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Friday 24

The Chicago Park District Arbor Day ceremony will include a symbolic tree planting and 1,500 free sugar maples to be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. It will be held at 12:15 at the Richard J. Daley Bicentennial Plaza, 337 E. Randolph. Info at 294-2493.

Chicago Deco: Lost & Found, an exhibit of Cibachrome prints and black-and-white photos by Lynn Abbie, opens from 5 to 8 this evening at Gallery Neo Deco, 310 W. Chicago. Abbie is founder and president of the Chicago Art Deco Society. If you want to see Chicago Deco in 3-D, you might be interested in a north side deco tour being given by the group at 1 tomorrow, starting at Mundelein College, 6363 N. Sheridan. The exhibit is free, the tour is $3; more on the former at 944-3834, the latter at 334-6084.

Step into the 1940s with Swing Into Spring, a dance that will be held from 8 to 1 at the Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence, and will be broadcast live on the Larry Smith Show on WBEZ (91.5 FM). The 18-piece Deja Vu Big Band will be featured, along with the vocal trio Stardust. Tickets are $15, $12 in advance; 878-5552 for details.

The 13th annual benefit for the Poetry Center at the School of the Art Institute features a reading by Charles Simic at 8 tonight, Columbus Drive at Jackson. Tickets are $6 and will be available at the door: 871-6175 or 443-3711.

Saturday 25

You won't exactly expand your list of pen pals, but you can do a good deed on a global scale by participating in an Amnesty International Write-a-thon from noon to 4:30 this afternoon at Northwestern's Parkes Hall, 1870 Sheridan in Evanston. Sample letters, stationery, entertainment, and refreshments will be provided to those willing to write letters to help prisoners throughout the world. More at 427-2060.

This month's installment of Chicago Filmmakers' Spoken Word Cafe promises a real gallimaufry -- poetry by Carl Watson (variously described as "strident," "an ersatz comedian," and a "post-existential hillbilly clown"), performance art by Kathy Kosmider ("shock and pause, terror and lust"), and a screening of Daughter of Horror ("inhuman, indecent, and the quintessence of gruesomeness," said the New York State Board of Censors upon its release in 1955). Things kick off at 8 PM, 6 W. Hubbard; $5, $4 for members and seniors, with information at 329-0854.

Sunday 26

The Salon of Modalisque sponsors the Flea Market, 10-4 today (and the last Sunday of every month) at 616 W. Adams. Avant-garb from artists, accessory and clothing designers, vintage clothing dealers, and assorted "bohemian entrepreneurs" will be for sale in a 7,000-square-foot loft. Info at 559-0107.

Enliven your life at a Santa Fe Spice Seminar being sponsored by the Blue Mesa Restaurant, 1729 N. Halsted, from 1 to 3 today. Today's fun fact: eating spicy food makes you sweat, which cools you off, and that's (sort of) why lots of hot countries have hot, spicy cuisines and why eating these dishes in the summer is not dumb. $10 for the demonstration and a sampling accompanied by a Blue Mesa margarita: reserve at 467-7142.

The Chicago Botanic Garden and the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation sponsor a family bike day, which will include a safety inspection of bicycles (1-4), two hour-long round-trip bike rides on the North Branch Bike Trail (noon and 2), and a slide lecture on cycling and hiking on the Milford Track in New Zealand (1:30). An extra, added attraction will be a carillon concert at 3. Admission is free, but parking costs $1 per car; the Botanic Garden is on Lake Cook Road east of Edens. Details at 835-5440.

For a genteel evening, drop by the Red Lion Pub for a reading of poems by W.B. Yeats, 7 PM at 2446 N. Lincoln. Readings and discussions will be led by Cohn Cordwell, Mary Murphy, and Brian Ellickson; audience participation is encouraged. 348-2695 for information.

Monday 27

Not too long ago, I decided I wouldn't see another Shakespeare play unless it featured Mick Jagger. People in the know, however, insist that even though Mick will not be featured in the Goodman's production of The Tempest, it has other redeeming features, including very hilarious stuff from Del Close, Ariel's flight done by the people who hung Mary Martin from the sky in Peter Pan, and plenty of very special effects. It opens at 7:30 tonight and continues through May 29, 200 S. Columbus. Tickets are $15-$25; reserve at 443-3800.

Tuesday 28

Today's the last day to catch the exhibit H.G. Wells: Reality and Beyond at the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. An H.G. Wells film series also concludes today with a screening of Things to Come (1936), 5 PM at the Cultural Center. Science fiction scholar Leon Stover, a professor at IIT, will introduce the movie, which is particularly notable for its sets, designed by William Cameron Menzies and depicting a very entrancing view of life in the late 20th century. Free; more at 269-2926.

Wednesday 29

The Women's Center at Northwestern sponsors two free talks by Carol Jacklin, professor of psychology and former director of the Program for the Study of Women and Men in Society at the University of Southern California. The first is titled Toward a Feminist Agenda in the 1990s and will be presented at noon today at the Women's Studies Program, 2000 Sheridan in Evanston. Tomorrow at 4, Jacklin will discuss Stalking Development of Sex Differences, an area she has coauthored a book on, 4 PM in Kresge Centennial Hall, 1859 Sheridan in Evanston. 491-7360 for details.

A concert performance of "Don Juan in Hell," the third act of George Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman (typically not performed with most stage productions) will be given tonight at the Ruth Volid Gallery, 225 W. Illinois. A benefit for the Body Politic Theatre, the black-tie festivities get under way at 5:30 with a buffet reception; tix are $55. A second presentation is planned for 7:30 on May 6 at the theater, 2261 N. Lincoln; $20, wine included. The other two acts can be seen at the Body Politic through May 10; $14-$17. Details on all of the above at 871-3000.

The Museum of Contemporary Art will offer an impressive array of programs elaborating on the theme of their current exhibit The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985, which opened April 25 and continues through July 19. Tonight's discussion on The Influence of Spiritual Ideas on the Development of Abstract Painting will be moderated by Franz Schulze; panelists are Maurice Tuchman, organizer of the exhibit and curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, John Hallmark Neff, art program director at the First National Bank of Chicago, and theosophist John Algeo. A cash bar opens at 5:30 at the Arts Club of Chicago, 109 E. Ontario; the panel convenes at 6; $8, $5 for members, students, and seniors. Reserve at 280-2697.

Thursday 30

Whitney Chadwick, author of Women Authors and the Surrealist Movement, will give a talk titled Liberating the Muse: Self-Portraits by Women Surrealists at 7:30 tonight at Artemisia Gallery, 341 W. Superior. Chadwick posits that surrealists of the male persuasion painted their romantic projections of women, while the (largely forgotten) women artists concentrated on their individual experiences to probe identity and role in their self-portraits (Frida Kahlo's images of physical suffering are cited). $3 admission, with info at 751-2016.

The ever-popular Howard Levy, a musician with many equally polished facets, performs tonight through May 2 at Pops for Champagne, 2934 N. Sheffield. There's a $2 cover tonight, $3 tomorrow and Saturday; shows begin around 9. 472-1000 for information.

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