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Friday 9/27 - Thursday 10/3

SEPTEMBER

27 FRIDAY In 1985 Alaska (aka Olvido Gara), a Mexico City-born, Madrid-bred sexpot, ditched her teenage punk-rock roots to front Dinarama, a chart-topping synth-pop band. Dinarama broke up in 1989, but original members Alaska and Nacho Canut continued to make music as the much darker, more electronic Fangoria. The duo's first U.S. release comes out next month. Alaska--also an occasional actress who starred in Pedro Almodovar's 1980 film Pepi, Luci, Bom and the Other Girls--will discuss her work (in Spanish) tonight at 5:30 at Gallery 37's rooftop garden, 66 E. Randolph (312-742-8497), as part of the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum's Sor Juana Festival and the city's World Music Festival. Her talk will be followed by a free DJ set (Alaska spins under the moniker "the Mexican Acid Queen," Canut as Caligula 2000). For more call the MFACM at 312-738-1503. Tomorrow night at 10 Fangoria will play their first Chicago show, at the Empty Bottle--also as part of the World Music Festival, which wraps up on Sunday, September 29. The club is at 1035 N. Western (773-276-3600) and admission is $10; you must be 21.

28 SATURDAY Although the local group Animal Rights Mobilization disbanded in January because executive director Kay Sievers was leaving town for New Mexico, several members weren't ready to give up the fight. In June they launched Compassion Into Action, a new animal rights organization that focuses on the problem of overpopulation. Strategies will be hammered out at the group's second meeting, which takes place today from 1 to 3 at the Edgewater Public Library, 1210 W. Elmdale; Sievers will be a special guest. For more information call 773-205-1622.

When he moved to Chicago a dozen years ago, Acme Novelty Library creator Chris Ware was invited to join fellow cartoonists Dan Clowes, Archer Prewitt, Terry LaBan, and Gary Leib each week to draw improvised minicomics at Earwax in Wicker Park. The group eventually scattered, with Clowes moving on to Berkeley (and a little fame, after last year's movie adaptation of Ghost World) and Leib to New York. Ware and Clowes will appear today at a free book signing with underground comics legend Kim Deitch, whom Ware calls "one of the most important cartoonists ever." Deitch is on tour promoting his new graphic novel, The Boulevard of Broken Dreams, and Clowes is flogging the paperback edition of 2000's David Boring. Ware doesn't have a new book, but he'll be on hand anyway at 3 at Quimby's, 1854 W. North (773-342-0910).

29 SUNDAY Two years ago yesterday, Ariel Sharon's visit to Jerusalem's Temple Mount marked the beginning of what's come to be called the Al Aqsa Intifada--the most violent period in Israeli-Palestinian relations since the end of the first intifada in 1993. Today Al-Awda Chicago, the local chapter of an international group aligned with the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, is holding a Palestinian Right of Return march and rally to mark the second anniversary of the start of the current uprising. The march starts at 10 at the Israeli consulate, 111 E. Wacker, and makes its way to Federal Plaza, at Dearborn and Adams, where the rally runs from 11 to 4. On Saturday, September 28, there'll be free workshops and a pre-rally planning session from 9 to 6 at DePaul University's Munroe Hall, 2312 N. Clifton, followed by an open mike and benefit at 7 at 6400 S. Kedzie. A $5 to $10 donation is requested. For more information call 800-699-2466, punch in #-244-224-6767, and leave a message, or see chicago.al-awda.info.

30 MONDAY "No one knew what to expect and we weren't sure what was going to happen," says African American Arts Alliance board president Jackie Taylor about the first Black Arts Week performance festival, held five years ago. "People started showing up at all the events. It was a great success." This year Black Arts Week runs for nine days and includes dance, music, film, workshops, a children's day, and next Monday's presentation of the Black Excellence Award in the Arts, which will go to Ebony magazine executive editor Lerone Bennet Jr. At tonight's "theater night," solo artist Marsha Estell will premiere her one-act show, Big Butt Girls and Other Fantasies, and other artists will also perform monologues. The show starts with an open mike emceed by ETA Creative Arts Foundation artistic director Runako Jahi. Actors and designers are encouraged to bring their resumés and network at the preshow reception, which starts at 6 at the Chicago Theatre Company, 500 E. 67th. Tickets are $5; for more call 773-769-5201.

OCTOBER

1 TUESDAY A person need only be 50--and plunk down $25 in annual dues--to join the Senior Artists Network. The 14-year-old group has 150 members in greater Chicago, and altogether they submitted 300 paintings, drawings, prints, photos, sculptures, and mixed-media works to this year's juried exhibition, Later Impressions. Only 66 pieces made the cut; they're on display today from 10 to 7 in a free exhibit that's up through October 17 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. For more call 312-744-6630.

2 WEDNESDAY While walking home from elementary school in Berkeley in the late 1960s, David Sereda saw a "large, classic, disc-shaped UFO hovering in a clear blue sky." The thing hung around for a while, and then Sereda says he--and a crowd of hundreds--saw it disappear "into another invisible dimension." Sereda's been intrigued with the paranormal ever since, and from 1995 to 2001 he did research for a new book and set of videotapes called Evidence: The Case for NASA UFOs; the tapes purport to show NASA footage of alien contact, and the book offers theories as to how and why such contact might have occurred. Sereda, an environmentalist and self-described spiritual seeker who also penned 2000's Face to Face With Jesus Christ (in which he describes three meetings with JC as well as an encounter with Mary), will discuss Evidence tonight at 7 at Transitions Bookplace, 1000 W. North (312-951-7323). It's free.

3 THURSDAY In 1995 journalist Dennis Hensley got an assignment to write about the 20th anniversary of Jaws. Hensley, who'd never seen the movie, says he "threw a party, taped the commentary, and wrote an article based on that." The response was so positive that he continued to have friends over to watch movies, using their comments as fodder for stories. Now he's published Screening Party, a novel about a bunch of friends getting together to lob one-liners at classics such as The Sound of Music ("I want there to be a shot of her putting on brass knuckles and saying, 'I know how to solve a problem like Maria'") and Flashdance ("I know women who can walk around in boots like that, and they are not reading French Vogue. They're reading Cat Fancy and On Our Backs"). Hensley--who swears the characters are composites, not real people--will discuss his book tonight at 7:30 at Unabridged Books, 3251 N. Broadway (773-883-9119).

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