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Friday 9/26 - Thursday 10/2

SEPTEMBER

By Cara Jepsen

26 FRIDAY Suffering from end-of-summer withdrawal? The people behind tonight's Prescription for Contagion have the cure. The multimedia, multiartist extravaganza with a medical theme is intended to purge the mind of the tortures of daily existence. Attendees will receive a medical ID bracelet when they enter; once inside, they'll be encouraged to climb a 50-foot cargo net--a "life-support system"--suspended from the ceiling while OVT Visualz projects medical footage on the walls. Environmental Encroachment will construct an interactive performance installation, performance artists Margaret Goddard and Bruce Neil will do a piece based on "thought contagion," Dr. Gregor Mortis will spin, and the Skeletal Drum Division will play, as will the British group Prank--said to be a favorite of Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers. Mechanical sculpture by Bob Peters and paintings by David Aschenberener will also be on display. The healing starts at 9 at the Charybdis Multi-Arts Complex, 1750 N. Wolcott. $8 gets you in. Call 773-486-4816 for more.

27 SATURDAY Street-Level Youth Media will take the neighborhood get-together a step further with this year's annual Multimedia Block Party. Videos created by inner-city kids will run on 35 monitors propped up on porches, milk crates, and curbs; those scheduled to be shown include Getting Heard, a documentary that examines the Democratic National Convention's impact on a west-side community, and Benny Loves Chicago, a nine-year-old student's version of the Ben Hollis TV show. The program's kids will play music--including rock, salsa, and rap--break-dance, and spin records. The free, all-day event starts at noon and runs until 10. At 7:30 videos will be shown on a big screen on the side of a truck. It's in Eckhart Park, at Chicago and Noble. Call 773-862-5331.

28 SUNDAY You're gearing up for that October 1 move. Should you toss that purple porcelain piggy bank your long-dead grandmother gave you 20 years ago? What about that vintage tux jacket your old girlfriend gave you for Christmas in 1993? And that extra set of dishes? Barbara Tischler, aka the Clutter Coach, suggests you ask yourself a few quick questions before you decide: Do you need it, or do you want it? Is there shelf space for it? Is it relevant or current to your life? If you're really struggling, you should envision the worst thing that could happen if you didn't have the item. Tischler will dispense her advice in person at a seminar today at 3 at the Old House New House Home Show, which started Friday evening and runs all weekend. Aspiring Martha Stewarts and Bob Vilas can check out the show today from 10 to 5 at the Pheasant Run Mega Center, 4051 E. Main in Saint Charles. The seminar is included with admission, which is $5. Call 630-515-1160 for more information.

29 MONDAY In Bostonian, Jim Crotty says, "PSDS" means pierced ears, "CS" is Sears, and "TS" denotes tears. Crotty also takes on New York City, San Francisco, and the midwest (we're guilty of giving directions unnecessarily and discussing the weather ad nauseam) in his new book, How to Talk American: A Guide to Our Native Tongues. He knows what he's talking about, having spent the past 12 years driving all over the country and copublishing Monk magazine--the book is based on his "How to Talk" column. He'll mock your nasal twang and try to translate your dialect in person today for free at 7:30 at the Unabridged Bookstore, 3251 N. Broadway. Call 773-883-9119 for more.

30 TUESDAY For the past 21 years, writer Sandra Jackson-Opoku has traveled back and forth between Chicago, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and other parts of the United States as an exchange student, UN employee, Ghanaian bride, and travel writer. In 1976 she began writing a travelogue about her experiences, which evolved into The River Where Blood Is Born, an epic novel that spans 200 years and follows the lives of an African woman and her descendants. "History throbs like the phantom pain in an amputated limb," she says. "The River seeks to reattach the missing member, restore the blood flow, reestablish the connection between New World Africans and our origins." She'll read tonight at 7 at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th. It's free. Call 773-684-1300.

OCTOBER

1 WEDNESDAY Most Oktoberfest celebrations in this country are halfhearted, beer-soaked affairs--in September, no less. The real McCoy started as a simple horse race in Munich in 1810 to commemorate the marriage of King Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxony. There won't be any steeplechases at tonight's "authentic" Oktoberfest at Adagio, but the hosts will wear lederhosen and feathered hats. The German band Alpine Duo will play, and there will be plenty of beer and brats. The party starts at 7 at Adagio, 923 Weed. Admission is $5; libations and chow are a bit extra. Call 312-787-0400 for more.

2 THURSDAY Stage mom or sage? After the Marx Brothers exhausted the New York market as an opening act in vaudeville houses, their mother Minnie secured an apartment at 4512 W. Grand and moved her brood to Chicago. In those days performers passed through the city when traveling between coasts; that meant they played Chicago twice as often, and it was in the city's many vaudeville theaters that the brothers polished their act. Eventually, like many residents before and since, they moved on to bigger and better things, with Groucho, of course, making the biggest impression. Today local impersonator and Grouchophile Bob Rumba will don his mustache and glasses and discuss the aforementioned brother's career in detail as part of the Cultural Center's celebration of Groucho Marx's 107th birthday. The free event is today at 1 at the Chicago Cultural Center's Randolph Cafe, 78 E. Washington. Call 312-744-1426.

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