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Friday 6/11 - Thursday 6/17


11 FRIDAY The U.S. used to lead the world in leisure time, but today the average American works 400 hours more a year--that's ten full workweeks--than the average German. The Seattle-based organization Take Back Your Time is working to slow us down by lobbying for legislation mandating a minimum paid vacation of three weeks a year and a cap on mandatory overtime. This weekend they're hosting the Take Back Your Time Day National Conference, and for a group advocating a slower pace of life, they sure pack a lot into a few days: workshops on the Puritan origins of our overdeveloped work ethic, problems of overscheduled families, health hazards of overwork, strategies for decelerating workplace culture, and more. The conference begins with a 7 PM reception Thursday, June 10, and resumes today at 9 AM. Speakers include Loyola philosopher Al Gini and journalist Carl Honore, authors of The Importance of Being Lazy and the new In Praise of Slowness, respectively. It continues through Sunday at Loyola University, 6525 N. Sheridan. The day rate is $35; the whole shebang costs $100. Preregistration is encouraged; call 206-293-3772. For a full schedule go to

The multimedia performance piece River of Many Sides is the product of a tiny exchange program: Three American artists toured Vietnam while two Vietnamese artists made the opposite voyage. The five then spent a year collaborating on the show, which explores "the complex and changing relationships between the two countries" over the past half century. Actors perform against projected landscapes, some of them filmed, others created digitally, many featuring rivers and bridges. "Bridges symbolize connections--they get destroyed and rebuilt, but never in the same way," says Annette Barbier, one of the contributors. Performances are tonight and tomorrow at 7 PM and Sunday at 3 PM at the University of Illinois at Chicago Theatre, 1044 W. Harrison. Tickets are $10 and available in advance; call 312-326-0270 or see For more information about the program, see

12 SATURDAY Patricia Wells reviews restaurants for the International Herald Tribune, gives cooking courses in her Paris studio and her home in Provence, and writes cookbooks. She's in town to promote her latest tome, The Provence Cookbook, which contains recipes for dishes like baked arugula omelet and three-pear cake as well as tips on local marketing and the best way to peel tomatoes. Today she'll sign copies at Trotter's to Go, 1337 W. Fullerton, where there'll also be wine, cheese, and food prepared from her recipes. It's from 4 to 5 PM and it's free. Call 773-868-6510.

Go as bare as you dare at the local installment of the World Naked Bike Ride, during which riders from Los Angeles to London will pedal in their birthday suits to protest global oil dependency and "inject the hearts of our neighborhoods with the reality of our beautiful bodies." Skateboarders, skaters, and joggers are also welcome, and the modest (or chilly) are free to keep their clothes on. The organizers emphasize that the ride isn't meant for sexual kicks and that total public nudity is illegal, so if you want to stay within the law, stick it in a sock or slap on some electrical tape. Preparatory partying and body painting kicks off at 7 PM at Buddy, 1542 N. Milwaukee, 773-342-7332. The parade will set out on an undisclosed route at 9 and return to the gallery about 90 minutes later for debriefing and further partying. It's free, but participants are encouraged to bring food, drink, or a donation. Go to for more info.

13 SUNDAY Runners not ready to commit to 26.2 miles can instead take part in the second annual Chicago Quarter Marathon. The 6.55-mile race starts at 8 AM today at 34th and Shields, next to U.S. Cellular Field, and heads east to the lakefront and back. There's no race-day registration, but you can sign up through Saturday, June 12, at New Balance Chicago, 2369 N. Clark. See www.chicagoquar or call 312-347-0233.

Local online mag Sixosix and Wicker Park's Akira boutique are behind tonight's multimedia Garden of Eden event, held in the courtyard of the Galleria Marchetti banquet hall. Amid hors d'oeuvres from SWK restaurant, makeovers, massages, and palm readings, there will be a fashion show of "teeny tiny summer clothes" by local designers Threadless, Armed and Dangerous, and Nena, plus national brands. Quarter Mile will play, and admission ($8 in advance, $10 at the door) also gets you into Crobar later tonight. It's from 5:30 PM to midnight (the fashion show is at 7) at 825 W. Erie. Tickets are available at Akira, 1837 W. North. Call 773-489-0818 or see for more.

14 MONDAY The ongoing Hot-House series Conversations with Composers/Chicago Now features live interviews with notable jazz musicians. Today educator and historian Timuel Black talks to Ed Wilkerson about his career and his group 8 Bold Souls. The band will play after the interview, and the whole thing will be recorded for an upcoming compilation CD. It starts tonight at 6:30 at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo (312-362-9707). It's free.

15 TUESDAY Some new and striking architecture goes on view today, but humans can't tour the interiors. For the Birds: An Amazing Exhibition of Birdhouses showcases more than 100 avian abodes by local artists and architects, including the firm of Perkins & Will, whose skyscraper for birds resembles a modernist shelf set on its end, and Frank Gehry (who's conveniently been designated "an honorary Chicagoan"). Most of the birdhouses are on display in the Chicago Women's Park and Gardens from 8:30 AM to 10 PM; some exceptionally delicate ones will be inside the Clarke House Museum, which is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 3 PM. Both are at 1827 S. Indiana; the park is free but it's $7 to get into the museum, $6 for students and seniors. The exhibit runs through October 15; call 312-744-6630 for more info.

16 WEDNESDAY If Leopold Bloom were a real person, it would have been 100 years ago today that he embarked on the ramble around Dublin famously described in James Joyce's Ulysses. Today's do it yourself Bloomsday Reading--performed open-mike style in three-minute increments--might be entertaining for those who loved the book. If you couldn't get past page three, never fear--there's beer. Playwright and novelist Jeff Helgeson emcees the event, which also features readings by actors from the Excalibur Shakespeare Company of Chicago. It's from 7 to 9 PM on the second floor of the Red Lion Pub, 2446 N. Lincoln (773-348-2695). It's $3, and you must be 21 or older.

17 THURSDAY Tonight at 8 journalist Amy Goodman kicks off a weekend of "debate and discussion about how to change the world." The muckraking host of Pacifica's Democracy Now! and author of The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them was digging for the facts behind the WMD mission in Iraq long before the mainstream media began to question what the Bush administration was feeding them. Socialism 2004, an international conference that covers everything from the relevance of Leninism today to the "Wal-Martization" of the United States, continues through Sunday at the Holiday Inn Chicago O'Hare, 5440 N. River Road in Rosemont. (Goodman's speech is at the Doubletree Hotel next door.) Registration is $75; daily admission Friday or Saturday is $30 and single events are $6. See or call 312-458-9380 for more.

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