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Friday 5

Twiggy the water-skiing gray squirrel was found by a Sanford, Florida, couple in 1979 in the wake of Hurricane David. Well, she wasn't found water-skiing; she learned to do that later, this behind a remote-controlled mini powerboat. Calendar wouldn't believe it either, but we have a photo right here that seems to indicate it's true. Anyway, if you're monitoring rodent achievements in water sports, by all means check out the Midwest Boat Show, where Twiggy performs at 3:30, 7, and 9 today; 12:30, 2:30, 5:30, and 8:30 tomorrow; and 1, 3, and 6 Sunday. The show's at the O'Hare Expo Center, 9291 Bryn Mawr in Rosemont. Tix are $6, $3 for kids; call 708-692-2990.

The latest mail art extravagance from Ashley Parker Owens is Means of Control and the Rodney King Wall, a selection of mail art from around the world touching on police violence in general and l'affaire King in particular. There's a free opening tonight from 5 to 8 at Artemisia Gallery, 700 N. Carpenter. The show stays up through March 27. Call 226-7323 for more.

A distinguished assembly of legal- and civil-rights activists meet at the University of Chicago this weekend for a conference on the new feminist critiques of First Amendment pieties, some of which were presented in our February 5 cover story. Speech, Equality & Harm: Feminist Legal Perspectives on Pornography and Hate Propaganda brings together U. of C. legal experts with cutting-edge theorists and conservative whipping girls Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin and lots of others. Things get started with an opening session at 7 tonight; the conference continues from 9:30 AM Saturday and 10 AM Sunday at the university's Law School, 1111 E. 60th St. Registration is $100, $50 for students. Call 274-3944 for info.

"I think the best rock and roll is a quick and gaudy gratification, like a macaroni dinner," says Rob Fulks, host of the ongoing first-Friday-of-the-month Trailer Trash Nights at the Deja Vu Bar & Grill, 2624 N. Lincoln. He's got his first single out, a rousing, rockin' ditty called "Little King," backed with the twangy tribute "Jean Arthur." He'll play those tunes, along with other Fulks favorites like "The Groundhog Goes to the Cabaret Metro," at a show tonight at 10 at the Vu. Cover is $3; call 871-0205.

Saturday 6

In today's panel discussion Reflections on "Making No Small Plans" politicos, philanthropists, and arts types will discuss the present-day difficulties of adopting a civic plan like Daniel Burnham's celebrated design for Chicago. Are these impasses the result of a destructive social balkanization? Or merely insensitive central planning? Those are the questions before the panel, which includes county commish Danny Davis, novelist Sara Paretsky, and many others. It's at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton, from 10 to noon, and it's free. Call 939-5212 for details.

Author P.D. James's juxtaposition of the gentility of hero Adam Dalgliesh's poetic sensibility and the gruesome ends some of her characters come to give her books much of their elegance and thrills. The celebrated British mystery writer will be the guest of Evanston Library Friends for a talk today at the Unity Church, 3434 Central in Evanston. The event is free--if you're a friend of the library. A sawbuck puts you into that august company. Things get under way at 3:30; call 708-866-0309.

Sunday 7

Sixty years ago, filmmakers Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack created the greatest movie monster of them all, and did him justice with some of the best special effects of the period, a good script, and classic performances by Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong. To honor the 60th birthday of King Kong, the Gateway Theatre will be showing a new uncut 35-millimeter print at 3:30 this afternoon. The theater's also planning an accompanying program at 2:30, which is supposed to include appearances by George Turner, author of The Making of King Kong, and Linwood Dunn, a special-effects worker on the film. It's $10, $3 if you just want to see the movie. The Gateway's in the Copernicus Center, at 5216 W. Lawrence. Call 777-7785 for more.

Monday 8

The issues of color-blind and gender-blind casting have sparked some controversy of late, notably with respect to the New York production of Miss Saigon. The latest edition in a series of free discussions put on in honor of the Jeff Award silver anniversary tackles these issues at 5:30 this evening in the theater of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Call 548-0217 for more.

Tuesday 9

The Field Museum's long preparations for its display of a restored and reinstalled Maori meeting house conclude at dawn today with a sacred dedication ceremony. Ruatepupuke, as the structure is called, was originally built in New Zealand in the late 1800s. The usual imperialistic looting of the time took the house out of the country and into the clutches of various European dealers before it fell into the hands of the Field Museum in 1905. Now it's one of three such meeting houses existing outside New Zealand. With the blessings of the Maori people, the museum has restored the house and arranged for its consecration at 5:45 this morning by a group of 30 Maori who have traveled from their home to do so. That's not open to the public, but an accompanying exhibit, Te Waka Toi: Contemporary Art From New Zealand, opens at the museum today and runs through May 9. The meeting house exhibit opens March 13. Admission to the museum, Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive, is $4, $2.50 for seniors, students, and kids. It's open 9 to 5 every day. Call 922-9410 for more.

Tonight's edition of Bill Kurtis's The New Explorers series tracks the space flight of Chicago's Mae Jemison. When Jemison was growing up all astronauts were white males, but still she dreamed of being one, even through her education at Stanford and Cornell and after she started her own medical practice. She got her wish in 1992, when she was picked for an Endeavour mission. Kurtis talks to her before and after her trip, and even during it, for the show, which is being broadcast at 7:30 on WTTW, channel 11. Call 509-5446 for details.

Wednesday 10

The Evanston/North Shore YWCA says its battered women's shelter offers the only comprehensive domestic-violence program in the northeastern Chicago area; it will be saluted tonight at a fund-raising dinner that boasts a keynote speech by Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique and a founder of NOW and the National Women's Political Caucus. The dinner's at 7; there's a cocktail reception beforehand. It's all at the Orrington Hotel, 1700 Orrington in Evanston. Tix are $100; call 708-864-8445.

Thursday 11

B.F. Skinner's successful experiments with behavioral modification in animals quickly led him into the realm of speculative human psychology. In Walden Two, he wondered if the behavior of humans could be modified in the same way--a provocative question in a society that values individual freedom as much as ours does. You can talk about these issues and others in a free ongoing brown-bag discussion series on B.F. Skinner and his work. It runs every Thursday from noon to 1:15 until May 6 in room 174 of the Illinois Institute of Technology's Life Science Building, 3105 S. Dearborn. Call 567-8862 for more.

It's Chicago Audubon Society's award night! Among those to be feted are People's Choice publisher Muriel Burgett, Doreen Carey of the Grand Calumet Task Force, Citizens for a Better Environment's Kevin Greene, Marty and Bill Gregory of the Chicago Peregrine Release Program, Rothwell C. Polk Jr. from the Anti Lake Calumet Airport Coalition, Saint Florian's Church, Representative George Sangmeister, and the Wetlands Watch Program's Ken Stoffel. Dr. Sam Rowell will provide the evening's entertainment with Woodland Rhapsody, a slide show accompanied by music. The dinners are $14 or $15; it's at 6:30 at the Homestead Restaurant, 8305 W. North in Melrose Park. Call 708-456-5300 for reservations.

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