Friday 9

As part of its celebration of Women’s History Week, the Newberry Library is presenting a program of women’s art and parlor music, as well as a dramatic reading of letters, speeches, and newspaper accounts by and about feminists such as Bertha Palmer, Susan B. Anthony, and Jane Addams. It begins at 5:30 PM at 60 W. Walton. Admission is $17, $10 for Newberry members. For more information call 943-9090, ext. 310.

Historian Stephanie Coontz, the author of two books on family and class, will talk tonight about how family and society affect each other in a lecture titled Feminism and the Family in the 1990s. The presentation begins at 7 in room 154 of the Schmitt Academic Center, DePaul University, 2323 N. Seminary. Admission is $3, $1.50 for students and the unemployed. Child care is available. Sponsored by Chicago Solidarity and the Open University of the Left. Call 275-8937.

Saturday 10

While politicians debate building a new jail, the wisdom of mandatory minimum sentences, and corruption in the sheriff’s office, prisoners are sleeping on the floor and in hallways at the county jail. Overcrowding at Cook County Jail, a morning workshop sponsored by the League of Women Voters, takes a look at the causes and possible solutions. U.S. district court judge Milton Shadur, circuit court judge Thomas Fitzgerald, Cook County Commissioner Jerry “Iceman” Butler, Cook County Department of Corrections Director Spencer Leak, and John Howard Association director Mike Mahoney will be on hand. It’s free and runs from 9 to noon in conference room 9-040 in the State of Illinois Building, 100 W. Randolph. Call 939-5935 for reservations.

Art Schmaltz, chairman of the environment committee at the Park Forest Unitarian Church and a spokesman on occupational health for the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, will lead a free workshop on environmental health today: Our Food, Air, and Water. It’s at 4 at the Beverly Unitarian Church, 10244 S. Longwood, and it’s sponsored by the Chicago-area chapter of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Call 327-2025.

“The difference between straight heavy metal and gay heavy metal is just the sexual orientation,” says Daniel Davis, who manages Rage Nightclub, 5006 N. Clark. “Which means there’s none of that straight sexism stuff.” The club’s back bar welcomes the Gay Heavy Metal Society tonight at 9. Everyone is welcome to bring home tapes and favorite videos to share and swap. Admission is free until 10, when it jumps to $2. Call 989-7243.

Sunday 11

The local Irish have plenty to celebrate these days. Not only is the mayor one of them but it looks good for Irish guys for state treasurer (Pat Quinn), the presidency of the Cook County Board of Commissioners (Richard Phelan), sheriff (whether it’s the incumbent or any of his challengers), state’s attorney (Patrick O’Connor), and county treasurer (Ed Rosewell). More than 160 clans’ floats, bands, and politicians will be on hand for today’s 12th annual South Side Irish Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, which steps off at 1:30 PM from 103rd Street and Western Avenue. It’s free, of course. For more information call 238-1969.

In 1988 Mayor Harold Washington’s Shoreline Protection Commission prescribed measures to protect against erosion such as seawalls, harbors, and landfills that would cost between $800 and $900 million over ten years–an absolutely unaffordable price for the Park District, which manages most of the lakefront. Will the lakefront crumble from neglect? Or will high-power developers move in with promises of much-needed revenue, as they have on shores from New York to San Diego? Kathy Gemperle presents Chicago’s Changing Lakefront, a slide show of the history of the lakefront from 1830 to the present, illustrating the impact of nature and city planning. The free program runs from 2 to 4 at the North Lakeside Cultural Center, 6219 N. Sheridan. Call 743-4477.

Monday 12

Sing it out on your lunch break today. From noon to 3, Record-a-Hit will be stationed at Bloomingdale’s, 900 N. Michigan. The company will provide the taped backup to one of 600 hit songs, while you pretend you’re Bruce, Mick, or Babyface. There’s no charge, and you get a free cassette. Call 549-7464.

Tuesday 13

In conjunction with the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services has approximately 20 attorneys who will offer free tax assistance to low-income taxpayers. Most of the volunteers are CPAs and have tax-law experience. If you’re eligible for the program, you’ll get an appointment to meet with a lawyer who’ll prepare your return. To find out if you qualify call 332-1624 between 9 and 5 Monday through Friday by April 13.

Annette Siffin’s limited-edition porcelain tableware is meant for everyday use. Her satin glazes and minimalist approach give her work a certain elegance, but she says she also means it to be humorous, animated, and “loosely anthropomorphic.” The Sensuous Form–Works in Clay by Annette Siffin will be on display through April 8 in the upstairs gallery at Lill Street, 1021 W. Lill. The complex houses 47 studios, as well as a shop that displays the work of many more. It’s free to look around. Gallery hours are 11 to 6 Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday; 11 to 7 Thursday; and noon to 4 Sunday. Call 477-6185.

Wednesday 14

After the Department of Children and Family Services identified North Lawndale as one of the three areas in Illinois with the highest risk for child abuse, the Greater Chicago Council of the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse set up a task force to help address the problem. The group will sponsor today’s community forum, Child Abuse Prevention: Parents & Teachers Working Together, which will focus on intervening when you suspect a child is being abused. The free forum starts at 9 AM at the Lawndale Christian Health Center, 3860 W. Ogden. Call 638-1558.

Coke Time With Eddie Fisher. a 1954 broadcast, is one of several programs being screened during the Museum of Broadcast Communications’ Pro-MTV: Pop Music on Television series that starts today. Screenings run continuously at the Museum, 800 S. Wells, which is open 10 to 5 Saturday; noon to 5 Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. There’s a suggested donation of $3, $2 for students, $1 for seniors and kids. Call 987-1500.

There’s a comedy open mike every Wednesday night at the No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood. Sign up at 9; Performances start a half hour later. It’s free. Call 743-3355.

Thursday 15

If you’re going to be out of town on March 20, you can cast an absentee ballot for the Primary from 8:30 to 6 Monday through Friday and from 9 to 1 Saturday–through March 19 in room 308 at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle. The Democrats have a plethora of candidates in every race; the Republicans have only one contested election–Jim Edgar’s bid for governor is being challenged by two right-wingers. If you can’t make it to City Hall, write for an absentee ballot to the Board of Election Commissioners, Absentee Department, City Hall, Chicago 60602. Requests must be received today. There’s no fee, of course. Call 263-3649 for more information.

When Frida Kahlo first laid eyes on Diego Rivera, she was a little girl and he was an internationally known artist. When they finally got together, they fed each other’s passions and fetishes as few artistic duos have done. Donna Blue Lachman’s portrayal of the Mexican painter in Frida, the Last Portrait uses recorded music and slides to give a glimpse into Kahlo’s tempestuous life. The one-woman show, which premiered in 1987 at the Blue Rider Theater, will be performed at 5:30 PM in the theater of the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. It’s free. Call 346-3278.