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Reproductive health, the maintenance of affirmative action, economic equality, and an end to violence against women are among the issues relevant to today’s International Women’s Day rally and march. The event starts at noon at the Federal Plaza, 220 S. Dearborn, and makes its way northwest to the James R. Thompson Center. It’s free. All all-day conference, “Beijing and Beyond: Women’s Rights to Economic Justice,” will be held at DePaul University tomorrow. Call 641-5151 for more.

According to tradition, menstruating women should forgo tonight’s pipe ceremony, led by Blackfeet spiritual leader Buster Yellow Kidney, which honors the creator and all living things by sending up smoke. The fuel includes sweet grass, tobacco, and herbs. It’s free and starts at 7 at the Native American Art Gallery, 810 W. Dempster in Evanston. Women on “moon time” are urged to celebrate at home. Call 847-864-0400 for more information.

“Trance-gothic” New Age music by Arcanta and a reading by poetry-slam founder Marc Smith highlight the entertainment for the opening of Gallery Atlantis Artisan Shop tonight. Gallery owner Natasha Forgione, who is also an artist and poet, says she wants her venue to be similar to a turn-of-the-century European salon; current offerings by local artists include sculpture, photographs, paintings, pins, and pottery. The fun starts at 7 tonight at the gallery, 2100 N. Damen. It’s free. Call 292-0889 for more.


Chi-town comedian and actress-done-good Nora Dunn is putting on a one-woman show tonight that promises to include some of her most famous Saturday Night Live characters, including Pat Stevens and Liz Sweeney of the Sweeney sisters, as well as a whole slew of new personalities. It’s part of a fund-raiser for the Discovery Board of the Goodman Theatre and includes a light buffet. It starts at 7–Dunn performs at 8:30–at the ballroom of the School of the Art Institute, 112 S. Michigan. Tickets are $95. Call 435-2771 for more. Filmmakers Kate Kirtz and Nell Lundy will be at tonight’s screening of their documentary Jane: An Abortion Service, which tells the story of the counseling and referral service that helped safely–and illegally–terminate some 12,000 pregnancies in the years before Roe v. Wade. The film starts at 8 at the Film Center, Columbus Drive at Jackson. Tickets are $6. Call 443-3737 for more information.


Paganism has gotten a lot of bad press over the years, but organizers of this weekend’s pagan community conference insist they don’t eat children or kill cats. The conference, which runs from 9 to 7 Saturday and today, includes workshops and lectures on Taoism, creating a witch’s bottle, interpreting difficult cards in tarot, community building, and paganism for young adults. It’s $5 a day in advance, $8 at the door, and takes place at the International Conference Center, 4750 N. Sheridan. Call 847-470-4270 for more.

Monologuist, author, and house cleaner David Sedaris also makes windup toys in the shape of hearts. Artist Derek Zeitel makes prints from actual dog hearts. Their work, along with the paintings and sculpture of several other artists, will be on display at the International Museum of Surgical Science’s Hearts exhibit, which runs through June 15. There’s an opening reception today from 2 to 4 at the museum, 1524 N. Lake Shore Dr., and admission is free. Call 642-6502 for more.

Music, poetry readings, and refreshments kick off the reopening of the 15-year-old Peace Museum today. Its new 3,000-square-foot space, at 314 W. Institute, houses its store, resource center, and permanent collection, which includes work by John Lennon, John Heartfield and Fritz Eichenberg. The celebration is from 2 to 6 today at the museum. It’s $15, $10 for members. Call 440-1860 for more.


Cliches, sound bites, and slogans have shaped the national debate on affirmative action. Today Robert Entman, communications professor at North Carolina State University, will present his study Accentuating the Negative: Media Coverage of Affirmative Action, which outlines the media’s role in the whole mess. Responding to Entman will be former Sun-Times editor Dennis Britton, Channel Two urban affairs editor Don Johnson, executive director of Women Employed Anne Ladky, and Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law executive director Clyde Murphy. The discussion takes place from noon to 2 at the Mart Plaza, 350 N. Orleans, in the Sauganash Grand Ballroom on the 14th floor. Admission is $12.50, $11 for students and seniors. Call the Chicago Council on Urban Affairs at 782-3511 for more.

After a two-week hiatus–due to a legal battle with the city that resulted in a suspended license–Berlin reopens tonight with a casting party for an upcoming movie, Night and the Running Boys, which will feature a scene at the club. The filmmakers are looking primarily for gay men, but women, club kids, drag queens, and the like are invited to audition; it’s recommended that you dress as if you’re hitting the club on a Thursday night. Doors open at 8; the cattle call is at 10 at 954 W. Belmont. It’s free. Call 348-4975 for more.


Invariably, friends returning from Europe in recent years have said they met at least one person who claimed the Holocaust never happened or that the number of victims had been exaggerated. Tonight David Frolick of North Central College gives a talk on Holocaust revisionism in postcommunist Eastern Europe at the Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois, 4255 W. Main in Skokie. The lecture is $15, $12 for members and students. Call 847-677-4640 for more.

“Sexual capitalism, which has found a way to commoditize nearly every imaginable act of sexual subordination, has even found a way to repackage and recycle some of its victims,” writes political scientist Sheila Jeffreys in the current edition of On the Issues. “[These women] have recirculated into women’s communities the woman-hating practices of the sex industry.” Jeffreys could have been writing about Mayflower Madam Sydney Biddle Barrows, who presided over a million-dollar-a-year call-girl ring in the 1980s and has made another small fortune writing and lecturing about her experiences; she once taught a Discovery Center class on how to run an escort service. Her new book, Just Between Us Girls, promises to tell women exactly what men want in bed, in public, and in a relationship. She’ll sign copies at 7 tonight at Waterstone’s Books and Music, 840 N. Michigan. It’s free; call 587-8080 more more.


Making art while maintaining a relationship can be a difficult thing. Making art with your partner brings that difficulty to a whole new level. Does one person play the role of muse and the other the artist? Is there competition? When is there time for a Maxwell House moment? Questions like these will be addressed at tonight’s panel discussion on creative partnerships. It includes screenwriters Tim Kazurinsky and Denise DeClue, and Funky Wordsmyths members Keith M. Kelley and Oscar Brown III. It’s moderated by author and management consultant Kelly Morgan and takes place from 7 to 9 at Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark. Tickets are $3. Call 871-1212 for more.

I was on antibiotics for the first half of winter but managed to elude sickness in the second after I began ingesting a daily concoction of herbs I had researched and purchased at Sherwyn’s. Does herbal medicine work as well as conventional remedies? Or is it all psychological? Norman Farnsworth, an expert on medicinal plants, will give a talk called Herbal Medicine: Fact and Fiction at tonight’s meeting of the Nutrition for Optimal Health Association at the North Shore Hilton Hotel, 9599 Skokie Boulevard in Skokie, at 7:30. It’s $10, free to NOHA members. Call 708-786-5326 for more.


Carpenters and doctors round out the roster of Today’s Chicago Woman’s most eligible bachelors. They’ll be at tonight’s annual spring fling for singles, which includes a silent auction and buffet. The $20 party takes place from 6 to 9 at Drink, 541 W. Fulton. Call 951-7600 for more.

Find out how much of Jerzy Kosinski’s lurid novel The Painted Bird is factual and how the events of the Holocaust shaped the eccentric writer’s adult life when his biographer James Park Sloan, a professor at the University of Illinois, appears tonight at 7 at Borders Books and Music, 830 N. Michigan Ave. The event is free. Call 573-0564 for more.