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Friday 12/13 - Thursday 12/19

DECEMBER

By Cara Jepsen

13 FRIDAY Federal housing subsidies and regulations keep families from climbing the "housing ladder" and improving their socioeconomic status, says Howard Husock, a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Husock believes we should replace public programs with private initiatives that reflect the needs of the local housing market. He gives the keynote address at today's Repairing the Ladder: Toward a New Housing Policy Paradigm conference. Other speakers will address the future of public housing, low-cost housing in Chicago, and HUD's current restructuring of federal programs for the poor. It's from 8 to 4 (Husock's talk is at 8:30) at the Chicago Marriott, 540 N. Michigan. The $39 registration includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Call 847-202-3060.

Only the sun and humidity will be missing at this weekend's Off-the-StreetFest indoor festival at Century Shopping Centre. The event's 60 booths will offer the same sort of art, food, and beer found at your typical outdoor summer shindig. There's also the requisite live entertainment, including performances by Big Time Sponge, Ralph Covert, Joan Baby, and Liquid Soul. It's today and tomorrow from 10:30 to 9 and Sunday from 11 to 6 at the mall, 2828 N. Clark. Admission is free; call 773-929-8100.

Since 1990 UIC's Office of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Concerns has offered training, education, support groups, and individual therapy to faculty, students, and staff. Tonight's performance of Late Nite Catechism, the long-running comedy about Catholic education, benefits the office's scholarship fund. It's at 7:30 at the Ivanhoe Theater, 750 W. Wellington. Tickets are $20. Call 312-413-8619 to reserve a seat.

14 SATURDAY North Park Village Nature Center's 46-acre preserve boasts two miles of trails, a wetland, a woodland, a prairie, and a savanna. The city-run center offers a chance to explore the preserve at night during its Winter Solstice Festival. Besides taking a night hike, participants can make pinecone bird feeders, roast chestnuts over a bonfire, and string popcorn and cranberries for the area's birds and squirrels. It's tonight from 6:30 to 9:30 at the nature center, 5801 N. Pulaski. It's free; call 312-744-5472.

Carlos Cortez, Susana Sandoval, Debbie Paredez, Brenda Matthews, and Reader staffers Monica Kendrick and Benjamin Ortiz are among the poets who'll read at tonight's Expressions of the Mente celebration. They'll perform between sets of Guatemalan marimba by the Konojel Junam Fine Arts Cultural Ensemble. The event includes an exhibition of artwork by Edgar Lopez and a bazaar featuring Guatemalan arts and crafts. It starts at 7 (with an open mike at 10) at Tres en Uno, 1775 W. Greenleaf. The suggested donation is $3; call 773-465-2463.

15 SUNDAY The most unusual thing about the Uptown String Quartet is not the group's all-female lineup but its repertoire, which ranges from classical to modern, from Scott Joplin to James Brown (the group performed on the sound track to Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing). The ensemble performs today at 3 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, 9501 Skokie Boulevard in Skokie. Tickets are $25. Call 847-673-6300.

16 MONDAY Baritone jazz vocalist Kurt Elling has called his method of applying scat-singing techniques to both words and notes "poetry on the fly." Tonight he'll join guest saxophonist Von Freeman and the Lawrence Hobgood Trio at this month's offering of Steppenwolf Theatre's Traffic program. It's at 7:30 at the theater, 1650 N. Halsted. Tickets are $25. Call 312-335-1650.

Oliver Stone's ludicrous Nixon was put to shame by A&E's far more interesting biography of the two-faced prez. Can Hollywood hold its own when it comes to a transvestite B-movie director? Fans of Tim Burton's Ed Wood can decide for themselves when the Psychotronic Film Society presents the 1991 British documentary The Ed Wood Story tonight at 8 at the Liar's Club, 1665 W. Fullerton. It's free; call 773-509-4958.

17 TUESDAY No dipping or zigzagging in the fast lane. Pattern dances have the right-of-way but should not cut through the center of the floor. Stop-and-go movement belongs in the slow lane. Any questions? That's a skeletal overview of the dance-floor etiquette touted by the Chicago Tango Club Argentine. The group will hold its weekly dance--for tango-ers of all levels--tonight from 6:30 to 10:30 at Tango, 720 N. Wells. They'll also hold a free drawing for Julio Iglesias's new tango CD. Admission is $5. Call 773-493-0666.

According to ARCO, the Alliance of Residents Concerning O'Hare, the airport is the worst hazardous and toxic emissions polluter in the state, affecting anyone residing within 50 miles. The quantity and quality of those emissions and how they affect nearby residents will be discussed when ARCO meets with representatives from the Illinois EPA at tonight's public meeting. It's at 7 at Main Township East High School, 2601 N. Dempster in Park Ridge. It's free; call 847-506-0670.

18 WEDNESDAY "We quilters anxiously accept the challenges of re-creating the traditional patterns," former Tribune writer and editor Marion Purcelli has said about her craft, "to meld with new fabrics, to reinterpret the old with the infinite choices to create the new." For the last five years Purcelli has been creating innovative designs that often look more like abstract art than something you'd use to keep out the cold; one of her quilts is included in the American Folk Art collection at the Smithsonian. Her work is being displayed today from noon to 6 in her exhibit Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, which runs through December 28 at Gallery 1756, 1756 N. Sedgwick. Admission is free; call 312-642-6900.

19 THURSDAY According to legend, Sicilian martyr Saint Lucia, Queen of Light, appeared with a ship of food during a famine on the longest, darkest night of the year. She wore a white robe and a wreath of candles on her head and disappeared into the night once the ship was unloaded. The story was embraced in Sweden, and today girls in that country still awaken their families on December 13 wearing a white robe and a wreath of candles and carrying a tray of coffee and Lucia buns. Tonight the educational organization Limina celebrates the tradition with its Winter Solstice: Lightbearers in the Loop, which includes songs, stories, dancing, and music by Irish harpist and vocalist Mary Aileen Schmiel. It's from 5:30 to 8 at Women's Place Resource Center, 30 E. Adams, suite 400. Admission is $25 in advance, $30 at the door, and includes refreshments. Call 708-386-8522.

Described by critics as the best African film ever made, 1987's Yeelen is set in the 13th-century Mali empire and tells the story of Nianankoro, a young warrior destined to destroy the secret Komo cult. In the process, he also destroys his father and himself. It's at 7 at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place. It's $5; $3 for students, seniors, and children. Call 773-947-0600.

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