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Friday 29

"I always tip very well," says 48th Ward alderman Kathy Osterman. "Nobody knows how hard waiting on tables is until they do it." While Osterman knows from experience how much a tip can mean--she waited on customers at a Woolworth's counter for two years while in high school--some of her political peers may be about to learn a little something when they serve as celebrity waiters at the Citizens Information Service Fund-raising Luncheon. Can anybody imagine park commissioner Rebecca Sive or Board of Education president Frank Gardner posing as working stiffs and filling water glasses? The celebs will be competing for tips (which will all benefit CIS) but odds makers are already predicting Osterman the winner. Come see for yourself at noon today at the Fairmont Hotel, 200 N. Columbus Drive. There will be nearly 50 politicos dishing up meals; tickets are a tax-deductible $50. Call 939-4636 for details.

The first Arbor Day was observed in Nebraska on April 10, 1872. The celebration was the result of the efforts of newspaper publisher J. Sterling Morton, who realized that trees would enrich the soil and conserve moisture (not to mention provide good paper stock for his enterprise). The state government offered prizes to the groups and individuals who planted the most trees. On that first day, Nebraskans planted more than one million trees. The Chicago Department of Public Works revives this tradition with a tree-planting ceremony and other festivities at 7 PM at the North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski. There'll be a nature walk afterward, and each family will receive a small tree to plant at home. There will be light refreshments, too. The program's free but preregistration is suggested. Call 583-8970 for more information.

Saturday 30

Walk into the front lobby of Salsedo Press and you're greeted by a visual history of Chicago progressive politics: There are posters featuring Black Panther Fred Hampton, free health clinics, women's music, labor events, and blues benefits among other things. "We started out publishing an underground paper," explains Pat Gleason, one of the group's originals. "The paper had articles about Vietnam, the draft, civil rights, that sort of thing. Then our printer got burned out and asked us if we wanted to buy his equipment. We said, 'Hey, how hard can it be?'" The group plunked down $2,000 and went into business. Fifteen years and a zillion trials and tribulations later, Gleason and her cohorts can laugh at their beginnings. Salsedo today is a full-tilt, successful printing co-op. Still, it's never forgotten its roots. Every spring the Salsedo kids invite their friends to the May Day Blast, a dance-till-you-drop extravaganza featuring the best dance music in town. This year there'll be a live band, Dan Davies and the International Uppers Band, who are from Ghana, and Los Aires del Norte. Come on down to 320 N. Damen and dance till dawn. The fun starts at 10 PM. Tickets are $8 and there's free beer. For more, call 666-1674.


Sunday 1

More than 30,000 people, most of them gay men, have died from AIDS-related causes. But safe-sex education in the gay male community has caused that community's rate of infection to slow down. The disease, however, is relentless. According to recent projections by Allstate Insurance researchers (presented at a corporate conference last winter), the new at-risk group for AIDS is minority women. Because of poverty, sexism, and homophobia, minority communities have been especially hard to educate on this killer disease. C-FAR, a Chicago AIDS action group, is holding a Forum on AIDS in the Black and Puerto Pican Communities tonight at 6 at the First Congregational Church, 1305 N. Hamlin. It's free. Call 281-0045 for more information.

Monday 2

At 10 this morning, water will rush through the 133 jets of Buckingham Fountain and take the first 135-foot leap into the 1988 season. The fountain, dedicated in 1927 at a cost of $750,000 (a gift to the city by Kate Buckingham in honor of her brother), may be one of the city's top tourist attractions, but it draws the locals too: witness the many hand-holding couples and young families that come by in the evening to watch the colorful displays. Fully computer operated, Buckingham Fountain can hold 1.5 million gallons of water. It'll be doing its playful magic through October 1. The fountain is in Grant Park, between Columbus and Lake Shore drives at Congress. For more information, call 294-2493.

Tuesday 3

During his 25 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, Wayne Smith worked in the Soviet Union, Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba. In August 1982, he resigned in protest from his post as head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. At issue was President Reagan's Latin American policy and especially his policy toward Cuba. Seven presidents have dealt with the "Cuban problem," but Smith was the only U.S. diplomat to work on Cuban relations over all those years. At 7 tonight Smith will sign copies of his new book, The Closest of Enemies: A Personal and Diplomatic History of U.S.-Cuban Relations at Guild Books, 2456 N. Lincoln. For more, call 525-3667.

Wednesday 4

It was 1968--a time of turbulence in Chicago--when William Russo turned the Whitmanesque poetry of Paul Horgan's Songs After Lincoln into an underground sensation that drew parallels between the War Between the States and the civil rights movement. Dubbed a "rock cantata" by Russo, The Civil War premiered three days after Martin Luther King Jr.'s murder and was dedicated to his memory. Tonight Columbia College brings back Russo's prophetic vision with special performances at 5:30 and 8 in the college's studio theater, 72 E. 11th St. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted for the Mayor Washington Foundation. For more information, call 663-9465.

There's a chocolate surplus in the world, which is why candy companies have increased the size of chocolate candies (check out the size of those new Baby Ruths!) while holding down the prices. Chocolate, after all, is special stuff: they say that it affects the brain in the same way as love. It takes an artist to really handle the stuff, which is why the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago is having Elaine Gonzalez teach a special class on cooking with chocolate. Class begins tonight at 6:30 at 858 N. Orleans. Tuition is $45. Call 944-0882 for more.

Thursday 5

Even Tribune columnist Mike Royko, who has made a career of describing Chicago aldermen as pinkie-ring-flashing scum, admits that 49th Ward representative David Orr might actually be a good guy. Even his detractors don't try to paint him too badly; last spring, in the midst of the ethics ordinance battle, alderman Anna Langford venomously called Orr a "goody two shoes." What has this guy done to deserve this? Mostly, he's helped enact some of the best citizen-oriented legislation on the city law books. Besides the ethics bill and the recent ordinance calling for dead-bolt locks on apartment doors, Orr was the force behind the tenant bill of rights, which clearly delineated landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities. Orr will be joined by an attorney from a Chicago legal clinic, a local tenant group organizer, and others in a discussion of the tenant bill of rights today at 12:15 at the Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. The free program will be held in the theater. For more information, call 269-2891.

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