The riots after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. left devastation from which the west side has never quite recovered. Huge, hulking buildings were deserted, businesses flew out of the area, and over the years, the abandoned remains have become home to drug dealers, addicts, and prostitutes. Tonight west-side residents are holding a march for a drug-free community, followed by prayer. Sponsored by Ministers of the West Side and the Anti-Crime/Anti-Drug Coalition, the march kicks off at 6 from 130 N. Keeler and runs until about 7. Join in or watch for free. Call 826-5540.
The P-Complex Poetry Series, which began at Guild Books a few years ago, moved earlier this month to a bigger space at the Edge of the Lookingglass. Tonight P-Complex and Salsedo Press bring in Cuban poet Pedro Perez Sarduy, who writes about politics as well as love and loneliness. He'll read from his two books Cumbite and Surrealidad, as well as from some new work, at 7 tonight at 62 E. 13th St. Admission is $5. Call 525-3667.
Eighteen-year-old Milton Ruben Laufer is one of 40 young pianists from the United States who will attend the Conservatory of Music in Moscow for an intensive two-week program this summer. To help raise money to cover Laufer's travel expenses, the folks at Roberto Clemente Community Academy--the school with the largest Puerto Rican student population in the city--have organized a benefit recital. Laufer doesn't go to Clemente, but "We Puerto Ricans have to support other Puerto Ricans," says spokesperson Milta Ramirez. Laufer's program tonight includes works by Beethoven and Chopin, plus "Granada," by Spanish composer Isaac Albeniz. Show time is 7 at Clemente, 1147 N. Western. Admission is $10. Call 292-5011 or 342-2692.
Eastern European Jews have been settling in Chicago since the early 1880s, circling the city with their migration pattern: Maxwell Street on the near south side, Lawndale, Douglas Park, and Humboldt Park on the west, and Albany Park and Rogers Park on the north. Today's Chicago Jewish Historical Society tour, Chicago Jewish Roots--A Sentimental Journey to the Old Jewish Neighborhoods will include stops at the Jewish People's Institute, the original site of the Hebrew Theological College, and Saint Basil's Greek Orthodox Church, which was once one of the city's most popular synagogues. It'll be led by Dr. Irving Cutler, former chairman of Chicago State University's geography department and an expert on Chicago history and the Jewish community. The tour runs from noon to 4:30 and leaves from the Bernard Horwich Jewish Community Center, 3003 W. Touhy. It's $16, $13 for CJHS members. Cutler's tours tend to sell out, so call 708-432-7003 for reservations.
When umpire Dave Pallone tossed Pete Rose out of a 1988 Mets-Reds game after Rose blew up over a call, it cost Rose a $10,000 fine and a 30-day suspension. But Pallone probably suffered more: he says the incident cost him a chance to work in the World Series and eventually ended his baseball career. Pallone, who's gay, tells the whole story in Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball, his recently published memoirs. Pallone will be autographing the book from 1 to 3 PM at People Like Us, 3321 N. Clark. The signing's free; the book's $18.95. Call 248-6363.
Brigid Murphy's very silly Milly's Orchid Show has been packing 'em in. But Sundays in July she'll put aside the tacky clothes and trained rats. In Brigid Murphy's Tall Wales, she'll touch upon some serious topics (sexism and pregnancy are two). It's at Club Lower Links, 954 W. Newport. Show time is 8:30. Admissionn is $6. Call 248-9496.
A black-glazed plate from the People's Republic of China, medals from the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, and a mother-of-pearl nativity scene from Jordanian Airlines are all included in the Exhibition of Mayor Washington's Gifts and Memorabilia of Office, currently on display at the Sulzer Regional Library. The collection, which has 80 items from around the world, will eventually be housed in the Harold Washington Central Library, scheduled to open in 1991. It'll be in the Sulzer popular reading room until then. The library, at 4455 N. Lincoln, is open 9 to 9 Monday through Thursday and 9 to 5 Friday and Saturday. It's free; more info at 728-8652.
The back room at the AA Meat Market (which has a dance floor, video screens, and its own bar) is strictly no-admittance unless you're wearing a major article of black leather--in other words belts, shoelaces, and bracelets don't count. And the bouncer may let you through shirtless--whether you're male or femaleif you have a particularly well-developed chest. No kidding. The place is at 2933 N. Lincoln; it's open noon until 2 AM daily, Saturdays until 3 AM. There's never a cover. Call 528-2933.
Kids from the northwest-side Murphy School will decorate their bikes in ribbons, tape, papier-mache, and cardboard for today's bicycle parade at the Fourth of July celebration at Independence Park, 3945 N. Springfield. The parade begins at 10 this morning; later in the day there'll be patriotic speeches by members of the Independence Park Historical Society and games for kids coordinated by Park District staff. At 4 PM, the Chicago Symphonic Wind Ensemble will play a concert of Sousa marches. It's all free. Call 478-1039.
Another Fourth of July celebration will take place at the Chicago Historical Society. The Chicago "Pops" Concert Band will play its Independence Day repertoire, historian John Hope Franklin will give this year's patriotic oration, and there will be flag and balloon giveaways and an Uncle Sam on stilts. The free festivities run 10 to noon at the society's Uihlein Plaza, at the corner of Clark and North. Call 642-4600.
In February 1972, in an unusual week of television programming, John Lennon and Yoko Ono were brought in as guest hosts for the middle-of-the-road The Mike Douglas Show. Apparently, Lennon and Ono had a free hand when it came to guests: they invited Chuck Berry, Ralph Nader, Jerry Rubin, and Bobby Seale--who did a little cooking on the show and later went on to write a pretty successful cookbook. You can see the Lennon/Ono shows as part of Rock 'n' Roll on Television, opening today at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 800 S. Wells. The exhibit, which runs through September 15, features rare clips of U2 (on Tom Snyder's The Tomorrow Show), early Bruce Springsteen and R.E.M., Elvis Presley's first TV appearance (on Stage Show), and more. Wolfman Jack will give a presentation July 12. The video footage will run continuously in the museum screening rooms. Doors are open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday from noon to 5 and Saturday from 10 to 5. Admission is $3, $2 for students, $1 for seniors and kids under 12, and free for MBC members. Details at 987-1500.
Self-Torture and Strenuous Exercise is the new play by New Yorker Harry Kondoleon, who won an Obie a few years back for most promising playwright. This new one-act comedy follows the members of two couples who break up, have affairs with one another, and get back together again. Produced by the University Theater at the University of Chicago, performances are at 8 tonight through Saturday in the first-floor theater in the Reynolds Club, 5706 S. University. Tickets are $3, $2 for seniors and U. of C. students with ID. Call 702-7300.