Friday 6

Bob Smith is a video maker whose offbeat sense of humor, displayed in his Rudy Dinasaur Show, won him a grant from the Center for New Television. Smith is mentally retarded, but as a participant in Little City’s Project VITAL (Video Induced Training and Learning), Smith has a chance to express his creative vision. The people who run the Little City residence believe mentally retarded and developmentally disabled people can use video technology to communicate their view of the world, and can be taught marketable skills at the same time. This weekend animated shorts and other video produced by Little City residents are being shown on large monitors at Video Adventure outlets in Highland Park (1890 First St.) and Evanston (1926 Central and 635 Chicago). The stores open at 11 on Friday, 10 on Saturday, noon on Sunday; call 282-2207 for more.

Whether you decide to put it on your head or frame it on the wall, you’re likely to find a hat to suit your fancy at Salon of Modalisque, 616 W. Adams. The salon’s A Head of Our Time show is selling headgear designed by a dozen of the city’s leading “underground” artists. Their handiwork includes “bronzed” cowboy hats, silk origami-folded constructions, feathered skull caps, and “altered” top hats. A reception with informal modeling and cash bar kicks off the month-long exhibit at 5 this afternoon. Call 559-0107 for details.

American Indians were here first, they’re still here, and they’re going strong. Tonight, over 30 tribes from across the nation gather for the 34th annual Pow Wow of the Chicago American Indian Center. High drama can be expected from the dancing contests. Sixteen competitive categories include “fancy dance,” in which male and female dancers in feathery costumes perform flashy solos, and traditional, based on ancient dance movements that were often “received” in personal vision quests. There’ll also be Indian arts, crafts, snacks, and an archery course for the athletically inclined. The powwow takes place at Navy Pier (Grand Avenue at the lake) 6 to 10 tonight; 10 to 10 Saturday, and 10 to 7 Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children and seniors. More info at 275-5871.

Saturday 7

So you’ve got a great money-making idea, but you need a little capital to make it fly? Check out Laura Wohlford’s business loan packaging workshop. Wohlford’s advice has helped her clients secure $25 million in loans. She’ll discuss what lenders look for, where to find loan sources, and how to package a persuasive loan proposal. The $20 workshop runs 9 to 1 today at Truman College’s Small Business Development Center, 1145 W. Wilson. Call 989-6231 for details.

As Ezra Pound wrote, “Winter is a icumen in / Lhude sing Goddamm,” and that can be bad news for the birds. They’ve come to rely on the kindness of human beings to survive the harsh winter months. North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski, offers tips on bird feeding at 11, to be followed by a feeder-making session. Bring a hammer and $2 for materials and you’ll walk away with your very own bird feeder. Register at 583-8970.

It’s hard to imagine Calvin Trillin being very comfortable in a crowd, but the sardonic king of deadpan humor will try his darndest to be sociable this afternoon, He’ll be autographing copies of his new collection of essays, If You Can’t Say Something Nice, 1 PM at Unabridged Books, 3251 N. Broadway (883-9119) and 4 PM at Guild Books, 2456 N. Lincoln (525-3667).

Sunday 8

Field workers at Transitional Living Programs don’t wait for homeless kids to come by their Lakeview headquarters; they go out and find runaways on the street, and invite them into the TLP system. The program provides shelter, food, and clothing for youths 16 to 20 with no place to call home, and teaches independent living skills to kids who might otherwise be exploited or abused. From 3 to 7, the Newberry Library hosts a benefit for Transitional Living Programs; 60 W Walton. The $25 ticket entitles you to jazz, wine, hors d’oeuvres, and a silent auction. Reservations at 885-0025.

Monday 9

Amaze your friends and influence people by learning how to juggle three balls, ride a unicycle, and perform pocket magic. These skills and more are being taught by Funny Face Place in its clowning workshop. The eight-week course includes lessons in applying clown makeup, walking and talking like a clown, and constructing a costume. Registration ($50 tuition) is 7:30 to 8:30 tonight at 3312 W. Thorndale. Details at 283-7023.

Give a listen to Jerzy Kosinski if you feel up to dealing with the major themes of human existence. In The Painted Bird, Being There, and other novels, the Polish-born Holocaust survivor depicts man’s place in the modern world with sparseness, subtlety, and grace. Kosinski will address the topics of “Art, Life and A.J. Heschel” tonight at 8 at Glencoe’s North Shore Congregation Israel, 1185 Sheridan; and “Being There: An Evening With Jerzy Kosinski” takes place at 8 PM Wednesday, November 11, at Anshe Emet Synagogue, 3760 N. Pine Grove. Tickets are $10 each night and are available by calling 922-9012.

Tuesday 10

For over three centuries the kings and queens of England have been collecting some of the finest drawings in the Western world. A selection of those drawings, curated by the Royal Library, Windsor Castle, comes to the Art Institute for a ten-week visit. Italian Master Drawings From the British Royal collection: Leonardo to Canaletto includes draftsmanship by Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael. The exhibit is on view starting today at the Art Institute, Michigan Avenue at Adams, 10:30 to 8 today, 10:30 to 4:30 Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; and 10 to 5 Saturday and Sunday. 443-3600 for more.

Wallace Terry, author of Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans, holds a dissenting opinion on Platoon, saying the movie “barely rises above the age-old Hollywood stereotypes of blacks as celluloid savages and coons who do silly things.” Terry, who covered the war for Time magazine, airs his views on the black experience in Vietnam at a free talk at the University of Chicago Law School, 1111 E. 60th Street, tonight at 7:30. More at 702-8360.

Wednesday 11

OK, it’s time to find out if cutting down on all the wonderfully rich food that’s so terribly unhealthy has actually lowered your cholesterol level. Free cholesterol screening tests are being administered 10-7 today at the University of Illinois, 1740 W Taylor, and 8:30-4 Thursday and 8:30-5 Friday at the State of Illinois Building, 100 W Randolph (917-3500). The company that makes a butter substitute called Promise Spread is sponsoring the cholesterol check, and they say nearly one out of four persons tested so far have cholesterol counts that put them at moderate to high risk for developing heart disease.

A lot of local scene-makers think the Wildroots could be the next rock band to “happen” from Chicago. Chief songwriter-vocalist-guitarist J.D. Dragus has brightened and countrified his sound since his days with the Others; the result is back-to-basics, twin guitar rock and roll. The quartet makes its first appearance at Park West, 322 W Armitage, tonight at 8:00. $5 admission; 929-5959.

Thursday 12

Is Lebanon destined to be a geopolitical black hole for the rest of the century? This most troubled of nations is torn by factions of every stripe, making for a bewildering scenario that few Americans understand. Shedding light on the subject is Metropolitan Saliba of the Syrian Orthodox archdiocese in Mount Lebanon, who’s teaching at McCormick Theological Seminary this fall. Saliba’s lecture, The Present Situation in Lebanon: A Political and Theological Perspective, begins 7:30 tonight at McCormick Theological Seminary, 5555 S. Woodlawn. Call 241-7800 for details.