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Friday 1/5 - Thursday 1/11

JANUARY

By Cara Jepsen

5 FRIDAY A few years ago Sweetback Productions launched their Screw Xmas monologues as a raw, in-your-face antidote to sentimental treacle like A Christmas Carol (their popular musical Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer, about a transvestite reindeer, grew out of a Screw Xmas sketch by David Cerda). The show also provided an arena for company members--mostly drag queens and women who normally play peripheral roles--to stretch their actorly legs. This year's installment is still brutally honest "but it's more bittersweet," says show coordinator Pauline Pang. "I think we've matured." She cites a story by drag queen Ludwig about growing up poor on a Wisconsin farm, which he reads out of wig, as an example. Barrie Cole, Jill Erickson, Laurie Crowe, Michael Martin, and Tina Haglund will also appear in the final performance tonight at 7:30 at the Theatre Building, 1225 W. Belmont. Tickets are $10; call 773-327-5252.

6 SATURDAY How do year-round cyclists keep their feet warm and toasty in winter? One trick is to trade the bike shoes and tights for lace-up boots and rain pants. At today's free winter cycling class, all-weather bicycling "professor" Gin Kilgore will elaborate on how to dress inexpensively and handle a bike in inclement weather. The Bike Winter event also promises "hot bikers modeling layering--and unlayering--techniques," a riding demonstration in a confetti "snowstorm," and door prizes. It starts at 3 at Quenchers Saloon, 2401 N. Western. Call 773-486-9015 for more.

7 SUNDAY "There were so many wonderful composers in the 19th century, there's a large, excellent second tier we seldom hear," says oboist Alex Klein. Austrian romantic Heinrich Freiherr von Herzogenberg, for example. "He's no Brahms," says Klein, but "a fine composer of beautiful music, unjustifiably forgotten." Klein, who plays with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and teaches at Northwestern University, will perform Herzogenberg's Trio for Piano, Oboe, and French Horn with pianist Sylvia Wang and hornist Gail Williams during the second concert of Northwestern's Winter Chamber Music Festival. Also on the program: William Bolcom's Aubade (For the Continuation of Life)--a musing on our environmentally threatened planet and Klein's favorite new work for the oboe--and Prokofiev's Quintet op. 39. The fifth annual festival, performed by Northwestern University faculty, their CSO colleagues, and guests, begins with a performance Friday, January 5, by the Vermeer Quartet and continues through January 21. Klein and clarinetist Russell Dagon will present the preconcert "informance" for the second concert at 6:15 tonight; the concert starts at 7:30. It's at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 1977 S. Campus Drive, on the Evanston campus. Tickets are $21, $17 for seniors, and $9.50 for students. Call 847-467-4000 for tickets and information.

8 MONDAY The Zygon Center for Religion and Science kicks off a free three-month lecture series with a big bang tonight when it offers the first of ten sessions on the Epic of Creation: Scientific, Biblical, and Theological Perspectives on Our Origins. Tonight's program includes a talk by University of Chicago professor Edward Kolb on "The Origin of It All" (7 to 8:20) followed by his colleague Donald York on "From the Appearance of Hydrogen to the Formation of the Solar System" (8:30 to 10). The series runs Monday evenings from 7 to 10 through March 12 at the Lutheran School of Theology, 1100 E. 55th in Hyde Park. Call 773-256-0670.

9 TUESDAY Buying up high-tech stocks at bargain-basement prices probably won't make the list of strategies today when TV commentator and financial expert Louis A. Holland, portfolio manager of the Lou Holland Growth Fund and managing partner and chief investment officer for Holland Capital Management, gives a lecture called Investment Themes for the New Millennium. The program on "positioning personal portfolios for prosperity in the years ahead" is sponsored by the Business Women's Network and takes place from 11:45 to 1:15 at the Standard Club, 320 S. Plymouth. It's $40 in advance, $45 at the door, and includes lunch. Call 773-918-5008 to register.

10 WEDNESDAY If Western thinkers have typically searched for constants in the universe, it's fair to say their Eastern counterparts have traditionally operated under the assumption that the one constant in the world is flux. For example, the Chinese natural philosopher (and contemporary of Aristotle) Tsou Yen determined in the fourth century BC that the universe was made up of five elements (metal, wood, water, fire, earth), which were governed by change. Tonight historian Robert Kiely will lead the first of a three-session class called The Dance of the Elements: Cosmology in Ancient Asian Thought, in which he'll examine Indian and Chinese cosmologies and the influence of Hindu, Taoist, and Buddhist thought upon them. It's from 6:30 to 8:30 (and continues January 17 and 24) at the Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive. Tuition is $40. Call 312-922-7827 to register.

My name is Cara and I'm a sugar addict--at least if you listen to chemical-dependency expert Kathleen DesMaisons, whose checklist for abusers includes questions like "Have you ever been frantic when you arrive at friends' house for the weekend to discover they have NO sweets in the house and you do not have a car?" (Yes!) DesMaisons, author of 1998's Potatoes Not Prozac, will outline The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program tonight at 7 at Transitions Bookplace, 1000 W. North. It's free; call 312-951-7323.

11 THURSDAY Local poet Regie Gibson cowrote and appeared in the 1997 film Love Jones, a career move that brought his impressive oeuvre to a large audience. He also cofounded the Black Poets Group Production and won the individual competition at the National Poetry Slam in Austin, Texas, in 1998. Now he's decided to up and move to Boston, so tonight his friends and colleagues are throwing a party called Goodbye for Now at the Guild Complex. It starts at 7 at the Chopin Theater, 1543 W. Division. Admission is $5, $3 for students and those who want to step up to the open mike. Call 773-227-6123.

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