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Friday 17

All that hair spray, all those belching factory smokestacks, and all those trees in the Amazon cut down in the prime of their lives are what The End of the Weather As We Know It is all about. Opening at Randolph Street Gallery tonight, the show proposes that our disregard for the environment may be causing not only a gradual and profound change in the atmosphere, but also in the human condition. Contributing artists Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison join Jay Horberg of the Chicago Rain Forest Action Group in a “context talk” at 5 PM at the gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee. A reception for the artists follows at 6. The show, which runs through December 22, can be seen noon to 6 Tuesday through Saturday. It’s free. Call 666-7737.

Back in 1915, when writer Alice Duer Miller was involved in women’s suffrage, she penned a satiric little manifesto claiming men should be denied the right to vote because of their emotionalism. “Their conduct at baseball games and political conventions shows this,” she wrote, “while their innate tendency to appeal to force renders them particularly unfit for the task of government.” Members of the Feminist Writers Guild will read from their own and other women’s writings (including Duer Miller’s) during Women Looking at Peace and War, their free group program at 8 tonight at Women & Children First Bookstore, 1967 N. Halsted (440-8824), and again at 2 tomorrow at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th (684-1300).

Saturday 18

You know that commercial in which the blow-dried guy says you can consult a lawyer for less than $20? Well, today you can do it for free. Volunteer attorneys from the Chicago Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service will staff the phones during Call-A-Lawyer, taking questions about divorces, wills, real estate, tenants’ rights, and other legal mysteries. Call 332-1111 from 9 to noon for answers.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one adult in nine has some kind of phobia that results in panic, ranging in degree from sweaty palms to full-blown attacks. However it may manifest itself, panic can interfere with work and relationships. Out of the Grip of Panic–A Return to Mainstream, a free seminar given by Columbus Hospital, runs from 10 to 11 this morning at Deerfield Professional Health Associates, 720 Osterman in Deerfield. Call 708-883-4357 to reserve a spot.

Sunday 19

Poor Gus Hall, the national chairman of the American Communist Party. He maintained the party line on Afghanistan, eastern Europe, free elections. For years he was often the only American invited to the Soviets’ parties. But now top Soviet officials call Afghanistan a “mistake” and quietly stand by while the Berlin Wall crumbles, and it’s a lot tougher to be an American commie. Still, Hall perseveres. He’ll be the keynote speaker at today’s celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party, U.S.A. Also speaking are Frank Lumpkin of the Wisconsin Steelworkers and community organizer Lydia Sanchez Bracamonte. The party starts at 2 PM at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive. Admission is $2, $1 for seniors, students, and the unemployed. Call 768-3801.

The Mexican American community has already gathered more than 1,000 signatures in its attempt to get the city to change the name of Harrison Park to Zapata Park. Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, who fought alongside Pancho Villa, was known for his military skill and his commitment to land reform. Tonight Mi Raza Arts Consortium celebrates the 110th anniversary of Zapata’s birth, the 75th anniversary of Zapata and Villa’s victory in Mexico City, and the 70th anniversary of Zapata’s death at the Mestizo Restaurant, 311 W. Superior, between 3:30 and 7 PM. The celebration includes a Zapata-Look-Alike Content, so mousse up your mustache and head on down; the winner will get a free round-trip ticket to Mexico City. Tickets are $5, $4 for members, which includes appetizers; it’s $10 to enter the contest, $8 for members. Call 829-1620 or 787-4160.

Monday 20

James W. Compton, president of the local Urban League and Mayor Daley’s hand-picked president of the new school board, is the man officially in charge of the system’s massive reform effort. Considering that during the mayoral campaign Daley promised to clean up the school mess and urged voters to judge him on education issues, Compton is pretty much in charge of Daley’s future, right? Come listen to Compton talk about School Reform Chicago-Style: Better Educating Chicago’s Youth for a Brighter Future at the Chicago Bar Association, 29 S. LaSalle, at noon. It’s $10. Call 782-7348, ext. 306.

Tuesday 21

Salome is probably the best-known dancer in the Bible, but her dance was not what Maggie Kast had in mind when she founded Kast and Company, a troupe dedicated to choreography inspired by scripture. The group’s goals are to bring religious dance to the concert stage and to bring secular movement to traditional liturgy. Today’s presentation of liturgical dance includes “Sophia Weeps, Rejoicing” from the Hebrew scriptures. The free show starts at 12:15 PM in the theater of the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 W. Washington. Call 346-3278.

Harold Washington would have liked this: a program that includes the Requiem Mass by Jose Mauricio Nunes Garcia, an 18th-century Afro-Brazilian composer, and a narrative retrospective of Washington’s life written by Ebony magazine’s Lerone Bennett Jr. alternating with classical excerpts and gospel works sung by the 150-voice gospel choir from the Apostolic Church of God. It’s all part of Chicago Sinfonietta’s tribute to the late mayor on the second anniversary of his death. Show time is 8:30 PM at Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan. Individual tickets range from $15 to $23. Call 366-1062 for information about group rates and prorated subscriptions.

Wednesday 22

Kurt Fondriest, a graduate of the School of the Art Institute, wasn’t discovered at a thesis show but at last month’s “Brushed Aslde,” an exhibit by homeless and impoverished artists. Picked up by Carey Gallery, Fondriest is showing two mixed-media pieces he created while at school: The Holy Family and The Stations of the Gross, 13 separate works that depict family relationships. Carey Gallery is located in the burgeoning River West area at 1062 W. Chicago. Gallery hours are 12 to 4 Tuesday through Thursday, 12 to 5 Friday and Saturday. Viewing is free. Call 942-1884.

Thursday 23

Last year Ed Krajewski of Not Just Pasta fed more than 300 needy people on Thanksgiving at his Lakeview cafe. In addition, he raised $1,000 for neighborhood charities. Now that Not Just Pasta has expanded its seating capacity, Krajewski hopes to feed about 500 people at his third annual Thanksgiving Dinner and Fund-raiser for the Needy. With the help of area businesspeople, he’ll serve up free turkey and trimmings from 10 to 4 today to anyone who stops by at 2965 N. Lincoln. He’ll also accept tax-deductible donations for Lakeview’s children and elderly. If you want to help him out call 348-2842.

Ismet Deletioglu’s Garden Gyros Restaurant has been shuttered for the last three months in a continuing dispute with the landlords, but that won’t keep him from opening the doors today for his 14th annual Free Thanksgiving Dinner. Deletioglu, a Turkish immigrant, has made this a tradition for many of Lincoln Park’s homeless. His staff will offer free meals today, tomorrow, and Saturday, from 11 AM until evening. Garden Gyros is at 2621 N. Clark. Call 935-3100 if you want to volunteer.