Friday 1

If you’re pretty sure hearing the words “politically correct” again won’t make you vomit, you can attend today’s “open forum” under the slightly tangled rubric Politically Correct/Hate Speech: Setting New Limits on Expression and Action. Various law profs from Loyola, Northwestern, and the U. of C. and reps from the ACLU and the Anti-Defamation League will be in room 150 of the Rubloff Building at the Northwestern Law School, 375 E. Chicago, from 6 to 8:15 tonight to discuss the issue. There’s a reception starting at 5:30; it’s free. Call 708-968-7845 for details.

cARToonists, a show of work by a half dozen of Chicago’s most interesting alternative cartoonists, opens tonight at the Ten in One Gallery, 1510 W. Ohio. Participating: Doug Allen, author of Steven; Dan Clowes, of Eightball fame; Gary Leib; Reader contributor Heather McAdams; and Chris Ware. The show will be up through May 30; an opening reception runs from 7 to 11 tonight. It’s free. Call 850-4610 for more.

What exactly makes baseball baseball depends on who’s doing the defining. To the kids, it’s the stars; to a scholar, the stats; to a Wrigleyville resident, it might be the drunken fans. But to a physicist, the game is something different. At Fermilab tonight, visting scientist Robert Adair will talk about the flight and liveliness of the ball, the collusion of bat and ball, and all sorts of other physical phenomena that affect the game. His qualifications? Currently a physics prof at Yale, Adair actually served as the physicist to the National Baseball League from 1987 to ’89, and he’s even written a book called The Physics of Baseball. His talk starts at 8 tonight at the Ramsey Auditorium of Fermilab’s Wilson Hall, at Batavia Road and Route 59 in Batavia. It’s $3; call 708-840-2787 for details.

Saturday 2

One of the few groups in Illinois that actually funds abortions for poor women is the Chicago Abortion Fund. The emphasis is on women in “desperate straits,” as they put it; victims of incest and rape, homeless women, victims of domestic violence, and women under 18, some as young as 12 or 13. The fund is throwing a benefit party tonight at the Lill Street Studios, 1021 W. Lill. On the bill: WBEZ’s (and the Reader’s) Neil Tesser as emcee; music from the rootsy Bullpups and the country and western duo the Texas Rubies; and performances by Cheryl Trykv and Carmela Rago. Twenty-five dollars ($20 in advance) gets you the entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, the opportunity to water at a cash bar, and participation in a big raffle. Things get under way at 7. Call 248-4807 for more.

Alexander Nevsky was the unprecedented collaboration between one of the world’s great filmmakers–Sergey Eisenstein–and composer Sergey Prokofiev; the complex film, done late in Eisenstein’s career (after his failed sojourn in America), used the German invasion of Russia in the 12th century as a metaphor for the USSR’s fears of Hitler before the Second World War. Yet the famous score has never been adequately recorded, making screenings of the film less than aesthetically pleasing. The University of Chicago is doing its part to rectify matters this weekend with three screenings of Alexander Nevsky accompanied by a live performance of the score by the university’s symphony orchestra and the chorus. The shows are at 8 tonight, 3 and 8 tomorrow, in Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th St. Tickets are $10-$20, $7-$17 for students. Call 702-8484 for more.

Sunday 3

Long before Bob Newhart was an avuncular TV star he was a stand-up comic known for his Shelley Berman-esque on-the-telephone monologues. Even before that, he was a student at Chicago’s Saint Ignatius Prep. The school recently underwent a small catastrophe–a fire in a science lab that’s going to cost $1.4 million to repair–and when Newhart heard the bad news, he volunteered to help. Today at 4 you can see a rare stand-up performance by Newhart to raise funds for the rebuilding; it’s at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, and tickets are $25-$150. Call 421-5900 ext. 421 for details.

Monday 4

Some sights you wouldn’t ordinarily see–the inside of one of Saturn’s rings, Earth from the point of view of a Russian space station, or stars forming in the Orion Nebula–will be part of the Adler Planetarium’s first 3-D show, Update on the Universe, opening today and running through September 22. 3-D glasses provide the effects; the program also includes scenes of Halley’s comet and the space shuttle and a look at how chemicals are attacking the ozone layer. Adler astronomer Larry Ciupik says it’s all “a real eye-opener.” Shows are at 2 Mondays through Thursdays; 2 and 8 Fridays; 11, 1, 2, 3 and 4 Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for kids under 18 and seniors. The planetarium is at 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive; call 322-0300 for more.

A well-known U.S.senator meets an impressionable volunteer at a liquor-soaked beach party, they slip off together, he doesn’t see the bridge . . . But wait–this is fiction, not history. Joyce Carol Oates’s new book, Black Water, is a fictional meditation on a sad but true tale. She’ll be reading and talking at Kroch’s and Brentano’s, 2070 N. Clybourn, tonight at 7:30. It’s free (though the book is $17). Call 525-2800.

Tuesday 5

Northwestern’s John Wright is just your average classicist: he’s interested in Roman comedies, medieval Italian, Homer, and the banjo. It’s this last subject–besides chairing the school’s classics department, Wright is an expert in the history of bluegrass and writes a column for Banjo News–that will occupy him tonight as he lectures on Chronicling the Clinch Mountain Boys: A Scholar’s Encounter with Bluegrass. The lecture and demonstration–Wright will have his ax along–starts at 8 in the Ver Steeg Faculty Lounge, on the third floor of the University Library, 1935 Sheridan Road in Evanston. It’s free, but the school would like you to call for reservations: 708-866-6958.

Wednesday 6

It’s AIDS Awareness Week at Columbia College. On the agenda: a Jimmy Hat Fest–“jimmy hat” being street slang for condom–that will see more than a dozen rappers proferring rhyming AIDS messages and being judged by DJs and AIDS workers. The top prize is $200, and there’ll be a mixing contest for DJs as well. It all happens between 5:30 and 9 tonight in the Loftrium, 819 S. Wabash. It’s free. Call 663-1600 ext. 459 for more.

What is it with comics and schools this week? First Bob Newhart for Saint Ignatius, now Jackie Mason for the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School. The private and independent school was founded in 1946; Mason’s show tonight at the Shubert benefits the Max Durschlag Scholarship Fund. Tickets start at $50 (for balcony seats) and go up to $200 (for orchestra seats and a postshow reception at City Tavern). The Shubert is at 22 W. Monroe; Mason goes on at 8. Call 929-8499 for reservations.

Thursday 7

If you know the Jacoby transfer isn’t a recent CTA innovation, like the idea of a ruff and a slough, and know what it’s like to go down three, doubled and vulnerable, you’ll be overjoyed to hear of the opening of the Vanderbilt Bridge Club of Chicago. Proprietor Dick Frost has modeled the club after the swanky Cavendish Club in New York; there’s a separate club room for rubber bridge, a dress code for men, food and drinks available, and even valet parking. Play in the main room is not sanctioned by the American Contract Bridge League; rather, winners receive custom Vanderbilt Club sterling silver medallions. Very classy; it’s at the Executive House Hotel, 71 E. Wacker. There are games today and every day starting at 1 and 7. Entry fee is $6; call 541-8322 for details.

Chicago’s own Eight Bold Souls, the renowned jazz aggregation directed by Edward Wilkerson Jr., is releasing its second album, Sideshow, with a free party and performance tonight at the HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee. The group will play and show videos of tour and TV appearances, all starting at 8:30. They’ll also play the following three Thursdays at the HotHouse, same time, but with an $8 cover. Call 235-2334 for details.