The continuing political violence in Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, makes it virtually impossible for free elections to take place. So there are sure to be speeches about the promises of democracy at today's Haitian Flag Day celebration at Daley Plaza. But there'll be plenty of music and dancing too. It all starts at noon under the Picasso at the corner of Washington and Dearborn streets. It's free. Call 346-3278.
Australia imported 102 cane toads in 1935 in an attempt to get rid of the Greyback beetle, which was eating up the country's profitable sugar crop. But the toads adapted so well and bred so quickly that they became a plague, eating everything in sight--except the Greyback beetle. Cane Toads: An Unnatural History, Mark Lewis's documentary on the toads, runs through Thursday at Facets Multimedia, 1517 W. Fullerton. Also on the bill are three early films by Jane Campion, the director of Sweetie. Show times are 7 and 9 Friday and Saturday, 5:30 and 7:30 Sunday. Admission is $5, $3 for Facets members. Call 281-4114.
A different breed of frogs will be running over the Edge of the Lookingglass tonight, courtesy of the Neoteric Ensemble. The group's version of Aristophanes' The Frogs features Elvis, lots of French culture, and a big-time dishing of postmodernism. The performance starts at 8 tonight at 62 E. 13th St. Admission is $3--more if you can afford it, free if you're broke. Call 939-4017.
Mezzo-soprano Dina Soresi Winter will talk about Verdi and the Mission of Opera in a two-part workshop that begins with a lecture about the composer at 8 tonight at the Rudolf Steiner Branch of the Anthroposophical Society, 529 W. Grant Place. Tomorrow's session, from 10 AM to 2 PM, will focus on the operas Rigoletto and La traviata. Both sessions cost $20, $15 for society members; one is $8, $5 for members. Call 935-2634 or 248-5606.
Tops, which date back to ancient Greece, were the first toys patented in the U.S. The Kohl Children's Museum will show children how to spin different kinds during its Top Spinning Program 1990. The class for four- and five-year-olds runs from 10 to 11:30 AM today. The class for six- to eight-year-olds will be from 1 to 2:30. Each class is $8, $6 for members. Regular hours at the museum, 165 Green Bay Road in Wilmette, are 10 to 4 Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 4 Sunday. General admission is $2.50; kids under two get in free. Call 708-256-6056.
Craig Claiborne, the author of the original 1961 New York Times Cookbook, will sign copies of his new revised edition from noon to 1 today at Season to Taste Books, 911 W. School. Claiborne updated the more than 1,500 recipes and added food-processing techniques. There's no admission to the autographing session; the book is $25. Call 327-0210.
"My own beloved husband," Simone de Beauvoir wrote to Nelson Algren in 1948. "I am your wife." The great feminist philosopher was amazed at how girlish she became around Algren, then at the height of his career. The Man With the Golden Arm had just been released to critical acclaim, and he was soon to receive the first-ever National Book Award for the novel. Deirdre Bair will be the featured guest at Guild Books today, where they'll celebrate her recent biography, Simone de Beauvoir, and the reissue of Algren's The Man With the Golden Arm and Walk on the Wild Side. It starts at 3 PM at 2456 N. Lincoln. Admission is free. Call 525-3667.
"There it is, waiting to be tested, to be used, to help like nothing else in this entire world--so true, so right--a vast, untapped source of power and strength, of joy of giving and sharing," said Anne Rudolph, a dancer and pioneer in movement therapy, about the human body's ability to heal itself. Those words could describe Rudolph herself, who died last year after working more than 50 years in the city. Her friends have put together a celebration of her life and work, The Movement Continues . . . A Tribute to Anne Rudolph, which includes a reception, demonstrations, and discussion. It starts at 2 PM in the Illinois Room at U. of I.'s Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted. It's free. Call 413-5353.
In 1931 the League of Nations asked Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein to be, well, pen pals. The two were to trade letters on subjects "best calculated to serve the common interest of the League of Nations and the intellectual life of mankind." Why War? Freud and Einstein in Dialogue, a new exhibit at the University of Chicago, features facsimiles of those letters and books by the two men. The show, in the Rosenberger Room of the Regenstein Library, 1100 E. 57th St., can be seen 8:30 to 5 Monday through Friday, and 9 to 1 Saturday. Admission is free. Call 702-8360.
Winners of the open-mike contests at Excalibur won't have to settle for just the satisfaction of beating everybody else; they can claim $250 in weekly prizes and have a shot at $1,000 in the finals. Singers, jugglers, comedians, dancers can do their thing at 8 PM every Monday through July 23 at 632 N. Dearborn. For those who want to get onstage but can't pull together an act, the club offers the Cadillac of video sing-along systems. Performing and watching are free. Call 708-501-3568.
Prior to Mayor Daley's appointment of acting commissioner Richard Krieg, city statute required the health- department director to be both an administrator and a medical doctor. Daley wanted to make Krieg commissioner, and after Krieg, whose specialty is public health, did a great job of cleaning up the chaotic department, the City Council rewrote the statute just for him and dumped the medical requirement. But shortly after the council's action, Krieg was offered the director's slot at Roosevelt University's Institute of Metropolitan Affairs, a public-policy think tank. He accepted after the school sweetened the deal by making him Arthur Rubloff professor of public administration, which will give him time and money to do research and writing--though he'll stick with the city until Daley finds a replacement. Krieg's hardly a lapdog, so his talk today before the Chicago Council on Urban Affairs, Health Care in Chicago, should be interesting. Responding to Krieg's address will be Alderman Sheneather Butler, health activist Gilda Ecroyd, and Dr. Quentin Young. It starts at noon on the eighth floor of the Chicago Athletic Association, 71 E. Madison. Tickets are $8, $5 for members. Lunch is an extra $5. Call 782-3511.
Karl Georg Schoen, deputy to the consul general of West Germany; Rabbi Herman Schaalman, spiritual leader of Temple Emanuel; and Peter Hayes, a Northwestern University history professor, make up the panel for tonight's discussion on German Unification and the Jewish Response. It starts at 8 at the Mayer Kaplan Jewish Community Center, 5050 W. Church in Skokie. It's $5. Call 708-675-5070.
Soft-spoken Ngoan Le, the governor's special assistant for Asian American affairs, has been tough in the struggle for, among other things, immigrant rights and school reform. The former member of Mayor Washington's Commission on Asian American Affairs will discuss the special needs of Chicago's Asian American community at a Roosevelt University presidential seminar, which begins at 11:30 AM at the University Club, 76 E. Monroe. It's $25. Call 341-3630 for reservations.
The second work in playwright Scott Turner's "Festival of Light Trilogy" debuts tonight and runs through June 30 at the Garage, 1843 W. North. Where the People Have No Eyes --produced by the Theatre of the Reconstruction, where Turner is resident playwright--follows its American archetypes into poverty and homelessness. It also features a percussive score by Robert Rolston. Show time is 8 PM; tickets are a suggested donation of $10. Call 227-7756.