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Friday 6

The boy with the honeyed voice who dressed like a girl has an autobiography out called Take It Like a Man. You may think you've heard it all before--another story of a worldwide pop star whose few years of unbridled access to sex, drugs, and money come crashing down on his or her shoulders--but of course Boy George put a special spin on much of what he did. Rather than reading from and answering questions about his literary effort, he's taking the easy way out by just signing copies of it tonight at 7 at Barnes & Noble, 659 W. Diversey. It's free. Call 871-9004.

UFO watchers admit that we haven't seen much UFO activity in these parts lately; the only recent local sightings have been in forest preserves, prompting again the time-honored question "Why do UFOs reveal themselves only to folks in the sticks?" To answer all your UFO-related questions three local groups are offering lectures and exhibits today and tomorrow in belated observance of National UFO Awareness Week (which happened back in August). Their free exhibits will be set up in the Kluczynski Federal Building, 230 S. Dearborn, from 11:30 to 1:30 this afternoon. Tonight out in Glen Ellyn at the College of DuPage Arts Center, 22nd and Lambert, and tomorrow night in the west pavilion of the Museum of Science and Industry, 57th and Lake Shore Drive, they'll present talks on extraterrestrial close encounters by those who say they've had them and researchers in the field. Lectures start at 7; admission is $10 per night. Call 878-3607 or 708-980-1123 for details.

Rigoberta Menchu Tum grew up on a coffee plantation in Guatemala, one of the most brutal regimes in Central America, and now lives in exile in Mexico, where she continues to campaign for the rights of her country's indigenous population. You can hear the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner speak on Human Rights in Latin America at 8 tonight at Saint Vincent DePaul Church, 1010 W. Webster. It's free. Call 325-7000, ext. 1872.

Saturday 7

Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility and the Chicago Coalition for Information Access will focus on some of the social implications of information technology this weekend at a conference called The Good, the Bad, and the Internet. Panels and workshops on topics such as public access and privacy issues run from 9 to 5:30 each day at the Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted. It's $85, $65 for members, $35 for students. Call 252-8187 for more info or point your browser to

Near-death experiences, holistic medicine, James Redfield's novel The Celestine Prophecy--if these things get you salivating you'll find many kindred spirits at In Spirit '95, a "lakefront conference for the mind, body, and soul" that runs through Monday at the Skyline Stage at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand. Organizers promise speakers, workshops, an exhibition center, concerts, and more. You can check out the exhibits for free, but everything else costs--a day's worth of lectures will run you about $100. Things get under way at 9 each morning and run till around 6. Call 708-501-5396 for details.

One of the cornerstones of the new Navy Pier--the Chicago Children's Museum's new digs--finally opens this morning. Festivities begin at 9 with a parade of "jugglers, stilt walkers, storybook characters, and Chicago children's groups" led by Aaron Freeman. The museum opens at 10; admission is $5. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand. Call 527-1000.

Sunday 8

Today's your last chance to see this year's DanceAfrica, which for the first time features a group from Africa itself: the Ghana Dance Ensemble, whose performance at this fifth annual event is its first in the States. Also on the program are Philadelphia's Rennie Harris PureMovement, which combines African and street dance; New York's Djoul'e African; and Chicago's Sundance Production. African wares--good things to eat, jewelry, clothing--will be on sale during what's called the African marketplace, set up in the Medinah Temple's maze of hallways, from noon to 6. The performance begins at 3; tickets are $18 for main-floor and dress-circle seats, $14 for the balcony. It's at 600 N. Wabash. Call 989-3310 for tickets and info.

Monday 9

If you feel the need to warm up for this afternoon's Columbus Day parade in the Loop you can join the parade's sponsor, the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, for a 9 AM mass at Our Lady of Pompeii Shrine, 1224 W. Lexington; at 10:30 the group will lay a wreath at the Columbus statue in Arrigo Park, just west of the church, at Loomis and Lexington. The parade starts at 12:45 from Wacker and Dearborn. It's free to go watch. Call 828-0010 for more.

Before the death of Albert Speer in 1981, German journalist Gitta Sereny, who's written extensively on the world of the Third Reich, spent a decade interviewing the man and researching his life. Hitler's architect was sentenced at Nuremberg to 20 years in prison for organizing slave labor camps during the Second World War. Sereny talks about the product of her interviews and research, Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth, at 6:30 tonight at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, 5757 S. University. It's free. Call 752-4381 for details.

Tuesday 10

If you've got a little secret itching to get out, today may be the day to run with it. For National Coming Out Day, the University of Illinois at Chicago's Office of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Concerns will be staffing two information booths on campus. One will be set up in the Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted, today from 10 to 2, the other in the Chicago Illini Union, 828 S. Wolcott, from 10 to 2 tomorrow. Also this week, the group sponsors an appearance by Achy Obejas, who reads from her collection of stories We Came All the Way From Cuba So You Could Dress Like This? in room 502 of the Circle Center at 12:15 on Thursday. It's all free. Call 413-8619 for details.

Writer's block affects even the most successful authors. Consider Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton. A recent profile in Time magazine revealed that Crichton, legendary for producing 10,000 words of fiction a day while attending Harvard Medical School, wrote barely a word for five years in the late 70s. The Society of Midland Authors has enlisted a local shrink to explicate the phenomenon at a meeting this evening. Dr. Sanford Weisblatt, from the Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis, talks on Writer's Block: A Psychoanalytical Approach at 5:30 in the 410 Club of the Wrigley Building, 410 N. Michigan. It's $15. Call 944-7600 for reservations.

Wednesday 11

The expatriate British poet Thom Gunn, according to the Times Literary Supplement, "is an exceptional and fascinating poet with a formal range to rival Auden's, a sensuality equal to Ginsberg's and a profound yet daily humanity that surely surpasses that of any other poet of our time." Gunn, a teacher at Berkeley, opens the Poetry Center's 1995-'96 season with a reading at 6 tonight at Fullerton Auditorium in the Art Institute, 111 S. Michigan. Admission is $5, $3 for students and seniors. Call 368-0905 for details.

A local bisexual activist group has two important announcements to make. The first is that the organization, formerly known as the Bisexual and Radical Feminists (BARF) has changed its name to the Feminists Bisexuals (FBI). The second announcement is that they're now holding free regular meetings every second and fourth Wednesday of the month. Their agenda: "issues concerning the rights and visibility of bisexuals and bisexuality." Tonight's meeting is at 6:30 in the American Friends Service Center, on the 14th floor at 59 E. Van Buren. Call 667-5217 for details.

Thursday 12

If you're planning on attending the Chicago Architecture Foundation's October 24 dialogue with Philip Johnson it might be smart to get up to speed on the great builder's work. The foundation offers a "preparatory session," The Challenge of Philip Johnson, tonight at 6 in the lecture hall at its office, 224 S. Michigan. The session costs $20; tickets to Johnson's talk are $60. Call 922-3432, ext. 131.

The Chicago Abortion Fund celebrates its nine years of fighting for abortion rights with a reception and concert tonight. For 55 buckaroos, 45 in advance, you get drinks and hors d'oeuvres, music from jazz diva Joan Callaso and world-music maven Winston Damen, and chances to participate in a silent auction and raffle. (Student tickets are available for $15.) The evening's honorees are local abortion activists Dr. Adia Giachello, Dr. Linda Rae Murray, and Jenny Knauss. Voices for Choice runs from 6 to 9 tonight in the west tower of the Hyatt Regency, 151 E. Wacker. Call 248-4807.

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