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Friday 8/22 - Thursday 8/28

AUGUST

By Cara Jepsen

22 FRIDAY Double Dutch, the jump-rope game in which two ropes are spun in opposite directions simultaneously, has been around playgrounds for generations. Recently kids have added acrobatics and dancing, elevating the game to the level of a genuine sport. Some of the best jumpers from around the city will demonstrate their skills and compete for prizes at today's Double Dutch Contest. It's from 2 to 4 in Grant Park at Michigan and Washington. It's free to watch. Call 312-744-6630 for more.

Reading about antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria has made me more willing to take my chances with herbs when I get sick. The people behind this weekend's Chicago '97 Natural Health Show would give me the thumbs-up; they believe that natural remedies and preventatives constitute a healthier method of combatting illness. The three-day event includes exhibits, lectures, and workshops on how to use pure oxygen, raw foods, mind power, and other means to stay well. The convention is today from noon to 9, Saturday from 9 to 9, and Sunday from 10 to 7 at the Inland Meeting and Exposition Center, 400 E. Ogden in Westmont. Admission is $5 today, $10 Saturday or Sunday, or $20 for a three-day pass. Call 847-272-5887 for more.

23 SATURDAY If only those eight-dollar-an-hour UPS part-timers had a Mother Jones working for them. In 1903 the labor leader was on the job in Philadelphia, trying to build public support for striking textile workers, when she realized that child laborers--"half-fed, half-clothed, and half-housed"--could help raise sympathy for the cause. She gathered them together and marched the group from Philadelphia to New York with signs reading "We Want Time to Play" and "We Only Ask for Justice." The stunt brought attention to both the strike and the lot of child laborers and paved the way for child-labor reform legislation. Even so, it wasn't until 1938 that the first successful national law was passed. In his children's book We Have Marched Together: The Working Children's Crusade, elementary school teacher Stephen Currie examines what happened in the intervening years. He'll discuss and sign copies of his book today at 4 at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th. It's free. Call 773-684-1300.

24 SUNDAY The past century's move from small family farms to giant corporate plantations has taken its toll not only on the economy and the environment but on the type of produce we eat. It's bland--think of eating a perfectly ripe, juicy, red tomato from your friend's garden versus biting into its mealy, pale orange, store-bought counterpart--and there are fewer varieties. Of some 530 different kinds of tomatoes, only two or three end up in the grocery store. Chosen because they're the hardiest strains, they've also had the scent and flavor bred out of them. Luckily for us, some people have been working to preserve the genetic diversity of domestic plants, passing down seeds from generation to generation. Today hobbyists from around the region will exhibit a wide range of rare herbs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, and they'll take orders for seeds at the Heirloom Garden Show. It's from 11 to 4 at the Garfield Farm Museum, 3N016 Garfield Road (at Route 38) in Kane County near Geneva. It's $5 for adults, $1 for children; call 630-584-8485 for directions and more information.

25 MONDAY Sometimes art-ists get tired of looking at their unused materials and start cleaning house. Or maybe they change mediums. Whatever the case, they've brought their old threads, paints, fabrics, yarns, buttons, beads, patterns, and art-related magazines and books to the Textile Arts Centre's Artists' Recycle Sale, where other artists can buy them and pick up where they left off. There's often a lot of vintage stuff that can't be found anywhere else; this year's sale includes an old floor loom. The sale starts Friday and runs through the weekend. It's from noon to 6:30 today at the Textile Arts Centre, 916 W. Diversey. It's free. Call 773-929-5655.

26 TUESDAY Unlike, say, Oliver Stone, Hong Kong filmmakers have tended to use subtle methods to address social and political concerns, especially over the past ten years as reunification with China grew nearer. In a lecture called Hong Kong Movies and the Imagery of 1997, Film Center director Barbara Scharres will discuss how gangster films, ghost stories, and romantic comedies really portray fears about rising crime rates, cultural differences, and China's sometimes violent past. She'll illustrate the lecture with clips from such films as Police Story III: Supercop, Hard-Boiled, Once Upon a Time in China II, and Mary From Beijing. It ties into the Film Center's monthlong Hong Kong-in-transition film series. The lecture is at 6 at the Film Center at the School of the Art Institute, Columbus and Jackson. It's $6. Call 312-443-3737.

27 WEDNESDAY Editor Tim Brown has accomplished a rare thing in the world of the small independent press--he's managed to keep Chicago-based Tomorrow magazine afloat for 15 years. He's also exposed the world to a lot of excellent poets before anyone else heard of them. Tonight's Tomorrow Magazine Fifteenth Anniversary Spectacular will be emceed by Christopher Stewart and will feature readings from poets published in the current issue, including Paula Amann, Francisco Carrasco, H.R. Felgenhauer, Sandra Goldsmith, John O'Toole, and Paul F. Wolf. It starts at 7:30 at the Guild Complex at the Chopin Theater, 1543 W. Division. It's $5, or $3 for open mike participants. Call 773-278-2210 for more.

28 THURSDAY How risky are mutual funds? Today Morningstar Inc. president Don Phillips will try to lay out everything you need to know about Mutual Funds and the Investment Process. It's from 5:30 to 6:30 in the Harold Washington Library's lower-level multipurpose room; admission is free. Call 312-747-4400 for details.

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