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Friday 9/11 - Thursday 9/17

SEPTEMBER

By Cara Jepsen

11 FRIDAY Though Willy Russell's class drama Educating Rita took place in 1970s London, the Laboratory Theatre's new version of the play is set right here in 1990s Chicago. In an adaptation by local playwright and director Michele Gerard Good, the sassy, street-smart heroine is not a working-class Brit but an African-American from the west side. "I thought it would be a lot more relevant to the audience this way," says Good. Also out are the references to British-brand butter; in are mentions of Whole Foods and Moesha. Tonight Good's adaptation--which has been given the thumbs-up by Russell--will have its world premiere at 8 (it runs through October 4) at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. Call 312-902-1500 for tickets, which are $12.

12 SATURDAY How poor were Jackie Chan's parents? So poor they had to pass the hat around to pay the doctor who delivered him. By the time he was seven they had saved enough money to send him to the authoritarian China Drama Academy, where the masters were allowed to beat and starve their young charges. But it was also where the future action star and director got his first crack at singing, boxing, and using weapons. "It's all worth it," he says now. The charming Chan, who has a plastic cork in his skull plugging a hole he got in a stunt, has been busy trying to woo mainstream American moviegoers by appearing on the big and small screens nearly nonstop. Today he'll appear in person to sign his new autobiography, I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action. It's at 2 at Borders Books & Music, 830 N. Michigan (312-573-0564). It's free.

13 SUNDAY In his subscription-only on-line magazine, Dummy.down, political activist and satirist Warren Leming dubs our local public radio station "W-Bourgeoisie," calling its listeners "half-literate yuppies pretending to be involved and concerned." He's also got a bone to pick with Samuel Beckett; the most recent issue included a script for "Waiting for Krapp." A stage version of the piece as well as others from the mag's bag of tricks (including a riff on Jerry Springer) will be interpreted by a cast of six women, one man, and a musical trio at a Leming-directed show called Dummydown@antichrist.com as part of the Around the Coyote Arts Festival. It's at 9 tonight (and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, September 10, 11, and 12) at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. Admission is free, though donations are requested. Call 773-235-1522 for more.

14 MONDAY Financial security, good health, and a job that doesn't seem like work top the list of what's important to Baby Boomers entering their so-called second adulthood--in other words, it's still all about me, me, me. At today's 50 Plus Expo, a phalanx of speakers will address the me generation's concerns: participants will include Arlene Hirsch, author of Love Your Work and Success Will Follow and Interviewing; yoga expert Carol Dickman; and tai chi advocate Robert Ante. Other experts will discuss Viagra, travel, retirement, long-term care, and other issues that loom in the future. Bonus: today at 3:30 financial experts will analyze the crapshoot they call the stock market at a discussion entitled "The After-Market Wrap-up." The expo is from 9:30 to 5 today (and from noon to 6 on Sunday) at the Holiday Inn Chicago City Centre, 300 E. Ohio. Admission is $7. Call 888-507-5879 for more information.

15 TUESDAY Local all-cop rap trio the Slick Boys got started a few years ago, after its members got fed up with hearing NWA's "Fuck tha Police" every time they came near the kids on their Cabrini-Green beat. "Anyone can rap," they told the kids. "Prove it," the kids replied. So Eric Davis (who grew up in Cabrini), James Martin, and Randy Holcomb wrote a few songs, practiced in front of a mirror, and performed at the police station a week later. The group went on to make music videos, tour schools, hit the talk-show circuit, and write a book called The Slick Boys: A Ten-Point Plan to Rescue Your Community by Three Chicago Cops Who Are Making It Happen. They'll rap today from 1 to 2 at Brent Books & Cards, 309 W. Washington (312-364-0126).

16 WEDNESDAY When UIC professor Isaac Balbus's daughter was born, he was determined to take an active part in her upbringing. He started out expecting his experience to conform to feminist mothering theory, which assumes that men have more difficulty with dependence and intimacy, and less with autonomy and independence. But when his daughter was going through her separation phase in her second year, Balbus found he was the one feeling anxious, instead of her. Balbus realized his reaction stemmed from his experience at that age, behavior more in keeping with psychoanalytic theories of narcissism. He reconciles these suppositions in his new book, Emotional Rescue: The Theory and Practice of a Feminist Father, which alternates between Balbus's heady psychobabble and his informal observations about his daughter's first four years. He'll sign, read, and discuss the book tonight at 7 at Transitions Bookplace, 1000 W. North (312-951-7323). It's free.

17 THURSDAY Earlier this year Robert Steel and Sarah Whitney sent a survey of 44 questions to 30 gays and lesbians across the U.S. The queries ranged from "How much cash do you have in your wallet right now?" to "Where were you when Princess Di died?" to whether they had ever cheated on their partners. The results of the decidedly unscientific survey form the basis of the mini musical Homoanthropology: A Curiously Queer Song Cycle. It'll be performed tonight at 9:30, and Sunday, September 20, at 7 as part of Gerber/Hart Library and Archive's "Per4mance>fest<98." It's at Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield. For tickets, which are $10, call 773-883-3003.

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