Rosalie Sorrels is the kind of artist who gives folk music a good name: instead of wallowing in nostalgia for simpler times, she turns a joyfully poetic eye on the human condition as experienced by real people, often expressed as a gritty celebration of her own well-lived, sometimes tumultuous life. Whether painting a bittersweet portrait of barroom philosophers at closing time or praising the resilience and strength of Prairie women, Sorrels imbues her music with the rarest kind of affirmation: a love of life that acknowledges hard times and despair as bravely as it embraces the warmth of friends, faith in human nature, and hope for the future, This weekend should be extra special for Sorrels: she's celebrating her return to performing after recuperating from an illness that might have ended the career of a less valiant spirit. The venues suit her perfectly: a memorial tribute to Chicago's legendary artist and bard of the streets, Eddie Balchowsky, and a funky, intimate coffeehouse. Proceeds from the former will go toward establishing an educational trust fund for Balchowsky's daughter. Sunday, 3 and 6 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield; 472-0449. Sunday, 7:30 PM, No Exit, 6970 N. Glenwood; 743-3355.