Ever spent days planting a lawn and nursing it to health, only to have a freak of nature--or a space cadet with a mower--turn it into hay? (This has happened to me.) Help--in the form of a ten-week correspondence course--is available. "Lawns can be damaged by many different insects and diseases as well as by mechanical problems [read mowers]," says horticulturist Vernon Bryant. Bryant is one of a team of horticulture advisers with the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service who planned Stepping Stones to Lawn Care. The cost of the course is $10; send checks (made out to the Cook County Horticulture Association) to the University of Illinois, Cooperative Extension Service, 4141 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL 60641. The deadline for registration is today; call 286-6767 for more information.
Pops Staples, gospel legend and pop star, gets hosannas tonight at a benefit for the Mom and Pops Staples Foundation, which works to help the homeless and to stop drugs. Pops, daughter Mavis, and the whole "Staple Singers" family will be performing. Tickets are $50, are available at the door, and include dinner. It all starts at 7 PM at the Visions Restaurant ballroom, 11901 S. Loomis; 641-2431.
If you are thinking of shelling out $20 to see the Who pay-for-play cable broadcast tonight at 10, hold it. This from a Cablevision press release: "This uncut, uncensored version will be presented weeks before broadcast television airs its edited version." In other words, there will be another showing of the concert that won't cost $20 pretty darn soon, allowing one to (a) see the concert without (b) forking over dough to Cablevision, Budweiser, or greedy Pete Townshend. Cablevision's number is 1-800-885-4485.
"An unusually large selection of golf books" will be for sale at the fifth annual Newberry Library Book Fair, held today and tomorrow at the library, 60 W. Walton. This year the library has a large number of travel books, foreign-language books, review copies of contemporary novels, and vintage sheet music--along with the usual thousands of novels, magazines, records, and children's books. The fair runs from 10 to 5 PM today, and noon to 5 on Sunday. The entrance to the fair is on Dearborn just north of Walton. Admission is free. The books aren't; the library takes cash, Visa, or MasterCard. You can call 943-9090 for more.
Bo Diddley played for JFK in 1962--and for George Bush in 1989. That's kinda weird, but then again, Bo Diddley can do whatever he wants. He's playing at B.L.U.E.S. Etcetera tonight, in what is billed as a rare appearance with "top quality Chicago bluesmen in a Chicago blues club." The band includes Sam Lay on drums, Moose Walker on piano, Bob Stroger on bass, and Steve Freund on guitar. Tickets are $12 at the door, $10 in advance. Music begins at 9 PM. B.L.U.E.S. Etcetera is at 1124 W. Belmont; the phone is 525-8989.
Lupus attacks and confuses the body's immune system, making it turn on the body's own normal cells. There's no cure--all doctors can do is relieve the symptoms. It tends to hit a disproportionate number of women between the ages of 15 and 40, and ails more people than leukemia, multiple sclerosis, or muscular dystrophy. Dr. Robert Katz, who serves on the medical advisory board of the Lupus Foundation, will give a free talk today at 2 on Research in Lupus, focusing on recent research and the effect of lupus on pregnancy. Katz will speak in the Frank Auditorium of Evanston Hospital, 2650 Ridge in Evanston. Admission is free; for more information call 445-7071.
It's not quite the Abraham Lincoln Brigade reunion, but the tired volunteers from Tim Evans's campaign for mayor did fight the good fight, and they'll be feted today at the alderman's annual recognition picnic. The Fourth Ward Regular Democratic Organization promises games, entertainment, and prizes--with special honors going to volunteers and community-service heroes in the ward. The free picnic runs from 2 to 6 at Cornell Park, 4700 S. Cornell. Transportation is available in the ward; for information call 373-5965.
Photographs by James McDivitt, Walter Cunningham, Gordon Cooper, and John Glenn go on display today--and, no, they aren't professional photographers. But they were able to bring a certain perspective to their work that makes it worth seeing, even nearly 30 years later. Eighty prints of the work of the first photographers in space, in color and black and white, go on display at the Museum of Science and Industry today. The photos date from the years 1962 to 1972 and span the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo projects--from our first view from space to the stroll on the moon. The museum is at 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, and is open from 9:30 to 5:30 daily through Labor Day. The exhibit runs through October 15. Admission and parking are free; call 684-1414.
All the world loves a vampire. Modern filmic interpretations of the tales of the bloodthirsty beasts are the focus of an ongoing series at the Art Institute's Film Center. Tonight Werner Herzog's thorough and amusing Nosferatu the Vampyre, a remake of the 1922 Murnau classic, plays at 6 PM. The series continues next week with the animated Vampires in Havana (Tuesday, September 5, at 6), and a double bill on Saturday and Sunday, September 9 and 10: the "screwball Hong Kong adventure" Mr. Vampire II (6 PM Saturday, 2:30 Sunday) and the moody and horrific Near Dark (7:45 Saturday, 4:15 Sunday). Films are $5 each; $8 for the double bills. The Film Center is at Columbus Drive and Jackson. Phone 443-3737 for information.
Are you a mime? The South Loop Marketplace is looking for you. The Marketplace--described as a "festival-type" shopping mall that is planned to open this fall at Roosevelt Road and Canal Street--is also looking for jugglers, clowns, one-man bands, magicians, comedians, and other entertainment acts. Auditions will be held today from 9:30 to 5 at 400 N. Franklin. They dont want any phone calls so just bring a resume and a photo, and come in costume. The free auditions are two minutes long and will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.
Are you a bicyclist? The Chicago Bicycling Federation is still reeling from Mike Royko's recent declaration of war against cyclists. ("My motto is: 'Splat.'") The federation is responding with a plan for a bicycling atlas of northeastern Illinois. Three free meetings are planned during which cyclists can propose routes and maps--as far as possible, it is hoped, from anywhere the crazed Royko might be driving. The first is tonight at 7:30 at the Cook Memorial Library, 413 N. Milwaukee in Libertyville. Call 427-3325 for more information.
Are you Assyrian? The 1989 Assyrian National Convention begins today at the Hyatt Regency, 151 E. Wacker, and runs through Monday. The Assyrian American National Federation says there are 100,000 Assyrians in Chicago; 10,000 people are expected to attend the convention. For more call 271-4423.
The improbably named "Big Nick's Casino" will be the focal point of the tenth annual Taste of Polonia festival, Big Nick's is planned as an authentic gambling den, complete with blackjack, poker, dice games, and wheels--all of which are legal because the organizers got a special gambling license from the state. Big Nick, believe it or not, refers to Nicolaus Copernicus, the noted heretic and odds maker. He's also the namesake of the Copernicus Foundation, which sponsors the annual Polish event. The festival--which will be held in the Copernicus Cultural & Civic Center, 5216 W. Lawrence--features the usual variety of Polish food and entertainment. It runs from 4 to 10 PM today and tomorrow, noon to 10 Saturday through Monday. Admission is $3, and another $1 for Big Nick's. Call 777-8898 for more information.