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Friday 17

Paul Simon, who voted against Clarence Thomas and as a consequence is the only Illinois senatorial incumbent with a job next year, has written the book Advice & Consent: Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork and the Intriguing History of the Supreme Court's Nomination Battles. He'll sign copies at noon at Kroch's & Brentano's, 29 S. Wabash. It's free. Call 332-7500 for more.

The Doorika theater group has conjured up a couple of conceptual evenings in an attempt to explore art and criticism. In Critical Acclaim: A Program for Better Living about a dozen local artisans--from bodybuilder Esther Jacobson to artist Wilhelm Hahn and from furniture builder Lloyd Natof to comedian Gregg Gannett--will each treat an audience and a panel of critics to a ten-minute sample of their work. After every third presentation a critique will be given by the panel, which includes the Trib's William Rice and Sid Smith; the Sun-Times's Barry Cronin; the Reader's Ted Shen, Renaldo Migaldi, and Laura Molzahn; and New City's Steve Roderick. The events are at 8:30 tonight and tomorrow at 218 N. Laflin; admission costs $7 for one night, $10 for both. Call 243-6819 for more.

The sovereign nation of Freedonia--actually a neighborhood bar that's seceded from the U.S.--has its strong points. A national saying ("Look! Freedonia!"), for one thing. A very high pretzel consumption per capita, for another. And Joe's Handy Guide to Revolution Made E-Z, a new production at the Playwrights' Center written by Louis Anders and Brendan Baber and directed by James Pelton, fills out the story. It plays tonight and tomorrow at 10:30 at the center, 1222 W. Wilson, and continues (with 9:30 PM shows) for the next three weekends. Admission is $7. Call 334-9981 for more.

Saturday 18

When a recent White Sox survey of local women revealed that 70 percent wanted to learn more about baseball, the team responded with Women in Baseball clinics, the latest of which takes place from 11:30 to 3:30 today at Comiskey. The $17 ticket gets you an overview of the game's rules, a look at its nuances, a talk about career potential for women in the game, a T-shirt, and four half-price tickets to Tuesday's game against Baltimore, which includes a three-inning exhibition game with players of the American Women's Baseball Association. (No, Geena Davis won't be playing.) It all happens at Comiskey Park, 333 W. 35th St. Call 451-5356 for more.

At the Sheffield Garden Walk this weekend you can listen to music from the likes of Wayne Toups & Zydecajun and Marcia Ball, find oodles of cheap stuff in dozens of yard and garage sales, watch the Jesse White Tumbling Team, eat a lot, and, oh yes, see some of the prettiest gardens in Lincoln Park. The music and food are in the street fair proper (admission $3), on Webster between Sheffield and Kenmore; the garden walks and garage sales are in the surrounding neighborhood, and free. It's all open from noon to dusk today and tomorrow. Call 929-9255.

Did you like the recent Harrison Ford flick Patriot Games but shake your head a little at the film's rather one-dimensional portrait of a Northern Ireland terrorist? So did the Irish-American Student Organization. The group sponsors a free presentation called Patriot Games: An Irish Perspective today on the south side and tomorrow on the north; activist Tom Burke will examine the film and discuss the U.S.'s lack of opposition to what the group feels is Britain's continuing and unwarranted occupation of Northern Ireland. Burke will talk at 1 this afternoon at the Mount Greenwood branch of the Chicago Public Library, 11010 S. Kedzie. Tomorrow night at 7 he'll say it all over again at Abbey Pub and Restaurant, 3420 W. Grace. A video, Behind the Mask, will be shown at both events. Call 278-0210 for more.

Sunday 19

If the average urban bike race seems a little too safe, try the Windy City Sports Festival's Urban Bike Experience, a duathlon comprising a 5K run followed by a 10K mountain-bike ride through what organizers promise will be some of the city's toughest potholed roads. The duathlon is just one of a daylong series of events sponsored by Windy City Sports Magazine, including a 5K fitness walk, a swimming trial, a full day of three-on-three volleyball games, in-line skating--even a chance to try rock climbing on an artificial wall. Both adults and kids can participate, though child care is available. It's all at Union Park, Ogden and Randolph, beginning at 8. Admission fees range from $2 to $28. Call 421-6827 for more.

Monday 20

The Walt Disney Company, best known for movie animation and theme parks, has also made inroads into television programming. An ongoing video exhibition at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, The Genius of Disney: The Television Years, traces Disney's work from classics like The Wonderful World of Disney and The Mickey Mouse Club to modern successes like Golden Girls and Home Improvements. Such presentations are shown continuously on several video monitors, and you can also check out individual tapes for private viewing. The museum is in the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; it's open from 10 to 4:30 Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 Sunday. It's free. Call 629-6000 for more.

If you've been hankering for a comprehensible explication of test bias--i.e., how tests given to heterogeneous groups can discriminate on the basis of ethnicity or sex--the Adler School of Professional Psychology's gender and cultural studies center is happy to oblige. Dr. Mark Stone, veep of academic affairs and research, and student Steven Steckel will present a methodology for the determination of test bias, which means they'll articulate how to figure out if a test discriminates. It's a free event at the school, 65 E. Wacker Place, at 7 PM. Call 201-5900, extension 211 for details.

Tuesday 21

The golden age of Mexican mural painting in the 1930s and 40s, which brought to light the work of artists such as Diego Rivera, often overshadowed the work of La Ruptura, a group of artists who favored abstractionism over the nationalism and social realism favored by the Mexican government. La Ruptura's members included painters like Jose Luis Cuevas, Francisco Toledo, and Roger Von Gunten; their paintings and the work of 21 other members will be featured in Four Decades After the Muralists, an exhibit that runs through September 13 at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, 1852 W. 19th St. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday 10 to 5. It's free. Call 738-1503.

Wednesday 22

Dillinger-heads will be out in force tonight for Dillinger Days, an event sponsored by Babette's Practical Art Gallery. The store--part gallery part boutique--is at 2229 N. Clybourn, site of the speakeasy where Dillinger, with a new surgically-altered face, hung out and eventually met Anna Sage, the "lady in red" who eventually tipped off the feds. Scholar and John Dillinger Society founding member William J. Helmer will be on hand tonight from 5:30 to 10, along with a rare copy of Dillinger's death mask and a lot of other Dillinger paraphernalia, much of it for sale, on display through Sunday. The store's open noon to 8 weekdays, 10 to 7 Saturday, noon to 5 Sunday. It's free to go look. Call 525-2227.

Poet and novelist Tim Brown has edited the fiction and poetry review Tomorrow Magazine for ten years; he'll read bits from his comic novel On Sangamon at Fiction Meets Music, an event sponsored by the Guild Complex, the performance-oriented limb of Guild Books. Winston Damon, a clever multiinstrumentalist who alternately calls his act "One-World-Band" or "World-Man-Band," will contribute the music. Damon plays drums, the recorder, the cello, the trombone, and a variety of more exotic instruments--the didgeridoo, the dumbec, the kalimba, and the dendir--often at the same time. The pair will alternate readings and tunes tonight at 7:30 at the HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee. It's $5, $3 for students and seniors. Call 278-2210 for more.

Thursday 23

Of Walter Mosley's new Easy Rawlins mystery, White Butterfly, Publishers Weekly wrote: "The vividly evoked smoky, neon-lit atmosphere and Easy's palpable anguish over his role in the case and his place in his world yield an arresting urban vision, territory Mosley claims with more authority each time out." In this third novel of the series (after Devil in a Blue Dress and A Red Death) Rawlins tracks a serial killer through the mean streets of Watts in the 1950s. Mosley will read from the book at Barbara's Bookstore, 3130 N. Broadway, tonight at 7:30. Call 477-0411 for more.

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