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Friday 1/14 - Thursday 1/20

JANUARY

By Cara Jepsen

14 FRIDAY The French are convinced that the earliest and best outsider art can be found right here in le Windy City; last year Paris's Halle Saint Pierre museum curated an exhibit of 150 pieces from Chicago collections, including work by Henry Darger, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Bill Traylor, Doc Atomic, and Nicholas Herrera. The show, Outsider and Folk Art From Chicago Collections, opens tomorrow at the Terra Museum of American Art, where it's been augmented by some new pieces. Today the public is invited to a lecture about the artists by the New Orleans Museum of Art's Alice Rae Yelen. She'll speak at 5:30 at the Terra Museum, 666 N. Michigan. Admission is $7, $3.50 for seniors, and free for students, teachers, and children. Call 312-664-3939.

15 SATURDAY In 1864 Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the nation's first African-American female doctor, helping to pave the way for women like Katherine G. Johnson, an aerospace technologist for NASA. The pair are just two of the many barrier-busting African-American women featured in the "Ladies First: Pioneering Women Scientists" section of the Museum of Science and Industry's extensive new exhibit, Defying Tradition: African American Women in Science and Technology. It opens today (and runs through March 5) at the museum, 57th a nd Lake Shore Drive (773-684-1414). Hours are from 9:30 to 5:30, and admission is $7 for adults, $3.50 for children.

Robert Roberts came up with the idea for the weekend-long MLK Dream Classic while watching his son and some friends work on a school project for Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. "I thought, 'Wouldn't it be great to have all of these things to do over the weekend that would reiterate his principles?'" Those things now include a gospel concert of King's favorite spirituals on Friday, a series of high school basketball games today (King's actual birthday), college basketball at Kennedy-King College tomorrow, and a college career fair at Trinity United Church of Christ on Monday. Today's games start at 1 at the De La Salle Institute Athletic Center, 3455 S. Wabash; top-ranked Illinois high schools will compete against teams from Philadelphia, Birmingham, and Atlanta. Admission is $3; call 312-842-4784 for more.

The Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum has commissioned sculptor Luis Jimenez to create its new National Memorial Plaza, a monument to Mexican-American veterans that will be completed in 2002 and will probably feature at least one of the artist's signature larger-than-life fiberglass sculptures. For a taste of things to come, the museum is hosting the exhibit Working Class Heroes: Images From the Popular Culture, consisting of 56 sculptures, paintings, drawings, and prints by Jimenez, who'll give a free talk tonight at 7. The museum is at 1852 W. 19th (312-738-1503).

16 SUNDAY In 1900 there were some 75,000 Jewish people in Chicago, most of them from Poland, Russia, and German-speaking countries. The Associated Jewish Charities was formed that year to help the immigrants adjust to the new world, and it's an important voice in today's community of 261,000 as the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. The organization's growth is outlined in the new exhibit Shaping of a Community: The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, which opens today at the Spertus Museum, 618 S. Michigan. A free opening reception starts at 1:15; at 2 New York sociology and Jewish studies professor Samuel Heilman will discuss the changing face of American Jewry in the 20th century, followed by a talk from JFMC president Steven B. Nasatir. Reservations are requested; call 312-322-1747.

17 MONDAY Last week Rubin "Hurricane" Carter told a reporter he moved to Canada after he was released from prison in 1988 because he "wanted to live amongst people who are more tolerant of other people"--something the former boxer and head of the Toronto-based International Association in Defense of the Wrongfully Convicted says is not possible in the U.S. But he does come down occasionally for speaking engagements. Today at noon he'll talk about his case and answer questions at DePaul University's Lewis Center, 25 E. Jackson. Admission is free but space is limited; call 312-362-8701 for details. Then at 5:30 he'll sign copies of Hurricane, a new biography by James S. Hirsch, in the concourse level of the DePaul Center, 1 E. Jackson. It's free; for more information call the Afrocentric Bookstore, 312-939-1956.

For their fifth annual Martin Luther King Breakfast, the Chicago Black Lesbians and Gays have chosen to invite participants from the entire local lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender community regardless of race "in the spirit of diversity." The free event starts at 10 at the Church of the Open Door, 5954 S. Albany. Call 312-409-4917 to reserve a spot.

18 TUESDAY According to local investment adviser Jesse B. Brown, "The message of investing was never directed to African-Americans; it was a message reserved for those who were thought to have 'means.'" Brown is working to change that. Tonight he'll discuss his book, Investing in the Dream: Wealth-Building Strategies for African Americans in Search of Financial Freedom. The free event starts at 6 at Borders Books & Music, 830 N. Michigan (312-573-0564).

19 WEDNESDAY As a teenager in East Chicago, Indiana, Maurice Rodgers sneaked into Gary's Chicken Shack to catch performers such as Willie Dixon and Jimmy Reed. "At the time they referred to those clubs as the chitlin circuit," the blues singer now known as Mighty Mo Rodgers has said. "But to me it was a royal banquet." Today the musician and scholar (he's writing a thesis on "Blues as Metaphysical Music" for his master's in humanities) will be interviewed by WBEZ's Niles Franz as part of the Chicago Blues Archives' "Speakin' of the Blues" oral history series. It's at 12:15 at the Harold Washington Library Center auditorium, 400 S. State (312-747-4050). Admission is free. At 9 PM he'll perform at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport (773-525-2508). Admission is $8.

20 THURSDAY Amateur astronomers interested in viewing tonight's total lunar eclipse can stay in and watch the virtual version on-line (www.adlerplanetarium.org), or they can go to the Adler Planetarium to view it with the museum's telescopes while scientists hold forth on what they're seeing. The astronomical event will start at 9:01, reach its midpoint at 10:44, and end at 11:22. Related activities take place from 8 to 11:30 and include a two-hour theater presentation about the eclipse; demonstrations of how to create moon-phase dials, masks, and flip books; and guided tours of the Doane Observatory. Admission to the theater presentation is $5; everything else is free. The planetarium is at 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive (312-922-7827).

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