20 FRIDAY Opportunities to see the world-class American Arts and Crafts collection at Lake Bluff’s privately owned Crab Tree Farm are rare. This weekend’s Arts and Crafts Event, which benefits the Unity Temple Restoration and Pleasant Home foundations, includes a visit to Crab Tree, where furniture and objects (by Gustav Stickley and others) are displayed in an authentic 1910 setting. The three-day program starts at 6 tonight with a candlelight tour of River Forest homes, a reception, and a lecture; continues with lectures, lunch, the Crab Tree Farm tour, and another reception on Saturday; and ends with tours of several Oak Park homes and demonstrations of stenciling and art glass restoration on Sunday. Each segment of the program is separately priced. Reservations for the Crab Tree tour, which costs $75 and includes lunch, the reception, and bus transportation, must be made no later than today. Call 708-383-2654.

Christina Calvit’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice won a Joseph Jefferson award for best new work when it was first produced, 14 years ago, at Chicago’s Lifeline Theatre. That didn’t stop Calvit from trying to improve on it. She’s continued to fine-tune the play, and it was a hit at last year’s prestigious Stratford Theatre Festival. The Theatre of Western Springs opens Calvit’s latest retooling of the wry romantic romp–a “theatrical spectacle” complete with period dances and lavish costumes, in the words of director Tony Vezner–this weekend. Eileen Duban (of Lisle) plays the astute and eligible Elizabeth Bennet; Bill Redding (of Clarendon Hills) is Mr. Darcy. Performances are tonight and tomorrow at 8; October 22 at 2:30 and 8; October 26 and 27 at 8; October 28 at 2:30 and 8; and October 29 at 2:30. The theater is at 4384 Hampton in Western Springs; tickets are $18 on Friday and Saturday nights, $15 other times. Call 708-246-3380.

21 SATURDAY Thirty-nine years ago, Margaret Burroughs founded the DuSable Museum of History and Art on the first floor of her South Michigan Avenue greystone, with the pantry serving as its library. The museum was relocated to Washington Park in 1973 and renamed the DuSable Museum of African American History in 1976. Today it will honor the octogenarian printmaker, sculptor, painter, and poet with her first retrospective. Margaret Burroughs: A Lifetime in Art opens today and runs through March 31 at the museum at 740 E. 56th Place in Chicago (773-947-0600). The museum is open from 10 to 5; admission is $3 for adults, $2 for students and seniors, and $1 for children.

Can monthly visits from Aunt Rose be harmful to a woman’s health? Some scientists think so, and they’ve developed a pill to keep her at bay for months at a time. Today Alice Dan, of UIC’s Center for Research on Women and Gender and the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, Truman College biology chair Yvonne Harris, and poet Susan House will take up the question at a panel called Periods…Who Needs ‘Em? It’s part of today’s Menstrual Madness 2000 festival, sponsored by the women’s performance collective The Empress Has Red Clothes. This and other free menses-themed workshops and panels are from 1:30 to 3:30, followed by a two-hour showcase performance ($10). It all takes place at Columbia College’s Ferguson Theater, 600 S. Michigan, Chicago. Call 773-665-4749 for more.

Cheri Honkala, director of the Philadelphia-based Kensington Welfare Rights Union and leader of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, believes that the poor should be involved in every discussion about poverty–especially the ones taking place between the two leading presidential candidates. Honkala, one of the organizers behind the “Bushville” tent city outside the Republican National Convention, will give a lecture entitled Who Speaks for the Poor in Our National Debates? at tonight’s fund-raiser for the Chicago-based radical monthly Peoples Tribune. Local labor organizer Richard Monje will also speak. It starts at 6:30 with a light buffet and reception, followed by the program at 8, at the UNITE Hall, 333 S. Ashland, Chicago. Tickets are $15, half price for students and seniors. Call 773-202-7012 for more information.

22 SUNDAY The treats are set out like gems in a jeweler’s showcase at Deerfields Bakery. A research visit this week (somebody had to do it) turned up Halloween offerings like vampire and werewolf cupcakes, chocolate-frosted black cat cookies, and two-serving cakes in the shape of affable mummies and ghosts, along with tiramisu, turtle cheesecake, and Queen Elizabeth torte. For something really special–a yacht, a baseball stadium, or a snake–the bakers need a little advance notice. This is food as art and the Schmitt family, bakers for five generations, will give away samples (including slices from a six-foot-tall cake) at the grand opening celebration of their new store at 25 S. Roselle in Schaumburg from 10 to 3 today. Call 847-534-0068.

23 MONDAY Sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh was denied a lease by the CHA when he was researching his dissertation on the Robert Taylor Homes–so he stayed off and on for 18 months with families who lived there. Venkatesh, who was born in Madras, India, and grew up in the U.S., saw his share of gang violence and drug activity, but downplays the risks his research entailed, saying, “The fact that I wasn’t white, or a middle- or upper-class African-American, helped to defer a lot of that political antagonism.” He earned his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1997 and last year landed a job at Columbia University, but despite his secure position in the ivory tower says he hopes to follow the example of his mentor, Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson, in reaching outside academe to actively engage in public debates. He’ll discuss his new book, American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto, tonight at 7 at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th, Chicago. It’s free; call 773-684-1300.

24 TUESDAY Asia is the most vibrant–and most dangerous–part of the world today, say Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas D. Kristof in their book Thunder From the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia. The couple, who were journalists there for 14 years and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for their New York Times coverage of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, also argue that the 1997 financial crisis has generated some positive results, clearing away much of the totalitarianism and corruption that was impeding Asia’s rise to global prominence. They’ll give a lecture tonight called Portrait of a Rising Asia at an event sponsored by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. There’s a reception at 6:30; the lecture starts at 7 at the Wyndham Drake Hotel, 2301 York Road in Oak Brook. Admission is $29; call 312-726-3860.

25 WEDNESDAY Tim Steil’s straightforwardly titled Route 66 focuses on the people and places that are there now, rather than, says the author, “tracking down the waitress who worked at a restaurant that burnt down in the 1950s.” Steil, who interviewed some 30 people who live and work along the route, recently quit his day job to focus on a new endeavor–a book about unusual gas stations. He’ll give a free reading tonight at 7 at Hit the Road travel store, 3758 N. Southport, Chicago (773-388-8338).

26 THURSDAY On November 14, 1960, Ruby Bridges’s mother told her to behave herself and be brave when she went to school that day. What the six-year-old didn’t know was that she would have to be escorted by U.S. marshals through an angry crowd chanting “Two-four-six-eight, we don’t want to integrate”–thus becoming the first African-American to attend her New Orleans elementary school. All but one faculty member refused to teach her, and she and that teacher spent over a year together in the classroom alone. Bridges, whose ordeal inspired Norman Rockwell’s painting The Problem We All Live With, will discuss her memoir, Through My Eyes, tonight at 6:30 in the Rubloff Auditorium of the Chicago Historical Society, 1601 N. Clark, Chicago (312-642-4600). It’s free.