Friday 13

Douchan Gersi survived, among other feats, immersion into a pit of carnivorous ants to win the distinction of “blood brother” from the Dayak headhunters of Borneo. He has also become friendly with other tribal types, including the sea gypsies of southeast Asia, and the pirates of the Sulu Sea. He’ll be stopping in Chicago to discuss these and other exploits he’s undertaken as an explorer and filmmaker, and to promote his new book, Explorer. Where? Northbrook Court’s Banana Republic store, of course (2182 Northbrook Court, Lake Cook Road in Northbrook). He’ll be speaking at 4; admission is free but seating is limited so call 564-3220 for reservations.

Performance artist Michael Kalmes Meyers presents his new work, Verbatim, “a performed magazine of theatrical moments,” at 7:30 tonight and tomorrow in the auditorium on the Concourse Level of the State of Illinois Center, 100 W. Randolph. Meyers’s collage approach to theater has been seen in Israel, Amsterdam, England, and Scotland, and he currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute. Admission is $5 per performance, $7.50 for both; students and seniors $4 per performance, $6 for both. Reservations at 769-5199.

Edgar Lee Masters’s Spoon River Anthology is perhaps the definitive critique of small-town social mores and restrictions. The Chicago Dance Medium will put monologues into motion at 8 tonight at MoMing Dance & Arts Center, 1034 W. Barry, in the dance drama, Lost in Silence. Tickets are $9, $7 for students and seniors. Reservations are available at 939-0181; performances continue Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 7:30 PM.

Saturday 14

Nursery rhymes are about as comforting as a bad dream with all those tales about babies falling out of treetops and old women beating their children before sending them to bed, but that’s life, isn’t it, folks? Treat your kids to some of the dark poetry as well as the lighter lyrics when Mother Goose recites at the Fiery Clockface Bookshop, 5311 N. Clark, noon to 5:30; admission is free. The reading is part of Andersonville’s Saint Martin’s Goose Day festivities, which include the opening of the new Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark, at 10 AM; a Bell Ringer’s March at 10:30 AM on Clark; and the appearance of Tomten, the Scandinavian Santa, at area shops throughout the day. Call 7284,227 for more.

What do the roles of leopard-spot or crocodile-skin motifs in West African art have in common with that of the turkey at Thanksgiving? Children will discover the correspondence between American traditions such as birthday parties and funerals and celebrations of life and death in Africa when they attend Magic and Masquerades, the new exhibit at Express-Ways Children’s Museum, 2045 N. Lincoln Park West. The exhibit’s grand opening is today and tomorrow, 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM, and suggested admission is $2, $1 for children. More information is available at 281-3222.

Reader contributor John Conroy spent some time in Northern Ireland, trying to get to the bottom of the “troubles”; he will discuss and sign copies of his new book, the fruit of that stay, Belfast Diary: War as a Way of Life, from 3:30 to 5 PM today at Guild Books, 2458 N. Lincoln. James Fallows described the book as “wonderful political writing, travel writing and just plain writing.” Call 525-3667 for information.

Sunday 15

You can’t help but wonder how many sensible shoes folk singer Walkin’ Jim Stoltz has worn out along the 15,000 miles of hiking that earned him his moniker. Anyway, he’ll be settling down long enough to sing a few songs at 8 tonight at No Exit, 6970 N. Glenwood, Tickets are $4; 677-9464.

Monday 16

If you approach life with fear and trembling, maybe you should muster up enough courage to enroll in Stop Running Scared–Strategies for Coping With Fear, a course intended to help people who have intense anxieties, The course begins tonight, 8-9:30, in the Consultation and Education Department offices of Ravenswood Community Mental Health Center, 4545 N. Damen. There is a $36 registration fee; for more information, call 878-4300, ext. 1455.

Limelight goes highbrow with its “arts week,” kicked off tonight with an exhibit of photography, painting, and drawing by Four From the Region: Albert Richardson, Neil MacDonald, Monique Ozimkowski, and Doug Chamberlin, at 632 N. Dearborn (337-2985). In addition, Chamberlin, formerly of local bands Scarlet Architect and Ministry, will take to the stage, showcasing some new tunes. Show times are 10:30 PM and midnight, and admission is $5.

Tuesday 17

Arguably the most evanescent of art forms, dance lends itself particularly well to the art of the photograph. Dance magazine celebrates this collaboration with an exhibit of photos, laminated covers, and posters from its 60-year history. The exhibit, featuring such immortals as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Cynthia Gregory, and Anna Pavlova, opens for the public today at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway. Hours are 11-3 Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information call 922-4046.

Six local comedians in search of a punch line will vie with each other in the Better Boys Foundation’s fifth annual comedy competition, 8 PM at Jim McMahon’s, 1970 N. Lincoln. Headbands not required, but a $10 donation is suggested. Call 427-4434 for details.

Wednesday 18

In addition to being playthings for children, dolls have reflected the thoughts, feelings, desires, and dreams of grown-ups, too. The Field Museum of Natural History, Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive, opens The Stuff of Dreams: Native American Dolls, a presentation of dolls spanning a period of 4,000 years and a geographic range from Alaska to Chile. The exhibit runs through January 12, 9-5. Admission to the museum is $2, $1 for children 17 and under, and 50 cents for seniors. Call 322-8855 for details.

Playwright Arthur Miller, who explored individual and social morality in such plays as Death of a Salesman and The Crucible, will read from his autobiography, Timebands: A Life, at a luncheon at the Westin Hotel, 909 N. Michigan Avenue, sponsored by Kroch’s & Brentano’s and the Friends of the Chicago Public Library. The event begins at 11:15 with wine, followed by lunch at noon. Reservations are $18 for members of the Friends, $20 for nonmembers. Call 266-9660 for more information.

Carved stone ornamentation was once an integral part of Chicago architecture, but in recent years it has become so rare that stone carvers are becoming extinct. Walter S. A Arnold, a free-lance stone carver whose projects have included the National Cathedral in Washington, the Tribune Tower, and the Art Institute of Chicago, will present a free slide lecture on this historic art at 8 PM at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, 4 W. Burton Place. Call 787-4071.

Thursday 19

The Americans started a revolution over it, the Chinese used it as money, the Japanese made it into an art form, and the British built a culture on the drinking of it. Find out how the Daughters of the British Empire regard tea, as they demonstrate the subtle etiquette of The Proper Tea Party between noon and 1 at Kitchentech, level six at Carson Pirie Scott, 1 S. State; 641-4756.