Friday, January 11

The White Elephant Shop’s giant paperback-book sale continues today and runs through Sunday. The shop–whose sales benefit Children’s Memorial Hospital–is at 2380 N. Lincoln and open 10 to 5 today and tomorrow, 11 to 4 Sunday. Call 281-3747.

Linoleum block prints–it’s the same principle as wood-block printing only using our favorite floor covering–are the latest rage in the Artisans Shop at the State of Illinois Building. These are by Inara Cedrins, and part of the shop’s ongoing Chicago Facades series. You can see prints of the Civic Opera House, Orchestra Hall, and other landmark building fronts through the end of January. Cedrins herself will be there demonstrating her linoleum and wood-block techniques today from 11 to 2. It’s free, on the second floor of the State of Illinois Building, 100 W. Randolph. Call 814-5321.

The Crossing tells the true tale of 18 men who were asphyxiated in an airtight boxcar while trying to cross into the United States. Mexican, and in the process of attempting to become illegal aliens, they received little of the notice that might have accompanied the deaths of a more upscale group in a different place. The play, written by Hugo Salcedo and translated by Raul Moncada, uses the event to look at the indifference of both the U.S. and Mexican governments. This Teatro Vista production is directed by the company’s cofounder and artistic director, Henry Godinez. It opens tonight at the Mexican Fine Arts Museum, 1825 W. 19th St., and plays Fridays through Sundays at 7:30 until February 3. Tickets range from $7 to $10; call 738-1503.

Zeena Parkins has done more for the harp than anyone since Harpo Marx; inhabiting a sonic space somewhere between Einsturzende Neubauten and John Cage, she plucks, slugs, scrapes, and bangs her electrified instrument in an orgy of found sound and arrhythmic crunch. At Club Lower Links, 954 W. Newport, 8:30 PM. Cover is $10. Call 248-5238.

Saturday, January 12

What Tom Weinberg does second best is suck on a cigar, wave his arms about, and philosophize; what he does best is produce daring television. For more than a decade his shows on public television–Image Union and the more recent The Nineties–have brought bizarre and hilarious works on video to a national audience. A video retrospective of Image Union closes at the Museum of Broadcast Communications tomorrow; today, at An Afternoon With Tom Weinberg, he’ll wave his arms about, talk about his brand of genteel guerrilla TV production, and answer questions about the business. The museum is in River City, 800 S. Wells. Things get under way at 2 PM; it’s $3, $2 for students, $1 for kids under 13 and seniors. Reservations are requested; make them at 987-1500.

Sunday, January 13

If you have a relatively open mind about UFOs but are put off by the fact that most aficionados keep an eye peeled for Bigfoot as well, the avowedly noncrackpot Mutual UFO Network may be the place for you. MUFON claims to be a scientific and unbiased UFO study group; it relies on volunteer work by members to chart sightings and sift evidence. Membership in the 3,000-member group–it says it’s the world’s largest UFO group–is by invitation only, but meetings are open to the public. The MUFON study group of Chicagoland meets today at the Downers Grove Public Library, 1050 Curtiss Street in Downers Grove, at 1:15. Admission is a buck. Call 708-963-4542.

If you’re going to take on the beliefs of the Middle East, you’ve got to start with Islam–and that’s just what Northwestern graduate fellow Muhammad Sani Umar is doing tonight in the first of a three-part series of talks called Religions of the Middle East. Umar’s specialty is the history and literature of religions; he’s currently doing research on the historical roots of the Islamic revival that’s been going on in the Middle East over the past few decades. He speaks from 7 to 8:30 at the Wheadon United Methodist Church, 2214 Ridge in Evanston; sessions on Judaism and Christianity will take place February 10 and March 10, respectively. Call 708-864-7090 for info. It’s free.

Monday, January 14

Decades of American crimes in the Middle East have of course contributed much to the area’s current instability. The latest manifestation once again pits unquestioning young men and women against each other for the pleasures of their leaders. Martin Luther King’s birthday tomorrow has ironically become Ultimatum Day for George and Saddam, the terror twins. Chicago’s Pledge of Resistance is planning a demonstration against the U.S. war moves at the corner of Dearborn and Jackson, at 7:30 this morning. Call the Pledge at 663-4399 for details. Or you can march with the Westside Peace Coalition on a peace vigil through Oak Park and River Forest late this afternoon; bring candles or flashlights, and meet at Lake and Harlem in Oak Park at 4. Call 708-386-2336 for details.

Tuesday, January 15

Julian Bond, like Jesse Jackson a successful former associate of Martin Luther King but unlike him occasionally successful electorally, speaks today at 11 at Northeastern Illinois University in honor of King’s birthday. At 2 mayoral candidate Danny Davis, sociology professor Barbara Scott, and associate director of Northeastern’s Center for Inner City Studies James Carruthers will talk together on the topic Is the Dream Still Alive? The university’s gospel choir, the Black Heritage Choir, performs as well. At the university auditorium, 5500 N. Saint Louis. It’s all free; call 583-4050, ext. 3865, for more information.

Meanwhile, politics goes on. Tonight three alderpeople and their opponents in the upcoming elections will debate under the watchful eye of Inside Politics’s Bruce DuMont. The three officials represent the lakefront from Old Town to Uptown–present will be Lincoln Park’s Edwin Eisendrath (43rd), along with challenger Mary Baim; Lakeview’s Bernard Hansen (44th) and opponent Ron Sable; and Uptown’s Helen Shiller (46th) and challenger Mike Quigley. The focus will be on business and economic-development issues; sponsoring is the Northalsted Area Merchants Association. It’s at the Belmont Hotel, 3170 N. Sheridan, from 7 to 10 tonight. It’s free. Call 883-0500.

Wednesday, January 16

Yo! The World’s Being Turned Upside Down is billed as a “revolutionary journalists’ tour” of trouble spots all over the world. Four speakers will chart revolutionary progress in Peru (Heirberto Ocasio), the Persian Gulf (Larry Everest), South Africa (Michael Slate), and sexual politics on the home front (Li Onesto). In the Hokin Annex at Columbia College, 600 S. Wabash, at 12:30 today. Call 528-5353 for details.

Photographer Lorna Simpson “places her subjects in stark environments and abstracts specific qualities, leaving the background blank or allowing visitors to see only one part of the body, such as the torso, the back, or the lap.” She’s known for large-scale work dealing with racism and sexism; she’ll talk about her photographs at the School of the Art Institute at 6 PM. Admission is $3, free for students. At the school auditorium,Columbus and Jackson. Call 443-3711.

Thursday, January 17

In 14 years, Contact Press Images in New York City has become one of the best-known photojournalism institutions in the world. Contact: Photojournalism Since Vietnam, a widely admired touring exhibit of some of the agency’s work, hits town today for a two-month stint at the Museum of Science and Industry. Covering personalities from John Lennon to Pope John Paul II and world events from Tienanmen Square to the Berlin Wall, the show traces the work of seven current members: David Burnett, Alon Reininger, Annie Leibovitz, Dilip Mehta, Jose Azel, Frank Fournier, and Kenneth Jarecke. The museum, at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, is open 9:30 to 4 weekdays, 9:30 to 5 weekends and holidays. Admission is free. Call 684-1414 for details.