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Friday 10/24-Thursday 10/30

OCTOBER

By Cara Jepsen

24 FRIDAY Hasu Patel took up sitar when she was nine--an unusual choice for an Indian girl. Her first teacher, who was blind, taught her to play by listening to his voice and had her practice six to eight hours a day. That explains the songlike qualities in her playing. These days Patel runs the Sursangam School of North Indian Music and is one of the world's only professional female sitar players. She'll perform tonight at the Asian American Jazz Festival on a bill that includes the Indo-Pak Jazz Coalition, the Korean troupe Il Kwa Nori, and Yoko Noge & Jazz Me Blues. It starts at 8 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Boulevard in Skokie. Tickets are $21; call 847-673-6300.

25 SATURDAY Today is National Make a Difference Day. Instead of simply making a greater effort to blue-bag their recyclables, today conscientious citizens will join members of Americorps's City Year program for their annual City Year Serve-a-thon. Volunteers will spend the day working on community projects all over the city, including creating neighborhood gardens, clearing lots, and painting and renovating buildings. The goal is to complete more than 20 large-scale projects in areas like North Lawndale, Austin, and Humboldt Park. Meet at 8 AM in Navy Pier's Grand Ballroom, 600 E. Grand; the day will end around 5 with a celebration at each site. It's free; call 312-464-9899 to register or learn more.

"'Illegitimacy' has been seen as responsible for society's ills, whether the proponents were 19th-century agents of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children or 20th-century 'family values' defenders," writes Northeastern Illinois University criminal justice professor Renny Golden in her book Disposable Children: America's Child Welfare System. Today she'll join William Ayers and John Hagedorn in a panel examining the failings of the nation's child-welfare and penal systems at the eighth annual Midwest Radical Scholars & Activists Conference. That discussion is today from 3 to 5 (the conference begins Friday afternoon and runs from 10 to 10 today); other topics include "The Drug War and Its Cure," "Will Teach for Food: Graduate Student Exploitation," and "Abolishing Lawyer Tyranny." It's in the Congress Lounge at Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan. Registration is $25, $15 for students and low-income attendees. Call 773-384-8827.

26 SUNDAY Navigating a road rally is sort of like the strange sport of orienteering--you're given a set of directions to various checkpoints along an unfamiliar course. But in a road rally it's the car, not your body, that gets the workout. The route at today's Whoosh Witch Halloween Road Rally includes points where drivers will be encouraged to slalom around a set of pumpkins and stick their faces in piles of whipped cream to search for hidden peanuts. There'll also be a costume contest at the finish line. Beginners are encouraged to enroll in a free rally school at 11. Registration for the rally starts at 11:30, and the first car takes off at 1. Meet at parking area B2 (between Firestone and Hooters) at Woodfield Mall, Golf Road between Meecham and Route 53 in Schaumburg. The entry fee is $18 per car. Call 847-526-2559 for more.

In 1975 Chantal Akerman and an all-female crew made the groundbreaking three-and-a-half-hour Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Brussels, a subtle, detailed portrayal of three days in the slowly unraveling life of a fastidious Belgian widow who turns a trick a day to support her son and herself. Akerman's latest work is the hour-long documentary Chantal Akerman by Chantal Akerman, in which she focuses on how the themes of alienation, intimacy, and displacement play out in her personal life and her films. She will answer questions after today's screening at 2 (Jeanne Dielman will be shown Saturday, October 25, at 2) at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. Tickets to today's event are $10, $8 for students and seniors. Call 312-397-4010 for tickets and information.

27 MONDAY The North Suburban Library Foundation has put together yet another impeccable lineup of literary speakers this fall, including Jane Smiley, Tobias Wolff, and Isabel Allende. The Literary Circle Series kicks off tonight with Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winner Toni Morrison, author of Song of Solomon and Beloved as well as a recent book of essays called Playing in the Dark. She'll speak tonight from 7:30 to 9 at Glenbrook South High School, 4000 W. Lake in Glenview. Tickets are $25; $48 gets you a seat up front and all the finger food you can stomach at a postspeech reception with the author. Call 847-459-0380 for tickets.

28 TUESDAY As the folks at the discussion on The World Beyond the Mainstream Media will tell you, even the city's alternative papers can't cover everything. Panelists include Streetwise editor Brendan Shiller; Ethan Michaeli, editor of Resident's Journal, a publication by and for residents of the Chicago Housing Authority; and Chicago Access Network executive director Barbara Popovic. The debate will be moderated by freelance writer and WBEZ program host Andrew Patner and is sponsored by the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs. It's at 6:30 at the Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont. Admission is $7; call 312-663-0960 for more.

29 WEDNESDAY Over the past decade, nearly a dozen women who live on the street where I grew up have been diagnosed with some form of cancer--and it's not a very long street. There's a contingent in the hood that believes the outbreak is related to the fact that the victims' backyards abut the local golf course, where pesticides have been used with abandon for the past three and a half decades. Before that, the area was a cornfield--where fertilizer and other chemicals were also sprayed liberally. Could there be a link? Investigative journalist Liane Clorfene Casten, author of Breast Cancer: Politics, Poisons and Prevention, will address the issue of environmental toxins today at a lecture entitled Breast Cancer and the Environment: Is Pollution Putting Us at Risk? It's from 7 to 9 in room 312 of the Marquette Center at Loyola University, 41 E. Pearson. It's free. Call 773-561-4662 for more.

30 THURSDAY By now you're probably familiar with teenager LeAlan Jones, who along with pal Lloyd Newman and a couple of NPR producers created Ghetto Life 101, an unblinking, insightful documentary that exposed liberal America to day-to-day life in and around the Ida B. Wells housing project. The team went on to do a follow-up, Remorse: The 14 Stories of Eric Morse, which won a Peabody award, a Hillman Foundation citation, and grand prize in the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. They also wrote a book about the documentaries. Tonight Jones will talk about what he knows (and you should learn) in a talk called A Candid Look at Our America: Teen Poverty and Violence in the Inner City. The event, sponsored by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, starts at 6:30 in Pierce Hall at the Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington. It's free (and there'll be hors d'oeuvres), but a donation is suggested. Call 312-435-4548.

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