The 50-odd groups appearing in the eight-week "festival of Chicago's international arts" include a dozen theater companies and performance artists; those performing October 31 through November 7 are described below. These listings refer to theater and performance art offerings only; on nights when only one theater company is listed here, be assured at least one other program of music, dance, or poetry is also planned, with discount prices available to viewers buying a ticket to all performances on a single night. (A pass to the whole festival costs $40.) All events (which are subject to change) take place at the Blue Rider Theatre, 1822 S. Halsted; for more information, call 733-4668.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31
KAJA OVERSTREET Among the several pieces in this performance artist's program is the premiere of Judy Judy...Oh Judy, which employs life-size puppets and classic "Punch and Judy" dialogue to study "the idealization of violence against women." 8 PM. $6; $10 for this and the performance by Stephen Lapthisophon later this evening.
STEPHEN LAPTHISOPHON The experimental theater artist directs his play The Black Paintings, which explores "the dark side of some of the simplest details of everyday life"; the cast includes Dan Ursini and Charles Parnell. 9:15 PM. $6; $10 for this show and the Kaja a Overstreet performance that precedes it.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1
ALARINJO THEATRE Back to the root: Adekola Adedapo assumes the persona of "Mizz Root" to perform "Uncle Monday," Zora Neale Hurston's story of a magical healer. Also on the bill from this company devoted to revealing black American culture's African heritage are stories about witches and ghosts from the cult of the Yoruba river goddess Oshun, as performed by Osunrete Adesanya. 9:15 PM. $6; $10 for this show and the poetry readings by Raul Nino and Rohan Preston that precede it at 8 PM.
FEMINIST THEATRE COLLECTIVE Sexual harassment and blurred gender roles are among the topics addressed by Choice Cuts: The Feminist Theatre Collective in Performance. The work contains new pieces and selections from earlier productions by this ensemble affiliated with the Gadfly Theatre. 11 PM. $6.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2
JOAN JETT BLAKK'S HALLO'THANG The Queer Nation Party's still-undeclared black gay male female-impersonator candidate for president hosts an evening of performance and partying; scheduled artists include Gurlene Hussey, D. Travers Scott, David O'Connor, and Taylor Ross. The audience is encouraged to help set the evening's gender-bending tone by wearing costumes. 10 PM. $10.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7
TANYA WHITE The actress unveils a new performance piece, Lana/Smoking, in which the title character "evaluates her commitment to eroticism and finally stops smoking." What would Jesse Helms--and his financial supporters--think? 8 PM. $6; $10 for both this show and the one that follows it.
DJALAAL AND WOMEN OF THE VEIL Black poet-playwright Ntozake Shange and ancient Gnostic gospel texts provide the words, and dance styles from Java, North Africa, and the Middle East suggest the movement, in the performance piece Woman as Goddess: A Recreation. 9:15 PM. $6; $10 for admission to this show and the one that precedes it.