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Friday 22

Chicago, of course, is the world capital for pinball--Bally, Data East, Williams, and Gottlieb all have their headquarters here or in the suburbs--so it makes sense that the annual fall Pinball Expo and spring Pinball Championships are held here. The 1994 edition of the championships is now at the Clarion hotel, 6810 N. Mannheim in Rosemont. It's not just for pros; anyone can enter: open singles, mixed team, master, youth, and charity competitions will be fought on 100 new machines. Hours are 4 to 7 today, 8 to 8 tomorrow, and 9 to 2 Sunday. Admission ranges from $5 for players 17 and under to $50 for master teams. To register call 414-422-0600.

Fergie's in town to bestow a Lou Gehrig's disease research award on a Northwestern prof. The Duchess of York--full name Sarah Ferguson, latest scandal a new batch of topless photos published in a British tabloid--has been active in the fight against the as-yet-incurable disease, also known as ALS, since a friend of hers died of it in 1988. The award will be given to Teepu Siddique, head of the neuromuscular-disorders program at Northwestern's medical school, at a $250-a-head dinner tonight to benefit Skokie's Les Turner ALS Foundation, the nation's largest such group. It's at the Fairmont, 200 N. Columbus, starting at 6. Call 708-679-3311.

George Lucas's blockbuster movie trilogy that combined old-time serials, dime-store Freudianism, throwback humor, and lots of thrills and chills--we're talking about the Star Wars saga here--is being given a rare screening this weekend at the Village Theatre, 1548 N. Clark. All the money from ticket and concession sales goes to the Children's Memorial Medical Center. Star Wars shows at midnight tonight and noon tomorrow; The Empire Strikes Back--that's the one with Billy Dee Williams--at 2:30 PM and midnight Saturday and noon Sunday; and Return of the Jedi--the one with the little bears and Jabba the Hutt--at noon and midnight Sunday. It's $5; call 642-2403.

Saturday 23

"Who Gets the Money? Funding Cultural Diversity in Chicago" is a daylong workshop to help local arts groups take advantage of the dwindling supply of free money. It's at the Circle Center of the University of Illinois at Chicago, 750 S. Halsted; $20. Registration begins at 8:45 AM; the workshop ends at 5:30 PM. Call the sponsoring Chicago Artists' Coalition for more: 670-2060.

For eight years the Uptown Recycling Center has been doing its best to promote recycling on the north side, in the face of chronic civic indifference. The group's holding a benefit concert tonight at Centre East, 7701 N. Lincoln in Skokie. Joining the headliner, jazz pianist Bobby Enriquez, will be Ester Hana, a Chicago songwriter and pianist who sings in a dozen different languages, and Dan Ayam, a pianist and composer. Tickets are $10 to $15; the show runs from 6 to 10. Call 769-4488 for more.

Sunday 24

The Chicago-based Nicaraguan Medical Alliance says that last year brought more than half a million dollars' worth of medicine to women and children still suffering the effects of the U.S.-funded contra war in Nicaragua. Today at FitzGerald's a big lineup of local folkies is raising money for the group at two shows. At 3 PM there's Anne Hills; Don Haynie and Sheryl Samuel; Jan Burda; Nelson Sosa; and Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen. At 7 PM there's Hills; Haynie and Samuel; Gillette and Mangsen; Michael Smith; and Raices del Ande. Tickets for either show are $15; FitzGerald's is at 6615 Roosevelt in Berwyn. Call 708-299-6586.

And if that's not enough folk for you, Stephen Wade, the performer and writer behind the acclaimed song cycle On the Way Home, will be playing tonight at an event honoring novelist Jack Conroy, the Depression-era worker whose novel The Disinherited is considered a model of working-class lit. Wade will be joined by Douglas Wixson, who's just published Worker-Writer in America: Jack Conroy and the Tradition of Midwest Literary Radicalism, 1898-1990. It starts at 7 at the Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 1967 South Campus Drive, on Northwestern's Evanston campus. It's free. Call 708-491-4000.

Monday 25

The Chicago chapter of Professional Secretaries International is marking Professional Secretaries Week with its annual dinner. The theme: Bettering Our Best. It's at the 410 Club of the Wrigley Building, 410 N. Michigan, at 5:30 tonight; $27. Call 329-3278.

Tuesday 26

The longtime host of Channel 11's Chicago Tonight With John Callaway offers in his new book first a memoir of growing up in West Virginia and hitchhiking to Chicago with 71 cents in his pocket. The second part is a collection of reminiscences of Callaway's Chicago print and broadcast work. The third is an essay called "The Problem Society," in which Callaway meditates on the growing "specialist cultures" in America. He'll be talking about and signing The Thing of It Is at noon today at the University of Chicago's Kent Hall, 1020-24 E. 58th St. It's free. Call 702-8729 for details.

If you can't make it to the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company shows at the Shubert this weekend, you can get a free preview today at the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State. The performance begins at 12:15 PM; call 271-7928.

A series of scenes from The Merchant of Venice--analyzed by Champaign prof Michael Shapiro--is Loyola's offering to mark the birthday of William Shakespeare, born 430 years ago. It's free, at 7:30 tonight in the theater in the Centennial Forum of Loyola, 6525 N. Sheridan. Call 508-2240 for details.

Wednesday 27

A San Francisco-based expert on the ins and outs and all abouts of the Internet, the worldwide computer network, will be at the Randolph Street Gallery tonight and tomorrow night to make it all clear for tyro cyberspace surfers. In Navigating the Internet: A Crash Course Eric Theise will explain how to use the Internet to communicate with others and to dig up information. The sessions run from 6 to 9 both nights at the gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee; they're $10 per session, $16 for both, $7 and $12 for students. Reservations are recommended; call 666-7737.

Thursday 28

If, like us, you've been pondering the "inter-relations of truth and imitation in an attempt to move beyond the current theories of truth," Loyola has just the conference for you. Unveiling Imitation: Truth and Mimesis in Philosophy, Psychoanalysis and Cultural Studies is an international get-together on the subject of out-there French and American literary philosophy, sponsored by Loyola and the College International de Philosophie in Paris. Registration begins at 8:30 AM; the conference runs all day each day through Sunday at Loyola's Crown Center, Loyola Avenue at Sheridan. Call 508-2865 for more.

Columbia College's own Paul Hoover edited the newest Norton poetry anthology: this one follows the antics and achievements of the 20th century's clowns, subversives, and provocateurs. Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology traces the evolution of new poetry from the Beats and the New York School through Black Mountain and performance poetry and the language poets. To note its publication the college is holding a reading with three of the book's contributors: firebrand poet and playwright Amiri Baraka (formerly LeRoi Jones); John Giorno, poet and entrepreneurial avant-gardist; and Los Angeles poet Wanda Coleman. It's at 7 tonight at Columbia's Hokin Center, 623 S. Wabash; free. Call 663-1600, extension 250.

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