Friday 7/11 - Thursday 7/17
By Cara Jepsen
11 FRIDAY Experts predict there will be five billion people living in cities by 2025. Forget congestion and overcrowding for a minute--what are people going to eat? Enterprising folks will plant vegetable gardens in parking lots, on rooftops, in window boxes, on back porches, and anywhere else they can find a little space. But this kind of back-to-the-earth ingenuity may be our salvation, according to Tracey Henderson, who's been training Chicagoans to grow their own for years. She says city gardens foster community in addition to yielding food. Today Henderson will discuss urban gardens at the National Conference to Tackle Social, Political and Ethical Issues, which also includes workshops on such topics as land mines, physician-assisted suicide, suburbanization, AIDS, gang mediation, the future of Hong Kong, and more; tomorrow's roster includes a "Globalfest" with music, dance, food, and ethnic dress. The conference is from 8 to 5 today (Henderson's workshop is at 10:30) and runs through Sunday; the Globalfest is from 4:30 to 8 on Saturday. It's all at Wheaton College; registration is in the college's Edman Memorial Chapel at Washington and Franklin in Wheaton. The daily fee is $35, $20 for children. Call 630-752-5058 for more.
12 SATURDAY "You might not ever get rich / But at least you'll have a fresh-lookin' bitch / When she gets through this dog-wash machine / There's no telling how spotless she'll be / C'mon and sing it with me, dog wash, yeah." My apologies to Rose Royce...it's time again for the Anti-Cruelty Society's annual DogWash, where trained volunteers will wash, dry, and brush your mutt no matter how dirty. They'll also award prizes to the dog and owner who look most alike and to the "drooliest" dog. It's from 10 to 2 in the courtyard at the Anti-Cruelty Society, 510 N. LaSalle. The cost is based on weight: it's $10 for pups up to 25 pounds, $15 for dogs 26 to 49 pounds, and $20 for big 'uns over 50 pounds. Dogs also must be at least six months old and up-to-date on their vaccinations. Appointments aren't necessary; call 312-644-8338 for more.
A few years ago you could find the free magazine Subnation on the floor at many of the same places you can pick up this paper. The glossy rag claimed to be on the cutting edge, mentioned Liz Phair in just about every issue, and assaulted the senses with its colorful war between graphics and text--unfortunately this last feature rendered most of the writing nearly illegible. Reader contributor Adam Langer served as the periodical's editor and later wrote a successful and scathing play loosely based on his experiences there. He's also directed a movie version of his play, entitled The Blank Page, which is about the conflict between art and advertising at the fictional Void Magazine. The 45-minute short is chock-full of local actors and bands, cameo appearances by local luminaries such as Ed Paschke and Jackie Bange, and former Subnation regulars, including this writer. It will be shown for the first time tonight along with Shaz Kerr's The Last Days, a short film about the end of childhood. Both directors will be present at the screening. It all starts at 8 in the Film Center of the Art Institute, Columbus and Jackson. Tickets cost $6. Call 312-443-3737.
13 SUNDAY The pool's full, the hedges have been trimmed, and the landscapers have finally finished mowing the lawn. Now you're considering putting in one of those idyllic-looking backyard ponds stocked with giant goldfish. Actually, those aren't goldfish that grew really, really big because they had a lot of space. They're koi, a type of Japanese carp that can reach 32 inches in length. And those pretty ponds require a lot of attention. Today you can see several koi ponds and learn about their care on a self-guided pond tour sponsored by the Midwest Pond and Koi Society; it includes 33 suburban and urban pet shops, nurseries, and private homes. You can view them from 9 to 6 Saturday and today; one of the sites is the Grand Aquarium and Pet Center at 5717 W. Grand. It's free to visit, but you'll probably want to know where you're going. Maps for the tour are $10 and can be purchased at the Grand Aquarium, among other locations, or by calling 312-409-2081.
14 MONDAY Great Lakes fish live in water rife with toxic chemicals. People catch the fish, pregnant mothers eat them, and their children suffer from developmental delays and low IQs. Is there a correlation? The folks at the EPA think so. They'll present an overview of the issue in layman's terms and the public will have a chance to voice its concerns at the Great Lakes Endocrine Disrupter Symposium. It's from 8:30 to 5:15 at the Ambassador West Hotel, 1300 N. State. It's free, but you must preregister to attend. Call 312-886-4306.
15 TUESDAY Two years ago the Chinese government sentenced writer Wei Jinsheng to 14 years in prison for conspiracy to subvert the government. His crime? Publishing antigovernment articles abroad and raising money for victims of political persecution. This jail sentence is his second; he was sentenced to 15 years in 1979 for counterrevolutionary activities. Wei was free for only a few months before his second arrest. These days, still in poor health, he lives in the same cell where he served most of his last sentence. Wei was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize this year for his outspoken condemnation of China's continuing human rights abuses. Tonight Amnesty International hosts a free reading from Wei's The Courage to Stand Alone: Letters From Prison and Other Writings. It starts at 7 at Borders Books & Music, 2817 N. Clark. Call 773-935-3909.
16 WEDNESDAY It seems there's an extreme version of every sport these days, not to mention a cable channel--ESPN2--to broadcast them. Most of these new twists on old sports seem to be more than a little bit of a stretch. Tonight's BVD Extreme Bowling benefit promises a series of stunts performed by four "wacky, offbeat guys" on in-line skates. Events include three-legged bowling, relay bowling, blindfolded bowling, and a really, really extreme form in which the bowler begins his delivery down the street from the alley. The male-oriented event also features beer, pool, snacks, and music. Oh, and you're supposed to wear a certain brand of underwear (if you forget, it will be supplied by the event's sponsor). It's from 6 to 9:30 at the Lucky Strike, 2747 N. Lincoln. Admission is $15 and benefits the New Group of the MCA. Call 773-549-2695.
17 THURSDAY Just when you thought you were safe inside your fabulous new climate-controlled town home, you find out that new carpeting, new furniture, strong cleaning products, and inadequate ventilation all contribute to indoor air pollution, which makes a lot of people very sick every year. (And you thought that sick-building syndrome was confined to the office.) Tonight occupational medicine specialist Peter Orris will discuss causes and prevention of indoor air pollution at a free lecture called Toxic Interiors. It's at 7 in the lower level meeting room at the Hyde Park Co-op Supermarket, 1526 E. 55th. Call 773-667-1444, ext. 1214, for more information.