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Friday 15

There was a time when American farmers were considered the salt of the earth, the stuff that made this country great. Out in the heartland, proud farmers still face foreclosures and are often forced to accept charity from the likes of shaggy rockers like John Cougar Mellencamp. The farmers' plight has appeared to radicalize them: more and more frequently, the media describe Jesse Jackson supporters as "blacks, gays, and disenchanted farmers." Strange bedfellows indeed, as are the more than 40 artists who make up The Time of the American Farm, a new exhibit focusing on the issues facing today's farmer. The opening is from 5 to 7 this afternoon at the Evanston Art Center, 2603 Sheridan Road in Evanston. The show runs through May 22; suggested $2 donation. For more information, call 475-5300.

Gather together, Chicago. This promises to be a one-of-a-kind birthday party. For one thing, the guest of honor will attend in spirit only when Harold Washington's 66th birthday is celebrated today with an all-out bash at the Charles Hayes Center (also known as the Packing House), 4859 S. Wabash. Harold himself may not be there to dance a jig with Mary Ella, smile that big smile of his, shake hands, kiss babies, and sing "My Kind of Town," but count on every major progressive politician to try to fill his shoes. The free party is sponsored by Harold's People, an ad hoc collection of a lot of the same folks who brought you Harold's 1987 mayoral win. It starts at 7 PM. Call Doretha Fleming at 373-3228 for details.

Saturday 16

Sing it, brothers and sisters: the fibula's connected to the tibia, the tibia's connected to the tarsals, the tarsals are connected to the metatarsals, and the metatarsals are connected to the phalanges. We're talking feet and ankles here. Each day an average person's feet hit the ground 20,000 times with a force that's three times her or his body weight. No wonder we run the risk of corns, calluses, bunions, enlarged joints, and ingrown nails. But at Lincoln West Hospital, 2544 W. Montrose, we can Spring Into Health by taking advantage of the foot screenings at the hospital's Foot and Ankle Center. They're offered every Saturday and Monday from 1 to 4, and Wednesdays from 4 to 8. The screenings are completely free through June 21, but you'll need an appointment. Call 267-2200, ext. 390.

Remember Beatlemania, the Broadway show? Its young stars were so out of tune with the fab four that at the end of "Revolution," the John Lennon lookalike would raise his fist defiantly. Now comes 1964 . . . As the Beatles, another Beatle-impersonation program, this one promising authenticity (the bass player practiced for six months to learn to do it left-handed just like Paul, and the drummer uses black oyster-pearl drums just like Ringo). Judge for yourself at 8 tonight in the Mainstage theater of the College of DuPage, 22nd Street and Park Avenue in Glen Ellyn. Tickets are $10, $8 for students and seniors. For more information, call 858-2800, ext. 2456.

Sunday 17

Secretary of Education William Bennett has recently been calling for parochial schools to take on less glamorous kids--kids who can't afford private tuitions and who might be a little troubled. Obviously, he's never heard of Josephinum High School in West Town, which prides itself on accepting students who have a history of academic or disciplinary problems. Three years ago, the modest little all-girl schoolhouse almost closed its doors because of financial woes. But community support helped the Sisters of Christian Charity (who founded the school in 1890) raise nearly $150,000 in three months. Nowadays Josephinum is economically on its feet and home to 240 students, 55 percent of whom are black, 40 percent Hispanic, and the rest white and Asian. Fund-raisers continue, however, and today's is an All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast from 8:30 AM to 2 PM at the school, 1501 N. Oakley. It's a mere $3. Call Sister Barbara at 276-1261. for more information.

Monday 18

The State Department nearly went into convulsions when Philip Agee wrote Inside the Company: A CIA Diary in 1969. The book took apart the company's operations in South America and named agents in Ecuador, Uruguay, and Mexico. Although it tried to get a court order to stop publication of Agee's writing, the State Department failed. It had to fall back on its favorite harassment tactics to try to keep him from writing--his typewriter was bugged, his American passport revoked. But Agee hasn't slowed down: he cowrote two other revealing tomes, Dirty Work and Dirty Work II, and just finished On the Run, a personal account of life since the State Department has been on his tail. Agee will tell his story tonight at 7:30 in the auditorium of Northwestern University's Technological Institute, 2145 Sheridan Road in Evanston. Admission is $3. For more information, call 486-6357.

Tuesday 19

By the time Montgomery Clift made Raintree County, he was completely addicted to pills and quite wasted. Yet his performance was wonderful, in part due to the chemistry with costar Elizabeth Taylor, and in part to Clift's own rewriting of much of the screenplay: he sat up for endless nights, studying the sprawling novel and adding bits and pieces of it to the script, editing and rephrasing. He needed the movie to do well for more than artistic reasons: he needed the bucks. The studio got its money's worth. The film will be seen today at a free showing at the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, at 5 PM. Call 346-3278 for more information.

Wednesday 20

"To go. No not to go. But to lift. Not light. Paint. No not paint. All the time we are very happy," wrote Gertrude Stein. Somehow, the painting and the happy go well together in her verbal palette, much as Karl Kochvar's work, Forged for the Stage, a series of reproduction commissioned as sets by the Goodman Theatre for its art-inspired plays, including the Stein-Picasso play, She Always Said, Pablo. Kochvar's masterful scenic art will be on display in the Goodman's Rehearsal Room (also cafe and gallery), 200 S. Columbus Drive, from 6 PM to curtain time, Wednesday through Saturday. Viewing is free. For more info, call 443-3800.

Thursday 21

It'll be a long time before the TV image vanishes of Brian Willson's kid screaming with horror--"They've killed my father! They've killed my father!" after Willson was hit by a Navy supply train during a peaceful demonstration against American involvement in Central America. Willson lived, although he lost both his legs. During his convalescence, the Nicaraguan first lady visited him with words of encouragement. Willson continues his mission with a lecture tonight. A reception begins at 6 PM, followed by a 7:30 PM forum and video screening at the United Church of Rogers Park, 1545 W. Morse. The reception is $15-$25 (sliding scale) and the forum $4. For more information, call 663-4398 or 227-2720.

Illinois has one of the stupidest laws on the books: requiring HIV testing for couples intending to marry. Even Reagan's surgeon general has called our law a waste of time, money, and resources. Still, if you want to tie the knot, you have to get the test. The Howard Brown Memorial Clinic is one of the few places in town where HIV testing is done with complete confidentiality. The clinic won't even take your name, giving you a code number instead. HBMC has been doing HIV testing and counseling since the AIDS epidemic began, and its staff is top-notch. Testing is by appointment only, from 7:30 to 9 tonight and other evenings at 954 W. George. It's also cheap at $65 per person, $125 per couple. Call 871-5777 for details.

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