"It's a passion with me to prove that kids have real minds," says Richard DiPrima, who founded the Young Shakespeare Players nine years ago to teach kids that Shakespeare isn't boring or incomprehensible. DiPrima's group of 7- to 17-year-olds perform complete plays each summer here and in Madison, Wisconsin. Although they often don't have any acting experience, DiPrima gives each kid a speaking part and a say in the casting. The players present The Winter's Tale tonight at 7 at Oz Park, 2021 N. Burling; tomorrow at 2 and 7 at the Gorton Community Center, 400 E. Illinois, Lake Forest; and Sunday at 3 at the Three Arts Club, 1300 N. Dearborn. Performances are free; 944-6714.
Rock critic, musician, and Reader staffer Renaldo Migaldi spins Living Sounds From Sunny Climes--in other words, tarantella, samba, reggae, juju, delta blues, California surf music--tonight at 10 at Lower Links, 954 W. Newport. There's no cover; more at 248-5238.
Maybe the organizers of these three retrospectives scheduled them on the same days at the same times to help rid baby boomers of ugly middle-aged spread: from the look of things, devoted attendees and overlapping speakers will have to sprint between locations. The most extensive commemoration seems to be the Chicago '68+20 Conference, which runs today from 9 to 5 and tomorrow from 9 to 4 at the International Amphitheatre, 4220 S. Halsted. Symposia and workshops will cover activism, the media, and the law; among the scheduled guests are Abbie Hoffman, Bobby Seale, William Kunstler, and Studs Terkel. Films, literary readings, book signings, and a Saturday night concert round out the weekend. Registration is $5 a day, $7 for the concert--or $15 for the whole works. Particulars at 984-1968.
Then the Public Library Cultural Center holds its Chicago '68 Twenty Years After: A Retrospective Overview and Symposium from noon to 4:30 today. An assortment of former activists and underground journalists--Abe Peck, Hank De Zutter, Michael James, David Finkel, Marilyn Katz, and others--will debate in the Cultural Center's Preston Bradley Hall, 78 E. Washington; the keynote speaker is Todd Gitlin, author of The Whole World Is Watching. Get there early to catch a 20-minute documentary narrated by Bill Kurtis, Chicago '68, which will be shown at 11:30. Free; 269-2830.
Not to be outdone, the Museum of Broadcast Communications will screen nomination-night coverage and other vintage footage as well as recent commentaries in its The Whole World Was Watching: A 20th Anniversary Weekend. Films run from noon to 2 today and tomorrow, and seminars--with featured speakers Eugene McCarthy and Frank Sullivan, among others--run from 2 to 5. The museum is at 800 S. Wells; there's a suggested donation of $3, $2 for students, and $1 for seniors and children. Get the complete schedule at 987-1500.
The more than 1,800 antique napkin rings in Sonja Andrusier's collection represent a wide range of materials (porcelain, ivory, wood), styles (Victorian, art deco, folk art), and places (Africa, Sweden, South America). Her next project, she says, will be a book about collecting the rings. She and her collection will appear at a free reception from 1 to 4 today at the Collector's Gallery in Evanston's Finest Antique Mall, 625 Madison. Hors d'oeuvres will be served, and other stores in the mall will be open; details at 475-1266.
Warning: the provided food and drink may enhance your willingness to spend at Barbara's Bookstore's 25th-anniversary open house, from 5 to 8 tonight at the Old Town branch, 1434 N. Wells. There'll be a special display of 60s books, and the staff will be videotaping your musings on the 60s. Everything but the books is free; 642-5044 for more info.
In 1985, Taggart Siegel and Northwestern University professor Dwight Conquergood made a film of the Hmong refugees from Laos who live in Chicago and of their shamans, who still practice ancient healing rituals by going into trances and by sacrificing animals. Their award-winning documentary Between Two Worlds: The Hmong Shaman in America airs daily at 10, 2, 4, and 7, today through September 6 in the lobby of the Skokie Public Library, 5215 Oakton, Skokie. The library is also hosting an exhibit of Hmong pandau needlework through September 6. Free; 673-7774.
"A man who doesn't care about the beer he drinks may as well not care about the bread he eats," writes Michael Jackson, international beer authority. "What we seek is a measure of what we deserve." Jackson will autograph copies of his two best-sellers, Pocket Guide to Beer and The World Guide to Whiskey, from 4 to 6 today at Sam's Wine Warehouse, 1000 W. North. Then he'll lead a beer tasting from 8 to 10 tonight at Siebens Brewery, 436 W. Ontario. Autographs are free; the tasting fee is $15. Reserve a place or get more info at 664-4394.
Paul Sills used his famous story-theater method to adapt to the stage Studs Terkel's 1977 autobiography, Talking to Myself, in which Studs reminisces about the 20s and 30s. Previews start tonight at the Northlight Theatre, 2300 Green Bay Road in Evanston; the show opens September 7. Until then, show time is 8 Tuesday through Saturday; 3 and 7:30 on Sunday. Tickets are $15-$18. Call 869-7278 or 902-1500 for tickets.
Test your taste for accordion music at today's free noontime concert by the International Accordioneers. The 17 members are all between the ages of 9 and 18, and they promise to play show tunes, classical works, and pop numbers. They'll be at the Cathedral Commons outdoor stage at Rush and Huron streets; 787-6410 for more info.
The Chicago Jazz Festival celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, making it the city's longest-running free outdoor music festival. It starts tonight with performances by Joe Williams, Chevere, Stan Getz, J.J. Johnson, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Highlights from the rest of the fest, which runs through Sunday: Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Sun Ra, Lionel Hampton, and Bud Freeman. Shows start at 6 tonight through Friday and at 5 on Saturday and Sunday at the Petrillo band shell in Grant Park, Columbus Drive at Jackson; additional shows at noon, Friday through Sunday, at the Jazz City Stage, which is next to the band shell. For a festival lineup, call 666-1881.
When Mars was this close to the earth in 1894, American astronomer Percival Lowell spotted "canals" on the planet's surface and began the controversy over whether Mars could sustain intelligent life. Starting today, it's Mars Month at the Adler Planetarium (1300 S. Lake Shore Drive); the Adler folks offer a new telescope and other state-of-the-art equipment for the public's use, along with an exhibit of martian meteorites and special sky shows. Planetarium hours are 9 to 5:30 daily, 9 to 9 on Fridays. Because one martian month is as long as two earthling months, Mars Month runs through October 31. Admission to the exhibits is free; shows cost $3, $1.50 for children, and nothing for seniors and members; details at 322-0300. You can try spotting Mars with your naked eye--it's the red dot just under the Pegasus constellation. You won't get this good a look again until 2003.