Friday 12

The reptilian-voiced John Lee Hooker, blues guru Willie Dixon, slinky-tongued devil Dr. John, and funky southern rocker Elvin Bishop headline the first of two extravagant nights of blues at the Arie Crown ballroom tonight. The occasion is Benson & Hedges Blues, a weeklong music festival sponsored by a noted risk to pregnant women and unattractive fashion accessory to both sexes. Tomorrow night is A Salute to the Dynamic Divas of Rhythm and Blues featuring Nell Carter, Koko Taylor, Ruth Brown, and Irma Thomas. Tickets are $25, and the show starts at 8 each night; info can be had at 242-5837 or 902-1919. The Arie Crown is at 2300 S. Lake Shore Drive.

Chicago will be the children’s film capital of the world starting tonight as the seventh annual Chicago Festival of Children’s Films gets under way at Facets. Featured are more than 100 films for kids, from Yugoslavia, Canada, Brazil, England, Denmark, and nearly a dozen other countries; films run at the rate of ten or so a day, beginning tonight with Vincent and Me, in which the spirit of Vincent van Gogh helps a young artist solve an art theft. Director Michael Rubbo, of Canada, will be present; the program, which begins at 8, also includes two shorts: Spider in the Bath, from England, and The Rosy Elephant, from Czechoslovakia. Admission is $2.50 for both kids and adults, or get a series pass of five admissions for $10. Facets is at 1517 W. Fullerton. Call 281-9075 for information.

If you’ve created an all-comic-strip newspaper, where else to distribute it but at local nightclubs? The debut issue of Wunderkind, brainchild of comic maven Steve Lundin, gets feted tonight at Shelter, 564 W. Fulton. Things get under way at 9; there’s an open bar till 10. Admission is ten bucks. Call 226-2555 for more information.

Apparently words like pastiche and amalgamation aren’t enough to do Stumpy’s Gang . . . A Comic Mutation justice; publicist Jim Casey describes the play as “a horror-comedy sporting elements of science-fiction horror films, Grand Guignol, Wagnerian opera, and 50s kiddie TV shows, featuring live actors interacting with amazingly lifelike “creature’ puppets and giant state-of-the-art video effects, including a 1940s-style Looney Tunes-inspired original animated cartoon.” Sounds scary. The show reopens tonight at the Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway. Tickets, by means of an incredibly weird “spin the giant Twinkie” setup, range in price from free to $8. The show starts at midnight and runs Fridays and Saturdays for at least the next couple of weeks. You can call 973-4493 or 528-9889 for more information.

Saturday 13

“Do you have a fetish for tartan plaid? Would you like to see dozens of men wearing kilts?” (Only if they keep their bagpipes deflated.) These titillating questions are posed by the Scottish Cultural Society, whose 14th annual Scottish Fair commences today and continues tomorrow in Villa Park. You’ll see at least ten bagpipe bands, various other folk musicians, dozens of booths (including genealogical tables), and of course lots of food. There’s also a big traditional sing-along, or ceilidh (pronounced, implausibly, “kaylee”), tonight. It’s all at the Odeum Sports and Expo Center in Villa Park, 1033 N. Villa Ave. The fair runs 10 to 7 today, 10 to 6 tomorrow; admission is $7 for adults, $4.50 for seniors and children. The ceilidh–which also includes performances by various Scottish musicians–is 7 to midnight; it’s free with admission to the fair, $4 if you come just for it. Call 708-629-2227 for information.

Sunday 14

Those with a special interest in the trashy subgenre of exploitation films directed by women will find a great deal of interest in Nude on the Moon, showing tonight on a double bill with a documentary about director Doris Wishman. “In 1961,” writes Psychotronic Film Society archivist Michael Flores, “a loophole in the country’s obscenity laws made it OK to show nudist films because nude people in such a camp were ‘in their natural state.’ Doris Wishman . . . decided to make a science fiction version of a nudist camp film–the only film of its type!” At the Crash Palace, 2771 N. Lincoln, at 6:30. Admission is $2.50. Call 738-0985 for more information.

Monday 15

Freed to Kill: The True Story of Larry Eyler tells the tale of a suspected serial murderer–thought by police to have killed as many as 22 young men, mostly Uptown prostitutes and drifters–whose case was thrown out because of illegally seized evidence. Six months later Eyler was arrested for killing a Rogers Park teen; he’s now on death row. The book was written by Emmy-award-winning reporter Gera-Lind Kolarik with City News Bureau reporter Wayne Klatt and published by Chicago Review Press; Kolarik will be signing books at the Kroch’s & Brentano’s in Water Tower Place from 5:30 to 7 tonight. It’s free. The bookstore is on the fourth floor at 845 N. Michigan. Call 337-0747 or 943-2452 for more information.

David Hanks, a former associate curator of American decorative arts at the Art Institute and author of The Decorative Designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, will talk about the sources of the early-20th-century American Arts and Crafts Movement in a lecture at the School of the Art Institute today. The talk is part of the school’s visiting artists program; it’s three bucks (free to seniors and students) and starts at 6 PM in the school auditorium at Columbus and Jackson. Call 443-3711.

Tuesday 16

A “postholocaust version of Beach Blanket Bingo” might be how you’ll view photographer David Leventhal’s current show American Beauties, a collection of 20-by-24-inch Polaroids that centers on a collection of miniature dolls. “These dolls,” read the notes to the show, “are isolated in a minimal beach setting. They look at or away from a sky that is a black void. The dolls are very much sexual objects and we, the viewers, are voyeurs.” At the Ehlers Caudill Gallery, 750 N. Orleans. The gallery is open from 10 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday. It’s free to look; call 642-8611 for information.

Wednesday 17

Sociology isn’t always so outer-directed, but practitioner Gerald Suttles says his new book, The Man-Made City: The Land Use Confidence Game in Chicago, “aims less to advance sociology than to improve Chicago as a place to live.” Suttles watched development controversies unfold, studied press coverage, and examined changes in various neighborhoods’ racial makeup and population. One of the things he concluded was that the development community should try to “build public confidence rather than undermine it.” He speaks at tonight’s meeting of the Chicago Sociological Practice Organization at the Executive House, 71 E. Wacker. A cash bar opens at 5 PM, dinner is at 6:15, and Suttles hits the stage at 7. Nonmembers can pay $20 for dinner and the talk or $10 for dessert and coffee and the talk. Call 708-432-7847 or 708-787-1722 for more information.

Thursday 18

The United States loses 400,000 acres of wetlands each year, endangering the survival of any number of waterfowl species. Ducks Unlimited, a nonprofit wetlands conservation outfit, is mad as a wet, er, duck about all of this. Its ninth annual fund-raising banquet is tonight at the Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson; the affair gets under way at 5:30 with the Union League Jazz Band. Dinner is next, followed by an auction that a spokesperson says will include wildlife art and, incredibly, shotguns and duck decoys (“We get a lot of hunters in our group”). Maybe they should call it Ducks Limited. Tix are $55, $20 of which goes to your membership fee. Call 461-8000 for more information.

A few years ago, American socialists had to deal with being tarred as Evil Empirians; now they have to confront being considered entirely irrelevant. Bogdan Denitch is the vice chairman of Democratic Socialists of America; he speaks tonight at the University of Chicago on the game topic National Populism: The Alternative in Eastern Europe? It’s sponsored by the Chicago and U. of C. chapters of DSA and starts at 7:30 at Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th. Call 752- 3562. It’s free.