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Friday 23

Evanston artist Theodore Halkin first earned recognition in the 50s as an Imagist painter. He has experimented since with painted plaster reliefs, wire and wood sculpture, and cartoony, pop-style paintings. But Halkin's biggest shift came in the early 80s, after he'd stopped working for three years following his wife's death; at that time he started to paint realistic, Impressionist-inspired landscapes and still lifes. Even following this abrupt change, Halkin's work has continued to earn praise. His current exhibit, Phase-Phasing, at the Jan Cicero Gallery, 221 W. Erie, focuses on his latest work. The exhibit opens with a reception from 5 to 7 tonight; regular gallery hours are 11 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free; more information at 440-1904.

Saturday 24

As reward for climbing 62 flights of stairs, participants in today's American Lung Stair Climb Challenge will get an official contest T-shirt, refreshments, and a great view of the city. The climb starts at 9 this morning at 181 W. Madison; the $18 entry fee benefits the Chicago Lung Association's research and education programs. You must register by Friday, March 23; call 243-2000 for information.

Professional storyteller Beth Horner often uses music in her presentations, and William Chin, artistic director of the chamber group the Oriana Singers, says he's long been intrigued by the idea of combining music with other art forms. Tonight and tomorrow, Horner and the Oriana Singers team up to present The Ballad of Little Musgrave and Other Stories, which focuses on love, war, and the sea. Horner will tell stories drawn from Appalachian, Asian, and English folktales; Oriana will perform songs by Holst, Britten, Jannequin, and others. Tonight's performance starts at 8 at the First Baptist Church of Evanston, 607 Lake St.; tomorrow's show is at 3 at the Three Arts Club, 1300 N. Dearborn. Admission is $12, $9 for students and seniors, and $5 for children ages 8 to 16. Get more information at 907-2190 or 262-4558.

Playwright Len Jenkin's style is "very much like that of the modern surreal novelist, a seemingly disconnected series of stream-of-consciousness events. . . creating their own logic," wrote Tribune critic Sid Smith in his recent review of Jenkin's play Dark Ride, currently playing at Blind Parrot Productions. Director Diana Spinrad says the award-winning Jenkin is part of a new pack of "nonlinear, surreal" playwrights who incorporate a lot of pop culture. Intrigued? Maybe Jenkin himself can tell you more at the reception in his honor following tonight's performance of Dark Ride. Tickets are $10-$12, the show starts at 8 PM, and the theater is at 1121 N. Ashland. For info or reservations, call 227-5999.

Sunday 25

In 1937, a few years after he helped develop a scanning system that made television transmission practical, Bill Eddy founded Chicago's first TV station, WBKB (now WLS TV). Eddy was the first to broadcast sports and Kukla, Fran and Ollie in Chicago. By the time he died, in 1989, the author, artist, and aviator held 37 electronics patents. Today at 2, the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 800 S. Wells, presents Captain Bill Eddy: A Life of Television Innovations, a seminar moderated by Sterling Quinlan, former vice president and general manager of WBKB. The event includes guest panelists and rare videotaped interviews with Eddy. The suggested donation is $3, $2 for students, and $1 for seniors and children. Reserve a place by calling 987-1500.

Ten years ago, a group of priests in Ireland got together to sing and tell stories and jokes at a fund-raiser for a fellow man of the cloth. They were so good, the story goes, that in years following they were asked to appear regularly for many charities. These days, the Six Priests of Ireland--there are really 14 of them, and they take turns touring--are booked years in advance. They perform today at 3 at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker. Tickets, $26-$32, are available at the Civic Opera box office, Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling 902-1500. More info at 988-7237.

Monday 26

Though Chicagoan Laura Raidonis has written eight plays, her current project, Sing For Me, Naxhie, written with Allan Bates, is only the second to be produced in a Chicago theater. Mostly because of conflict-of-interest problems she had when she was an assistant editor at Chicago magazine, she sought out other places to produce her plays: Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and Cook County Jail. In fact, Sing For Me, Naxhie is based on her experiences mounting a play in the Albanian region of Yugoslavia during the current civil strife there. Billed as a work in progress, it plays tonight at 8 with two other one-acts as part of the second annual Directors Festival at Bailiwick Repertory, 3212 N. Broadway. Admission. is $6; call 883-1090 for more info.

Tuesday 27

In his native state of Michoacan, Mexico, Felipe Anciola, carves masks out of blocks of wood, a tradition that goes back centuries. Anciola is one of more than 50 artists whose work--textiles, baskets, paintings, sculptures, photogtaphs--is part of the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum's current exhibit, Que lindo es Michoacan! The exhibit runs through May 27 at the museum, 1852 W. 19th; Anciola will demonstrate his craft starting today, and will be carving during regular museum hours, 10 to 5 Tuesday through Friday (with breaks for lunch), through April 13. Admission is free. Three other Michoacan artists will demonstrate their crafts later in April and during May; call 738-1503 for details.

Wednesday 28

The 22 writers who contributed to Louder Than Words--an anthology of short stories about the sense of home and the loss of home--are donating their royalties to Share Our Strength, a Washington, D.C., group that funds organizations benefitting the homeless. So far the project has raised more than $40,000. Today award-winning novelists Ann Hood and Richard Russo read from their contributions to the book, and various Chicago writers--some currently homeless--will read from their work in Poetry 1989: Poetry by Chicago's Homeless, published by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. They will read their fiction and poetry from 5 to 7 at Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Both books will be for sale, but the event is free. Get more info at 525-3667 or 738-7634.

If you need an incentive to learn a foreign language, try Convito Italiano's Learn Basic Italian/Learn About Cheese, starting tonight at the store at 11 E. Chestnut. Northwestern University lecturer Mario Moroni teaches the language portion of the class, which starts at 6 every Wednesday through May 6; Convito Italiano staffers follow up with cheese-and-wine tastings, focusing on a different group of cheeses each week. Tuition is $10 for a single lesson or $50 for all six. Advance registration and payment are required; call 943-2983 or 943-2746.

Help the Algren Memorial Committee celebrate Nelson Algren's birthday tonight by attending the party at the Bop Shop, 1807 W. Division. The Chicago Cabaret Ensemble will perform adaptations of short stories by Algren, Algren's friends Stuart McCarrell and Roger Griffith will do a little reminiscing, and Erwin Helfer and the Bop Shop Mystery Jazz Trio will provide the music. It starts at 8; there's a $5 requested donation, but those unable to afford it will be admitted free. Proceeds benefit the memorial committee. Details at 278-2900.

Thursday 29

Schmooze expert Susan RoAne, a management consultant and the author of How to Work a Room: A Guide to Successfully Managing the Mingling, will speak on that topic tonight at a networking seminar sponsored by the University of Illinois Business Alumni Association. It will be held from 6 to 9 in the Illinois Room at UIC's Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted, third floor. Admission is $25, $20 for University of Illinois Alumni Association members, and $10 for UIC students. Call 225-2787 to register.

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