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Days of the Week



Friday 12/5 - Thursday 12/11


by Mike Sula

5 FRIDAY Multiple births are Mother Nature's way of insuring that enough puppies, rabbits, and rats survive to carry on the species. Humans and other primates are ostensibly better equipped to care for their young, who usually come out one at a time. So what does it mean when the Bobbi McCaugheys of the world load up on fertility drugs and start pumping out litters as a matter of course? Corporate America is only going to give away so many minivans. Today's free symposium on reproductive technologies, Changing Conceptions: How Science and Law are Shaping Future Generations, is bound to address multiple births and other thorny issues like cloning, postmenopausal pregnancy, and posthumous sperm donation. Among the doctors, lawyers, and ethicists holding forth will be Robert Edwards, who pioneered the first in vitro fertilization birth, Keith Campbell, who helped clone Dolly the sheep, and Baby M's surrogate mom, Mary Beth Whitehead. It starts at 8:30 and runs all day at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, 565 W. Adams. Admission is free, but registration is required; if you want lunch it'll cost you $35. Call 312-906-5090.

6 SATURDAY Until recently no other newspaper got more mileage out of covering itself than StreetWise. But an editorial overhaul by Brendan Shiller has since turned a good idea, poorly executed, into an actual newspaper. But if you're still partial to those fascinating vendor profiles, filmmaker Bill Glader's video documentary Inside StreetWise features four inspiring stories from people who have used the paper to turn their lives around--a man working his way through paramedic school, a woman supporting her young daughter, a former CPA with a brain tumor, and a former addict turned reporter. It's being shown on video tonight at 7 at Casa de Arte y Cultura Calles y Sue–os, 1900 S. Carpenter. Glader and coproducer Magdalena Rodriguez will attend. Suggested donation is $5; call 312-243-4243.

7 SUNDAY Self-important professionals like to romanticize how rough they had it in medical or law school, but they've got nothing on circus performers. Students accepted into the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College have just eight weeks to master the essentials of acrobatics, gymnastics, juggling, unicycle riding, stilt walking, pantomime, magic, and character development. And after that, only about a third of each class of 30 gets hired. Steve Smith, who ran the school for ten years and is now directing the Chicago Children's Theatre's Magically Marvelous, Wonderfully Wacky, Seriously Silly Center Ring Circus, teaches an even shorter but no less intense physical comedy workshop today "for those who are serious about being silly." Geared around a classic two-person routine called "Dead & Alive," the 90-minute class features a plethora of trips, falls, slaps, mistakes, and surprises that will impart a proper sense of "structure, content, line, and form." It starts at 2 today at the Actors Gymnasium in the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes, Evanston. It's $50 to participate, $10 to watch. Call 847-328-2795.

Chacala is a tiny fishing village in Mexico about 60 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. Its pristine, white sand beach would be an ideal spot for some enterprising developer to swoop in, buy out the villagers for a song, and plop down a hotel. But Chacala's two-year-old Housing and Hotelier Association has a plan to make sure it doesn't go down that way. The idea is to build solid brick homes for Chacala's 300 residents, about half of whom presently live in huts, to make it more difficult for the government to evict them. Some new homes will operate as bed-and-breakfasts, attracting the kind of tourists who would prefer their money go to the locals rather than some fat-cat hotel owner. Laura del Valle, who opened Chacala's first medical clinic 13 years ago, and her brother Jose, a civil engineer, will talk about development in the village tonight at 5 at Don Carlos Restaurant, 1536 N. Pulaski. The $15 donation will go toward buying bricks and mortar for the project. Call 773-252-8524.

8 MONDAY The late-18th- and early-19th-century Ukrainian master of Hasidic mystical literature Rabbi Nachman was reviled by his fellow rabbis for advocating greater individual responsibility in a community whose religious leaders called most of the shots. Though he died in his early forties, Nachman produced a large body of writing that later established him as a forerunner of Kafka. Gerald Teller, the superintendent of education for the Community Foundation of Jewish Education, will teach a two-part class on mysticism and Jewish spirituality that will focus on how Nachman's stories illustrated his various theological views. The first class begins tonight at 7:30 and concludes next Monday at the Mayer Kaplan Jewish Community Center, 5050 W. Church, Skokie. It's $16; call 847-675-2200 to register.

9 TUESDAY "You might call me Virgil guiding Dante through the Inferno," multimedia artist Ben Nicholson says about the upcoming "performance" of his CD-ROM Thinking the Unthinkable House. Nicholson's six-year project organizes the Internet into a work of architecture called Loaf House, a virtual dwelling that he claims one can actually live in. Though he hasn't addressed the problem of how one might physically inhabit a small plastic disc of digitized information, he says the house comes complete with all the amenities, including bedrooms, bathrooms, a library, and a family room with a large, undulating floor that serves as an "angst collector." Visitors can click on various household items that link up to videos, essays, interviews, and music. Nicholson, who says the project touches upon "every facet of American urban existence," will walk audience members through the house and beyond tonight at 6 at the Graham Foundation, 4 W. Burton Place. It's free. Call 312-787-4071.

10 WEDNESDAY It's something of an ironic tribute that an institution whose very existence relies upon the destruction of lots of trees would honor them with an exhibit. Today the Newberry Library teams up with Morton Arboretum to present From Forest to Park: America's Heritage of Trees, a collection of 150 rare books, botanical prints, travel narratives, photographs, magazines, poetry, and technical and park manuals covering 400 years of the tree's relationship to the "American identity." It opens this morning at 8:15 and runs through March 14 at the library, 60 W. Walton. It's free; call 312-255-3700.

11 THURSDAY Some people work better under pressure. Consider the plight of poor Scheherazade, whose 1,001 tales had to be good enough to persuade her husband the sultan not to slit her throat. There's no telling what kind of stress Lookingglass Theatre ensemble member Mary Zimmerman was under in 1992 when she adapted some of the stories for the stage, but her version of The Arabian Nights was a big smash. Zimmerman is back to direct the Lookingglass remounting of the show, which continues through January 4. It's tonight at 7:30 at the Steppenwolf Studio Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted. Tickets are $14.50; call 312-335-1650. And it better be good.

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