Friday 23

After the 1975 death of longtime dictator General Francisco Franco, the Spanish arts went through a liberating period of relaxed censorship known as “el Destape.” One of the talents to emerge was Pedro Almodovar. His new film, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, starring Carmen Maura, has won raves; it opens today at the Fine Arts Theatre, 418 S. Michigan (939-3700). Show times through December 29 are 12:30, 2:15, 4, 6, 8, and 10. Admission is $3.75 for the first screening, $6 after that.

During World War II, the underground resistance movements that sprang up in nearly every Nazi-occupied country included the French Forces of the Interior (also known as the maquis), the Polish Home Army, and the Chetniks in Yugoslavia. There was also a movement inside Germany. Max Maldacker, of the consulate general of the Federal Republic of Germany, will present a lecture tonight titled The German Resistance. The program is part of Congregation Kol Ami services that begin at 8 at Water Tower Place, suite 913-E, 845 N. Michigan (use the Chestnut Street entrance). Admission is free. For more call 664-4775.

Saturday 24

Not everyone is waiting for you-know-who’s arrival. In fact, lots of folks will probably be at the Oy Vay Alternative to Xmas Eve, tonight’s extravaganza at the Limelight. Israel Torres’s Panama performs hot funk, swing, disco, and salsa at 10 PM. At 11, Mark Sticklin (currently playing Frank-n-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show at the Organic Theater) hosts the “Fur/Cruisewear Fashion Presentation.” Also on the bill: a raffle at 12:30 (winners get a trip to Jamaica), top-40 music all night, David A. Weinstein’s celebrity photographs, paintings by Ann Rintz and Pam Olin, and goodies from Salami & Gomorrah Enterprises. The whole thing takes place at 632 N. Dearborn. It’s free to women between 9 and 11 PM, and $3 for men with invitations; after 11 it’s $3 for women and $5 for men with invitations. For those without invitations, it’s $6 all night, but you can call 337-2985 to get one.

Sunday 25

No one who’s homeless or just plain lonely has ever been turned away from the Northside Ecumenical Night Ministry’s annual Christmas Day Dinner and Drop-In Center. For the tenth year in a row, there will be a traditional feast and caroling. Naturally, it’s free. It starts at noon. at the Lakeview Presbyterian Church, 716 W. Addison. Volunteers are always welcome. Call 935-3366 for more.

Monday 26

German artist George Grosz painted and drew the aftermath of World War I in a graphic, unsparing style. His work often featured ironic counterpoints, such as mutilated veterans begging outside society parties. They were strong, humanistic protests–but they also helped force the art world to deal with the real world. The Face of Unrest: German and Austrian Portraiture of the Early Twentieth Century includes work by Grosz, Max Beckmann, Lovis Corinth, and Gustav Klimt. The exhibit runs through March 1989 at the Art Institute, Michigan Avenue at Adams. The museum is open from 10:30 to 4:30 Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; from 10:30 to 8 Tuesday; from 10 to 5 Saturday; and from noon to 5 Sundays and holidays. The suggested admission is $5 for adults, $2.50 for seniors, students, and kids. Tuesdays are free. Call 443-3600.

Tuesday 27

Many of the Christmas carols sung in Czechoslovakia are are rarely heard this side of the iron curtain. The Schola Cantorum sings Carols of Slovakia at four masses today (11:40, 12:10, 12:40, and 1:10) at Saint Peter’s Church, 110 W. Madison. The choir will sing carols of the Ukraine tomorrow, carols from Hungary Thursday, and carols from Poland Friday. Admission is free; call 853-2412 for more information.

Todd Siler, a neuroscientist and artist, transforms his scientific knowledge about the way the human brain works into metaphor on canvas and paper, in sculpture, and on videotape. Metaphorms: Forms of Metaphor is his one-man show at the Chicago Academy of Sciences. Director Paul Heltne describes Siler’s work as “one of the few attempts to combine artistic and scientific methods of inquiry.” The show will be on exhibit through May 14 at the academy, 2001 N. Clark, which is open 10 to 5 seven days a week. The show is free with the regular admission of $1 for adults, 50 cents for children, seniors, and students with IDs. Free on Mondays. Call 549-0606.

Wedenesday 28

Kwanzaa is an annual African-American holiday, and was inspired by harvest festivals in Africa. It’s been adopted by many as an alternative, or companion, to other seasonal holidays. The seven principles of Kwanzaa–creativity, economic cooperation, faith, purpose, responsibility, self-determination, and unity–are illustrated in a series of critically acclaimed animated films that will be shown today in the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. The films start at 5:30 and they’re free. For more call 346-3278.

In space, stars don’t twinkle. They sparkle only for us because the moving layers of our atmosphere break up and scatter the starlight, making each star appear to change in brightness. The Chicago Astronomical Society’s Dan Joyce and Bill Becker are holding the last star watch of the year at 7:30 tonight. They’ll have several telescopes set up at the North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski. There’s no charge, but the star watch may be canceled without notice if the sky isn’t clear. To be sure, call 725-5618 first.

Thursday 29

Chicago used to be a center for country-and-western music, but in recent years one of the few places in town to hear those sweet sounds was the RR Ranch Bar. With its building at 56 W. Randolph set for demolition, the RR Bar looks like a goner–unless it can get its lease extended until it finds a new place. Friends of Downtown hopes that tonight’s Last Roundup at the RR Bar will draw a big enough crowd to persuade the bar’s landlords to let it stay a little longer. The fabulous Sundowners will play, starting at 7 PM. There’s no cover. Call 977-0098.

December 30 through January 5

We’ll be back on our regular schedule on Friday, January 6. Until then, here are some suggestions for how to bring in 1989. The Ritz-Carlton, 160 E. Pearson, has a New Year’s Eve bash that includes dining and dancing high above the city. The Milestones will play for this black-tie-optional soiree, which begins at 8:30. It’s $175 per person. Call 266-1000 for information. If that’s too much, consider spending December 31 at the Vietnam Veterans Against the War New Year’s Eve Party. There’ll be music, dancing, videos, food, and politically correct talk beginning at 8:30 PM at Barry Romo’s, 3935 N. Marshfield. Admission is a mere $7 to $10 (whatever you can afford). Call 327-5756. Or you can bring in 1989 with singer Lainie Kazan, who headlines at 9:30 PM at Centre East, 7701 Lincoln in Skokie. Tickets are $28 and $30. There’s more information at 673-6300. White Hen Pantry, in a thoughtful effort to keep everyone sober during the celebrations, will be serving free coffee at participating locations from 6 PM on New Year’s Eve through New Year’s Day. And the CTA once more offers free rides from 8 PM December 31 to 6 AM January 1. Enjoy the holidays.