Friday 15

Artist Jeff Hillier is offering an alternative to Monet mania. “It is 1996,” he writes in the announcement for his exhibit Impressionism for the Next Millennium. “Monet has been dead since 1926, but impressionism is not. . . . Drop your pretensions, bring the kids, and come see the impressionism being done now, by an artist who is indeed alive.” His show opens tonight at Abattoir, 480 W. Menomonee. There’s a free reception from 5 to past midnight. Call 642-2818 for details.

Ed Paschke has donated an image to be sold in poster format for tonight’s cocktail reception and benefit for the Leukemia Research Foundation. Two signed posters elaborately framed will be auctioned. The event is free; proceeds from the unframed $50 posters will also go to the foundation. It’s from 6 to 9 at Jayson Gallery, 1915 N. Clybourn. Call 708-982-1480.

Clark Street will be closed between Randolph and Washington tonight, except to people dropping off nonperishable food and personal items like soap and shampoo, for the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation’s Good Neighbor Food Drive. Cosponsoring the event is WMAQ, which will be broadcasting it live. It promises to be a big street party from 7 to midnight, with free performances at the adjoining Daley Plaza. Look for gospel singers and all sorts of costumed characters representing this or that sports team or department store. Call 708-474-3663.

For 20 years Sweet Honey in the Rock has traveled the world with its a cappella take on spirituals, hymns, the blues, and vocal quartet music. The only Chicago appearance this year by the all-female group is at a benefit tonight for the Centers for New Horizons, a social service group that works with low-income African-American families in 14 locations. The concert is at the Christ Universal Temple, 11901 S. Ashland, at 8; Tickets are $30 and are available by calling 559-1212. Call 642-6813 for details.

Saturday 16

After the success of Pansy Kings’ Cotillion ’95, a group of gay performance artists are back this weekend with Pansy Kings’ Holiday Pageant ’95, another collection of short performance pieces. In the mix are Jimmy Doyle, formerly of Second City; songwriter Eric Lane Barnes; the Windy City Slickers, an auxiliary of the Windy City Gay Chorus; and drag diva Dingle Barrie. Your hosts are David Kodeski (of the Neo-Futurists) and performer Edward Thomas-Herrera. The last show is tonight at 8 and 11 at Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark. Tix are $12, $10 in advance. Call 989-8499 for reservations.

The Chicago Actors Studio is holding its free annual Christmas show tonight, followed by food, drinks, dancing, and a video karaoke sing-along. It’s at 833 W. Chicago on the sixth floor and starts at 8. Call 733-1955.

Sunday 17

Lill Street gallery and the Textile Arts Centre bring you an afternoon of free workshops in ceramics and textiles today. Resident artists at both facilities will demonstrate techniques for holiday gift making. They’ll have refreshments and drinks at both places–1021 W. Lill and 916 W. Diversey (only three blocks apart)–from 1 to 4 this afternoon. Call 477-6185.

Kato Kaelin’s fame clock must be at about 14 minutes and counting. And he’s wasting no time. He’s featured in the January Playgirl and will be at Tower Records, 2301 N. Clark, at 2 today to sign copies of his pictorial. Call 477-5994 for details.

Monday 18

The Chicago Historical Society’s look at the career of Hubert de Givenchy continues through March 10. The French couturier’s designs have set standards in the fashion world for three decades. The society’s exhibit, culled from its extensive costume archives, includes designs spanning his entire career. In the costume alcove of the museum, at Clark and North, the exhibit is open Mondays through Saturdays 9:30 to 4:30, Sundays noon to 5. It’s free today and every Monday; regular admission is $3, $2 for students and seniors, $1 for children 6 to 17, free for children under 6. Call 642-4600.

When you hear that thousands of high school and college band and orchestra teachers and students and other musicians are converging on the Hilton this week, what word jumps to mind? To us, it’s din. The Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic, which claims to be the nation’s largest such gathering, will feature dozens of workshops and more than 30 band performances, from the United States Army Orchestra (4:30 Wednesday) to the Waubonsie Valley High School Wind Ensemble (4:45 Thursday). Registration begins this evening from 6:30 to 9 and resumes Tuesday morning at 7:30. It costs $50 for admission Tuesday through Saturday, $10 for students, at the Chicago Hilton and Towers, 720 S. Michigan. Call 708-729-4629 for details.

Tuesday 19

Stop AIDS, the local education group, wants information from lesbians about safe sex. The group’s putting together sex information for brochures and a workshop; it’s holding a focus group tonight from 7 to 9 at 1352 N. Western. There’s no charge, but you should make reservations. Call 235-2586.

Wednesday 20

Constantin Brancusi and Marcel Duchamp were great friends but an odd pairing, says Art Institute educator Celia Marriott. While Brancusi remained dedicated to sculpting abstract forms out of wood, limestone, and marble, the iconoclastic Duchamp abandoned the art object entirely. “You couldn’t have two artists who seemed on the surface more different from one another,” says Marriott. Opposites Attract: Brancusi and Duchamp is the title of her 12:15 lecture today in Gallery 201 of the museum, at Michigan and Adams. It’s free with museum admission–a requested $7, $3.50 for students, seniors, and children. Call 443-3600 for details.

For 25 years the Lakeview Pantry has been getting food to residents in need. Local Beluga Records is offering a showcase for four bands on its label tonight at Lounge Ax, and all you need to get in are two cans of food for the pantry. The bands, which should start around 8, are, in order, Jaws of Life, Agatha, the Velmas, and Big Angry Fish. The club’s at 2438 N. Lincoln. Call 244-9510 for details.

Thursday 21

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s celebrated life had its ups (his marriage to Zelda, their well-oiled journey through the 20s) and downs (her madness, his alcoholism and eventual physical collapse, which ended with a heart attack at the age of 45). Tom Webb’s unblinking one-man tribute, The Last Romantic: F. Scott Fitzgerald, currently running at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, concentrates mostly on the latter. The result is reputed to be compelling, if not exactly cheery. Show times tonight and all Thursdays are at 7:30, Fridays and Saturdays at 8, and Sundays at 3. The show runs through January 21. Admission is $12 Thursdays, $15 Fridays and Saturdays, $10 Sundays. The theater is at 927 Noyes in Evanston. Call 708-475-1875.