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Friday 6

Work by eight illustrators who've helped change the face of comics over the past decade goes on display at the Carl Hammer Gallery tonight, with a free artist's reception from 5 to 8. The show includes paintings and drawings by Raw's Art Spiegelman and Gary Panter, Dog Boy creator Charles Burns, New City's Chris Ware, and others. It was organized by artists David Sandlin and Jerry Smith, who'll give a free talk about the show Saturday morning at 11. The gallery's at 200 W. Superior. Call 266-8512 for more.

Nebraska troubadour Tom May--host of River City Folk, a National Public Radio show that's not heard in these parts--will be performing tonight at the Newberry Library, in conjunction with its "Frontier in American Culture" exhibit. The exhibit looks at imagery that legitimized the sometimes sanguinary taming of the Old West, and May will be playing songs by himself and others about the effects of that heritage on contemporary times. The concert starts at 6 PM at the library, 60 W. Walton; tickets cost $10. Call 943-9090 for details.

The intensely choreographed theatrical drum troupe Jellyeye returns to Chicago Filmmakers this weekend for a monthlong run of new and old works. The costumed ensemble pound on custom-made rolling drums while original films are projected behind them; for the current shows, they'll be doing excerpts from their "drum opera," Blood Lotus, and pieces from works-in-progress as well. Admission is $5, with performances at 8 PM Fridays through Sundays at 1543 W. Division. Call 278-6371 for information.

Performance poet Lisa Buscani takes on subjects like Tippi Hedren, the terrors of the petting zoo, serial killers, and how to survive a Cubs game in her new one-woman show, Carnivale Animale, which premieres tonight at the Lunar Cabaret, 2827 N. Lincoln. Buscani won the National Poetry Slam's title bout in 1992. The show runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 through January. Tix are $8. Call 327-6666 for details.

Saturday 7

If you're looking for an absorbing night at the theater, there's no better vehicle than Anthony Shaffer's complex and elegant murder mystery, Sleuth. The intricate guessing game is being staged by the Court Theatre at the University of Chicago, 5535 S. Ellis. Previews are offered tonight at 8 and tomorrow at 2:30 and 7:30. The show then plays Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30, Fridays and Saturdays at 8, and Sundays at 2:30 and 7:30, through February 12. Tickets cost $16 to $26, less for students and seniors; call 753-4472.

Sunday 8

It's a dicey time, ethically speaking--no better time, in fact, for Ethics in America, a free four-part lecture series presented by the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago. It begins at 10:30 this morning with family therapist Stephanie Ferrar, who'll be speaking on the Natural Evolution of Ethics: Is Being Ethical a Survival Skill? Talks over the next three Sundays will examine physician-assisted death, socialism, and legal ethics. The series takes place at the Levy Center, 1700 Maple in Evanston. Call 708-256-6022 for details.

The Harold Washington Library Center, whose impressive facade hides a second-rate collection, will be open on Sundays from 1 to 5 PM starting today. The city marks the event with a 2 PM concert in the ninth-floor Winter Garden. The show features NEMO '96, a collection of local classical musicians who want to bring new European music to Chicago (the group's name is an acronym for "New European Music Overseas"). It's free. The library's at 400 S. State. Call 747-4740 for more.

Frank Farrell renews his love affair with Walt Kelly's comic strip Pogo when a new musical rendition of his popular Songs of the Pogo opens today at 3:30 PM. The show features veteran peformers Farrell, Julia Maish, and musical director Benjamin Masterson, as well as newcomers Russ Flack, Bryan Edward Smith, and Vic Tarbis. It's at the Victory Gardens Studio, 2257 N. Lincoln, and runs Thursdays and Fridays at 8:30 and Saturdays at 5:30 and 9, through February 12. Tickets are $10 to $14, less for students and seniors. Call 871-3000 for reservations.

Monday 9

Reader contributor Michael H. Brownstein has been a teacher in Chicago public schools for more than 13 years; on the side he's also a cabbie. His solo show Ten Times People Attempted to Rob Me and Other Things is a collection of three monologues, each told from the point of view of a well-meaning liberal white kid confronting the sometimes hostile city. The show, originally mounted a year ago at the Heartland Cafe Studio Theatre, is now at Cafe Voltaire, 3231 N. Clark, every Monday at 7 PM through the end of the month. Tix are $6; call 285-7972.

With the beginning of yet another new year, you're probably not alone in giving some thought to the origins of our species. Was there always time, and are we just a relatively recent phenomenon? Or did an oddly humored god put this all together? Such questions are at the heart of The Epic of Creation, a two-month lecture series surveying the conundrum from various scientific and religious angles. It continues tonight with University of Chicago geologist Alfred Anderson talking about the physical evolution of the planet at 7 PM and his colleague chemist David Oxtoby running through current theories about the beginning of life on earth at 8:30 PM. The free discussions continue every Monday night through March 13 at the Lutheran School of Theology, 1100 E. 55th. For more information, call the Chicago Center for Religion and Science at 753-0670.

If you like the rock 'n' roll poster art of T.A.Z., you like the work of three different people: underground comic artist Jim Evans, who does the actual illustrations; Rolo Castillo, who selects the colors and does the silk-screening; and Gibran Evans, who handles the type, layout, and overall design. The trio will be at Goat Gallery, a comic and poster art shop at 3728 N. Clark, at 8 tonight for a free reception opening a new show of their work. Call 348-6660 for details.

Tuesday 10

The musical duo Jovan and Alex essay an idiosyncratic but authentic approach to all manner of European music. Jovan's a master violinist; Alex plays an unusual instrument called the cimbalom, a sort of giant-sized version of the hammer dulcimer (the cimbalom is an ancient instrument that played key roles in the music of Greece and Hungary). The pair perform Tuesdays at 9 through January at the Lunar Cabaret, 2827 N. Lincoln. There's a $4 cover charge; call 327-6666 for info.

Wednesday 11

In the first months of each new year, the Guild Complex throws together words and music in all sorts of different forms--poetry and stories, hip-hop, jazz, and folk. The third annual Musicality of Poetry Festival continues tonight at 7:30 with local poets Angela Jackson, who received last year's Carl Sandburg Award for her latest collection, Dark Legs and Silk Kisses: The Beatitudes of the Spinners (TriQuarterly Press), and writer Rohan B Preston, who plans to analyze "traditional and nontraditional poetry forms, from the anapest and villanelle to the blues." The show's at HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee. Admission is $7, $5 for students. It costs $2 if you plan to participate in the open mike afterward. Call 278-2210 for more.

Thursday 12

As everyone knows, Heather Whitestone is the first deaf Miss America. She's in town today to deliver her stump speech, Anything Is Possible, and she'll show a video of her title-clinching dance performance from last year's pageant. It takes place from 11 to noon in the auditorium of the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State. For more information, call 663-1600, ext. 174 (TTY 360-9133).

Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 is astronaut James Lovell's account of America's greatest space drama: the 1970 moon mission that was scotched after a power failure threatened to strand Lovell and his comrades in outer space. Lovell speaks to the Heartland Literary Society at a noon luncheon today at the Northern Trust Company, 50 S. LaSalle. $45 gets you lunch and a signed copy of the book. Call 444-4966 for details.

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