Friday 17

“This show has been motivated by lame art exhibitions whom we would like to express extreme gratitude to for being unimaginative and boring us all with their complacency of simply trying to be “just like everybody else’ so that they too can have a piece of cake (if any is left).” We’re not sure what the Bucktown Arts Fest people are trying to say, exactly, but whatever they’re upset about has produced the Woolworth Show, for which 75 Chicago artists have been asked to create art using mainly materials and “interpretive elements” purchased at Woolworth’s. (Woolworth’s is providing inspiration but no funding.) You can try to figure out if the organizers have achieved their goal at the opening tonight from 5 to 8:30 at the Holstein Park field house, 2200 N. Oakley. The exhibit will also be viewable from noon to 5 tomorrow and Sunday, from 11 to 7 next Saturday and Sunday, August 25 and 26, and noon to 5 Saturday, September 1. Admission is free; for more information call 489-6518.

Lipizzan stallions were trained at the Spanish Riding School of Vienna as early as the mid-1600s. The school has continued to train Lipizzans ever since, and the horses, once famous for their battle maneuvers, are now known for their precise, highly controlled dressage–moves developed from those maneuvers. The Herrmann Royal Lipizzan Stallions of Vienna are performing four times this weekend as a benefit for the Hooved Animal Humane Society in Woodstock, Illinois. Shows take place at the Du Page County fairgrounds in Wheaton (on Manchester Road just off County Farm Road); they begin at 7 tonight, at 4 and 7:30 tomorrow, and at 4 Sunday. Tickets are $9 for adults and $4 for kids 6 to 12, a buck off if you buy them in advance. Call 815-337-5563 for more information.

Saturday 18

The Chicago Historical Society’s program Your Home Museum posits that each of us is the curator of the historical artifacts of our lives. Over two two-hour sessions today and tomorrow, paper conservator Carol Turchan talks about investigating your family tree, learning to apply preservation techniques in your own home, handling and care of your private collection of photographs and documents, and proper storage of everything. The cost is $6 (members) and $10 (nonmembers) for today’s session, $10 and $15 for both; sessions start at 1 both days. The society is at North Avenue and Clark Street. Call 642-4600.

In Open Syzygy, Beau O’Reilly and Jenny Magnus, the instigators of any number of Maestro Subgum and Curious Theater Branch undertakings, strip things down to a two-person performance of monologues, poetry, stories, and bits of song and dialogue. The selections, writes Lower Links theoretician Spencer Sundell, “maintain their own internal logic, even when seeping into dream worlds. . . . The result is rather like a program of short films that have been spliced together, sans credits, so that they form an odd and beautiful feature film.” The show starts at 8:30 tonight and tomorrow; it’s $5. Club Lower Links is at 954 W. Newport. Call 248-5238 for more information.

Sunday 19

It’s Nelson Algren day at the Wicker Park Greening Festival. The Chicago Cabaret Ensemble will perform Algren’s Neon Wilderness, and there’ll be a “Nelson Algren walking tour” of the area. Music, yard sales, ethnic food, an antique auto show, an artists’ booth, a poker party, and a five-kilometer run round out the celebration. The main gate, at Damen and Schiller, is open noon to 6. Performances of Neon Wilderness are at 1:30 and 4:30; the tour comes in between. Everything’s included in the $10 festival admission. More info at 342-1966.

Got the urge to make a telescope? The North Park Village Nature Center has anticipated your desire and is offering a telescope-making orientation today at 2. It’s a three-hour introductory talk and slide show that’ll tell how, plus how long it takes and how much it costs, part of the center’s year-round telescope-making program. The center is at 5801 N. Pulaski. It’s free, but preregister at 583-8970.

Monday 20

The Lakeview Learning Center, nestled on Clark just a block north of Belmont, is on the cusp of a new semester. Registration begins today for a variety of free classes, ranging from English as a second language and GED preparation to foreign languages, computer know-how, and typing. Registration runs from 9 to noon and from 2 to 6 today through Friday. The center is at 3310 N. Clark; for more information, call 549-7550.

Tuesday 21

“She fitted into my biggest armchair as if it had been built around her by someone who knew they were wearing armchairs tight around the hips this season.” Such levity (by P.G. Wodehouse in Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest) at the expense of those overweight is just the sort of thing that makes the blood of the assembled members of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance–in town for their annual convention this week–boil. NAAFA’s get-together runs today through Sunday at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, 9300 W. Bryn Mawr in Rosemont. Tonight’s keynote speaker is Professor David Garner, an outspoken critic of the “traditional view of obesity as a ‘disorder.'” His speech is titled, “Congressional Testimony on the Weight-Loss Industry: Challenging the $30 Billion a Year Sham.” Other events include a “plus-size” fashion show, a Roaring Twenties dance, and a “women of substance” photo show. Heavy. Tonight’s opener runs 8:30 to 10. Convention registration is $240 per person (or $340 with meals); to get admission prices to individual events, call 916-443-0303.

Wednesday 22

Daley Plaza will be the site of six hours of 30-second bursts of comedy (or noncomedy, as the case may be) as the Planters peanut company auditions comics for a new series of commercials from 10 to 5 today. It’s free to audition or just watch; if you’re a potential contestant, you need to get there early (8 o’clock), fill out a form, and have your act vetted (not least for profanity and vulgarity) by on-the-scene talent coordinators. (You can also forgo today’s peanut-commercial auditions and submit your act on videotape.) Planters will choose a total of six finalists from Chicago; these will be added to the dozen total from New York and LA. The best of these 18 will appear on a Planters commercial in October. Call 800-325-1123 for more information or just show up at 118 N. Clark.

Consumers Against (monosodium) Glutamate are holding an informational meeting tonight at 7:30 at the Schaumburg Public Library, 32 Library Lane in Schaumburg. “Presenters will discuss problems arising from eating monosodium glutamate, hidden sources of MSG, and ways to face the problem.” It’s free. Call 708-446-3000.

Thursday 23

The second annual version of the Midwest Music Conference doesn’t officially get under way until tomorrow, but showcases and opening parties in various clubs begin tonight. The Bridge, 1177 N. Elston, is featuring local popsters Scott Bennett and the Obvious, who just cut a deal with Giant records; there’s an open bar from 6 to 7. There are similar doings at Shelter, 564 W. Fulton, with an open bar from 8 to 9 and four bands, notably the Industrial Dance Force, starting at 9. Also worth seeing are the fabulous Stump the Host, playing at 12:30 AM as the headliners of a Musician magazine-sponsored show at Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison, and the guitar-strewn Dangtrippers, from Ames, Iowa, playing at Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln, around 10. Full registration for the conference and seminars is $75, but a showcase pass, good for about a dozen participating clubs all weekend, is a cheap $25. (You need a pass to partake of the open bars.) Tonight’s show at the Cubby Bear is free. Call 876-1766 for more information.