Friday 9

One of the few local theaters dedicated to developing stage and technical roles for women, Footsteps Theatre Company has produced a trio of well-received plays in its first year–Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, Independence, and Shay. At 7:30 tonight the group’s latest effort, Dig, Volley, Spike!, opens; this will be the American premiere of the British comedy about a women’s volleyball team. The all-women production will be performed at the Hemenway United Methodist Church, 933 Chicago in Evanston. The play runs through July 16; regular curtain times are Friday at 8, Saturday at 6 and 9:30, and Sunday at 3. Tickets are $10. Call 465-8323.

Saturday 10

Clarke House, the Greek Revival home built in 1836 by hardware merchant Henry Clarke, escaped the fire of 1871, but Clarke had the house moved 28 blocks south anyway. In 1977, when the city took it over, the house was moved back to near its original site on Prairie Avenue and now sits among other houses designed by some of the great architects of the Chicago School, including H.H. Richardson and Solon Beman. The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Prairie Avenue Festival, which runs from 11 to 5 today, will include free dance demonstrations, puppet shows, barbershop quartets, live theater, and political oratory–all in the garden next to Clarke House, 18th Street and Prairie. Clarke House will be open to visitors; quilts, weavings, and handmade baskets will also be on display and for sale. Call 326-1393.

While you’re in the neighborhood, check out multimedia artist Mark Van Wagner’s show at the Prairie Avenue Gallery. Some curators say a collection isn’t a collection until you have at least 25 pieces. Others say four or five will do, depending on the works. Van Wagner offers collector starter kits with his Insider exhibit, which consists of six individual collections, each offered for sale as a single piece. Van Wagner uses paintings, light boxes, sculpture, children’s toys, and everyday objects in his iconoclastic installations. Prices range from $800 to $8,000. The exhibit, which runs through July 9, opens with a reception tonight from 5 to 8 at the gallery, 1900 S. Prairie. Regular hours are 1 to 5 Friday through Sunday; viewing is free. For more call 842-4523.

“Everything is different here,” said Almaz Seyoum, the assistant secretary of the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago. “But we are determined to stay here and build our lives.” The association helps Chicago’s 2,000 Ethiopian refugees get comfortable through a variety of settlement programs and job referral services. Its fourth annual Benefit Dinner/Dance will be held at 6 tonight at the group’s headquarters, 4750 N. Sheridan. There will be music, folk dancing, speeches, awards, and a full Ethiopian dinner. Tickets are $25 for the full program, $12 after 10 and no dinner. Call 728-0300.

Sunday 11

Today’s Francis Parker Rummage Sale, with all proceeds directed to the school’s scholarship fund, will feature the usual stuff, plus designer clothes and more than a few tony items. It’s all at the school, 330 W. Webster, from 1 to 4. It’s free to rummage; prices, of course, vary. Call 549-0172.

Astrologers contend that there’s a system to the way they read and interpret the stars and planets, but Dr. David Slavsky, professor of physical sciences at Loyola University, argues that their method is flawed and lacks scientific validity. “According to astrology, when you’re born. you’re assigned a sun sign and a ‘house,’ using either the Placidean or Koch system of houses,” he explains. “But if you follow their system, the houses overlap north of the arctic circle. Well, that means 12 million people on earth dont get houses assigned to them.” Slavsky will continue his argument at tonight’s lecture, An Astronomer Dares to Tell the Truth About Astrology. Sponsored by the Midwest Committee for Rational Inquiry, the free talk begins at 7 at the Chicago Academy of Sciences, 2001 N. Clark. For more call 383-3050.

Monday 12

Reader contributor Marc PoKempner is one of the artists whose work is featured in Blues Photography, a fun, funny, sometimes gritty, and sometimes poignant look at the city’s blues scene. The show also has vintage photos from the public library’s blues archives, including rare shots of Muddy Waters and other greats. It’s at Chicago Filmmakers, 1229 W. Belmont. The free show runs through, June 30. Viewing hours are 10 to 5 Monday through Thursday, 10 to 7:30 Friday, and 5:30 to 7:30 Sunday. For more call 281-8788.

When the Human Rights Ordinance failed in City Council last fall, 47th Ward Alderman Eugene Schulter was one of those who voted against the bill. “He’s dead,” a gay activist was quoted in the papers as saying about Schulter’s reelection chances. A few days later, when the same activist showed up with about 200 friends and picket signs at Schulter’s ward office, the alderman greeted him with a huge smile. “Hey, look. I’m still alive,” he chuckled. Schulter, not exactly known for his sense of humor, explained, “The guy has a right to free speech, so basically he can say anythig he wants, and the papers have the right to print it.” Schulter may have more surprises when he speaks at today’s presentation of First Amendment texts by the North River Unitarian Universalist Church to the Sulzer Regional Public Library. The books were selected by the Clarence Darrow Commission on First Amendment freedoms. The program begins at 1:30 in the library auditorium, 4455 N. Lincoln. Others who will speak are church trustee Al Lindrup, Reverend Roger Brewin, and library director Leah Steele. It’s free. Call 769-3488.

Tuesday 13

Logan Square–with its boxes pumping salsa, disco, and rap onto the boulevard–isn’t exactly a home of the blues, but Tony Manguillo and his mom make Rosa’s Lounge an authentic Chicago blues house with live acts every night. Recent remodeling enlarged the stage area, and now there isn’t a bad seat in the place. Melvin Taylor and the Slack Band play their up-tempo blues tonight, beginning at 9:30–but come earlier if you want a table. There’s a $4 cover. The club’s at 3420 W. Armitage Call 342-0452.

Wednesday 14

A seven-week course designed to teach you everything you wanted to know about summer gardening begins tonight at Moraine Valley Community College, Each three-hour class will take on a different subject–soils and fertilizers, shrubs and roses, perennials, trees and evergreens, etc. The classes may be taken individually for $10 each, or together for $50. The first class is tonight at 7 in room 203 at the Ridgeland Center, 6201 W. 115th St. in Worth. For more call 371-3800.

Thursday 15

Hula means dancing in Hawaiian–any kind of dancing. And there will probably be plenty of it when the Kauai Surf Riders and the Aloha Dancers appear today at the Public Library Cultural Center. The three Surf Riders play the ukulele, Hawaiian rhythm guitar, steel-string guitar, and electric bass. Accompanied by the three Aloha dancers, they perform music based on Hawaiian, Tahitian, and other South Pacific traditions. The free show begins at 5:30 in the theater, 78 E. Washington. For more call 346-3278.