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By Cara Jepsen

JULY

FRIDAY 19

Want to find out what the future holds for the Worm, Michael, and Oprah? Astrologer to the stars Larry Pines will make predictions about local celebs from 8:30 to 10 AM at the American Federation of Astrologers' convention. There'll be more than 350 seminars geared to the general public this weekend, running the gamut from understanding relationships to astrology and investment. It's at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, 9300 W. Bryn Mawr, in Rosemont, from 8:30 to 5 PM today, tomorrow, and Sunday, with special seminars each night at 8. Tickets are $35 a day, $10 for the evening programs. 708-654-4742.

Novelist and performance artist Sapphire creates work that is gritty and realistic; in a recent short story in the New Yorker she offered aasdfg brutal account of a 15-year-old girl who'd been sexually abused by her father. The story was executed without cliches or condescension; the narrator's distinct, colloquial voice matter-of-factly described unspeakable horrors. Sapphire will read from her new novel Push from 12:30 to 2:00 at the Afrocentric Bookstore, 234 S. Wabash. It's free; call 939-1956.

Pianist Norbert Heller and harpist Jana Bouskova are the principal guest artists for this week's Golden Prague Chamber Series, the product of a cultural exchange program between the Czech Republic and the U.S. The two will perform selections from Dussek, C.P.E. Bach, Spohr, and Krumpholz, among others, tonight at 7:30 at the Arts Center of Oak Park, 200 N. Oak Park, in Oak Park. Tickets are $22. Call 847-864-0112.

SATURDAY 20

Bring up the Telecommunications Act at a party and you might get a lot of blank stares. But today's town forum Telecommunications and Me? promises to demystify the new legislation. Representatives from the Chicago Public Library, Illinois Privacy Council, and Chicago Media Watch will sit on such panels as "Big Brother and the Internet," "Universal Access: What's in the Telecommunications Act for Schools, Libraries and Non-profits?," and "Big Media Gets Bigger: The Telecommunications Act and Media Concentration." The free forum is from 10 to 3 today in Columbia College's Hokin Hall, 623 S. Wabash. 663-1600.

Why enjoy the summer weather when you can keep your moon tan by sitting in a hotel conference room attending Fangoria Magazine's "Weekend of Horrors"? Today you can meet actress Heather Langenkamp (Nightmare on Elm Street), actor Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead, The X Files), and makeup artist Steve Johnson. Tomorrow horror author Clive Barker will be pushing his latest novel, Sacrament. It's from 11 to 6 both days at the Ramada Hotel O'Hare, 6600 N. Mannheim, in Rosemont. Tickets are $13.50 in advance, $16 at the door. Call 818-409-0960, ext. 213.

Tim Jackson sheds light on such issues as racism, media stereotyping, and double standards in the cartoon Things That Make You Go Hmm . . ., which appears in StreetWise and The Final Call. Many of his best cartoons are included in his new collection, Continuously Dis'd By the System. He'll sign copies from 2 to 4 today at African American Images, 1909 W. 95th. It's free; call 445-0322.

The Green Mill poetry slam turns ten this weekend. A memorabilia auction, one of a slew of events marking the anniversary, takes place tonight. You can purchase can't-live-without items such as the manuscript for Marc Smith's first chapbook, Marvin Tate's shoes, art by Tony Fitzpatrick, and good junk that once belonged to Patricia Smith, Lisa Buscani, and Inka Alasade. The auction, which is hosted by Jean Howard, starts at 8 at American Blues Theatre, 1909 W. Byron. It's $7; call 708-484-2009.

SUNDAY 21

Once dubbed "the most powerful gay man in America" by Newsweek, activist David Mixner was close to President Clinton until he was arrested while protesting the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy at the 1993 march on Washington for gay and lesbian rights. His memoir, Stranger Among Friends, is an unblinking examination of the gay and lesbian movement, the Clinton administration, and Democratic party reform. He'll appear today from 4 to 5 at People Like Us Books, 1115 W. Belmont, and tomorrow at 7:30 at Unabridged Bookstore, 3251 N. Broadway. Both events are free. 248-6363 or 883-9119.

MONDAY 22

Canadian filmmaker Clement Vigo's debut film, Rude, depicts the lives of three black characters, whose stories unfold over Easter weekend in Toronto. Luke is a recently paroled drug dealer and painter who tries to stay out of trouble, Jordan is a former gay basher coming to terms with his homosexuality, and Maxine is considering an abortion and coping with the loss of her lover. Rude is the name of the female pirate-radio DJ who narrates. Vigo, who was born in Jamaica but grew up in a Toronto housing project, mixes performance art, dance, narrative, and spoken word. This is the first Canadian feature written, directed, and produced by an all-black team. It screens tonight at 7 and 9 at Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton. Tickets are $7, $5 for members. Call 281-9075.

Former drug addict and alcoholic Mark Lundholm has spent several years presenting his 12-step comedy routine on college campuses and in halfway houses, treatment centers, comedy clubs, and prisons, pointing out the humorous side of recovery. He'll perform tonight at 7:30 to benefit the Hazelden Foundation of Chicago, an organization that provides scholarships for chemical dependency treatment. Refreshments will be served during intermission. It happens at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted. Tickets are $25. Call 943-3534.

TUESDAY 23

He's best known as Mayor Daley's white-haired, red-faced, well-dressed point man on the floor of the City Council. But 14th Ward alderman Edward Burke is also an author--or at least a coauthor. His timely new tome, Inside the Wigwam: Chicago Presidential Conventions 1860-1996, contains anecdotal and historical information about past conventions, including the ins and outs of obtaining lucrative contracts for this year's event. As the City Council finance committee chairman, Burke should know what he's talking about. He'll sign copies from 2:30 to 3:30 today at Brent Books & Cards, 309 W. Washington. It's free; call 364-0126.

WEDNESDAY 24

Like screen stars Arnold and Babe, most swine are intelligent and trainable. They are also fast runners. "All they need as an incentive is an Oreo cookie," says Carlota Robinson, whose racing pigs will appear at the DuPage County Fair this week. The pigs take off today at 1:30, 3, 4:30, 6, 7, and 8 at the fairgrounds, 2015 W. Manchester, in Wheaton. Admission is $5. They'll run six races a day through July 28. Call 708-668-6636, ext. 11, for more information.

THURSDAY 25

Do you spend so much time surfing the Net that you neglect other activities and relationships? If so, you might be addicted to your computer. "It's just now becoming recognized as a real problem," says Alan Irgang, owner of a computer training and consulting firm. "It's being compared to compulsive gambling or shopping. It becomes a problem when the computer starts to control the person, rather than the person being in control of it. " Irgang, who's also a clinical psychologist, has come up with 15 criteria that can help you determine whether or not you're addicted; tonight he'll lead a free seminar, Computers--High Tech Addiction of the 90s, from 7:30 to 9:30 at the Ravenswood Community Mental Health Center, 2312 W. Irving Park, Building B, room 1137. Call 248-6430.

It's not uncommon for a band to release its own record. It's what they do afterward that can make the difference between indie-rock credibility and heavy rotation on Q-101. Tim Sweeney, who has worked with more than 1,000 major-label and indie artists, explains how to get a record released, distributed, and played on the radio in his Guide to Releasing Independent Records. He'll sign copies today at Borders Books & Music, 830 N. Michigan. It's free; call 573-0564.

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