with an exhibition called After and Before, which is supposed to dramatize the way different artists use the concept of time. It kicks off at 4 PM today with an abbreviated, 46-minute version of Andy Warhol's 1964 film Empire, which by means of a static camera observed shifting light on the Empire State Building over an eight-hour period. (It shows again at 5:20.) From 5 to 7, at the opening proper, you can wander through works by Hanne Darboven, Jeff Koons, On Kawara, and Lawrence Weiner, among others. The whole thing's free and runs through April 17 at the society, 5811 S. Ellis. Regular gallery hours are 10 to 4 Tuesday through Friday and noon to 4 Saturday and Sunday. Call 702-8670 for details.

Monday 14

Blues fans have a couple of options today. An exhibit at the Harold Washington Library showcasing some of the city's best blues photographers continues on the eighth floor of 400 S. State. Work by James Fraher will be up through April; after that, in two-month bursts through the end of the year, you can see work by Noel Grigalunas, Paul Natkin, Stephen Green, and Ron Heard. Admission is free. Viewing hours are 9 to 7 Monday, 11 to 7 Tuesday and Thursday, and 9 to 5 Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Call 747-4818.

From there you can wander a few blocks south to Buddy Guy's Legends and see Vanessa Davis and Sugar Blue in a benefit concert for Family Rescue, a residential program for battered women and children. $10 gets you the 8 PM show and a whack at the accompanying silent auction and raffle. The club's at 754 S. Wabash. Call 708-364-6521.

Tuesday 15

"The "kids' really are playing around. And it's us they're playing with, they're drawing maps, coloring with their crayons, but I think they're crossing out human beings." So wrote 11-year-old Sarajevo resident Zlata Filipovic, deftly limning the destruction visited upon her society. ("Kids" is her term for the politicians.) She began keeping a diary in 1992, just before the country's civil war began: her take on events was eventually published under the title Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Yugoslavia, now out in a dozen countries. Filipovic reads from her work at 6 tonight in the auditorium of the former State of Illinois Building, 100 W. Randolph. The event, sponsored by Waterstone's Booksellers, is free. Call 587-8080.

John Nichols--author of The Sterile Cuckoo, The Milagro Beanfield War, and The Wizard of Loneliness--has a new book, Conjugal Bliss, which is about "the impact of modern marriage on love," according to the folks at Barbara's Bookstore. He'll be reading from it tonight at the New Town Barbara's, 3130 N. Broadway, at 7:30. It's free. Call 477-0411 for more.

Wednesday 16

"New communication technologies such as the telephone and television have evolved into industries and regulatory structures that are frozen into place before most people understand the way these media affect their lives. By then, it is too late to shape policies." That's Lotus founder and information superhighway theorist Mitch Kapor talking about the necessity of designing people-friendly policies for the new superhighways before they're completed. You can catch up to the debate at a discussion sponsored by the Chicago Public Library. Opening the Information Superhighway to Everyone features Abdul Alkalimat from 21st Century Books, DePaul University library director Doris Brown, the Coalition for Democracy in Public Television's Melissa Sterne, and others. Library commish Mary Dempsey presides over the talk, and there's an accompanying video, Staking Our Claim in Cyberspace. The free program runs from 5:30 to 8:30 tonight in the auditorium of the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State. Call 747-4300.

To mark its 125th anniversary, the Chicago arm of the American Institute of Architects has scheduled a series of eight free lectures that will look both back on the city's impressive architectural heritage and forward to how its current class of builders "will sustain this primacy of place," as the organizers put it. The series, at 5:30 Wednesdays in the second-floor theater of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, begins tonight with the topic "Meanings." On the dais will be Thomas Beeby (designer of the Harold Washington Library) and Cynthia Weese ( architecture department chairman at Washington University in Saint Louis). Moderating is Victoria Lautman. Call 670-7770 for details.

Thursday 17

Sneaky Breeding by Female Weaver Birds in Kenya is the subject of Field Museum researcher Wendy Jackson's illustrated talk today. It's part of the museum's lecture series "Out of Africa: Exploring the Natural History of Africa." It starts at noon at that big building at Lake Shore Drive and Roosevelt Road; museum admission is free on Thursdays. Call 922-9410.

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