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Friday 10

The University of Chicago's Summer Nights festival opens with a performance by the Joseph Holmes Dance Theatre at 8 tonight in the Hutchinson Courtyard, 5706 S. University. The series continues tomorrow night with a concert by members of the Orchestra of Illinois, also at 8. $6.50, $5.50 for students and seniors. 702-7300 for info; in case of rain, performances will be in Mandel Hall, adjacent to the courtyard.

Igloo presents Roberto Athayde's Miss Margarida's Way, opening at 8 tonight for an open run, 3829 N. Broadway. Banned in the playwright's homeland of Brazil and in many other countries, the play is described as a "scandalous comedy" with some rather dark undertones. Tix are $7 and $ 10; reserve at 935-5533.

The Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble stages New Dances '87, a showcase of nine dance premieres choreographed by, among others, Christina Ernst and Sam Watson, Frank Fishella, Tara Mitton, and Mary Ward: the work will be presented in two programs, one at 8 tonight that will be repeated on July 18, the second tomorrow night to be repeated July 17. Choreographers forums will follow the Friday night shows. Everything takes place at the Ruth Page Foundation Theatre, 1016 N. Dearborn. $10, with reservations at 440-9494.

Saturday 11

You're never too old to be enchanted by butterflies: they're just as pretty now as when you were a kid. Find out more about them at a program on local butterflies being presented at 10 AM at the North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski. After the program, interested parties may elect to participate in the Xerces Society's national butterfly count. Preregister for the program, which costs $1, at 583-8970; more on the butterfly count at 583-3714.

The circus is not in town, but it's not all that far away. More than 75 historic circus wagons from the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, will march in the Great Circus Parade, the apotheosis of circus parades, through downtown Milwaukee at 2 this afternoon, followed by an afternoon and evening three-ring show at Milwaukee's "Coachyards," at Chicago Street and Milwaukee Avenue, adjacent to the Summerfest grounds. The parade is free, and there's no charge for admission to the show grounds; $3.50 for the actual circus. More at 414-273-7877.

The Midwest Buddhist Temple, 435 W. Menomonee, presents its 43rd annual Obon Festival, a memorial observance that is also known as the Feast of Lanterns. Chicken teriyaki will be grilled and served from 5 to 8. Japanese folk dancing, both traditional and modern, starts at 8, accompanied by the temple's Japanese drum group. Free; more at 943-7801.

Sunday 12

Registration for the Chicago International Youth Hostel's aptly named Insomnia Cycle is at 12:30 AM, with a starting time of 2 AM. The 24-mile course begins and ends at Buckingham Fountain at Congress and Lake Shore Drive and should take bicyclists until sunrise. Illinois law requires reflectors and a headlight. $3 fee covers insurance, support, and patches. More at 327-8114.

The Manor Garden Club is sponsoring its annual garden walk from 2 to 6 this afternoon. Maps and a list of gardens -- from tidy little yards to extensively landscaped waterfront sites overlooking the Chicago River -- are available at the welcome booth in Manor Park at Francisco and Eastwood. The walk is free and provides a bucolic respite in the exceedingly pleasant neighborhood of Ravenswood Manor. Information at 267-3369.

Be there and be square: the Fourth Presbyterian Church presents an old-fashioned square dance at 7:30 tonight in the church social hall, 126 E. Chestnut. A square dance caller will lead dancers in basic steps; advanced dancing is also on the agenda. $2 admission, free for kids under 12. More at 787-4570.

Monday 13

Wright College's adult education program presents an ethnic bus tour of Polish, Vietnamese, and Ukrainian that begins at 8 AM at the college, 3400 N. Austin. Participants will visit Polonia and Ukrainian Village on the near northwest side, with a stop for lunch at Galan's Ukrainian Restaurant; the tour concludes with a stop at the Vietnamese Community Center in Uptown, where the social service needs of refugee populations will be discussed. $30 covers transportation and lunch; register at 794-3200.

Several architects, including Bertrand Goldberg and Larry Booth, will discuss their contributions to the revitalized riverfront (respectively River City and the Helene Curtis building) on a riverboat tour of the Reaccessed Chicago River sponsored by the Architecture Society of the Art Institute. Embarkation from River City is at 5:30; cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served during the tour, which runs until 8:30. Tickets are $30; reservations required: 443-3949.

The Salvation Army, with a considerable amount of Christian zeal, announces a week of gospel tent meetings to be held at 7:30 tonight through Sunday, July 19, at divisional headquarters, 5040 N. Pulaski: the "dynamic preaching" of Major Ross Zarfas will be featured, with inspirational music planned, too. The public is invited. Info at 725-1100.

Tuesday 14

The Chicago Architeture Foundation gives tours of the Chicago River by Boat on Tuesdays from 10 to noon through September 26: the boat departs from the Ogden Slip behind the North Pier Terminal, 509 E. Illinois. The boat cruises parts of the north and south branches. $10 (CAF members $8), which covers coffee and rolls. Reserve at 922-3432 or 922-4020.

Culinary students at Kendall College, under the direction of guest chef Madeleine Kamman, will whip up a little something appropriately in the French style for the college's scholarship fund-raiser Bastille Day Celebration, 5-9 this evening, 2408 Orrington in Evanston. Other Gallic touches will include minstrels and a mime, strolling and cavorting, respectively, about the lovely campus. $35, with details at 866-1310.

Wednesday 15

Friends of the Park and Prudential Plaza sponsor an art exhibition and side by students and alumni of the School of the Art Institute from 11 to 4 today, tomorrow, and Friday in Grant Park, from Randolph to Monroe along Michigan Avenue. Paintings, drawings, ceramics, jewelry, and lots more will be for sale. Free; more at 922-3307.

Thursday 16

The Museum of Contemporary Art at 333 is a special exhibition space in the lobby of the building at 333 W. Wacker that serves as a temporary gallery space and enables the MCA to show lots more work by Chicago artists from the permanent collection than will fit into its space at 237 E. Ontario. The current show, the second to showcase local talent, continues through August 21. Gladys Nilsson will drop by for an informal chat at noon today in the gallery space. Free; more at 280-2671.

Let's say you've got a little cash to spare -- about $4,500, say -- and you've thinking of upgrading your pots and pans. Find out how to do it in one easy step at Designing for Food, a lecture-demo introducing the 23-piece Alessi designer cookware line at 5:30 this evening at Convito Italiano, 11 E. Chestnut. The line was designed by Richard Sapper according to the specifications of various European chefs, and at nearly $200 per item (I expect there are lids included in the 23-piece tally), it strikes me as within your legal rights to sue if your hollandaise curdles or your souffle falls. The talk is free; reservations (required) at 943-2746.

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