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Friday 9/6 - Thursday 9/12

SEPTEMBER

6 FRIDAY Nicaraguan artist Patricia Belli was born with alopecia, a condition that causes sufferers to lose their hair. That, she explains on her Web site, is "why I began to explore the validity of gender stereotypes from early on, hair being such an important asset for girls." Her most recent work uses dark, rag-doll-like constructions that move on pulleys and ropes to suggest humans trapped in an oppressive system. They're part of a new exhibit called From a Woman's Perspective, which includes work by seven Latin American artists--Belli, Maribel Portela, Veronica Videas, Lina Binkele, Ines Vega, Maria Cristina Arria, and Regina Aguilar--representing seven countries. All of them will attend tonight's free reception, which doubles as the opening for a show of work by Colombian artist Luis Fernando Uribe. The reception goes from 5 to 9, and both exhibits run through October 5 at Aldo Castillo Gallery, 233 W. Huron (312-337-2536).

7 SATURDAY Former graffiti artist and Aerosoul Crew cofounder Carlos "Dzine" Rolon divides his time between Chicago and Paris these days and says his current work "is inspired by the free-form style of music and how a DJ or producer adds layer upon layer to create their sound." In his new large-scale wall installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Dzine uses 10 to 15 layers of paint to "send out strong vibes mixed with sexual undertones designed to seduce the viewer." Today's free opening reception starts at 4 and will feature music by Paris-based DJ and curator Jerome Sans. On Tuesday, September 10, Dzine and Illinois State University Galleries director Barry Blinderman will discuss parallels between graffiti and mural art and electronic music. The discussion starts at 6 in the theater of the MCA, 220 E. Chicago (312-397-4010); admission is free.

Better Existence With HIV (BEHIV) had exactly one paid employee when it opened in an Evanston church basement 13 years ago. Last winter the AIDS services organization moved to aboveground digs on Ridge Avenue, and these days 21 staffers and 230 volunteers serve 400 HIV-positive people each year and do educational outreach to an additional 35,000. Proceeds from tonight's performance of Stephen Rader's new play, 20--based on 20 questions he asked a variety of Chicago gay men--will benefit BEHIV. The reception starts at 6 at Bailiwick Repertory, 1229 W. Belmont; the performance will be followed by a discussion and dessert reception at the High Risk Gallery, 1113 W. Belmont. Tickets are $35; call 847-475-2115.

8 SUNDAY For nearly a year, the city's thespians--or at least the ones who are members of SAG, AFTRA, or Actors' Equity--have had a place downtown where they can make phone calls, get on-line, and peruse a collection of videos and scripts. The Kaufherr Members Resource Center also offers digital video cameras, an editing station, and an audio studio for honing skills and making audition tapes. Today, to raise funds for the center, actors from the Aspect Theatre Company will do a staged reading of George Crowe's recent play The American, which is based on the 1946 Howard Fast book about Illinois reformist governor John Peter Altgeld and his pardon of the Haymarket "conspirators." It costs $20 and starts at 1 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State (312-867-5504). A reception follows.

9 MONDAY Sun-Times columnist Steve Neal was researching his book Harry and Ike: The Partnership That Remade the Postwar World when he uncovered a treasure trove of unpublished letters between Harry Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt, who served as the president's delegate to the UN from 1945 to 1952. The 254 letters in Neal's new book, Eleanor and Harry: The Correspondence of Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, start just after FDR's death in 1945 and continue through 1960. They cover everything from the creation of the state of Israel to Truman's decisions to fire MacArthur and drop the A-bomb (Roosevelt approved of both but nonetheless did not endorse Truman's renomination in 1948). Neal will discuss his book at a City Club of Chicago luncheon today at 11:30 at Maggiano's Banquets, 111 W. Grand. He'll be introduced by Gloria Steinem, who wrote the book's foreword. Tickets are $45; call 312-565-6500 or go to www.cityclub-chicago.com.

10 TUESDAY "It's a war film, and yet there is no reference to the war. Beneath its seemingly innocuous appearance the story attacks the very structure of our society," wrote Jean Renoir about his 1939 masterpiece, Rules of the Game. The film, about a pilot who falls for a wealthy married woman, incensed audiences when it was released and was recut only to be banned by occupying German forces. It wasn't shown again in its original form until 1965. Nowadays you can get it on DVD, which is what the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington) will use to show it tonight to kick off the second season of its International Dinner and a Movie series. A French dinner and cocktails start at 6, and the film will be introduced by Columbia College professor Ron Falzone at 7. Tickets to the dinner are $18 and must be purchased 24 hours in advance at 312-742-8497 or ccdinnerandamovie.com. Admission to the movie is free, though priority seating goes to dinner-ticket holders.

11 WEDNESDAY Last year the Court Theatre went ahead with its September 12 preview performance of Mary Stuart. "Almost everyone showed up," recalls executive director Diane Claussen. "The performance was very cathartic, and we had a very long postplay discussion afterward. It seemed very relevant that people chose to come to the theater as part of the grieving process." On the disaster's anniversary, Claussen decided, the show must once again go on. Tickets for tonight's 7:30 preview of Racine's Phedre--about a queen obsessed with her stepson, starring Jenny Bacon (who played Mary, Queen of Scots, last year)--are $24-$28; previews run through Friday. Regular performances ($30-$40) run through October 6. The theater is at 5535 S. Ellis (773-753-4472).

12 THURSDAY Before Ronald Reagan nominated him to the federal bench in 1987, Judge James Zagel worked as a lawyer and served as chief of the Illinois state police. He drew on his law enforcement experiences for his debut novel, Money to Burn--a thriller about a federal judge whose disillusionment with the system prompts him to engineer a heist of Chicago's Federal Reserve Bank (he has help from a firefighter buddy who torches buildings in his spare time). Zagel, who fictionalized the layout of the bank to throw off would-be copycats, will read from his book tonight at 5:30 on the seventh floor of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State (312-747-4080).

A series of informal short-film festivals called Flicker, begun in Chapel Hill eight years ago, has spread to cities including LA, New York, and Austin. Tonight Flicker starter Roger Beebe brings a program of 16- and 8-millimeter films to Chicago for a best-of fest called the Flicker All Stars. It features work by Beebe, Norwood Cheek, Chris Jolly, Jim Haverkamp, Brett Ingram, the San Francisco-based group Killing My Lobster, and local filmmaker and musician Roby Newton, whose allegorical puppet film A Lack of Providence is about the devil and failed love. She'll also do a live puppet show. It starts at 10:30 at Atomix, 1957 W. Chicago. There's a suggested donation of $4 (312-832-3382).

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