Friday 25

Candyman, a filmed-in-Chicago supernatural thriller, is on its last legs at second-run theaters, so it’s worth catching before it heads to video. The film’s eerie exposition follows a white Circle graduate student in folklore as she investigates an urban legend at Cabrini Green and tumbles into a bloody netherworld. The plot is twisted (in both senses of the word), the production values are only serviceable, and at times you wonder if indeed there is a unifying intelligence behind the film. But the movie’s macabre humor, its grinning red herrings, and its stolid unparsability on the subject of race makes it a fascinating study in misdirection and surprise. Plus it’s scary. It plays at the Village, 1548 N. Clark, at 7:20 and 9:20 tonight and weekdays and at 3:20, 5:20, 7:20, and 9:20 on weekends. It’s $2.50; call 642-2403 for more.

Saturday 26

Brookfield Zoo’s 11th annual Holiday Magic festival ends this weekend with two more days of late hours. Kids can talk to the animals as they walk along the zoo’s light-lined paths. Other fun includes a kids’ karaoke bar; musician Steve Pollitt, who plays international music on bamboo saxophone and flute and other instruments; entertainer Chris Fascione, who juggles and mimes; magicians; ice-sculpture demonstrations; and more. It’s all at the zoo, 3300 Golf Road in Brookfield, from 10 AM until 8 tonight and tomorrow. Admission is $3.50, $1.50 for seniors and children (parking costs an additional $4). Call 708-485-0263, extension 379, for more.

Sunday 27

Thax Douglas, the indefatigable impresario of the weird, has curated another performance potpourri at Lower Links for the latest Thax After Dark. Tonight’s show, subtitled “The Snug and Warm Show,” features the Pure Plastic Tree band, a tribute to Sears by a corps of employees, and much more. It costs $5 and gets under way at 8 at the club, 954 W. Newport. Call 248-5238 for more.

Ernest Dawkins, Ameen Muhammed, Steve Berry, Yosef Ben Israel, and Avreeayl Ra are the saxophonist, trumpeter, trombonist, bassist, and drummer of the New Horizons Ensemble, an eight-year-old experimental jazz outift following in the footsteps of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the AACM. Their latest CD is Chicago Now–Live at Leverkusen; they’ll celebrate its release tonight at 8 at HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee. It’s $4; call 235-2334 for more.

Monday 28

Kwanzaa, the African American holiday, was designed by conceiver Maulana Karenga as a celebration of thanks based on the African harvest. The celebration takes place over seven days from December 26 through January 1, with each day corresponding to the principles of faith, self-determination, creativity, purpose, economic cooperation, sharing work and responsibility, and duty. Today is also the Feast of Babaluaiye, the god who protects the seeds. Adekola Adedapo gives background on Kwanzaa and the feast at the Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, from 3 to 6 PM, with music provided by the Creative Force. It’s free. Call 744-1424 for more.

Season of Concern and Equity Fights AIDS strive to help members of the Chicago theater community stricken with AIDS. So far the two groups have already raised more than $300,000 through donations and benefit shows. Their latest project, Bowl-o-rama, happens tonight at the Marigold Bowl, 828 W. Grace. Local actors, agents, directors, designers, and more will be there to bowl for pledges. Things get going at 9; there’s limited space for those bowling, but you can go cheer for the teams for free. Info? Call 641-0393.

Tuesday 29

Leonard Peltier, a member of the American Indian Movement, was working to stop uranium mining in the Sioux reservation in South Dakota in the mid-1970s. In June 1975 two FBI agents who’d followed an Indian suspected of theft onto tribal lands were killed in a gun battle. The U.S. government stormed the reservation and spent months trying to pin the killings on someone, eventually settling on Peltier in a case noted for numerous investigative and legal improprieties. Peltier remains in jail to this day. On the anniversary of the infamous massacre of more than 200 unarmed Indian men, women, and children in 1890, the Chicago chapter of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee is planning a rally to remember Wounded Knee and to demand Peltier’s release in Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, starting at 11:30 AM. Call 427-4457 for more.

Wednesday 30

The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, a set of 150 drawings by John James Audubon, was perhaps the signal 19th-century work in the field of American mammalogy. Audubon made the drawings during his last trip up the Missouri River, in the summer of 1843; they can be seen for the first time in a gallery setting through January 30 at Douglas Kenyon, 1357 N. Wells. Gallery hours are 9:30 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday. It’s free to go look; call 642-5300 for more.

Thursday 31

If the holiday season seems to lack a smidgen of meaning for you this year, you can compensate for it at a Meditation for World Peace with the Theosophical Society. The group is inviting anyone who wants to “come together to support the healing and harmonizing of the planet.” It’s at the society HQ at 1926 N. Main in Wheaton from 6 to 7 this morning, and free. Call 708-668-1571 for details.

The coolest New Year’s Eve party in town tonight will probably be at the New Regal Theater, where the O’Jays play shows at 6 and 11. The group began in Ohio and started recording in the early 60s. It wasn’t until the early 70s, however, with the help of producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, that the trio gained their greatest fame, recording oodles of impeccable soul singles, including the blithe “Love Train,” the charged “For the Love of Money,” and the immortal “Back Stabbers.” The group plays with Gerald Levert, son of O’Jay Eddie. Tickets are $39.50, $43.50 for the late show; the New Regal is at 1645 E. 79th. Call 721-9230 for more.

January 1 through 7

Next week the Reader’s going fishing, or skiing, or something. You can talk amongst yourselves in the interim or:

Check out the Old Town School of Folk Music’s music ‘n’ food double shot tonight with a tasty Cajun dinner catered by the Maple Tree Inn followed by an evening of world-class Cajun music, all at Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan. The concert features headliner Beausoleil, with support from the Rebirth Brass Band, Terrance Simien & the Mallet Playboys, and Chicago’s own D.L. Menard & the Louisiana Aces. The show starts at 7:30, and tickets range from $12.50 to $30. For an extra $5 you can get the dinner, starting at 6. Call the school at 525-7793 for info.

Saint Vincent De Paul and Catholic Charities have more than enough volunteers for a New Year’s dinner on Sunday, January 3; all they need now are patrons. Anyone looking for a place to dine can visit the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall, 600 W. Washington, from 11 AM to 1 PM today. It’s free. Call 876-2278 for details.

The discussion “Theater Critics and Audiences: The View From the House” is the second installment of the ongoing Chicago Theater: Then, Now, and Tomorrow, a yearlong series of monthly meetings designed to salute the Chicago theater community on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Jeff Awards. On the dais will be 16 critics representing most of Chicago’s major media, including print, TV, and radio. Cheryl J. Lewin will moderate. It’s in the theater of the Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, at 5:30 Monday evening, January 4. It’s free. Call 649-1012 for more.