Taste of Chicago--dedicated this year to late special-events commissioner Kathy Osterman--kicks off today at 11. Over the ten-day event more than 70 restaurants will showcase their delectables along Columbus Drive from Balbo to just north of Jackson. There will also be music and entertainment on several stages, a mini circus, and booths from the fair's myriad sponsors, including, appropriately enough, Rolaids and Listerine. Musical highlights this weekend include the Grant Park Symphony's version of H.M.S. Pinafore at the Petrillo Music Shell, Columbus and Jackson, starting at 7 tonight, and a show tomorrow at 5 starring the Wailing Souls, Sonny Landreth and the Goners, and John Hiatt. It's all free, 'cept for the food. Call 744-3370 for more.
You can spend the whole weekend in Lakeview what with today's street festival and tomorrow's gay and lesbian parade (see Sunday). The East Lakeview Street Festival, which features more than 150 exhibitors and bands on two stages, runs from 11 to 9 on Broadway between Diversey and Grace. You can warm up for the fair foofaraw this morning with the Windy City Stride, 5K and 10K walks through the neighborhood and along Lake Michigan. Olympic race walker Mark Fenton will lead participants in some prewalk exercises at 8:30; the 10K starts at 8:45, the 5K at 9. Registration is at 7:30 at the starting line, at Belmont and Broadway. The fair is free, but the walks cost $16. Call 868-3010 for details.
Interested in the bullet train you've been reading about in the papers that will put Saint Louis two and a half hours away, Springfield about 90 minutes? The train--the official name of it is the X2000 high-speed train--will be on display today in Union Station, Adams and Canal. You can wander through three 51-seat coach cars, a bistro car, and a combination coach and engine car from 10 to 5. It's free. Call the Illinois Department of Transportation at 793-3486 for more.
"Guerilla projectionist" James Bond stages his eighth annual free open-air screening tonight in Wicker Park. First off, he'll show four experimental, hand-processed films by former and present Art Institute students. "The films vary from the seedy to the sensuous to the soulful," writes Bond, "but they all have the same warm touch, an oozing non-optical contact with the viewer resulting from the salts and bubbles and torn proteins that are the movie and are just like us." After the shorts he'll show Robert Wise's The Day the Earth Stood Still, starring Michael Rennie. It all starts at dusk in Wicker Park, 1425 N. Damen. Rain date is Sunday. Call 278-4940 for details.
How ya gonna get 'em back to Chicago after they've taken part in the Ogle County Farm Visit Day? You can get up close and personal with some pork, grain, and beef producers as the Holm's Swine and Circle G farms throw open their barn doors to the public today. Visitors can watch sheep-shearing demonstrations, sample some "mini pork loin taste treats," and just generally take a look around. The farms are southeast of the intersection of routes 72 and 2 in Ogle County, about three hours west of Chicago. Call the county cooperative extension service at 815-732-2191 for exact directions. The farms are open from 1 to 5 today, and it's all free. There's also a country breakfast from 7:30 to 11:30 this morning at the Oregon VFW, off route 64 just on the west edge of the town of Oregon. It's $3. You can get info and directions to the farms there as well.
This year the Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade, now in its 24th year, boasts its biggest political catch yet--a genuine U.S. senator in Carol Moseley-Braun. Other celebs include Dorothy Hajdys, the mother of horribly murdered gay naval seaman Allen Schindler. (High profile in the parade will be the Chicago chapter of the Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans of America.) The parade starts at Halsted and Belmont at 2 PM, runs up Halsted to Broadway, down Broadway to Diversey, across Diversey to Sheridan, and then south into Lincoln Park for the annual rally, including speakers, music, and other stuff. It's all free. Call 348-8243 for more.
NetherArt: A Dutch Response to the 90s, a show of about 30 works by ten young artists and collectives from Holland, offers a glimpse of trends in modern Dutch painting. It's up in the fourth-floor exhibit hall of the Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, through August 15. It's open from 10 to 7 weekdays (till 6 Friday), 10 to 5 Saturday, and noon to 5 Sunday. It's free. Call 346-3278 for more.
Molly McNett and Shirley Anderson, creators of a new performance called Sculpture in Vitro, say that the work had its genesis in the story of a 60-year-old woman whose plastic surgery left her in pain for nearly a year. Snapping, she finally killed her doctor and then herself. The show, say the pair, "is a provocative and irreverent look at growing up female during the age of liposuction, plastic surgery, and the supermodel." It plays at the Garage, 1843 W. North, Monday through Wednesday this week and next. Performances are at 8, save for next Monday, when it's at 10. Admission is $5; call 465-5803.
Alan Ayckbourn, author of Absurd Person Singular and The Norman Conquests and who once had five plays running simultaneously in London's West End, may well be England's most popular playwright. His lecture tonight, "The Serious Business of Comedy," is being billed by its sponsors at the International Theatre Festival of Chicago as "a light-hearted crash course in playwrighting." It's $10, $5 for students and theater professionals, at the Rubloff Auditorium of the Chicago Historical Society, 1601 N. Clark, at 6. Call 664-3370.
In conjunction with its ongoing exhibition, Chicago Architecture and Design, 1923-1993: Reconfiguration of an American Metropolis, the Art Institute hosts a lecture tonight called Images of Urbanism: The Representation of Chicago in Film. It's by Johann Schmidt, a professor at the University of Hamburg; he'll discuss and show clips of Chicago's most prominent filmic appearances at 6 in the museum's Fullerton Auditorium. Both the talk and museum admission today are free. The Art Institute is at Michigan and Adams; call 443-3680 for more.
San Francisco dance master Margaret Jenkins and performance artist Rinde Eckert return to Chicago for a series of shows and free programs this week. The first program is Eckert's performance piece Dry Land Divine, which starts at 12:15 today at the theater of the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State. Tomorrow's performance features Jenkins and Eckert together in Shorebirds Atlantic and the Chicago premiere of Jenkins's Wasn't It This?; it's at the same place and time with a discussion to follow. (There's one more demonstration at the library on Tuesday, July 6, at 5:30 PM, with the pair's musical collaborator, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, sitting in.) Jenkins, Eckert, and Dresher will perform a new piece at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 4730 N. Sheridan, July 8, 9, and 10 at 8 PM. Tickets are $25. Call 271-7928 for info on all the events.
Connoisseurs of play fight scenes can revel in Night at the Fights, an evening of stage combat from the folks at Powertap Productions. The show uses film and video as well as actors to display "the beauty, art, and illusion of stage combat through a sequence of confrontational scenes." The show is at the Famous Door Theatre space at Jane Addams Center Hull House, 3212 N. Broadway. It plays Thursday and Friday at 8, Saturday at 6 and 9, and Sunday at 7 through August 8. Tix are $10, $12 for the Friday and late Saturday shows. Call 404-8283.