Friday 3

This weekend’s open house may be the last chance to check out the goods at the soon-to-close Romanian Folk Art Museum. They’ve got tons of old and contemporary crafts on display and for sale, including rugs, tablecloths, pottery, embroidered blouses, Transylvanian dowry chests, and dolls in costumes from 18 regions. The museum, located at 2526 Ridgeway in Evanston, will be open from 12 to 6 today, Saturday, and Sunday. Items range in price from $5 to $200. Admission is free. Call 708-328-8646 for more information.

Martinis, microbrews, and single-malt Scotch can be written off as merely trendy, but a good cigar is still a good cigar. Several members of the Fuente (as in Arturo) family are in town for the sixth annual Free Three-Day Cigar Party at Up Down Tobacco, 1550 N. Wells. As if free stogies and booze aren’t enough, this year’s party also features a demonstration by master roller Alex Martinez, a chance to meet Cigar Aficionado magazine’s George Brightman, hourly raffles of cigars and Fuente calendars, and the traditional shortest butt and longest ash contests. The party runs from 2 to 6 today and Saturday. The butt contest finals will take place Saturday at 5. Call 337-8505 for more.

Gay male performers from the local theater, poetry, video, publishing, and performance-art scenes are coming together for the second Pansy Kings’ Cotillion. This year’s Cotillion is emceed by poetry-slam champ David Kodeski and his partner Edward Thomas-Herrera and will feature performances by its creator and producer, Dave Awl, and a host of other new and returning Pansy Kings. It’s happening at the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland, tonight and Saturday at 8. Tickets are $10. Call 989-8499 for info and reservations.

Saturday 4

The Lake County Model Railroad Club is opening its doors to outsiders this weekend for its annual fall open house. The 25 members are proudly displaying their labor of love: a 30-by-60-foot HO-scale layout of the Wauconda Central Railroad with 2,000 feet of track. They’re also showing railroad videos and raffling off prizes. The club is located at 107 S. Main Street (rear) in Wauconda. Admission is free. They’re open from 11 to 6 today and Sunday. Call 708-634-6788 for more.

Political activist and Columbia University history professor Manning Marable is in town this weekend to give the keynote address at a conference on multiculturalism, but he’ll be giving a more intimate talk this afternoon. Marable will answer questions and sign copies of his new book Beyond Black and White: Transforming African-American Politics, which touches on everything from Clarence Thomas to the Rainbow Coalition and affirmative action. The free talk is at the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, 5757 S. University, today at 2. Call 752-4381 for more information.

You’ve read about him in a recent Reader cover story, now you can check out his work for yourself. Local boy David “the Rock” Nelson, who describes himself as “the Ed Wood of the 90s,” is showing Mummy A.D. 1993 along with trailers for some of his other homemade films. The free screening, sponsored by the Psychotronic Film Society, starts at 6 tonight at Delilah’s, 2771 N. Lincoln. Call 472-2771 for more.

After failing to win hunky Noah back from his new love Julia by pretending to be pregnant with his baby, Taylor is trying to draw more sympathy from him by pretending she had a miscarriage. Poor Noah (or at least the actor who plays him) is finally getting a break from Taylor and all the craziness of Pine Valley. Keith Hamilton Cobb will be in Chicago tonight along with All My Children costars James Kiberd (Trevor), Jill Larson (Opal), and Kelly Ripa (Hayley) to auction off travel packages, various autographed bric-a-brac, and a fabulous fuchsia ball gown donated by AMC bitchqueen Susan Lucci. The celebrity auction goes from 7 to 10 at the Stouffer Renaissance Chicago Hotel, 1 W. Wacker. It’s $45 and the proceeds go to UNICEF. Call 670-2379 for tickets and info.

Sunday 5

The Mitchell Indian Museum’s new exhibit, People of the Potlatch: The Life and Art of the Northwest Coast Indians, opens at 2 today with a lecture by Ben David, an artist and political leader of the Nuu-cha-nulth people of Vancouver Island, on the region’s indigenous art and culture. The museum is located at 2408 Orrington Avenue in Evanston. Refreshments “inspired by the Northwest coast” will also be served. Admission is $10, $5 for members. Call 708-866-1395 for information.

“There is a time to act,” the late William Kunstler said on July 27. “There is a time to break the law–isn’t that how we were formed in the first place? Don’t we celebrate that, every July? How we shot British soldiers down, at Concord and Lexington. How we burnt British flags, and now we’re tinkering with an amendment to make that a crime.” It was part of Kunstler’s last public speech (quoted in the Nation), at a rally in support of death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal. Former clients and friends, including Chicago Conspiracy Trial defendant David Dellinger, Jamil Abdullah al Amin (formerly H. Rap Brown), Native American leader Clyde Bellcourt, and Congressman Bobby Rush, will gather from 2 to 4 today in UIC’s Circle Center to celebrate the life of this radical lawyer. The Kunstler celebration is sponsored in part by the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights and the National Lawyers Guild. Admission is free. The Circle Center is located at 750 S. Halsted. Call 939-0675 for more information.

Meryl Cohn, known in certain circles as Ms. Behavior, will explain how to avoid same-sex faux pas and manage the world of sexual subtleties. The author of “Do What I Say”: Ms. Behavior’s Guide to Gay & Lesbian Etiquette, Cohn will also take whatever questions the audience throws her way, tonight at 10 at Crobar, 1543 N. Kingsbury. It’s $4. Call 413-7000 for more. She’ll make a free appearance Monday night at 7:30 at Borders Books & Music, 830 N. Michigan. Call 573-0564 for information.

Monday 6

Despite his links to the right-wing Heartland Institute, Northwestern University law professor Daniel Polsby’s research on firearms and violence offers a rational response to the often hysterical calls for the banning of legally owned weapons. Today he’ll be debating Katherine Kaufer Christoffel from Northwestern University’s School of Medicine about whether Chicago residents should be allowed to own handguns. The debate, sponsored by the Institute for Metropolitan Affairs, lasts from 1 to 2:30 at Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan. It’s a free event. Attendees will be asked to vote on the question before and after the debate. Call 341-4335 for more.

Amy Tan, who wrote The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God’s Wife, signs copies of her new novel, The Hundred Secret Senses, tonight. It’s about a Chinese-American girl who rejects the ghosts of her Asian ancestors in favor of a homogenized American childhood. It happens at Barbara’s Bookstore in Oak Park, 1100 Lake Street, at 7:30. Admission is free. For more information call 708-848-9140.

Tuesday 7

Ken Kesey, author and former Merry Prankster, will appear as part of the Duncan YMCA’s Writer’s Voice series tonight at 7 in the Illinois Room at UIC’s Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted. Tickets are $7 in advance and $9 at the door, $5 in advance and $7 at the door for students and YMCA members. Call 421-7800 to order tickets.

Local women with pocket change and a love of ballroom dancing don’t have to look beyond Eugene’s Fireside Banquet facility in Morton Grove, which is home to the Dime a Dance Club. Every Tuesday night from 7:30 to 11 male ballroom dancers are on hand to take ten-cent tickets from those in need of a partner. As a further touch of nostalgia, cigarette girls walk around selling candy smokes, bubblegum cigars, licorice pipes, and corsages. Ten dollars gets you in and includes a buffet. Eugene’s is at 9101 N. Waukegan in Morton Grove. Call 708-966-9600 for more information.

Wednesday 8

It may sound like a setup for a cheap joke, but it’s true–the Chicago Bar Association has an orchestra made up of lawyers, judges, and a few law students. The ensemble, celebrating its tenth anniversary this season, will present an election week concert at CBA headquarters, 321 S. Plymouth, at 6:30 tonight. A reception, with refreshments and a cash bar, precedes the concert, which includes selections by Schubert and Bizet. Tickets are $7 in advance, $10 at the door. Call 554-2006 for tickets and info.

Thursday 9

Vietnam veteran Jerome Washington was a civil rights and antiwar activist when he was convicted of murder in 1971. He ended up in Attica, where authorities confiscated his manuscripts and typewriter after he wrote articles for outside newspapers. While in jail he sued prison officials and was awarded $5,000 in damages for the destruction of his typewriter and writings. He also helped lead a campaign that changed New York state prison policy, enabling inmates to have free access to books and magazines. Sixteen years after his arrest his conviction was overturned, and he was released. Since then he’s received a master’s in journalism from Columbia University and published five books and a play. He’s in town to promote his new book about prison life, Iron House: Stories From the Yard. From 12:30 to 1:30 today Washington will be signing copies of his book at Afrocentric Bookstore, 234 S. Wabash; call 939-1956. He’ll also read and sign tonight at 7 at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th; call 684-1300. Admission to both events is free. The public is encouraged to bring books to donate to prisoners.

“Our elf cannot be associated with any production that has “lesbian’ in the title,” is what the Keebler higher-ups reportedly told the folks staging Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. Keebler reneged on a deal to have their mascot “Ernie the Elf” make an appearance in each performance. They’re even reclaiming all the promotional cookies earmarked for distribution at performances. This sounds pretty fishy coming from a company whose cartoon spokeself lives in a tree with a bunch of his pals–sans lady elves. In the meantime the show presses on, elfless, Thursdays at 8:30, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:45 and 9:45, and Sundays at 7. Tickets are $17.50 for Sunday and Thursday shows, and $22.50 for Friday and Saturday shows. It’s happening in the Theatre Building, 1225 W. Belmont. Call 327-5252 for tickets and information.