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Friday 2/28 - Thursday 3/6

FEBRUARY

By Cara Jepsen

28 FRIDAY Photographer Iwona Biedermann became friends with an African-American woman in her midwifery class while pregnant with her son, Daniel. The two gave birth a day apart and continued to grow closer as their sons grew older. "As soon as her son--whose father is white--could speak," says Biedermann, "he looked at Daniel and asked, 'Why is your mommy white?'" His awareness of skin color at such an early age became the catalyst for her two-year photographic investigation of intimacy and race relations, EmbRace: An Intimate Look at Bi-Racial Harmony. The monthlong exhibit opens tonight at Tene Gallery, where Marvin Tate, one of Biedermann's subjects, will present poetry and music. It's from 5:30 to 9:30 at the gallery, 1353 S. Wabash, third floor. It's free; call 312-663-4108.

The subject of our cover story, John Norton, is one of the artists whose work is featured in The Tree Studios, an exhibit showcasing the talents of those who've lived and worked in the more than century-old artists' residence. The free show opens tonight from 5:30 to 7:30 and runs through April 5 at the Cliff Dwellers, 200 S. Michigan; 312-922-8080.

Most restaurant owners shoo out homeless people as soon as they walk in. Since 1991 Inspiration Cafe has done the opposite, operating as a "real" restaurant that lets its homeless clientele sit down and order from a menu. The cafe's 300 volunteers also offer social services to their guests. Tonight's Inspired Art Auction, hosted by Ben Hollis, benefits the cafe and features the work of 100 local artists. The $50 admission includes an open bar, buffet, and live music. It's from 6 to 9 at the School of the Art Institute, 112 S. Michigan. Call 773-878-0981.

Tonight's Cops, Crack, the CIA, and the Criminalization of Communities forum will focus on local police behavior, corruption, and arrest patterns in minority communities. Moderated by WVON's Cliff Kelley, the panel features civil rights attorney Stan Willis and CIA expert and National Security Archive senior analyst Peter Kornbluh. It starts at 7 (with refreshments at 6) in the Loop auditorium of DePaul University, 1 E. Jackson, 8th floor. It's $2 to $5, depending on what you can afford. Call 773-278-6706.

MARCH

1 SATURDAY Is there a future for socialism? Can there be peace in the Middle East? What relevance does the Communist Manifesto have today? Those are some of the questions that'll be covered at today's Midwest Socialist Conference. This year's theme, welfare reform and the war on the poor, will be addressed by Marlene Martin of the International Socialist Organization and Pat Gowens of Milwaukee's Welfare Warriors. Registration starts at 10:30, workshops and panels run from 11 to 5, and the address is at 7. It's all at DePaul University's Schmitt Academic Center, Kenmore and Fullerton. Conference admission is $5; the address is free. Call 773-235-5447 for info.

Basketball-playing pigs highlight today's National Pig Day celebration--a 25-year-old holiday designed to show off the intelligence of swine. The event features hog-related singing and crafts, a movie in which pigs teach children about conservation, and a demonstration of how the animals distinguish objects by scent. It's from 11 to 3 at Brookfield Zoo, First Avenue and 31st Street in Brookfield. It's $6 for adults, $3 for kids 3 to 11, free for children under 3. Call 708-485-0263, ext. 320.

2 SUNDAY Works by Florence Price, Vivian Fine, Leo Sowerby, Alan Stout, Ned Rorem, and William Russo--composers who either received their musical training in Chicago or spent a significant part of their lives here--will be highlighted at today's 20th anniversary Showcase of the Chicago String Ensemble concert. CSE music director Allan Lewis will conduct. It's at 3 in the auditorium of the Chicago Historical Society, Clark and North. Tickets are $10 to $22. Call 312-332-0567.

Vegan food has finally left its tasteless rice-and-soybeans stigma behind; today's offerings can be even tastier and more satisfying than their meaty counterparts. At least that's what the folks at the Autonomous Zone are out to prove at tonight's Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off, where participants will compete in three categories: best of show, special mention, and people's choice. Contestants should bring their chili already prepared and heat it up at the clubhouse. But beware: animal products aren't allowed in the chili, though you can offer dairy products and other accompaniments on the side. It starts at 5 at the Autonomous Zone, 2311 W. North. It's free to compete, $4 to watch and taste. Call 773-278-0775.

3 MONDAY This year the installments of WBEZ's Stories on Stage program will be performed in front of a live audience at the Museum of Contemporary Art and edited down for broadcast next fall. This month's show, Tales of Beatnik Glory: Rogues, Radicals, and Revolutionaries, is directed by Meryl Friedman and features work by William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, and Allen Ginsberg read by local performers, including Curious Theatre Branch founding member Beau O'Reilly. It starts tonight at 7:30 at the MCA, 220 E. Chicago. Admission is $12, $10 for students and seniors. Call 312-397-4010.

4 TUESDAY You don't have to be doctor material to attend the University of Chicago's Mini-Med School, where grades won't be given and topics will be explained in layman's terms. Tonight's "class," Anatomy 101: Building the Bionic Human, will be taught by a paleontologist and an orthopedic surgeon, who'll discuss dinosaur hips, artificial joints, and the way form follows function. Future classes include clinical judgment, drug development, biochemistry, gene therapy, and cancer. The free series runs ten consecutive Tuesdays starting tonight from 7:30 to 9 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Participants must register in advance; call 888-824-0200.

5 WEDNESDAY Are you a Satiation personality or an Arousal type? Satiation types prefer quiet and calm, while Arousals are old-school Type A. Being too much of either one is bad, according to Dr. Joel Robertson, and can cause a chemical imbalance that can lead to depression. Once you've diagnosed your personality type, you can use diet, exercise, and other natural methods to restore the balance. It's all explained in his new book, Natural Prozac: Learning to Release Your Body's Anti-Depressants. Just think: Unlike Prozac, which costs about $1 per pill, you only have to buy Robertson's book once. He'll discuss his theories tonight at 5:30 at Transitions Bookplace, 1000 W. North. It's free; call 312-951-7323.

6 THURSDAY Today the Wo-men and Labor History Theatre Project will examine how the fate of women has changed over the last 100 years when it presents Come Along and Join, a historical look at women in the labor movement. NPR's Cheryl Corley will moderate a discussion about women in nontraditional careers; panelists include conductor Barbara Shubert, apprentice plumber and welder Impy Simms, cantor Ann Feldman, and journeyman/master plumber Laura May Miller-Webb. It's part of the Cultural Center's monthlong "The Past Is Prologue: Women Toward the 21st Century" series. It starts at 5:30 in the Claudia Cassidy Theater at the center, 78 E. Washington. It's free; call 312-744-6630.

Why ask for something directly when you can be obsequious, manipulative, and underhanded? That could be the subhead of motivational speaker Kevin Hogan's latest book, The Psychology of Persuasion: How to Persuade People to Your Way of Thinking. Hogan, who has a doctorate in clinical hypnosis, promises to show readers how to get just about anything they want from anyone at anytime. Tonight he'll discuss his methods for persuasion in the workplace at 7 at Borders Books and Music, 2817 N. Clark. It's free; call 773-935-3909.

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