Friday, January 18

Quiz: Who’s blond and voluptuous and sings a song about unapologetic romantic materialism in a breathy voice? No, not Madonna. It’s Jimmy James, whose full-dress tribute to Marilyn Monroe has been called “perfect” by no less discriminating a personage than celebrity hairstylist Jose Eber. In the second half of his show, James also essays vocal tributes to a host of other divas and divettes–Eartha Kitt, Barbra Streisand, Cher, and Diana Ross. But it’s the in-costume Marilyn that audiences will remember. “I’ve worked hard to maintain the dignity of her legend,” James says, “and I think I’ve succeeded.” At the Vortex nightclub, 3631 N. Halsted. Doors open at 9 PM; the show starts at midnight. Cover is $10. Call 975-0660.

“Wheelie king” Doug Domokos, holder of the Guinness world record for longest motorcycle wheelie, is a featured performer at the Chicago International Motorcycle Show this weekend in Rosemont. There’ll also be a display of vintage motorcycles and a “video showcase” of classic motorcycle films. (Wonder if they have one of Billy Idol’s crash–or Gary Busey’s.) Debuting at the show will be a prototype of the Yamaha Morpho, with its new front-end suspension system. The show runs today from 5 PM to 10 PM, tomorrow from 11 AM to 10 PM, and Sunday 11 AM to 6 PM. It’s at the Rosemont O’Hare Exposition Center, 5555 River Road in Rosemont. Admission is $6.50, $3 for children 6 to 11. Kids under 6 get in free. Call 708-318-6666.

Saturday, January 19

What–no French toast? If you’re into pancakes or one of the all-time great breakfast cereals, get to Logan Square’s Biggest Pancake Breakfast. It’s sponsored by Quaker, so Aunt Jemima pancakes will be on the grill and Cap’n Crunch cereal will be in large supply. The breakfast raises money for the Logan Square unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago; it’s $3, $2 for kids under 13 and seniors. The breakfast is at the unit, 3228 W. Palmer; it runs from 7 to 12:30. Call 342-8800.

It’s hard to believe National Polka Month is here again already. The International Polka Association is celebrating with the biggest polka event of the winter, the Chicago Festival of Polka Bands. Tonight the celebration features Stas Golonka and the Chicago Masters; they play at 9 at the association’s HQ at 4145 S. Kedzie, and tickets are $2. Tomorrow night’s show is at the Glendora House, 10225 S. Harlem in Chicago Ridge; doors open at 11:30 AM and the music starts at noon. Performers include Grammy winners Eddie Blazonczyk and the Versatones, the Downtown Sound, the Music Company, the E-Z Tones, Golonka and his Masters, the Chi-Town X-Press, Jimmie Mieszala’s Chicago Magic, Gennie “O” and the Windy City Brass, and believe it or not several more. There’ll be food and drink all day long. It’s $5 at the door, $4 beforehand. Call the association at 254-7771 for details.

There’s a workshop on record keeping and income taxes for artists today at Loyola, sponsored by the not-for-profit Chicago Artists’ Coalition. It’s $10 for coalition members, $20 for the public ($7 or $14 if you sign up in advance). The session is at the Crown Center Auditorium, 6525 N. Sheridan, from 12:30 to 5. For info call the coalition at 670-2060.

Sunday, January 20

Over a matter of months, the Sun-Times lost its two quite decent rock critics. Pop-meister-in-chief Don McLeese recently split town to do similar work in rockin’ Austin, Texas; and Dave Hoekstra, longtime nightlife correspondent and one of the sole surviving members of the Jimmy Buffett Appreciation Society, switched beats to cover the Bulls. McLeese had a variety (too many, some thought) of going away parties; a tip of the hat to Hoekstra will be held this afternoon at the Old Town School of Folk Music. He’ll get the school’s first Media Recognition Award tonight for his coverage of Old Town School programs. A few other awards will be given out as well. The gala is free, with the Laketown Buskers contributing the tunes. It starts at 4 PM; call the Old Town School at 525-7793.

Monday, January 21

Winter classes at Lill Street studios begin today. For kids, there are workshops in clay, mixed media, drawing, and even fashion accessory making; classes are separated into a variety of age groups. For adults, there are more sophisticated clay programs, including wheel throwing and hand building, along with work in ceramic jewelry and something called “Multiples From Molds.” Class fees range from $150 to $225 and include materials and firings. The gallery is at 1021 W. Lill. Call 447-6185 for details.

Tuesday, January 22

Tough and canny Ida Lupino graced a variety of Raoul Walsh undertakings in the early 40s, most notably They Drive by Night and High Sierra with Humphrey Bogart. She later turned to directing, doing a handful of features and a bunch of TV stuff. Outrage (1950) deals fairly grittily with the tale of a rape victim. “Lupino . . . doesn’t stack the deck in favor of rape victim Ann Walton; she doesn’t need to since realism of detail is her forte,” says Film Center director Barbara Scharres. The film shows tonight as part of the center’s ongoing Film and Woman’s Vision series, Tuesdays through the end of April. Outrage shows at 6, with a lecture by Scharres afterward. It’s $5, free for center members. At the School of the Art Institute, Columbus and Jackson. Call 433-3737.

Wednesday, January 23

It’s never been clear to me exactly why a grade-schooler’s not knowing where Sri Lanka is indicates the decline of Western civilization, but you never know when you’re going to be hit with a pop quiz. Mr. World, who calls himself the “caped cartologist,” is a crusader for better geographical knowledge. His cape–a brightly colored map of the world–and lessons are designed to teach kids about the subject. A three-day whirlwind tour of some Chicago schools includes two free-and-open-to-the-public stops: today at the Union League Boys & Girls Club, 524 N. Wolcott, from 3:30 to 5, and tomorrow from 11:30 to 12:30 at the Kohl Children’s Museum, 165 Green Bay Road in Wilmette. Call 226-4565 or 708-256-6056.

An outdoor installation of 170 tar-coated cinder blocks continues today at Klein Art Works. The gallery says that creator Raye Bemis sees the blocks as “obdurate formal objects”; they’ll be strewn about the gallery’s garden in “a predetermined grid whereby they will interact with the site under varying climactic and environmental conditions”–which means this time of year there’ll be snow on them. It’s free; the gallery, at 400 N. Morgan, is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 5:30, Sunday noon to 4. Call 243-0400.

Belmont-Sheffield is gentrifying like crazy; the latest addition to the neighborhood, just across the street from one of the bustling local transient hotels, is Lakeview Links, a two-story emporium o’ fun that includes an 18-hole miniature-golf course (complete with clubhouse and resident pro). Downstairs are pool tables, a basketball free-throw court, and other games. The place is having its grand opening tonight; it’s $15 a ticket, which benefits the Multiple Sclerosis City Society and the American Blues Theatre. The opening is from 6 to 9 tonight. Lakeview Links is at 3206 N. Wilton; call 975-0505 for details.

Thursday, January 24

Forced Out: The Agony of the Refugee in Our Time, the new installation at the Peace Museum, is a touring exhibit curated by the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery with the assistance of Amnesty International. The show is an extensive display of photomurals and texts; the point is to remove the subjects–hundreds of thousands of people deprived of their countries worldwide–from a political framework and present a more personal side. The show runs through March 30. Also at the museum through the end of January, there’s Peace 101, a time line of the peace movement illustrated with an international selection of buttons, posters, and artifacts. The museum, at 430 W. Erie, is open noon to 5 every day, noon to 8 Thursdays. Admission is $3.50, $2 for students, seniors, and kids. Call 440-1860.