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Friday 12/20 - Thursday 12/26


By Cara Jepsen

20 FRIDAY Marilyn, Elvis, Liberace, Zsa Zsa, Elizabeth, and Jackie O--who had the best taste in jewelry? The tacky and the tasteful are revealed at the International Gem and Jewelry Show, where celebrity jewelry, along with that of the less than famous, will be on display and for sale. The show is today from noon to 7, tomorrow from 10 to 6, and Sunday from 11 to 5 at the Rosemont Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road in Rosemont. Admission is $5. Call 800-662-0411.

It's that time of the year again, when the WXRT/WSCR Holiday Ride Home service provides free cab rides to thousands of intoxicated revelers--and moochers pretending to be sauced. Rides must originate in Cook County, each trip is limited to 20 miles, and passengers must go straight home. It starts tonight from 7 to 3 and continues through January 1. For a ride call 773-278-5015.

Since 1989 Partners in Community Development--a coalition of churches, synagogues, and community groups--has worked to rebuild the mid south side through job programs, community reinvestment, and an antiviolence campaign that includes the monthly Vigils Against Violence. To help raise money for the organization, the Willie Pickens Trio joins trumpeter Orbert Davis and jazz vocalist Lovelace Redmond (Pickens's brother) tonight to perform A Jazz Christmas. It starts at 8 at the Hyde Park Union Church, 5600 S. Woodlawn. Tickets are $25, $20 in advance. Call 312-409-8650.

21 SATURDAY It's a bit of a drive from Chicago, but Camp Sagawau in Lemont is the only forest preserve in the county boasting both groomed trails and cross-country-ski-equipment rentals. Snow permitting, opening day for the camp's Nordic Ski Program is today--the first day of winter. The four miles of trails are open from 9 to 5; the program runs through March 3 at the camp, 12545 W. 111th in Lemont. Admission is free; rentals are available from 9:30 to 3 for $10, and lessons are also $10. Call 630-257-2045 for information.

Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai said he was inspired by writer Raymond Carver when he made 1994's Chungking Express. You could add filmmakers John Cassavetes, Eric Rohmer, and Jacques Demy to the list, though Wong has a modernist sensibility all his own. Shot in 23 days, the film takes place almost entirely at night in Hong Kong's tourist district and brilliantly juxtaposes the stories of two lonely, jilted police officers. One is a detective who decides to become involved with the first woman he meets--a bewigged drug runner. The other is a street cop stalked by a punky fast-food worker who steals his keys and rearranges his furniture while he's not home. The film screens today and tomorrow at 1 at Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton. Tickets are $7. Call 773-281-4114.

Looks don't matter, says Playgirl Man of the Year Jonathon Prandi. As long as you have a sense of humor, he just might fall in love with you. Yeah, right. But would you even want him to? The Tom Cruise look-alike's rather flaccid turn-ons include candlelight dinners, the beach, leggy blonds, and Italian food. His feelings on being chosen top stud, as quoted in his PR bio: "I feel truly blessed; it's like I'm surrounded by a whole lot of love, or a warm blanket on a cold night"--proving it's better for centerfolds to be seen, not heard. Prandi autographs his layout, which was shot in San Francisco, today from 2 to 4 at Waldenbooks at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. It's free; call 847-619-6850.

22 SUNDAY There's nothing like a bone-chilling Chicago winter to take the fun out of an ice skating excursion. Keep the gloves, scarves, earmuffs, long johns, down-filled coats, parkas, face masks, and four pairs of wool socks at home and Rollerblade indoors at Navy Pier's Festival Hall, 600 E. Grand. Today's sessions run from 10 to 2, 2:30 to 6:30, and 7 to 11; the rink is open through January 12. It's $5 per session (rentals are $10). Call 312-595-5404.

The best part of the Music Box's Christmas Sing-Along and Double Feature isn't seeing your holiday favorites (It's a Wonderful Life and White Christmas) on the big screen but the caroling that takes place during the 15-minute intermission. The screen lights up with sing-along slides from the 30s and 40s while Dennis Scott cranks up the organ and Santa leads the audience in the singing. It's a Wonderful Life screens today and tomorrow at 4 and 9:45; White Christmas shows today at 1:15 and 7 and tomorrow at 7. It's at the theater, 3733 N. Southport. The $7.50 ticket is good for one double feature. Call 773-871-6604.

23 MONDAY If you're looking for a safe, educational place to dump the kids over the holidays, the Park District's Winter Break Camps run all day and include arts-and-crafts activities, field trips, and seasonal sports. Most camps will also have an afternoon mural program overseen by professional artists. The eight-day camps start today from 10 to 4 and run through January 3 at various parks throughout the city, including Lake Shore Park, 808 N. Lake Shore. Camp fees are $5 to $50 (most are $10--fees can be waived for low-income families); the afternoon mural program is free. Participants should register in advance and bring a sack lunch. Call 312-742-7529 for locations and more info.

24 TUESDAY Those who blew off sending out cards this year can experience the tradition vicariously. Rare Holiday Cards by Chicago Artists includes more than 200 cards from the 1920s, '30s, and '40s by such artists as Gertrude Abercrombie, Fritzi Brod, Rowena Fry, Emil Armin, and Kathleen Blackshear. Made from silk screens, photographs, collages, woodcuts, and hand drawings, almost all the cards are ones the artists gave to one another. The collection is on display today from 9 to 3 and runs through January 6 on the eighth floor of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State. It's free. Call 312-747-4800.

25 WEDNESDAY For the last two years a handful of hardy souls has gathered at the Waveland clock tower and biked north to Glencoe and back on Christmas Day. The incentives? Fresh air, exercise, conversation, and bagels at Harry's in Glencoe. This year the Chicago Cycling Club's 25-Mile Bagel Ride starts at 10 and ends in the early afternoon. Meet at the clock tower at Waveland Avenue and the lakefront. It's free, but bring money for bagels and coffee. Call 773-274-7631 for more.

26 THURSDAY Greenwich Village in the 20s forms the backdrop for Wonderful Town, the 1953 hit musical scored by Leonard Bernstein and based on the play My Sister Eileen. Eileen's the actress, and Ruth is the aspiring writer; together they hit the big city to seek fame and fortune--and have bohemian adventures along the way. This Light Opera Works production opens tonight at 8 and runs through December 31 at Northwestern University's Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson in Evanston. Tickets are $21 to $50. Call 847-869-6300.

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