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Friday 24

If you're sick and tired of haggling year after year over price and tree height and fullness with your church or supermarket dealer, cut your own Christmas tree this year. You can vent your holiday hostilities too; four tree growers in northwest Indiana will provide you with an ax to use on the pine, fir, or spruce of your choice. Prices range from $2 to $3 per foot. The sale's on through Christmas Eve. Call 1-800-634-2650 between 9 and 4, any day of the week, for exact addresses and hours for the farms in LaPorte, Wanatah, and Hanna.

Despite the muted tones of their drab clothing, the Amish often use brilliant colors for their quilts, which feature Star of Bethlehem, Trip Around the World, Sunshine and Shadow, and other traditional designs. In keeping with custom, they use no electricity, preferring treadle sewing machines and hand stitching. Their older quilts have been selling to collectors for thousands of dollars. The Amish Quilt Show and Sale includes wall hangings, baby quilts, dolls, handbags, pillows, pot holders, place mats, and other quilted items. It runs from 5 to 9 tonight, 11 to 7 Saturday, and 11 to 4 Sunday, at the Marriott Hotel, 50 N. Martingale Road in Schaumburg. Admission is $1. Call 708-272-1275.

Chicago comic Tim Cavanaugh will sing about "Ukrainian Uranium Bread" made the "old-fission way," with "a shelf life of eight days and a half-life of 800,000 years," along with other song parodies when he headlines at Catch a Rising Star in Oak Brook tonight and tomorrow. Show times are 8 and 10:30 both nights at the Hyatt Regency Oak Brook, 1909 Spring Road, Oak Brook. Tickets are $10, and there's a two-drink minimum per person. Call 573-7888.

Saturday 25

There's more music--especially older music--available to consumers than ever before. But when record companies rerelease material, it's usually on CD, not vinyl--which means those original 33s might turn into collector's items mighty quick. You can update your record investment at the fifth Thanksgiving Two-Day Record Collector Convention today and tomorrow. Dealers from all over the country will be selling hard-to-find LPs, posters, old 78s, and even a few CDs. The show runs from 9 to 9 today, 9 to 4 tomorrow. It's at the Hillside Holiday Inn, 4400 Frontage Road, Hillside. Admission is $2.50 per person per day. Call 980-7122 or 980-6618.

When Richard Dennis, the Chicagoan who has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into local and state political campaigns, recently came out for the legalization of drugs, some observers suggested he did it to create controversy and make pols think twice about asking him for more money. The scholars and lawyers talking about making drugs legal at today's Alternative Views on Drug Abuse panel at the Public Library Cultural Center may not share Dennis's motivation, but their views are just as provocative. The free program runs from 12:15 to 4:30 PM at 78 E. Washington. Call 269-2929.

A show featuring the complete musical legacy of Africa would have to include jazz, blues, rock 'n' roll, ragtime, mambo, samba, and scores of other musical genres. But the African Heritage Tour focuses on four: early Latin styles, such as the plena and the bomba; gospel; kora music; and the currently popular "night music" of South Africa. Los Pleneros de la 21, the No Name Gospel Singers, Papa Susso, and Thokoza perform at 8 tonight at International House, 1414 E. 59th Street. Tickets are $15, $12 for members of the Old Town School of Folk Music, $10 for seniors and children. Call 525-7793.

Sunday 26

Running around in the Amazon can bring on dysentery, fevers, malaria, cholera, typhoid, rabies, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and Chagas' disease, which will kill you one to 20 years after you're bitten. So why take risks? Be armchair adventurer at A Tale of Three Rivers, today's travel lecture at the Chicago Academy of Sciences. J. de Navarre Macomb Jr. will talk about Dutch Guyana's Morowijne, Venezuela's Orinoco delta, and the Amazon itself. It starts at 2:30 PM at 2001 N. Clark. Admission free with museum admission: $ 1, 50 cents for seniors and kids, and free to academy members. Call 871-2668.

Monday 27

William Colby first went to Vietnam for the CIA in 1959 under orders from President Eisenhower. It was Colby, as CIA director, who sent the final message from Washington to close the CIA Saigon station in 1975. In his new book, Lost Victory: A Firsthand Account of America's Sixteen-Year Involvement in Vietnam, Colby compares the failed policies in Southeast Asia and current attitudes toward Central America. He'll talk about his book at noon on "Midday With Sondra Gair," WBEZ FM, and from 9 to 11 PM with Milt Rosenberg on "Extension 720," WGN AM. Call Contemporary Books at 782-9181 for further details on Colby's Chicago schedule.

Tuesday 28

Since taking over the Firehouse in April 1987, Latino Chicago Theater has mounted seven productions of its own. But their busy schedule hasn't kept other companies from wanting to rent the group's space. LCT just said no, until Blueprint Theatre Group came along with a play and a reading series. Juan Ramirez, LCT artistic director, explained, "They're a good group--and theyre using a lot of our actors in their program, so we're staying on track with our goals of involving Latinos in all kinds of theater." Blueprint presents a staged reading of Shirley Gee's "Never in My Lifetime," a story of love during wartime. Show time is 8 PM at 1625 N. Damen. Admission is a suggested donation of $3. Call 489-4977.

Wednesday 29

Apples, bottles, a basket of brown eggs, and a host of saints that Rome disclaims are all part of "Iconography of Some Saints," the fourth solo show by Roberto Juarez at the Betsy Rosenfield Gallery, 212 W. Superior. A native Chicagoan, Juarez explores the Puerto Rican tradition of santos and other symbols of "domestic" spirituality in a series of ten new mixed-media paintings that will be on exhibit through December 22. Viewing is free from 10 to 5:30 PM Tuesday through Friday, and 11 to 4:30 on Saturday. Call 787-8020.

A broad-based gathering of area yups, the Professional Networking Group of Chicago, regularly puts together sessions such as today's talk Career Changes in the 90s: Dilemmas, Directions and Decisions, given by Kitty M. Voss, Loretta D. Foxman, and Cheryl Heisler. But the real purpose of the event is to exchange names and phone numbers--and to make connections over the complimentary hors d'oeuvres. It's at 6 PM at the 410 Club in the Wrigley Building, 410 N. Michigan. Admission is $15. Seating is limited to 200, so call David J. Gelfand to make a reservation: 664-7315.

Thursday 30

In 1987 Columbia College's AEMMP Records--a not-for-profit project designed to teach students about record marketing and promotion--got a contract with Omni Records for a hot new band called ATM. Last year Bad Examples was the beneficiary of AEMMP's efforts, garnering a five-year deal with CNR, a major European label. AEMMP is currently looking for professional quality mastered singles or mini albums to use as a class project--which could be your ticket to fame and fortune. The students will do all the PR and distribution work for the selected artist. If you're interested drop off your tape anytime today at AEMMP Records, Columbia College, 600 S. Michigan. There's no fee. For details call 663-1600, ext. 651.

It's not like the local poetry scene isnt incestuous enough. Yet tonight regulars from Weeds, home of our towns "bohemio" poets, invade the School Street Cafe. Get ready for lots of urban angst, verbal foreplay, and a smattering of Spanish. There's an open mike at 8:30 PM; readings by Gregorio Gomez and friends start at 9. Admission is $1. Use the Sheffield entrance to the cafe, 3258 N. Sheffield. Call 281-4989.

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