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Friday 30

Jazz guitar aficionados will be happy to hear that Larry Carlton, shot and left for dead a little more than a year ago, is ready to play from his new LP, Solid Ground. A frequent session man with the Crusaders and Steely Dan, Carlton will be joined on tonight's bill by Stanley Jordan, who'll play with a full band for a change. The music starts at 8:30 at the Holiday Star Theatre, just west of I-65 on U.S. 30 in Merrillville, Indiana. Tickets are $18. For more call 734-7266.

JULY

Saturday 1

Infrared film, which reacts to heat as well as light, makes very detailed, eerie images. But the film is unpredictable, so only a few professionals make it a specialty. Two who do, Joe Schuett and Peter LeGrand, will offer workshops today at the Midwest Photographic Centre, 510 E. State in Rockford. Schuett's A Landscape Retreat in Infrared Photography runs from 9 to noon and costs $65. LeGrand's Infrared Nudes runs from 1 to 4 and costs $75. Take both workshops and the total is only $115. For details call 459-1191 or 815-961-1222.

The Home Insurance Company building, which once stood on the comer of LaSalle and Adams streets, wasn't particularly tall, but its weight was carried by a steel skeleton instead of masonry walls, which technically qualified it as the world's first skyscraper. Plenty of other architectural history will be included in Loop for Kids: Put Your Arm Around a Building, a kid's tour of downtown. Sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, it begins at 11 AM at the ArchiCenter, 330 S. Dearborn. It's $2 a person, no matter what age, and free to CAF members. Call 922-3432 or 326-1393.

The new River Stix Billiards Cafe has 16 pool tables, but no billiards tables. That's just fine by Loree Jon Jones, one of last year's top women professional pool players. She'll be at the grand opening of the cafe today, demonstrating trick shots at 4, and signing autographs at 5. You can challenge her to a match starting at 6. Games are free until 8, after which it's $10 an hour to play. There will be complimentary champagne and hors d'oeuvres. The cafe, formerly the swank Karl's Satin Doll, is at 820 N. Orleans; it has a full bar, Call 642-1948.

Sunday 2

The Batman movie is only accelerating what was already an increasing fascination with comics in the art world; in the past year, several pieces of comic art sold at New York auctions for between $10,000 and $50,000. In the past most of the comic-art pieces in the Literacy Volunteers of Chicago's annual Art You Can Read have sold for between $25 and $200. Up for grabs this year will be drawings by three generations of Batman artists, cartoons by P.S. Mueller, Garry Trudeau, and many others. There are no minimum bids, so everything will be sold. It all starts at 2 PM at the Ramada Inn O'Hare, 6600 N. Mannheim in Rosemont. There's no admission fee. Call 236-0341.

Artist Fran Larson was born in South Haven and went to school at Michigan State; her work is part of many Michigan collections. So when she appears today at the Joyce Petter Gallery in Saugatuck, Michigan, it'll be something of a homecoming. Now living in New Mexico, where she finds inspiration for her watercolors, Larsen will give a free talk as part of the gallery's discussion series, "Methods, Motives, Meanings." She begins at 3 in the garden of the gallery, 134 Butler. Music will be provided by the Michael Sweeney Jazz Trio. Call 616-857-7861.

Monday 3

In recent years it seems the only time Navy Pier isn't totally desolate is during Art Expo or a handful of ethnic fests. But the pier was pretty busy once; the far end used to feature a cafeteria, amusement rides, a concert hall, and even an emergency hospital. The independent commission now charged with developing the pier wants to take it back to its former glory--but as a mall. In the meantime, there are occasional events such as today's "Awake to the Lake" program, a free guided tour of the pier from 12:30 to 1. Then at 9:30 PM you can watch the annual 4th of July pyrotechnics from the pier, 600 E. Grand. For details call 744-4219.

Tuesday 4

Vintage Calumet: Regional Artwork, 1935-1965 features 42 northwest Indiana artists who drew inspiration for their work from the region--from its unions, farms, dunes, and steel mills. Some of these artists have lived their whole lives in the area. Sponsored by the Northern Indiana Arts Association, the show runs through July 27 in the association's gallery, 1040 Ridge in Munster, Indiana. Viewing hours are 10 to 5 Tuesday through Friday, and 10 to 2 Saturday. It's free. For more call 219-836-1839.

Wednesday 5

Vultures aren't the most appealing of birds--they're ugly, eat dead animals, and vomit when disturbed. But they serve a useful purpose by getting rid of cadavers that might cause health problems. And in spite of their reputation, they don't generally carry diseases. You can get a pretty good look at four species of vultures at the Lincoln Park Zoo's new Regenstein Birds of Prey exhibit, on the elevated portion of the former south lawn of the bird house. The exhibit is built so the birds can have some privacy as well as plenty of room to fly around. The zoo is located at 2200 N. Cannon Drive and is open from 9 to 5 daily. Admission is free. For more call 294-4660.

Keeping the kids entertained during summer vacation can be taxing, so the Kohl Children's Museum, 165 Green Bay Road in Wilmette, has a full lineup of activities. "Jack and the Beanstalk" and other stories about giants will be read today as part of the museum's story telling for children series. The first performance is at 10 AM, the second at 2:30 PM. It's free with admission: $2.50 for every person over two years old; $2.25 for seniors. For more information on the museum's summer programs for children call 256-6056.

Thursday 6

El Hogar del Nino, one of the Mexican-American community's oldest social-service agencies for children's needs in Chicago, just got a practically free lease on a city-owned building. The catch is that the group has to renovate it, which will involve thousands of dollars on top of the cost of the tutoring, preschool, and after-school programs. El Festival del Hogar del Nino, which runs through Sunday, is a fund-raiser featuring carnival rides, a dance contest, clowns, magicians, music, and food. The fair starts at 5 today and runs to 9 PM; it runs from 5 to midnight tomorrow, and from 1 PM to midnight Saturday and Sunday. It's all at Maria Saucedo Magnet School, 2850 W. 24th St. Admission is free; the cost of food, rides, and other entertainment varies. For details call 523-1629.

Imagine a lakefront concert of favorite American songs--marches, Broadway, and popular tunes. Imagine that listening to it you have a view of hundreds of boats in the harbor and are in a clean, green park. But where the crowd never gets too big, and where parking is no problem. It's not Grant Park but Washington Park in nearby Michigan City, Indiana. The Michigan City Municipal Band puts on a free show at 8 tonight at the old bandshell. Take I-94 to U.S. 421, which turns into Franklin Street, and go straight north to the lake. For more call 219-874-6221.

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