Friday 11

Michael Paha plays around with snakes, rodents, frogs, and other creepy crawlers for a living–as the production supervisor of exhibits at the Field Museum of Natural History. But he also does it for fun in his art studio, where he builds environments he likes to call arsariums–arty terrariums or vivariums, if you will. Paha’s work is attracting big bucks over at Perimeter Gallery, 750 N. Orleans. The show, which runs through August 30, can be seen for free Tuesday through Saturday from 11 to 5:30 PM. For more information call 266-9473.

You can battle the crowds at Wrigley Field for autographs, or you can pay for them at today’s Sports Memorabilia/Baseball Card Show at the Mitchell Memorial Gymnasium, Trinity Christian College, 6601 W. College Drive in Palos Heights. Pitchers Mike Bielecki and Steve Wilson will sign for $2, a bargain compared to the usual $15 to $25. There’s a limit of five autographs per person. The show runs from 5:30 to 10:30 PM and features more than 30 dealers. Admission is $1, kids under 5 get in free. For more call 597-3000.

Saturday 12

In 1904 Charles Carpenter, the Field Museum’s chief photographer, went to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in Saint Louis to photograph Native Americans who attended. Thirty-five of his portraits, made from glass-plate negatives, of people from the Hopi, Pomo, Pawnee, Navaho, Arapaho, and Kwakuitl tribes–including a fine picture of Geronimo–will be on display at the Field Museum through March 17. Many of the photos in this exhibit, which opens today, have never been displayed or published before. They can be seen at the museum, Roosevelt at Lake Shore Drive, from 12 to 5 Saturday and Sunday and 10 to 5 Monday through Friday. Admission to the museum is $3 for adults, $2 for children, seniors, and students. Call 922-9410.

It hasn’t been a great year for gardeners, but if you prize a particular rose, squash, or petunia, take it to the 49th annual Men’s Garden Club of the North Shore Show at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Judges from the club will award three ribbons to winners in each of 12 categories–if the entries warrant it. There’s no fee to enter the show, but it’ll cost you $2 to park at the garden, Lake Cook Road east of the Edens in Glencoe. The show runs from 1 to 5 today and 10 to 5 tomorrow. Call 831-4534 for more info.

Sunday 13

Mars Gallery partners Peter Mars, James Turk, and Barbara Gazdik moved here about a year ago from Scottsdale, Arizona, where afternoon tea dances are pretty popular. Turk and River North’s Byron Dorsey have put together today’s tea dance at Cairo–with lots of music, cheap drinks, and an exhibition of Mars’s artwork. The party starts at 5 PM at the club, 720 N. Wells. A large selection of Mars’s work–brightly colored acrylic pop art on board–will be on display in the basement and the first floor; a small selection will be exhibited on the first floor through September 13. There’s no cover. Call 266-6620.

“I got into writing plays because I had nothing else to do,” Sam Shepard said in a 1971 interview. “I started writing to keep from going off the deep end.” Writing on the edge has given him a shelf full of Obie awards and a Golden Palm Award. Director Karen Kessler and actor Daniel Scanlan present the poetry and prose of Sam Shepard in a performance titled A Rage of Unknown Origin. Show time is 8:30 at Club Lower Links, 954 W. Newport. Admission is $3. For more call 248-5238.

Monday 14

Poland’s underground culture has spawned scores of freethinking artists and writers, a new autonomous daily newspaper, and dozens of independent activists who were elected to the new congress. Independent Culture in Poland is a traveling exhibit that features books, pamphlets, posters, art, and films, as well as memorabilia from the June elections. The exhibit runs through August 31 at the Polish Museum of America, 984 N. Milwaukee, the largest ethnic museum in the country. It’s open every day from noon to 5 PM. Admission is free. Call 384-3352.

Tuesday 15

There should be 46 job openings on the Chicago Board of Trade’s floors now, so interested parties might want to consider taking the CBOT’s Introduction to Commodities course. The two-day intensive class teaches the basics of futures markets: the economics of the contracts; the history, organization, and functions of the commodity exchanges; the mechanics of trading; and the theories of hedging and speculating. There will also be simulated pit trading. Ethics were not plugged on the press release. Class runs from 8 to 5 today and tomorrow in the Peat Marwick Executive Conference Center, on the tenth floor of Boulevard Tower South, 205 N. Michigan. Tuition is $200 and covers all course materials, continental breakfast, and lunch, plus a cocktail reception tonight. 435-7207.

Wednesday 16

During World War II many African American seamen trained for duty in segregated camps at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. In 1982 veterans from those camps founded the Organization of World War II Black Navy Veterans of Great Lakes. Their eighth annual convention begins today and runs through Saturday at the Westin Hotel, 909 N. Michigan. Registration begins at 10 AM. Admission is $90 for the entire conference; rates for individual events vary. For details call 226-2245.

For the first time in seven years, North Americans–particularly in the midwest and on the east coast–will be treated to a total eclipse of the moon as the earth crosses between the sun and the moon. At 8:21 PM the moon’s left edge will begin to darken. Depending on the weather, the moon may turn copper colored or may disappear from view. Because the moon will be low on the horizon, buildings and trees may block your view; the lakefront is recommended as the place to watch. The eclipse will be visible to the naked eye, but binoculars or a small telescope will let you see lunar craters and mountains. The show is expected to last about four hours. In honor of the eclipse the Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, will be open until midnight; astronomers will answer questions as they monitor the eclipse on closed-circuit TV. Admission to the building, as always, is free. There will be special presentations of the Sky Show Milky Way: Island of Mystery at 7:15, 8:15, 9:15, and 10:15; admission is $3 for adults, $1.50 for kids (under 6 not admitted), and free to seniors and planetarium members. Call 322-0304.

Thursday 17

Marc Smith, the zonked-out MC of the Uptown Poetry Slam, will take on the very respectable Chester Clayton Long, literature professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The two will duke it out in the Grand Slam of Chicago Poetry at the High Hat Club, 812 N. Franklin, from 7 to 11. Musical entertainment will be provided by David Hernandez and Street Sounds. Tickets are $7. Call 878-0119.

Isadora Duncan had at least one Russian–an insane Bolshevik poet–among her many lovers. The legend is expanded in Torso Theatre’s Isadora Duncan Sleeps With the Russian Navy, a farce featuring music, dance, Lenin, Pavlova, naval tactical maneuvers, and nudity. Performances are at 7:30 PM Thursday, 8:30 Friday, and 6:30 and 9 Saturday at Victory Gardens Studio Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln. The show runs through August 26. Tonight is “Marlon Brando” night, so bring nail clippers or any form of butter and you’ll get half off the $8 to $12 ticket price. For more call 871-3000.