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Friday 7/31 - Thursday 8/6

JULY

By Cara Jepsen

31 FRIDAY It's not just that the multiplexes fail to deliver decent film fare--they don't deliver decent jobs, either, say the organizers of tonight's picket of Cineplex Odeon, a division of Loews Cineplex. They claim the corporation used a TIF subsidy to train high school kids at a southwest-side theater to work as projectionists; the kids are being used as scabs in the ongoing labor dispute with union projectionists, documented in the Reader back in May. The protest organizers, including the Rogers Park Organizing Committee of the Labor Party and the Rogers Park Community Action Network, are worried that the movie monolith will create a similar situation at the proposed Gateway Plaza on Howard Street. They'll convene at 6 at the United Church of Rogers Park, 1545 W. Morse, and then go on to picket in front of the Pipers Alley theaters, 1608 N. Wells. Call 773-973-2185 for more information.

Controversial gay author Eric Rofes began writing Dry Bones Breathe: Gay Men Creating Post-AIDS Identities and Cultures "in an attempt to disprove the AIDS-is-over rhetoric that the media churned out in 1996." But as he did his research, his perspective changed. "I found very few men that still experienced AIDS as a crisis--even many HIV-positive men did not see it that way." He's got numbers to back up his claim and says that HIV prevention and service organizations targeting gay men should rethink their mission. He'll discuss his views tonight at 7:30 at the Howard Brown Health Center, 4025 N. Sheridan. It's free to attend, but reservations are required. Call 773-388-1600, ext. 3308.

AUGUST

1 SATURDAY When freelance writer Steve Dale was doing research for his new book, Doggone Chicago: Sniffing Out the Best Places to Take Your Best Friend, he walked into a picturesque scene at the Marquee Lounge on Halsted near Armitage. "The guy behind the bar was wearing sunglasses and listening to Frank Sinatra," he says. "There was a dog sitting on a bar stool in front of him, doing the same thing," sunglasses and all. Another dog-friendly place that made the cut is "Wiggly Field," a tiny park at Schubert and Sheffield where dogs can run free. Dale, who hosts WGN's Pet Central, will sign copies of the book from 1 to 3 today at Galloping Gourmutts, 2736 N. Lincoln. It's free, but the book is $12.95. Call 773-477-5959.

2 SUNDAY Undeterred by harsh words from the New Art Examiner's Ann Wiens, who called it "simply a waste of time," Pilsen's artist-run Dogmatic Gallery is trading its basement digs for the relatively higher-profile Maxwell Street Market every Sunday in August. The exhibit includes work by Kerry Richardson, coordinator of the Casa Aztlan youth video project, whose members will be hawking Alderman Juan Soliz puppets, and Paul Chan, whose CD-ROM Men@Work: Moments in Modern Teamster History interactively mourns the downfall of former Teamsters president Ron Carey. The opening reception runs from 7 AM to 2 PM today on Canal between Taylor and Depot Place. It's free. Call 312-243-4914.

Would a Buddhist high priest order the destruction of an architecturally significant temple in Japan simply because of a religious spat? Yes, say members of Soka Gakkai, a group of lay Buddhists excommunicated by high priest Nikken Abe in 1991. The Sho-Hondo, built at the foot of Mount Fuji in 1972, is an unofficial monument to Soka Gakkai's leader and Abe's nemesis, Daisaku Ikeda. Architects and Buddhists all over the world have begged for it to be saved, comparing its religious importance to Saint Peter's Basilica or Mecca. Today at 1 Soka Gakkai International is sponsoring a protest rally at its Chicago headquarters, 1455 S. Wabash. It's free; call 312-913-1211 for more.

3 MONDAY At the time the Auditorium Theatre was being built, in the late 1880s, the city was experiencing a postfire economic boom, and there were fears that "the allure of mammon was going to take people away from the ideals that made Chicago great," says musicologist and historian Mark Clague. The idea was that music would uplift and serve the community, and over the years the theater served as a home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Opera Association (now the Civic Opera). Tonight Clague, a professor at the University of Michigan, will lead a free discussion entitled Music for the People: The Social Aesthetic of the Auditorium Theatre. It's at 5:30 in the Chicago Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E. Washington. Call 312-431-2397.

4 TUESDAY In the new road movie Spark, Nina and Byron, an African-American couple, are on their way from Chicago to California when they hit a dog with their Beemer, which later breaks down near an all-white town. There they encounter hostility, long delays, high repair costs, and the mechanic's redneck son, whose dog happens to be missing. But Minneapolis-born filmmaker Garret Williams never makes it clear whether the treatment the couple receives is due to racism or Byron's prickly attitude. The film will screen tonight at 6 (and at 4 on Sunday, August 2) as part of the Black Harvest International Film and Video Festival at the Film Center of the School of the Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. Tickets are $7. Call 312-443-3737.

5 WEDNESDAY In local writer Natasha Tarpley's novelistic imaginings of her foremothers' lives, Girl in the Mirror: Three Generations of Black Women in Motion, she has her grandmother--who left her rural Alabama home to follow her husband to Chicago--describing romantic love as a sweet potato pie: "He'll come back for seconds and thirds, and you'll keep dishing it out. And what does that leave you but the crumbs of a life somebody else has devoured?" Twentysomething Tarpley uses poems and letters to reconstruct the stories of her mother and grandmother, eventually turning the spotlight on herself. She'll read from the book tonight at 7 at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th. It's free. Call 773-752-4381 for more.

6 THURSDAY James Schneider's 1996 one-man show, Clowns, Goddesses and Tough Guys, used slides, music, and monologues to describe how he coped with his mother's death from cancer when he was 11--by going to Hollywood and chasing down celebrity autographs. His lifelong obsession with showbiz seems to have paid off; the show got mainly rave reviews when it played at the Live Bait Theater last year, and Schneider has been asked to perform it at Seattle's Bumbershoot festival later this summer. Tonight he's hosting a benefit to raise funds for the trip; performers include Fareed Haque and Elizabeth Conant, Will Clinger, and Schneider with Scott Bennett, Shawn Wallace, and Blair Holmes--the trio that backed him up in the show. It's at 7:30 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport. Tickets are $10; call 773-769-0523 for reservations.

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