Artist David Sandlin's work owes a lot to garish and ghoulish 1950s comic books; his subject matter is a Grand Guignol take on societal sins. A new exhibition of his paintings, signs, prints, and books opens tonight at the Carl Hammer Gallery, 200 W. Superior, with a reception from 5:30 to 8. It's free. Call 266-8512.
Gloria Steinem's back with a revised edition of her acclaimed memoir Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions. Tonight she appears at Women & Children First Bookstore, 5233 N. Clark, from 6 to 8. It's free. Call 769-9299 for more.
Theater Oobleck's Danny Thompson is reviving his Rhinoceros Theater Fest hit Big-Tooth High-Tech Megatron vs. the Sockpuppet of Procrastination at the Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln, for the next three Fridays. Shows start at 8. Tix are $5, "more if you've got it, free if you're broke." Call 327-6666 for details.
This weekend the 34th American Amateur Karate Federation Championship unfolds at the UIC Pavilion, 1150 W. Harrison. The tournament, which includes individual and team events for men and women, demonstrations, and advice on self-defense techniques, starts at 9 this morning and 11 tomorrow. Tix are $15 today, $20 tomorrow. Call 708-577-6530 for details.
You can wander through Hyde Park's Oriental Institute before it closes for renovations and see a private south-side collection of African and African-American art on a Museum of Contemporary Art-sponsored tour today. Marching Through Multicultural Millennia leaves at 9:30 from the MCA's 237 E. Ontario home. The $45 fee includes lunch at the University of Chicago's faculty club and bus transportation between locations. Reservations are required. Call 943-8790.
If you're looking for something a little more daring than this year's surefire Halloween costume hits (Pocahontas and Judge Ito) you might want to check out Bailiwick Repertory's annual Halloween costume sale. Clothing and props from all the company's shows, along with autographed production photos and scripts, will be on sale from noon to 5 this afternoon at the Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 W. Belmont. A $1 donation is requested for admission. Call 883-1090.
The local chapter of the American Institute of Architects holds a free seminar today to help the novice prepare for working with an architect to build or remodel a house. The two-hour event will cover the proper roles of the owners, architect, contractors, and building officials and include tips on reviewing an architect's portfolio and checking references. It starts at 2 at the Conrad Sulzer Library, 4455 N. Lincoln. You can make reservations at 670-7770.
In the late 1980s Seiju Toda, one of Japan's foremost graphic designers, took a series of X-ray photographs featuring all sorts of animals--from birds to snakes to fish to chimpanzees--encased in wood and wicker settings of his own design. (All the creatures were dead when the photos were taken, but according to the Chicago Athenaeum, which is currently exhibiting the shots, the animals were treated "in compliance with all medical, legal, and ethical considerations.") The free show X=t: The Art of X-ray Photography: Seiju Toda runs at the Athenaeum, 6 N. Michigan, through January 7. It's open noon to 5 Sunday, 11 to 6 Tuesday through Saturday. Call 251-0175.
Daniel Barenboim steps down from the podium long enough to sign some CDs and his new book Life in Music today. The music director of the CSO will be at Borders Books & Music, 830 N. Michigan, at 5 this afternoon. It's free. Call 573-0564.
Chicago writer Robert K. Dubiel will give a free talk about his book Body Signals: Healing Through Physical Intuition, how to interpret the "goose bumps of everyday life," healing springs, goddess sites, and other stuff tonight at 7 at Transitions Bookplace, 1000 W. North (in the Whole Foods mall). Call 951-7323.
The new Omnimax movie at the Museum of Science and Industry is a weather bore's delight. Stormchasers follows a daredevil band of, yes, meteorologists as they get up close and personal with tornadoes, hurricanes, and monsoons. The film shows every 50 minutes from 10 to 3 daily and from 10 to 4:40 on weekends and holidays. Admission is $10, $8 for seniors, and $5.50 for kids, which includes admission to the museum. On Thursdays, when museum admission is free, it's $6, $5, and $4, respectively. The museum is at 57th and Lake Shore Drive. Call 684-1414.
Phil Jackson's got a book out called Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior; the title's a little New Agey, but that's Jackson. He signs copies at 1 today at Borders Books & Music, 830 N. Michigan. It's free. Call 573-0564 for details.
Feeling a little lost? The Chicago Map Society meets this evening at 5:30 at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton. Your host: Sig Feller, talking on "Cartomania: Collecting Unusual Cartofacts." It's $3. Call 255-3689.
For 25 years the Chicago Public Art Group has been decorating the city with murals, mosaics, landscape design, and sculpture. You can celebrate the group's anniversary tonight at a $50-a-head reception at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State. The fund-raiser also includes a silent auction, a tour of the art in the building, and a slide show of the group's notable projects. Things get under way at 5:30; call 227-0209 for reservations.
Andrea Gabor's Einstein's Wife looks at the lives of five 20th-century women and how their careers interacted with their marriages. Her findings range from the tragic--the title character, Mileva Maric, was a brilliant physicist whose marriage destroyed her self-confidence--to the seemingly sunny, as in the case of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Gabor gives a free talk tonight at 7:30 at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells. Call 642-5044.
Activists in Guatemala are hoping the Democratic Front for a New Guatemala will foster change in a country whose U.S.-backed government keeps its power through terror and repression. The Foundation for Human Rights presents informational talks by one of the group's congressional candidates, Nery Barrios, at a number of locations this week. Barrios and a Guatemalan theater and dance group, Konojel Junam, will be at the Tres en Uno Cafe, 1775 W. Greenleaf, at 7:30 tonight. Thursday and Friday nights at 7 they'll be at Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson. It's free. Call 465-2463.
If you're one of those people with a Bridge Players Do It With Finesse bumper sticker on your car, you'll be thrilled to know that bridge maven Audrey Grant's "Bridgemobile" tour across the U.S. stops at the Vanderbilt Bridge Club this morning. The official teacher of the American Contract Bridge League, Grant has written 17 books and hosts a 26-part learn-to-play-bridge TV program. (It airs locally on Channel 20.) The club is in the Executive Plaza Hotel, 71 E. Wacker. Her appearance is from 9:30 to noon. Admission is $25, $15 in advance. Call 541-8322 for more.
In La Bete, David Hirson's deceptively postmodern Moliere reconstruction, a beastly, self-absorbed actor named Valere worms his way into the court theater troupe headed by the rigid and principled Elomire (note the anagram). Elomire is appalled, but Valere pleases the reigning prince. The resulting philosophical discussions consider subjects both weighty (artistic purity vs. commerciality; what it means to create art for the government's pleasure) and light (whether it's possible for one person to talk until the world ends). It's all handled in sprightly fashion by copresenters Pegasus Players and Buffalo Theatre Ensemble. The play runs through October 29 at the O'Rourke Performing Arts Center at Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson. Show times are Thursday through Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 2. Tix are $15-$19.50. Call 271-2638.