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Friday 25

Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens is the keynote speaker at a two-day symposium on the Bill of Rights at University of Chicago Law School in honor of the upcoming (December 15) bicentennial of the document's passage. Stevens's speech this afternoon kicks off a smorgasbord of debates on various rights issues: U.S. Court of Appeals judge Richard Posner will argue the concept of unenumerated rights with scholar Ronald Dworkin; U. of C. professor Richard Epstein will discuss economic liberties and property rights with Harvard's Frank Michelman; former U.S. solicitor general Charles Fried will debate free speech issues with U. of C. law school's Cass Sunstein; and there'll be several more donnybrooks as well. The symposium starts today with the Stevens speech at 2:45 and the Epstein-Michelman encounter at 4. Tomorrow the debates run 9:15 to 5, all at the courtroom of the law school, 1111 E. 60th St. Call 702-9624 for details. It's free.

Essex Hemphill, the editor of Brother to Brother, and Alison Bechdel, creator of Dykes to Watch Out For, are the special guests at a reception and auction for the Gerber/Hart Gay and Lesbian Library and Archives tonight at 1800 N. Clybourn. The library recently moved to new digs at 3352 N. Paulina, where it's home to more than 4,000 titles and lots more periodicals, videos, and other reference materials. (It claims to be one of the largest gay libraries in the country.) An Evening With Alison and Essex costs $50, which gets you mingle privileges and an opportunity to bid on a signed photograph of Jack Kerouac by Allen Ginsberg, among other items. A limited number of $200 tix are also available; these include dinner with either Hemphill or Bechdel before the 7 PM reception. Call 281-0885 or 883-3003 for details.

Ile Aiye: The House of Life, the newest filmic effort from Talking Head, Time cover boy, and artiste-without-portfolio David Byrne, is an hour-long documentary on the music and modes of worship in the Brazilian state of Bahia, particularly candomble ceremonies, which involve gods called orixas. The film makes its Chicago premiere tonight at Chicago Filmmakers, 1229 W. Belmont. Playing along with it are two shorts by respected independent filmmaker Chick Strand: Anselmo, about a Mexican Indian's wish for an E-flat tuba, and Fake Fruit, a look at a group of women who work at a papier-mache factory in Mexico. The program starts at 8; admission is $4. Call 281-8788 for more.

Saturday 26

From the very beginning Shimer College had its problems: "The morning was cold and dismal," it was written of the school's opening in 1853. The school has managed to persevere since--even through a move from Mount Carroll to Waukegan in 1979--and its reputation as a bastion of the Great Books remains high. Today a daylong gala in honor of Shimer's new "campus of cottages" expansion plan runs at the school, 438 N. Sheridan Road in Waukegan. There'll be live music, plays, and other cultural programs starting with an 11 AM unveiling of architectural models and ending with an 8 PM performance of two one-act plays. Some events have a small admission fee; 708-623-8400.

With Julian Schnabel on one side and Jesse Helms on the other, it's not a particularly good time for artists, and it sometimes seems they're hanging separately rather than hanging together. "When rage is no longer enough, action and organization take over," say the organizers of Divided/Undivided, a conference for artists today at the N.A.M.E. gallery, 700 N. Carpenter. A bunch of local and national artists, arts administrators, and assorted others (including Karen Finley's lawyer) will be there to talk and plan from noon to 6. The $25 registration fee includes a cocktail reception at Artemisia Gallery next door to follow. Call the Chicago Artists Coalition at 670-2060 for details.

Sunday 27

Since the closing of MoMing last year, the folks at Link's Hall have redoubled their commitment to showcasing alternative dance and theater acts. As proof, an extensive renovation--new floor, lighting, and sound and an expansion in space--was just completed. They'll show off the new look and announce a new, expanded program season at the free Link's Hall Open House. Doors open at 3; the space is upstairs at 3435 N. Sheffield. Call 281-0824 for more info.

Monday 28

Edmund Clerihew Bentley put it best: "The art of Biography / Is different from Geography. / Geography is about Maps, / But Biography is about Chaps." If you're interested in chaps, we can't help you; but if you're interested in maps, check out the Newberry Library's Profiling the City: Six Studies of Urban Cartography, a display of 14th- to 19th-century books, maps, and town plans from Italy, Germany, France, and England that opens today. They'll be on display through December 7, to accompany the Kenneth Nebenzahl Jr. lecture series on the development of urban cartography and city planning being held at the library (60 W. Walton) November 7 through 9. You can look at the maps during regular library hours, 8:15 to 5 Monday, Friday, and Saturday, 8:15 to 7:30 Tuesday through Thursday. Lectures take place at 8 PM Thursday, November 7; 9 AM, 11 AM, and 2 PM Friday, November 8; and 9 AM and 11 AM Saturday, November 9. Reservations are required, and there's also a discussion at 2 the last day. Both exhibit and lectures are free; call 943-9090 for info.

Speaking of doggerel, how about: "Someone left the cake out in the rain / I don't think that I can take it / 'Cause it took so long to bake it / And I'll never have that recipe again"? The creator of those enigmatic lines, which have been interpreted by everyone from Richard Harris to Donna Summer, is Jimmy Webb, the man also responsible for the ditties "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman," and "Up, Up and Away." Webb will be playing piano and singing at the Pump Room, in the Ambassador East, 1301 N. State, tonight at 9; the show is free (with dinner). Call 266-0360 for more.

Tuesday 29

In honor of Harry Houdini, who died on October 31, 1926, after he performed his last show with a ruptured appendix, some people celebrate International Magic Week in the last week of October. The magic-loving Schulien's Restaurant does, and tonight is the annual Halloween Magic Show there, at 2100 W. Irving Park, with performances at 7 and 9:30. The show stars Al James, a magician and hypnotist who's appeared at the tony Magic Castle in Hollywood as well as in the goofier environs of Bozo's Circus, and Jim Sommers, a comic and magician who's done a lot of TV and USO work. Admission is $8; for reservations or information, call 478-2100.

Wednesday 30

The White Elephant Shop's annual paperback book sale--thousands of books with prices stretching all the way up to $1.50--starts today and runs through Sunday. The shop, at 2380 N. Lincoln, is open 10 to 5 daily, 10:30 to 6 Thursdays: the money goes to Children's Memorial Hospital. Call 281-3747.

A lot's been written about the extremely gritty slasher flick Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, which critical raves turned from a straight-to-video low-budget exercise into a cult favorite. It's often said to draw its force from director John McNaughton's refusal to make judgments on his hero. But it goes deeper than that: the way McNaughton--along with coscriptwriter Richard Fire and producer Steve Jones--populates the movie's depraved landscape makes Henry about the nicest guy in the movie. McNaughton, Fire, and Jones will be on hand tonight for a showing of the film at Facets Multimedia, 1517 W. Fullerton. The $15 ticket benefits the Organic Theater, where Fire is the artistic director. The film shows at 7, with talk and questions after. Call 327-5588 to make the required reservations.

Thursday 31

If you're worried about your tykes' take tonight--razor blades in apples, needles in candy bars, metal shavings in homemade cookies--the Chicago Neck and Back Institute, 5720 W. Fullerton, will be open from 6 to 9 for free x-raying of Halloween candy. They'll even be passing out refreshments and goodies. Call 237-8660 for more.

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