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Friday 12/6 - Thursday 12/12

DECEMBER

6 FRIDAY According to David Perry, director of the University of Illinois at Chicago's Great Cities Institute, this year's Forum on Urban Issues will address strategies by which we can "reaffirm cities as sites for inclusion and centers of civilian culture and imaginative openness and edginess--and as drivers of social and economic change." Speakers and panelists will discuss affordable housing, spatial ecology, economic development in immigrant communities, and the impact of heightened security on the Arab and Muslim communities; they include Helen Samhan of the Arab American Institute Foundation, Chester Hartman of the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, 46th Ward alderman Helen Shiller, and Angela Glover Blackwell, president of PolicyLink and coauthor of Searching for the Uncommon Common Ground: New Dimensions on Race in America. The forum, titled "The Open City," runs today from 8 to 3 at UIC's Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted. The $20 admission fee ($10 for students) includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Reservations are required; call 312-996-8700 or go to www.uic.edu/cuppa/gci. The opening plenary session, moderated by Eight Forty-Eight host Steve Edwards, will be broadcast from 9:30 to 10:30 on WBEZ.

7 SATURDAY "Johnny Maier, my enamorata of last night, is a character in truth. Soon after he got up 'to get a drink of water,' I followed, and found him playing billiards and going on a [spree]. Went to-bed at the Aveline, forfeiting my $2." So wrote polyamorous cub reporter and avid book collector John "Hapless Jack" Wing in his diary on October 5, 1865. Wing lived in Chicago from 1865 to 1866 and returned in 1870 to make his fortune publishing trade magazines. In 1917 he left his extensive collection of books and scrapbooks, as well as those diaries not destroyed in the Great Fire, to the Newberry Library, thus seeding what became the first American collection devoted to the history of printing. Bibliophile and printmaking enthusiast Robert Williams found the journals he transcribed and edited for The Chicago Diaries of John M. Wing, 1865-1866 in the Newberry's collection. He'll give a free talk about Wing today at 11 at the library, 60 W. Walton; call 312-255-3700.

California congresswoman Barbara Lee got death threats after she cast the only House vote against using "all necessary and appropriate force" against those associated with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Actor Danny Glover was taken to task for his stance against the death penalty when he said he would never support it, even for Osama bin Laden. And Aaron McGruder's comic strip The Boondocks was pulled from several newspapers because of its critique of post-September 11 America. That these public figures, all of whom are black, were harassed for speaking out is indicative of a national clampdown on dissent, say the editors of The Paradox of Loyalty: An African-American Response to the War on Terrorism (Third World Press), an essay collection featuring Lee, Glover, McGruder, and many others. Coeditor Julianne Malveaux and publisher Haki R. Madhubuti will discuss the book today at 2 at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl. It's free; call 773-947-0600.

Michael Sorenson's Converging With Angels, shot entirely in Chicago using natural light and settings and a handheld camera, is the 25th film worldwide to receive Dogma 95 certification. Sorenson was inspired by Thomas Vinterberg's 1998 Dogma film The Celebration and says in his director's statement that he and his crew "viewed the Dogme 95 Manifesto and Vow of Chastity as a call to action and rigorous challenge of craft, as opposed to an excuse for haphazard or sloppy filmmaking." The film tells the story of a burned-out sex worker who takes an unsteady young woman under his wing. Sorenson, producer Thomas Jamroz, and members of the cast will answer questions at tonight's Chicago premiere. It's at 7:30 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. Tickets are $8 (312-846-2800).

8 SUNDAY According to a study conducted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, requests for emergency food assistance are up 23 percent from last year in U.S. cities. Demand has also increased in Canada, where the Canadian Pacific Railway's two Holiday Trains originated four years ago. This year, one train left Toronto on December 5, headed for British Columbia; the other, an 11-car train decorated with 8,000 lights and a lit Christmas tree, stops tonight at 4 PM in Franklin Park. Santa will be on hand for the kids, and there will be performances--in a customized boxcar--by country music artists Tracey Brown, Patricia Conroy, and Randall Prescott, and by members of the Canadian teen pop group the Moffatts. The station's at 9601 Pacific in Franklin Park, and admission is free with a donation of food, cash, or a gift certificate (organizers prefer the latter two, so they won't "need a dump truck" to cart the booty away). Proceeds go to the Leyden Food Pantry in Franklin Park; for info, call 847-455-5688. The train will also stop at the Metra station at 1116 Depot in Glenview (where donations will benefit the Northfield Township Food Pantry, 847-724-8300) at 5:45, and at 6:45 it'll be in Gurnee at the north side of the Grand Avenue underpass and the east side of Depot Road across from Viking Park (benefiting the Northern Illinois Food Bank, 847-336-3663). For more information go to www.cpr.ca/go/holidaytrain.

9 MONDAY Thomas Comerford decided to shoot Figures in the Landscape, the last short film in his pinhole camera series, in Schaumburg because "I was both attracted to and repulsed by the very scale of the human-designed landscape--the buildings and structures have a kind of totalizing, monolithic quality that dwarfs the human figure. The quality of the pinhole photograph, with its atmospherics and reduction of objects to planes of color and line, seems to draw out this monolithic appearance." The film will be shown along with Ben Russell's Terra Incognita, Rebecca Meyers's Glow in the Dark (January-June), Jennifer Reeder's A Room With the Walls Blasted to Shreds and Falling, and James Fotopoulos's Insect tonight at 7 as part of the program Here and Now: Recent Film and Video by Chicago Artists. The screening's at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington (312-744-6630), and it's free.

10 TUESDAY In addition to O.J. Simpson, attorney Johnnie Cochran has represented high-profile clients such as Amadou Diallo, Reginald Denny, Abner Louima, and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs--all cases he discusses in his new book, A Lawyer's Life. In it he sticks to his guns on O.J.'s innocence and maintains, "What happens in the courtroom has little to do with real justice for defendants. The presumption that you are innocent until proven guilty just doesn't exist, particularly if a suspect is black or Latino." He'll read from and sign copies of his book tonight at 6 at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State (312-747-4300). It's free.

11 WEDNESDAY Nearly one mil-lion people have seen a Goodman Theatre production of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol since its debut as an annual event 25 years ago. This year's Scrooge--the Goodman's fifth--is William Brown, who played the ghost of Jacob Marley last year. (That role's now filled, in a circular bit of casting, by former Scrooge William J. Norris.) Brown "wisely restrains both the sneering before Scrooge's salvation and the cheering afterward," says Reader critic Lawrence Bommer. "This Christmas Carol comes closer to the wake-up call Dickens intended than Goodman has ever dared to deliver before." Performances are today at noon and tonight at 7:30 at the Goodman, 170 N. Dearborn. The show runs through December 28 and tickets range from $20 to $50; call 312-443-3800.

12 THURSDAY Colorful wooden ornaments depicting cats clad in winter gear or flying over a half-moon are on offer--for a $50 donation--at the Tree House Animal Foundation's Lights of Love Lighting Ceremony. A sawbuck gets you a light lit in your pet's name, but it takes only a donation of pet food to get you in the door. Hosted by WLIT's Melissa Forman and WGN radio host and Tribune columnist Steve Dale, the combination fund-raiser and open house for the 31-year-old no-kill cat shelter will feature snacks, a silent auction, and music by the folk band Jackson Daly. It runs from 5:30 to 9 tonight at the shelter, 1212 W. Carmen. Call 773-784-5488 or see www.treehouseanimals.org.

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