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Friday 27

A Taste of Austin--the annual festival that brings together the west-side communities of Garfield Park and Austin with the city of Oak Park for food and local talent--takes place this weekend along Jackson between Central and Austin, roughly the north side of Columbus Park. Live entertainment--from rap to jazz to tumbling to a program on black history--runs from 1 PM into the evening today through Sunday; highlights include the Cicero Blake Blues Band tonight at 7 and a gospel show Sunday at 2. A parade with floats promoting education leaves from Garfield Park tomorrow at 11 AM and winds its way toward Columbus Park, with free hot dogs for kids at the end. The festival runs from 9 AM to 11 PM today and tomorrow, 9 to 9 on Sunday. Admission is free. Call 921-2121 for more.

Sun-Times columnist Jeffrey Zaslow hosts two big singles events this weekend, both at the downtown Hyatt, 151 E. Wacker. Tonight is the fifth annual All That Zazz Singles Bash; 20 bucks (16 if you get your ticket in advance) allows you to cruise an anticipated 3,000-plus unattached attendees. The affair runs from 6 to midnight and includes party games, psychics, and an all-you-can-eat buffet. Call 321-3010 to order tickets. Tomorrow is Singles Symposium '93, an advice seminar with a keynote address by Susan Page, author of the best-seller If I'm So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single? There'll be workshops all day led by psychologists, image consultants, and Vivian Kaplan, publisher of the Single Traveler newsletter, on such topics as "Understanding Men" and "Cold Feet--Commitment Phobia." It runs from 8:15 to 5. Tickets are $35, $30 in advance. Call 708-475-7709.

Saturday 28

When you hear that the name of the Chicago Citizens for the Arts event today is Running for the Arts, you probably think it's just another 5K. But they're talking about running for office--specifically, getting people who appreciate the arts to run for local school councils. Arts programs, notes the group's president, Tom Tresser, are traditionally among the first ones cut when schools are in dire fiscal straits, as the Chicago public schools are right now. In a workshop from 10 to 1, Kevin Lamm, who's on an elementary school council in Logan Square, will concentrate on the mechanics of winning a seat on an LSC. It's $10, $7 in advance; fee reductions or waivers are available for those who need them. It's at the Near Northwest Arts Council, on the third floor at 1579 N. Milwaukee. Call 280-1025 for details.

Plowing through the myriad comedies, tragedies, and histories that make up the collected works of Shakespeare can be awfully time-consuming, so this weekend in Grant Park the Shakespeare Repertory is offering Shakespeare's Greatest Hits, a 90-minute Bard-blast of "swashbuckling swordplay, romance, and villainy"--individual scenes from a variety of plays, without any tedious plots or character development to get in the way. The free performances at once close out the park's summer performance season and provide a nice advertisement for the repertory's '93-'94 season, which includes The Tale of Cymbeline, The Taming of the Shrew, and Measure for Measure. Shows are tonight at 8 and tomorrow night at 7 in the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson. Call 642-2273.

You can see some of the region's best barbershop quartets perform tonight at The Best of Barbershop at the Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago in Joliet. These quartets are all winners in regional competition who'll go on to an international competition in Indianapolis in November; the proceeds from tonight's show will help defray the costs of the trip. Show time is 8, and tickets are $12-$15. Preshow and intermission entertainment will be provided by Taylor Trimby playing the theater's Barton Grande organ. Call 815-726-6600.

Sunday 29

The closest thing the north side has to a Chinese New Year parade is New Chinatown's annual Argyle Fest, which transforms the business strip along Argyle between Broadway and Sheridan into an outdoor market. There'll be the usual food, shopping, and entertainment from 11 to dusk today; the traditional lion dance happens at noon on a stage at Argyle and Winthrop. Admission is free. Call 728-1030 for more.

Monday 30

Mexican documentary photographer Graciela Iturbide was taught by noted shutterbug Manuel Alfredo Bravo, and like him she focuses on the indigenous people of her native country. In the photographs currently on display at the Chicago Cultural Center, she concentrates on the plight of Mexican women--both in rural areas south of the border and in East LA. Graciela Iturbide: Photographs is up through October 24 on the first floor at 78 E. Washington. Viewing hours are 10 to 7 Monday through Thursday, 10 to 6 Friday, 10 to 5 Saturday, and noon to 5 Sunday. Admission is free. More info at 346-3278.

Tuesday 31

There's a triptych of author appearances tonight. Bob Tamarkin, whose new book, The Merc, tells the story of the explosive growth of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, is the guest of honor at a Chicago Literary Society dinner. The $37.50 ticket includes dinner at Mareva's, a talk by Tamarkin, a Q and A period to follow, and even a copy of the book. Mareva's is at 1250 N. Milwaukee; dinner starts at 6:30. Call 973-3523 to reserve a spot.

For her latest book, Fugitive Information: Essays From a Feminist Hothead, Kay Leigh Hagan took the unusual step of circulating drafts of the book's essays; the comments from readers are included in the published volume. She gives a free talk at the Women & Children First bookstore, 5233 N. Clark, at 7:15. Call 769-9299 for more.

Finally, there's cyberpunk progenitor William Gibson, author of the gritty and lucid Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive. In his new book, Virtual Light, a bike messenger and an ex-cop journey through a future in which the powers that be continue to use technological developments for their own ends: "All the technology we read about today like virtual reality and telepresence has come to pass," says Gibson, "but otherwise it's business as usual." He reads from it tonight at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells, at 7:30. Admission is free. Call 642-5044.


Wednesday 1

The daily papers' commitment to subjects of interest to gays and lesbians, along with the actual numbers of gays and lesbians working at the dailies, have been quite the subjects of debate lately in the pages of NewCity. They'll certainly be the subjects of debate tonight, as the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association holds a free forum on Lesbians, Gays, and the Chicago Press: The Evolving Coverage of Our Community. On the dais is a pretty impressive lineup: Sun-Times editor Dennis Britton; Trib Tempo editor James Warren; Reader editor Michael Lenehan; and reps as well from the Daily Southtown, the Chicago Reporter, the Daily Herald, and the City News Bureau. Moderating is association cochairman Barbara Raab, who's a producer at Channel Two. It starts at 7 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Call 509-5143 for details.

Thursday 2

The 14th Dalai Lama--street name Tenzin Gyatso--has been in exile from his Tibetan homeland since a 1959 uprising prompted full-scale suppression by the Chinese. He'll be speaking Saturday, September 4, in Grant Park as part of the Parliament of World Religions. If you want to get some background before he gets here, the documentary Compassion in Exile: The Story of the 14th Dalai Lama traces recent Tibetan history, from the Lama's crowning at the age of three to his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. The movie, written, produced, and directed by Mickey Lemle, with music by Philip Glass, shows tonight at 5:30 in the video theater of the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State. It's free; 747-4022.

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