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Friday 1/29 - Thursday 2/4

JANUARY

By Cara Jepsen

29 FRIDAY While great architecture in the 19th century was all about public buildings--the movie house, the stock exchange, the museum--the 20th century saw a shift in emphasis to the private home. But architects like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Rem Koolhaas created difficult designs. Instead of being built for comfort, their modern houses were often vehicles for new ideas. Images of these homes in magazines and journals had a huge impact on the profession, affecting our ideas about other types of buildings as well. Beatriz Colomina, professor of architecture at Princeton University, will talk about this paradigm shift in a lecture called The Media House. It's tonight at 6 at the Graham Foundation, 4 W. Burton Place (312-787-4071). Admission is free.

Physicist Stephen Hawking has done some amazing things: he discovered that black holes emit radiation, wrote a best-seller (A Brief History of Time), and got to appear on Star Trek. Hawking will explain it all (the universe stuff, that is) tonight at 9 at "The Universe in a Nutshell," the first installment of the Adler Planetarium's new lecture series, "Our Expanding Universe." It's at the Arie Crown Theatre at McCormick Place, 2300 S. Lake Shore Drive. Tickets are $30, $10 for children; call 312-559-1212.

30 SATURDAY Every song in the Clothes Sisters' repertoire refers in some way to apparel. "It's a preoccupation, you know," says senior member Jenny Magnus. She and two young nieces of her artistic partner Beau O'Reilly--Meg and Nia O'Reilly-Amandes--sing everything from old vaudeville tunes to "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'." The trio will perform tonight at Full Moon Vaudeville, which is touted as an "intergenerational evening of songs, storytelling, comedy and theatre." Magnus, who co-organized the show, will host as part of the cabaret-rock group Maestro Subgum & the Whole. Also on the bill are monologuist Cheryl Trykv, singer-songwriter Diane Izzo, and dancer Bob Eisen. The $12 event starts at 8 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago (312-397-4010).

31 SUNDAY As its title suggests, the Strictly Sail Chicago boat show is for the captain who's really worth his or her salt. Besides the usual display of the latest craft and equipment, the event features a program on the 2000 America's Cup in New Zealand, and the National Women's Sailing Association will offer seminars on sailing confidence and navigation for aspiring female skippers. Today's the last day of the show, which began on Thursday. It's from 10 to 6 at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children. Call 312-946-6262 for information, 800-587-7469 for advance tickets.

FEBRUARY

1 MONDAY In her first book, For Us, the Living, Myrlie Evers-Williams wrote about her late husband, civil rights leader Medgar Evers. In her new book, Watch Me Fly, the former NAACP chairwoman discusses her own life. "I wanted to blow that image of 'the widow of,'" she says. Evers-Williams writes frankly about marital discord with Medgar and her depression and addiction to prescription drugs following his death. "I believe this is the first book that has come from a civil rights leader and a woman who has been bluntly honest about how the pressures of the civil rights movement affected marriages and family life." She'll talk tonight at 6 in the Harold Washington Library Center auditorium, 400 S. State (312-747-4050). Admission is free.

2 TUESDAY Unlike baby boomers, who "rely on the media to provide them with images of a multiethnic America," today's fifteen-to-twentysomethings are "already living in it," writes author and journalist Farai Chideya in her new book, The Color of Our Future. Those she interviewed include Berkeley graduate LaShunda Prescott, who dropped out twice to deal with family issues before finishing school, and Prescott's schoolmate, Middle Eastern immigrant and College Republicans vice president Steve Mohebi, who defends race-based recruiting in fraternities. Chideya, who also penned 1995's Don't Believe the Hype: Cultural Misinformation About African-Americans, will discuss and sign her latest tonight at 6 in the Harold Washington Library Center auditorium, 400 S. State (312-747-4050). It's free.

3 WEDNESDAY Most people who shop at secondhand stores don't assume a new personality with each piece of old clothing. But that's the modus operandi of Elston, a creepy thrift-store clerk and smooth talker in Phyllis Nagy's play Disappeared. The sympathetic, tuxedo-clad character captures the fancy of an embittered travel agent who, as the title suggests, vanishes shortly after their meeting in a sleepy dive. Whether that's a good thing remains to be seen. Previews of the Roadworks Productions show start at 7:30 tonight at the Steppenwolf Studio Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted (312-335-1650); tickets are $16.

4 THURSDAY In Turkey in the early 1700s, guests at Sultan Ahmed III's garden soirees were required to dress in clothes that complemented the thousands of tulips he'd imported from Holland. After a while his subjects got tired of ol' Ahmed's flowery extravagances and got rid of him. But he wasn't the only tulip fancier; there were similar frenzies for the blossom all over Europe. More recently the plant has inspired British garden writer Anna Pavord to write a book about it. The Tulip won't be out until March, but Pavord may throw out a few tips today when she and other plant experts conduct a daylong symposium sponsored by Horticulture magazine. Command Performance: How to Design and Plant for Drama, Mystery and Surprise is from 8 to 4 at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe. The cost, which includes lunch, is $109. Call 800-395-1901 to reserve a spot.

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