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Friday 10/5 - Thursday 10/11

OCTOBER

5 FRIDAY In between organizing labor, campaigning for the socialist party, and writing newspaper articles, folk songs, and poetry, Carl Sandburg penned a series of far-out fairy tales for his three daughters. They were collected in several books (including 1922's Rootabaga Stories) and provide the foundation for the new Steppenwolf Arts Exchange production, Wishes, Suspicions and Secret Ambitions: The Stories of Carl Sandburg. The show, conceived and directed by Ann Boyd, uses dance, music, and puppetry to tell Sandburg's life story; it opens tonight at 7:30 and runs through November 3 at the Steppenwolf Studio Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted. Tickets are $10, $7.50 for students. Tonight only, In the Shadow of Big Shoulders: Celebrating the Legacy of Carl Sandburg, a free poetry performance featuring David Hernandez and Kent Foreman, follows at 9. Call 312-335-1650 for tickets and more information. i Miscommunication between men and women can lead to sexual assault. That's the message behind Stage Left Theatre's The Sensitive Swashbuckler & Other Dating Myths, a hybrid of improvisational comedy and educational theater developed by former rape crisis counselor and stand-up comedian Gail Stern, actor-educator Christian Murphy, and actor Gwendolyn Druyor. The show, which debuted at Stage Left in the spring of 2000 and has played on several college campuses, reopens tonight at 11 and runs through November 3 at 3408 N. Sheffield (773-883-8830). Tickets are $12.

6 SATURDAY Interest in creating a nationwide network of fast trains has soared since the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, says Rick Harnish, executive director of the Midwest High Speed Rail Coalition. "Many people got stranded and looked into taking the train and found out they couldn't." Last week a new bill was introduced in Washington calling for $71 billion to develop such a network, replacing a $12 million measure that had been languishing in committee for over a year. Harnish expects lawmakers to act on it over the next few months. His group will provide an update at today's fall meeting, which will also include discussions of airport, highway, and rail funding, Amtrak, and how a midwest rail network would work. It's from 9 to 3 in room 242 of DePaul University's Lewis Center, 25 E. Jackson. Admission is $5, $15 if you want a box lunch. To RSVP, call 312-409-7723. i Two years ago the performance group AMEBA set out "to create a dynamic collaboration between performing artists, visual artists, and musicians, to reduce the separation between performers and audience, and to create opportunity for anyone who is interested in exploring the arts." Members include jugglers, acrobats, dancers, trapeze artists, musicians, visual artists, designers, and regular folks--including those who've taken AMEBA's acrobatic modern dance classes ("We don't turn anyone away," says codirector Chloe Jensen). Their new show, Kinetic Engineering, was created partly through a collaborative "jamming" process and opened last night at 8; performances continue today at 3 and 8 and tomorrow at 7 at Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield. Tickets are $15; call 773-267-1377.

7 SUNDAY "We're trying to expose people to new things, to have them think about contemporary art in different ways," says Justine Jentes, owner of InsideART gallery and tours and organizer of today's New Artists New Spaces Bike Tour. "We're trying to promote more emerging artists, more unusual work, and maybe less commercial work," she says of the free three-hour tour of West Loop Gate and beyond, where cyclists will meet artists Garrett Jensen, Frank Magnotta, Oli Watt, and Michael Bulka. It'll be led by Chicago Cycling Club treasurer Anne Alt, and starts at noon at the NFA Space, 119 N. Peoria. For information call 312-742-1182; for reservations E-mail urbanimage5@

hotmail.com. i If the Chicago Public Library's "One Book, One Chicago" program is working as planned, scores of locals have been reading Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird--those of us who didn't have to read it in high school, anyway. Lee said she was "a happy author" after seeing the Academy Award-winning 1962 film based on her only novel; it's being shown today at 3, Tuesday at 8, and Thursday at 8:15 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, in conjunction with Chicago Book Week. Also playing is Charles Kiselyak's 1998 documentary Fearful Symmetry, which includes interviews with the filmmakers and actors as well as people who grew up in Monroeville, Alabama--the inspiration for Macomb, the novel's small-town setting. It'll be shown tonight at 5:30, with additional screenings Tuesday at 6:15 and Thursday at 8. Tickets to each film are $8; call 312-846-2800.

8 MONDAY The final episode of the recent eight-part PBS series Evolution--which included interviews with more than 40 scientists, wonks, and theologians from 14 countries--addressed the struggle between science and religion, but it still made creationists mad. The series is based on science writer Carl Zimmer's book Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea. Tonight at 7:30 he'll give a free multimedia presentation on evolutionary science and its effect on society and culture. It's at Barbara's Bookstore, 1110 Lake in Oak Park (708-848-9140). For more on the show, go to www.pbs.org/evolution.

9 TUESDAY The Museum of Contemporary Art's current exhibit, "The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945-1994," is an ambitious examination of post-World War II film, music, graphic art, literature, architecture, and theater from more than 20 African nations. Tonight artists Ghada Amer, Ibrahim El-Salahi, and Sue Williamson will talk about artistic identity in a global world at a free discussion called African Modernism/Global Contexts. It'll be moderated by Salah Hassan, professor of African and diaspora art history and visual studies at Cornell University, and starts at 6 at the MCA, 220 E. Chicago (312-397-4010).

10 WEDNESDAY Canadian Architecture in Chicago Week includes lectures, a charette master class, and a retrospective of work by Douglas Cardinal at the John David Mooney Foundation. It culminates tonight with a symposium featuring Cardinal, known for his organic design process, and Carlos Ott, designer of L'Opera de la Bastille in Paris, called Architectural Responsibility: Public Buildings and Public Spaces. They'll be joined by Chicago architect Carol Ross Barney, writer and critic Franz Schulze, and Chicago Architecture Foundation president Lynn Osmond. It starts at 5:30 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, and it's free. Call 312-327-3610 for more. i Soccer moms got all the attention in the last few elections, but it's white, working-class stiffs whom politicians should woo, says University of Wisconsin law and sociology professor Joel Rogers, coauthor of America's Forgotten Majority: Why the White Working Class Still Matters. After all, he says, they make up about 55 percent of the electorate. He'll give a presentation on voting behavior and the 2000 presidential election, Who Is the Working Class Voter?, tonight at 6:30 at DePaul University's Egan Center, 243 S. Wabash on the ninth floor. It's free and will be followed by a reception. Call 312-996-2491.

11 THURSDAY "Feng shui uses the same natural elements as traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture," says Pam Kai Tollefson, founder of the Feng Shui Design Institute. "In feng shui we personify buildings as being bodies, personalities, and having energies of their own." Sometimes that energy gets blocked; she'll address her clients' primary concern--disorder--at a lecture tonight called Feng Shui as Acupuncture of the House: Clearing Clutter and Space. It's at 6:30 at Bacino's restaurant, 118 S. Clinton; it's $40 at the door, $35 in advance, and includes dinner. To register call 312-527-9919.

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