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Friday 9/17 - Thursday 9/23

SEPTEMBER

By Cara Jepsen

17 FRIDAY As a young man in the late 19th century George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff traveled through the Middle East studying spiritual traditions. The Armenian philosopher came to believe people must break out of their ordinary "sleeping" state to achieve greater awareness, a school of thought that became known as the Fourth Way. Tonight Gurdjieff follower William Patrick Patterson will show his new video, The Life and Significance of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, Part 1: Gurdjieff in Egypt--the Origin of Esoteric Knowledge. It's at 7 at Transitions Bookplace, 1000 W. North (312-951-7323). It's free.

Pinup girl Bettie Page's life and times provide the fodder for the new play from Psychotronic Film Society boss Michael Flores, Bettie Page Uncensored. It opens tonight (and runs weekends through November 20) at 10:30 at the Playground, 3341 N. Lincoln. Tickets are $16. Call 773-338-2206.

18 SATURDAY Performances of traditional African dance and Latin American music punctuate the annual Peace Day celebration. This year's event, which also includes a recital of poetry from Li-Young Lee and a demonstration of "peace breathing and exercise," is dedicated to late Peace School founder Myung Su Kim, who organized the first Peace Day 21 years ago. It's from 11 to 1 at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State. Admission is free. Call 773-248-7959 for more.

Local writer Paula Kamen's play, Jane: Abortion and the Underground, is based on interviews she conducted with women who ran the Hyde Park-based abortion referral service from 1969 to '73. It opens tonight at 8 at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. Tickets are $15, $12 for students and seniors. Call 773-334-6032 for reservations.

On his 1950s TV show Western Ranch Party, host Tex Ritter chatted with guests like George Jones and Johnny Cash, who were just starting out. "They were scared and little and puny," says Heather McAdams, who's screening footage from the show (as well as other obscure stuff) at tonight's installment of Chris & Heather's Lil' 16mm Film Jamboree. "Butt-stompin' music" will also be provided by Old #8. Show times are at 8 and 10:30 at Chris & Heather's Record Roundup, 2034 W. Montrose. Admission is $7. Call 773-271-5330 for information.

19 SUNDAY The participants in the Norge Ski Club's 94th annual ski-jumping tournament will glide down a ramp covered in porcelain --"just like a bathtub"--and land on thick plastic mats. "They go just as far, just as fast" as they would in snow, claims club president Scott Smith, who coached the '92 U.S. Olympic ski team. Today's tournament is from 1 to 4 at the Norge ski jump on Ski Hill Road, at the corner of Routes 14 and 22 in Fox River Grove. Admission is $8. Call 847-462-1159 for more.

Before penning The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx translated Jacques Peuchet's memoir Peuchet on Suicide, in which the French economist ruminated on the motives of some female suicides in early-19th-century Paris. Marx took the liberty of editing several passages and adding his own two cents, making the point that "it is not only the workers but the whole of bourgeois society that suffers under dehumanized social relations," says Kevin Anderson, a sociology professor at Northern Illinois University. He and Northwestern University medical school professor emeritus Eric A. Plaut have edited the new book Marx on Suicide, which they will discuss today at 6:30 at the News & Letters Library, room 707, at 59 E. Van Buren (312-663-0839). It's free.

20 MONDAY They say laughter is the best medicine, but even comic writers need some extra TLC once in a while. Kathleen White leads a monthly support group for humor writers; it starts tonight at 7 at the Chicago Public Library's Lincoln Belmont branch, 1659 W. Melrose, and will meet on the third Monday of each month. It's free; call 312-744-0166.

21 TUESDAY "Moving, hilarious, and insightful" is what Rush Limbaugh called the book Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader by Dinesh D'Souza, who was a senior policy analyst at the Gipper's White House for a short time. Today D'Souza will hit the University of Illinois at Chicago campus to discuss "The Paradox of American Greatness: Is America the Greatest Country in the World?" Methinks the answer will be yes. He'll speak from 4:30 to 6 in room 323 at UIC's Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted. It's free. Call 312-996-8279 for more.

A teenager raised in a strict religious commune scrapes out a living in seedy Uptown in The Beggars' Shore, the first novel by Reader contributor Zak Mucha. It was snatched up by a publishing house co-owned by crime novelist Andrew Vachss, who will attend Mucha's readings tonight at 6 at Brent Books & Cards, 316 N. Michigan (312-920-0940) and tomorrow at 6 at Quimby's, 1854 W. North (773-342-0910). Both events are free.

22 WEDNESDAY Men's movement poster boy Robert Bly is first and foremost a poet. He'll read at the 45th annual Poetry Day celebration and benefit for Poetry magazine at 6 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Admission is $10, $5 for students and seniors. Call 312-255-3703 for details.

How to prevent, report, and prosecute hate crimes is the focus of tonight's local hate crimes summit aimed at Lakeview residents. The panel includes Anti-Defamation League counsel Harlan Loeb, LesBiGay Radio president Alan Amberg, Chicago Police Department civil rights investigator Lori Cooper, and state representative Sara Feigenholtz. The free summit starts at 7 at Anshe Emet Synagogue, 3760 N. Pine Grove. Call 773-296-4141.

23 THURSDAY After the massive success of 1977's Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf turned to a life of drugs, sex, and "suicidal dieting"-- which led to a nervous breakdown and a stalled career. Now Meat's back with a new book, To Hell and Back; roles in a bunch of soon-to-be-released films; and the obligatory VH-1 special, which will air in January. Mr. Loaf will sign copies of his book tonight at 6 at Borders Books & Music, 830 N. Michigan (312-573-0564). It's free.

In his new book, Andy Kaufman Revealed! Best Friend Tells All, Kaufman's pal and coconspirator Bob Zmuda divulges just about everything you never wanted to know about the offbeat comedian, including that Kaufman taped his genitals down before his intergender wrestling matches "to hide his aroused condition from the camera." Zmuda will sign copies and answer questions tonight at 7:30 at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells (312-642-5044). It's free.

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