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Friday 12/1 - Thursday 12/7

DECEMBER

By Cara Jepsen

1 FRIDAY "The real life of women, for example giving birth and bringing up children, has had no place in art, and these entertaining books for the beach endlessly con us about this fact. The everyday life of women is...not accepted as literary material. With my text, I want to break this taboo." So said Austrian novelist and playwright Marlene Streeruwitz in Der Spiegel, and she does just that with her debut novel, Seductions. Today the author and her often disturbing work will be put under the microscope at part two of UIC's Streeruwitz Does America symposium. The group of speakers includes Austrian Consulate General Christian Krepela, UIC professor of German Dagmar Lorenz, and Streeruwitz, who will join a 3 PM panel discussion on art and politics in contemporary Europe. The free symposium began yesterday and continues today from 9:15 to 5 at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton. Call 312-996-3205 for more.

In order to drive home the reality of AIDS, the Humboldt Park-based prevention project Vida/SIDA enlisted HIV-infected people in the community to work with a group of Latino artists--including storyteller Ramon Lopez and experimental media artist Cesar Sanchez--to create pieces that reflect their experiences. The opening for the new exhibit Circulation/Circulacion kicks off at 5 with a World AIDS Day candlelight vigil and walk from Division and Western to the Puerto Rican Cultural Center at 2739 W. Division (773-278-6737). A free reception takes place there from 6 to 8:30.

2 SATURDAY The vagina is not a passive organ, insists Austin-based artist Kerthy Fix. She sets out to prove as much each time she assumes the character of Pussilla, donning a wrestler's outfit, attaching a rope to a cervical cap-like device in her vagina, and pulling things--wagons, cinder blocks--across the stage, using her Kegel muscles. She'll attempt to pull a person on a cart at tonight's Christmas-themed installment of the Radical Faeries' Sexy Feast of Fools Cabaret, where the lineup includes choreographer Asimina Chremos, "one-person Christmas carol" Victoria Lamarr, pianist Taylor E. Ross, and Silky Jumbo & Jo Jo. It is hosted by Fausto Fernos and starts at 10 at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo (312-362-9707). Tickets are $10, $7 for students or if you wear a costume.

3 SUNDAY Those stuck in traffic may want to curse the 12,000 women and men (and at least one Santa) who will ride in today's Toys for Tots Annual Motorcycle Parade, but last year they collected 35,000 toys and raised $152,000 for needy kids. You can donate toys (minus plush animals, which tend to get filthy by parade's end) anywhere along the route, which departs from the Dan Ryan Woods at 85th and Western at 9:30 and travels 17 miles north on Western to the Marine Corps Reserve Center at Foster and Troy. It's free to watch; riders are required to donate one toy. Call 773-866-8697 or see www.sharperdesign.com/tft/ for more.

The Old Town School of Folk Music is trotting out The Nut Tapper again this year, hoping that the tap-dancing take on Tchai-kovsky's ballet will become a holiday tradition along the lines of the Joffrey's annual production. The brainchild of Reggio "the Hoofer" McLaughlin, it features live music and stars McLaughlin, Angie Sikora, Ernest "Brownie" Brown, Pascal Hulin, Kathy Casper, Michelle Nascimento, and a bevy of Old Town dance students. Marvin Tate is the narrator. Performances are at 4 and 7 today and next Saturday at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln (773-728-6000). Tickets are $15 to $20.

4 MONDAY In December of 1900 a Tribune writer predicted that by 2000 gift giving would be considered vulgar, social ills would be a thing of the past, and money would have "ceased to be the end toward which all people moved." Oh well. This is just one of the tidbits WBBM Newsradio editor Jim Benes delivers in his new book, Chicago Christmas: One Hundred Years of Memories. Benes, host and producer of the radio series Christmas Past, will discuss his research tonight at 6:30 at Eli's Cheesecakes, 6701 W. Forest Preserve (773-736-3417). On Wednesday at 7 he'll sign copies at Borders Books & Music, 2718 N. Clark (773-935-3090), and on Thursday at 7:30 he'll hit the Borders in Oakbrook at the corner of Route 83 and 16th (630-574-0800). All events are free.

5 TUESDAY In the 1960s First Chicago Bank coaxed Art Institute curator Katherine Kuh out of retirement to help the bank acquire artwork for its new downtown headquarters. The impressive 6,000-piece collection of museum-quality works from a range of cultures, periods, and media remains in the building (now Bank One) and is considered one of the nation's finest corporate art collections. Tonight the local chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners will offer tours every half hour as part of an event called An Artful Celebration of the Season, which will also include a cocktail reception and a display and sale of work by women artists from the School of the Art Institute. It's from 5:30 to 8 at the Bank One building, 21 S. Clark. Tickets are $65 ($45 for NAWBO members), and proceeds benefit the School of the Art Institute's faculty enrichment grant program. For reservations, call 312-322-0990.

6 WEDNESDAY French filmmaker Judith Cahen wrote, directed, and starred in the 1999 film The Sexual Revolution Did Not Take Place, in which she plays a 29-year-old at a community radio station who's worried about where she's headed. She tries to slow down her life, using a strange machine to monitor her progress. Cahen will discuss her philosophical film after screenings tonight and tomorrow night at 7 at Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton. The event is part of the fourth annual Festival of New French Cinema, which started last Friday and runs through tomorrow. Tickets are $7. Call 773-281-4114 for more.

7 THURSDAY Since 1971 the cageless, no-kill Tree House Animal Foundation has found homes for more than 10,200 sick, injured, and abused cats. They'll all be remembered at tonight's "Lights of Love" ceremony, when thousands of Christmas tree lights will be illuminated, each bulb representing "the light that an animal companion brings to our lives." There will also be music, food, a silent auction, a holiday raffle, and a presentation by WGN radio's Pet Central host Steve Dale. It's from 5 to 9 (the lighting ceremony is at 7) at the Tree House Animal Foundation, 1212 W. Carmen. Participants are asked to donate $10 to honor their pet with a light. Call 773-784-5488, ext. 230, for more.

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