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By Cara Jepsen

FRIDAY 5

Live music, gallery openings, plays, restaurants, dancing, and drive-bys are not the only nightlife in the Chicago area. Just a few miles southeast, at the Indiana Dunes, chorus frogs, wood frogs, and other animals start hunting and feeding when most people are hitting the sack. Find out more about their habits tonight when the National Park Service presents "Things That Go Bump," its springtime night hike. The presentation includes a video as well as a night stroll along a paved trail, where participants can eavesdrop on other creatures of the night. It starts at 7:30 at the Dorothy Buell Visitor Center on Kemil Road between U.S. 12 and U.S. 20 in Porter, Indiana. It's free; call 219-926-7561 for more.

Performance artist Anita Loomis combines erotic writing, video projection, and slapstick comedy in Female Deviations: Autobiographies of Desire, an explicit show that examines what a woman is, what a woman wants, and why this particular woman--Loomis--wants to go onstage and talk about it. It opens tonight at 8 at the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland, and runs Fridays and Saturdays through April 27. Tickets are $8, $6 for students. Call 275-5255 for more.

Frank Melcori says that if his new show, I'm Afraid to Quit My Job, is successful, he'll be able to dump his day job. In the meantime he can rationalize why he's still there. The excuses sound familiar: for money, for benefits, because he doesn't have another job lined up. Melcori's one-man meditation explores just about every aspect of job-quitting malaise. It opens tonight at 8 at the Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln. It's $7 or whatever you can pay. The show runs every Friday through May 31. Call 327-6666 for more.

Critics have been throwing around the idea that Joel and Ethan Coen's latest film, Fargo, is their best work since 1987's Raising Arizona. In that fast-paced farce Holly Hunter and Nicolas Cage play a childless couple who kidnap a quintuplet. It seemed funny at the time, but how does it fare now that we're all nine years older? Find out tonight at midnight at the Music Box, 3733 N. Southport. Admission is $7.50. Call 871-6604 for more.

SATURDAY 6

Before humorist Tom Bodett became the voice of Motel 6 ("We'll leave the light on for you") ten years ago, the Alaska writer was a Garrison Keillor-esque commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. He's also an acclaimed storyteller. His new novel, The Free Fall of Webster Cummings, is a humorous look at American family values. He'll sign copies today at 2 at Borders Books and Music in Naperville, 336 S. Route 59. It's free; call 708-637-9700.

Should African-Americans unite or separate? Can democracy be realized in a capitalist society? Will political action eliminate African-American poverty and oppression? What does citizenship mean for African-Americans? Does voting make a difference? Those are among the heavyweight questions that will be addressed tonight at the first annual Young People's Political Economic Education Referendum Forum. It happens from 6 to 9 at the New Concept Development Center, 7825 S. Ellis. It's $5, $3 for students and seniors. Call 288-2837 for more.

SUNDAY 7

Dead animals of all types--cows, pigs, fish, and, of course, lambs--will be served at this year's Easter brunch at the Ambassador West Hotel's fancy Guildhall Ballroom. There will also be several huge salad bars. Live music, an appearance by the Easter bunny, and the showing of classic movies should pick things up. The event takes place from 10 to 4 at the hotel, 1300 N. State Parkway. It's $23.95, $12.95 for seniors and kids. Call 787-3700 for more.

The photos in Jeff Crisman's North American Tattoo Project focus on the work of U.S. and Canadian tattoo artists who began their careers prior to the 1960s--in the days before every college kid sported a Celtic design on her arm. The subjects of his portraits include a tat artist named Red sitting in his Detroit tattoo parlor in jeans and an oxford shirt, a parrot tattoo, a shirtless man in a bar whose upper body is covered with eagles, spiderwebs, ropes, and birds, and a man's arms holding the tattoo machine he's been using for 40 years. The show is at the Aron Packer Gallery, 1579 N. Milwaukee, room 205, through April 27. It's free and open today from noon to 5. Call 862-5040 for more.

MONDAY 8

The images in British photographer Susan Derges's 1991 series "The Observer and the Observed" show drops or a stream of water falling past her face, which forms a blurred background. In each stream or droplet is an upside down, distorted image of her face. She figured out how to "freeze" the water with a synchronized flash by adapting a science experiment she found in a high school textbook. The photos, which are intended to question objectivity and the interaction between subject and observer, are part of the exhibit "Light/Time/Focus" at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 S. Michigan. The museum is open today from 10 to 5. The exhibit is free and runs through June 1. Call 663-5554.

The Reverend Al Sharpton became a household name in the 80s when he was associated with several high-profile news stories involving race--remember the Tawana Brawley rape case, Yusuf Hawkins's murder, or the events at Howard Beach, where a black youth chased by a group of whites ran onto a highway and was killed by a car? Try to picture the rallies and sound bites that followed without recalling Sharpton's fancy hairdo and bigger-than-life presence, which tended to overshadow his message of African-American equality. In 1991 Sharpton was stabbed while marching in Bensonhurst, causing him to reevaluate his tactics. Since then he's run twice for U.S. Senate. He's also written an autobiography called Go and Tell Pharaoh. He'll sign copies tonight from 7:30 to 8:30 at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, 659 W. Diversey. It's free; call 871-9004.

TUESDAY 9

At Christmas every year my stepbrothers would find Big Jims and G.I. Joes under the tree. I would get one Barbie item and tons of craft kits: weaving, knitting, beads, belt making, macrame, fabric painting. The months would pass, and the unopened kits would end up stacked in my closet, next to last year's craft kits. Skokie Heritage Museum takes crafts and games from the 50s, 60s, and 70s out of the closet today when it starts its hands-on "History Hoopla" class for children. Kids ages 8 to 11 will tie-dye shirts, make metal tile trivets, string beads, play Twister and relay games, and learn about history over an eight-week period. The class is from 4 to 5:15 starting today and continuing every Tuesday through May 28 at the museum, 8031 Floral in Skokie. It costs $45. Call 847-677-6672 for more.

WEDNESDAY 10

Over the past seven years the Community Media Workshop has provided training to more than 100 community organizers and sold more than 800 copies of its directory Getting on the Air and Into Print. This year the group launched its Community News Project, which will put reporters covering this summer's Democratic National Convention in touch with local people and community organizations. Tonight CMW confers its Studs Terkel Award for excellence in reporting on the city's diverse communities to Channel Five anchor/reporter Carol Marin, author and Tribune writer Achy Obejas, and Ray Suarez, the former Chicagoan who hosts NPR's Talk of the Nation, at an awards ceremony and fund-raiser from 5 to 8 at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 220 S. Michigan. Fifty dollars includes admission and a buffet. There's a cash bar. Studs Terkel will present the awards. Call 663-3225 for more.

How do women react to an unsupportive work environment? Speaking from personal experience, I'd say first with disbelief, then with hostility, resentment, and anger. Finally, once her self-esteem has been shattered and she's considering changing careers, she quits. What can a business do to be more supportive? Those who need to know probably won't be at tonight's seminar, Diversity and the Glass Ceiling. Muriel Lazar, director of the Harbridge House division of the public accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand, will address how to manage diversity and cultural change and present a systematic approach to shattering the glass ceiling. The seminar is organized by Women in Management and takes place from 5:30 to 8 at Coopers & Lybrand, 203 N. LaSalle, 25th floor. It's $40, and participants should register in advance. Call 419-0171.

The latest information on opportunistic infections, viral resistance, viral load tests, and new antiretroviral agents will be discussed by leading physicians at tonight's HIV/AIDS patient education seminar, "Protease Inhibitors, Prophylaxis, and PCR." It's from 7 to 9:30 at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State. It's free; call 800-631-9287 to register.

THURSDAY 11

Author John Weiss claims that it was inevitable that the Holocaust happened in Germany. "Long before the Nazis," he writes in his new book, Ideology of Death: Why the Holocaust Happened in Germany, "millions of Germans and Austrians denounced Jews and "international Jewry' as both symbol and cause of challenges to their power, interests, status, and values. German Jews became the victims of a uniquely powerful culture of racism. Without this historical base, anti-Semitism would not have exploded with such fury after 1918, producing hundreds of groups with hundreds of thousands of followers whose ideas were no different than those of the Nazis." His book looks at the history of the region's culture of racism and anti-Semitism, which he says goes back as far as Martin Luther. He'll speak today at 4 at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, 5757 S. University. It's free; call 752-4381.

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