Friday 3

Muebles de Taos is a group of southwestern artists who specialize in folk-style furniture and who happen to be ex-cons. Trained in a prison program to design, build, paint, and market furniture, the group is featured in Chiaroscuro Gallery’s new show, Art Furniture. Eleven other contemporary-furniture artists are also featured in the show, which runs through February 28. There’s a free champagne reception at 5:30 tonight at the gallery, 750 N. Orleans. Regular gallery hours are 10 to 5:30, Monday through Saturday. For more call 988-9253.

During the civil rights struggle in the 60s, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X helped define different attacks on racism and disenfranchisement. King was an integrationist at heart, Malcolm X was a black nationalist–and both were assassinated. The Meeting is a one-act drama by Jeff Stetson based on a fictitious meeting between the two men. Directed by Chuck Smith, the show is the Chicago Theatre Company’s Black History Month presentation at the Parkway Playhouse, 500 E. 67th St. Performance times are 8 PM on Friday and Saturday and 3 and 7 Sunday. Tickets are $12, $10 for students and seniors. The play runs through March 12. Call 493-1305.

Most folks know that Gertrude Stein hung out with Pablo Picasso and helped Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sherwood Anderson, and others to see language in a new way. But Stein’s own works–her novels, plays, poetry, and postwar lectures–remain relatively unknown. Your Birthday Is Your Birthday It Certainly Is is a celebration of Stein’s writing and her 115th birthday. A cast of Chicago artists will give dramatic readings of her works, heightened by music, dance, and video performances. Show time is 8 PM at Randolph Street Gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee. Admission is $6, $4 for students and RSG members; reservations are encouraged. Call 666-7737 for more.

Saturday 4

According to the Black Light Fellowship, Old Testament personalities such as Nimrod, Cush, Hagar, the Queen of Sheba, and the prophet Zephaniah, as well as New Testament teachers Lucius and Simeon, were probably black. They’re only a few of the people who’ll be discussed in The Black Presence in the Bible ’89, an all-day seminar on the African identities of Bible figures. Featuring a lecture by Dr. Charles B. Copher, the seminar begins at 8 AM at the First Baptist Congregational Church, 1613 W. Washington. Admission is $25. Call 722-1441.

You can “smoke the queen” or “shoot the moon” at the seventh annual Cutthroat Hearts Tournament today. Past champs Dave Starke, John Softcheck, and Don Reger will be taking on all comers at the Louis Joliet Renaissance Center, 214 N. Ottawa in Joliet. Registration begins at 8:30 AM; play starts at 9. An entry fee of $5 guarantees each player at least three games. Sponsored by the not-for-profit International Society of Hearts Players, the contest will award a silver trophy to the new champion. For more call 815-741-2955.

A short live kung fu demonstration is the warm-up act for the Film Center’s presentation of Eastern Condors, an action-filled kick-and-hit entry in their Hong Kong film series. Bruce Linville and Andrew Lee, martial-arts instructors at the Shaolin Kung Fu Temple, will do their thing at 6 PM; the movie follows. Admission is $5. The center is in the School of the Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. Call 443-3733 for more information.

Sunday 5

Just in case it ever snows again in Chicago, the North Park Village Nature Center is sponsoring a program to teach children how to identify animal tracks and other wildlife signs. Tracks in the Snow, for children ages 9 through 12, will be led by naturalist Laurel Ross–even if there’s only mud. She’ll show children how to find and follow deer, fox, raccoon, and other animal trails. There will be hot chocolate afterward at the center, 5801 N. Pulaski. The fun starts at 1 PM. Admission is $1, and preregistration is required. Call 583-8970.

Monday 6

Having been misdiagnosed as mentally retarded, Patrick Worth was institutionalized for much of his childhood. He eventually escaped by crawling out a window, and has since become a voice for those generally thought least able to speak for themselves, the developmentally disabled. The founder and now president of People First of Ontario, he will speak tonight at 7 in the Louis Room North of Northwestern University’s Norris University Center, 1999 Sheridan in Evanston. It’s free. For more call 491-7767.

Tuesday 7

Holocaust survivors often consider talking about their past taboo, which can make it difficult for their children to cope with that past. Sima Reiss, a psychologist and the daughter of survivors, leads a new support group for children of survivors of the Holocaust that starts tonight at the Bernard Horwich-Mayer Kaplan Jewish Community Center, 3003 W. Touhy. The eight-week workshop offers an opportunity to share concerns and meet others with similar backgrounds. It begins at 8 PM; it’s $40 for Jewish Community Center members, $60 for nonmembers. Call 761-9100 for more.

When Jesse Jackson ran for president in 1984, he talked about going from “the slave ship to the championship, the outhouse to the White House.” He sounded silly sometimes, and some in the media had a hard time taking him seriously. But by the time his second run ended in 1988, Jackson had polished his image so well that he got almost as much center-stage time as Michael Dukakis. Running With Jesse is tonight’s Frontline special, with Judy Woodruff chronicling Jackson’s campaign and assessing the hope and hype that fueled it. It’s on Channel 11 at 9 tonight and again tomorrow afternoon at 1:30. Call 583-5000 for details.

Wednesday 8

In spite of the firm stands taken by the Vatican on women’s issues, the American Catholic community continues to believe that popular pressure can bring about change. Today’s National Ash Wednesday Vigil is a nationwide spiritual civil disobedience of sorts–Catholic men and women are getting together to protest sexism and patriarchy in the church. It’s not a rally or protest in the usual sense, but a prayer gathering within the walls of the church. Supporters will meet at Holy Name Cathedral, 730 N. Wabash, between 7 and 8 AM, noon and 1, and 5 and 6. It’s free. Call 427-4351.

The Aztecs built imposing pyramids in Mexico, then disappeared. But the Maya built cities and a culture that still survives in the mountains of Guatemala. The Enduring Maya: Art in the Guatemalan Highlands features weavings, pots, carvings, and furnishings that demonstrate the continuing tradition of Mayan craftsmanship and imagination. The show, which runs through May 13, is at the May Weber Museum of Cultural Arts, 230 E. Ohio. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5. Admission is $2. Call 787-4477.

Thursday 9

WXRT FM jock and Beatles junkie Terri Hemmert takes her morning show to the Museum of Broadcast Communications today to introduce It Was Twenty-Five Years Ago Today: The Beatles on Television, the celebration of the Fab Four’s appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Hemmert kicks things off on the radio (93.1) at 6 AM, with Beatles tunes and rare interviews until 10. At noon, the museum’s Kraft Television Theatre will feature continuous showings of the group’s Sullivan appearance, clips from Dutch and British television, and BBC documentaries. The program will run from noon to five today through Sunday at the museum, 800 S. Wells. Admission is $3, $2 for students, $1 for seniors and children under 13. Call 987-1500.