Friday 5

Imagine dousing Jesse Helms with gasoline and setting him on fire, and throwing Congressman William Dannemeyer off the Empire State Building. That’s what David Wojnarowicz imagined in his catalog essay for “Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing,” an AIDS-related art exhibit in New York last November. The National Endowment for the Arts got nervous enough about that to pull the $10,000 grant to the gallery putting the show together–the NEA chief said the show had become “political” and no longer had “artistic merit.” After intensive pressure from the artistic community, the NEA finally put the grant check in the mail but on the condition that it be used exclusively to fund the exhibition, not the catalog. But much of Wojnarowicz’s artwork in the show contained text even more provocative than what was in the catalog. You can see some of that work for yourself at Strategies in Photography, the show opening tonight, 5 to 7:30, at Deson Saunders Gallery (750 N. Orleans), featuring the work of Wojnarowicz and seven other photographers. It’s free. Regular gallery hours are 10 to 5:30 Tuesday through Friday, 10:30 to 5:30 Saturday. Call 787-0005 for more.

Mixed-media textile art is featured in Artemisia Gallery’s new exhibit, New Works by Lou Cabeen and Deborah Frazee Carlson. The two artists exploit the traditional methods of textile art, but they also use text and a non-Western visual code to produce works with political and metaphysical dimensions. There’s an opening from 5 to 8 tonight at the gallery, 700 N. Carpenter. It’s free. Regular hours axe 11 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday. Call 226-7323.

“When we thought about opening a space, we didnt want just a neighborhood bar,” says Darlene Mehegan, who owns the Gallery Cabaret with artist Ken Strandberg. “We wanted a place where artists could come and hang out and we could be with the kind of people we liked. We wanted, in our own little way, to make available space for the arts to flourish.” The cabaret features weekly open mikes, performance artists, poetry, live music, a jukebox chock-full of jazz oldies, and once a month, a visual artist. Orth: Boxes, Masks, Paintings, this month’s exhibit, spotlights the work of Kevin Orth, an artist working in oils and mixed media. The opening runs from 8 PM to 2 AM at 2020 N. Oakley. The club’s regular hours are 4 PM to 2 AM Sunday through Friday, and 4 PM to 3 AM Saturday. There’s no cover for Orth’s party, but depending on the act, there may be an admission fee on other nights. Call 489-5471.

Saturday 6

After you de-trim your Christmas tree and lovingly put away all those decorations, dont just dump the tree in the alley. Drive it over to the Plum Creek Nature Center and donate it to the Recycle the Christmas Spirit program; your tree will be chipped for use on trails and as mulch around newly planted trees. The center, located in Goodenow Grove, a mile and a quarter east of the intersection of routes 1 and 394 on Goodenow Road, south of Crete, will accept trees from 10 to 3. On January 13, trees will be accepted from 10 to 3 at the Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville, 501 E. Romeo Road. There’s no fee. For details, call 708-946-2216 or 815-886-1467.

Sunday 7

Even though Midway Airport is across the street, you won’t have to worry about airplane noise at the Baby Doll Polka Club, one of the oldest and funkiest places in town to roll out the barrel. Every Sunday the house band, Eddie Karosa’s Merrymakers, which is fully capable of drowning out the jets, starts early–5 PM–and there’s plenty of good, inexpensive food and opportunities to dance. It’s at 6102 S. Central, and there’s never a cover. Call 582-9706.

Bush and Gorby may be pals and Eastern Europe may be liberated, but when it comes to hockey, the cold war is still on. Ever since the Americans toppled the defending-champion Soviet team at the Olympics, it’s been bad blood on ice. Tonight the Blackhawks will be upholding the national honor in an exhibition game with the Soviet Red Army hockey team, one of several USSR Olympic farm squads. Theyll drop the puck at 7:30 at the Chicago Stadium, 1800 W. Madison. Tickets are $10, $15, or $20. Call 733-5300.

Monday 8

More than 100,000 Cook County properties, with total delinquent taxes exceeding $175 million, will be on the block at today’s tax sale, sponsored by county treasurer Ed Rosewell. The sale doesn’t entitle bidders to ownership but to a lien against the property should the owner not redeem the taxes in the next two years. But even if they do, bidders at the sale can make as much as 18 percent interest on the delinquent taxes they’ve paid. And if the owners forget about paying, bidders can file suit to seek legal title to the property–a cheap way to own. The sale’s on from 9 AM to 4 PM today on the fourth floor of the County Building, 118 N. Clark. Rosewell and his staff will explain the details if you call 443-4250.

Tuesday 9

Most people’s memories improve until they’re 20 or so, then a gradual decline sets in. By the time we get to be 50 or 60, with a whole stockpile of experiences, our memory capacity may actually be half of what it was in our teens. The White Crane Wellness Center’s six-session memory course is designed to maximize memory function for older adults or anyone having a hard time remembering things. A nurse practitioner explains how memory works, how aging affects it, and how you can improve it. The workshop starts at 1 this afternoon at Ann Sather’s, 929 W. Belmont, on the second floor. The fee is $20 and includes all materials. Class size is limited to 20, so please call 975-8585 to register.

Haki R. Madhubuti, cofounder and editor of Third World Press, and Lincoln Beauchamp, cofounder and editor of Literati Chicago, join forces for a rare north-side reading of their poetry, part of Club Lower Links’ tribute to Martin Luther King. Madhubuti, who has 16 books to his credit, also directs the Institute of Positive Education on the south side. Beauchamp, aka “Chicago Beau,” also plays one mean blues harmonica. The two will begin at 8:30 PM at 954 W. New-port. Tickets axe $6 in advance, $8 at the door. Call 248-5238.

Wednesday 10

If you don’t have enough hours in the day but like lists, you may get something out of today’s time management seminar. Patricia Parks outlines eight ways to delegate work, four ways to keep meetings from going on too long, eight ways to handle paperwork, four ways to fight procrastination, and three ways to exploit your biorhythms, among other handy hints. Sponsored by the University of Illinois at Chicago, the one-day workshop starts at 8:30 AM (with breakfast) at the Inn at University Village, 625 S. Ashland. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis; business and professional education credits can be arranged. Tuition is a tax-deductible $395. Call 996-4646 for reservations is and more information.

Though Lithuanian is one of the oldest living Indo-European languages, nearly half of Lithuania’s population doesn’t speak it. Since Lithuania was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, more and more non-Lithuanians have come from other parts of the USSR, bringing their own languages and customs and refusing to assimilate. The Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture is doing its part to keep the Lithuanian language alive by offering a basic Lithuanian language course, beginning tonight. Taught by Gail Valiulis, the director of the museum’s language programs, classes will be held every Wednesday through February 14, 7 to 8 PM, at the museum, 6500 S. Pulaski. Tuition is $66. To register, call 582-6500.

Thursday 11

Tiananmen Square, which used to be an open plaza for people to gather in, today is cordoned off to the average Chinese citizen. William Liu, professor of sociology in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago and director of the university’s Pacific/Asian-American Research Center, will lead a discussion, China: Six Months After Tiananmen Square, as part of the Chicago Public Library’s “Society in Focus” program. The free talk starts at 12:15 PM in the theater of the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. 738-7634.