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Friday 10/9 - Thursday 10/15

OCTOBER

By Cara Jepsen

9 FRIDAY Like Salman Rushdie, Indian artist M.F. Husain has made a few enemies. In 1996 a gallery in India was ransacked for showing his sketch of a Hindu goddess with her breasts exposed, and this past May members of an Indian nationalist party broke into his apartment and vandalized some paintings. The implied threats haven't stopped Husain, who's Muslim, from continuing to use controversial images in his work, which ranges from traditional miniatures to portraits of Madonna. Tonight he'll be at the free opening reception for his show at Walsh Gallery (312-361-9171) in the Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan, room 460. It's from 5 to 8 (the show runs through October 31).

10 SATURDAY The underground nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan last May emphasized that while the cold war may be a thing of the past, the threat of destruction certainly isn't. It's estimated that there are 35,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Whether they're ever used "is not a matter for prediction; it is a matter for choice," writes the Nation's Jonathan Schell in the introduction to his book The Gift of Time: The Case for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons Now. He'll speak today at Bottling the Genie: Building the Movement to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, where he'll be joined by former senator Alan Cranston and DePaul University's Barry Kellman, a consultant on arms treaties for the government. The conference is from 9 to 5 on the eighth floor of the DePaul Center, 1 E. Jackson. It's $25, $10 for students. Call 312-939-3316 to register. At 7:45 Schell will be the keynote speaker at the North Suburban Peace Initiative's annual dinner. It starts at 6 at the Glenview United Methodist Church, 727 Harlem in Glenview. Tickets are $50, $25 for students, seniors, and the financially challenged. Call 847-266-1525 for more.

11 SUNDAY Gourds aren't just Halloween decorations. For artist Joan Riise, they're symbols of birth and womanhood that can be made into works of art and musical instruments. Riise and her husband began growing their own five years ago; today they'll host the third annual Goddess Gourd Festival, which will "provide closure" for them and other folks who have been cultivating the plants since May. Thirteen artists will display and sell their work; the Spiritual Journey Percussion Ensemble, whose music centers around the sekere, made from a Yoruba calabash gourd, and storytellers Julia Tudor and Mama Edie will perform. The festival is from 10 to 5 (they'll hold a harvest ceremony at 4) at Prairie Crossing, on Route 45 a half mile south of Route 120 in Grayslake. Call 773-267-2413 for more.

12 MONDAY In the 1930s a geisha named Sada Abe, who as a young girl had been banished from her comfortable household after she was raped, murdered her wealthy lover and severed his penis after a two-week sadomasochistic lovemaking session. While Nagisa Oshima's well-known 1976 film, In the Realm of the Senses, concentrates on the sex, Noboru Tanaka's little-seen A Woman Called Sada Abe from 1975 looks at the social and historical context of Abe's crime. It will be shown tonight at 7:45 at Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton (773-281-4114), where it runs through Thursday. Admission is $8.

13 TUESDAY Mountain bikers tear up the hills in the Palos preserves each weekend because it's the closest place to Chicago that isn't as flat as the top of a butte. The glacier that crept through the area 15 million years ago leveled everything it covered, but after it receded, the debris at its edge made for extremely hilly and rugged terrain--moraines. According to the people at the Morton Arboretum, there's a "footprint" of moraines running down to southern Illinois that records the glacier's path. The effect of glaciers on Illinois topography, along with plate tectonics theory (which says Illinois was once underwater where Brazil is now), will be the subject of a class today called Illinois Geology: Glaciers and Tropical Seas. The three-week course meets Tuesday evenings through October 27 from 7 to 9 (and includes two all-day field trips on October 17 and 25) at the arboretum, 4100 Route 53 in Lisle. Tuition is $142. Call 630-719-2468 to register.

14 WEDNESDAY Food irradiation, the process of exposing edibles to radiation to kill bacteria and extend shelf life, definitely has an image problem--who wants to eat stuff that sounds like it was harvested at Chernobyl? Opponents of the practice say it's as bad as it sounds; they claim that the process changes the food's molecular structure, destroying vitamins and enzymes and creating carcinogens and mutagens--and that corporations favor the process because (duh!) it saves them money. Tonight University of Chicago molecular genetics and cell biology professor Bernard Strauss, an impartial observer, will give his take on irradiation. The free talk is at 7 at the Hyde Park Co-op, 1526 E. 55th. Call 773-667-1444, extension 1207.

15 THURSDAY For those suspicious of another futuristic food-tampering procedure, there will be a Global Food Day Protest of Genetically Altered Food today at 11:30 in the John C. Kluczynski Federal Building plaza, 230 N. Dearborn. Protesters will march to the offices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and the Board of Trade; John Kinsman, president of Family Farm Defenders, will speak. Call 773-338-7182 for more information.

Dr. Meave Leakey began working as a paleontologist in the mid-1960s, when women weren't usually allowed to join expeditions. In 1994 she surprised the world when she discovered a new species of early human believed to have walked erect at least four million years ago--or half a million years earlier than previously thought. Not bad for a girl. Tonight she'll give a talk entitled "The Search and Discovery of Our Earliest Ancestors." It benefits the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center's youth scholarship program, which gives boys and girls from around the country a chance to dig for fossils near Cortez, Colorado. A reception starts at 5:45 and Leakey's presentation is at 7; admission is $50. Tickets for all that plus dinner are $100. It's at the Westin Hotel, 909 N. Michigan. Call 312-787-0639 to sign up.

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