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By Cara Jepsen

JULY

FRIDAY 26

The offerings at the Evanston Chamber of Commerce's world's largest garage sale run the gamut from mannequins to comic books. More than 400 vendors will participate in this year's event, which takes place inside the city's municipal garage. Jugglers, clowns, and face painters will also be on hand. It's from 11 to 9 today, and 11 to 6 Saturday and Sunday at the Sherman Avenue parking garage, 1616 Sherman, in Evanston. Admission is $1; call 847-328-1500.

Tonight's "Moonlight Madness" event at the Anti-Cruelty Society makes it possible to adopt a cat or dog after hours. You can't be half-assed about it though: To adopt, you must be 18 or older and have a picture ID. You also must bring your landlord's phone number or a copy of a lease that says animals are allowed in your building, vet records showing that your other pets are up to date on shots, and $50. In return you get a healthy pet with an ID tag and a leash or cat carrier. The Anti-Cruelty Society, which opens at noon and closes tonight at 10, is at 510 N. LaSalle. Browsing is free; call 644-8338.

One of the cleanest creeks in northeastern Illinois runs through the Black Partridge Woods Nature Preserve near Lemont, in the southwest suburbs, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources fishing guide. A new tollway extension is proposed to zip right past the park and threaten its pristine condition with salt and oil runoff. Tonight Winston Damon and Rob Harless are among the performers who'll entertain at a benefit for Black Partridge and Idaho's Clearwater National Forest. It's hosted by the Chicago Greens and starts at 8 at the Autonomous Zone, 2311 W. North. Tickets are $8. Call 243-5619.

SATURDAY 27

I know a woman who loves garlic so much she has a tiny tattoo of a clove behind her left ear. If she lived in town, I'm sure she'd attend today's garlic festival, where chef Martin Escutia from Cuisine Chicago Catering will give tips on cooking with garlic and offer samples of garlic-laden delicacies such as Portuguese garlic soup and roasted garlic vegetable dip. The free event takes place from noon to 3 at the Edward Don Outlet Store, 2525 N. Elston. Call 489-7739.

New Republic editor Jacob Weisberg and communist union activist Jack Spiegel are among the speakers participating in this year's Bughouse Square Debates. They'll discuss issues ranging from government arts funding to population control at Chicago's historic free-speech corner. The event is held in conjunction with the 12th annual Newberry Library Book Fair, where some 80,000 books will be on sale. The debates are today from noon to 4, and the book fair runs from 10 to 5 today and noon to 5 tomorrow. The debates are in Washington Square Park, across from the Newberry, 60 W. Walton. Both events are free; call 355-3501.

Venetian Night is one of the coolest city events that I've never seen, no matter how hard I've tried to get the night off from my job as a waitress. This year's parade of lighted boats will feature several wooden craft from the Heritage Wooden Boat Festival at Montrose Harbor. Decorated for the patriotic theme "An American Celebration" they'll join a replica of a mid-19th-century schooner, the African Queen from the movie, and about 30 other vessels as they float along the lakefront from Shedd Aquarium to Monroe Harbor. The night kicks off with a concert at 7 at the Petrillo Music Shell, Columbus at Jackson, where the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra will perform waltzes by Johann Strauss. At 7:30 the coast guard will demonstrate sea and air rescues. The boats will start their parade at 8:30 and sail till the fireworks begin at 10. It's free; call 744-3370.

SUNDAY 28

Vertical skateboarding has come a long way since it started in California in the mid-1970s when teenagers discovered that empty pools could provide hours of rad fun. Leif Garrett even starred in a skateboard movie (though his event was the slalom). Now an estimated ten million people worldwide skateboard on a regular basis. A ramp in the parking lot of the Hard Rock Cafe will provide a vertical playground today for the Triple Crown of Skateboarding Competition. Such professional skateboarders as Omar Hassan, Tony Hawk, Tas Pappas, and Darren Mendito will vie for a $3,000 first prize. The competition runs from 9 to 5 at the cafe, 63 W. Ontario. The $2 admission fee goes to the Children's Place, which provides services for AIDS-affected children and their families. Call 943-2252.

In an effort to show gay and bisexual men how safe sex can be creative, fun, and erotic, Test Positive Aware Network is sponsoring Fleshfest 3, a workshop that includes activity booths allowing participants to experiment with safer-sex techniques they may not have had the balls to try at home. For those who'd rather watch than do or be done, the event will also feature safer-sex demonstrations. It's today from 1 to 7 at the Unicorn Club and Body Shop, 3246 N. Halsted. A picture ID and a Unicorn membership are required for entry; membership is $3 and can be purchased at the door. The $8 admission fee covers clothes check, juice bar, and latex condoms. Call 404-8726.

MONDAY 29

Chicago often served as a crossroads for former slaves making their way to Canada. The DuSable Museum of African American History's new exhibit, They Sought Freedom: The Underground Railroad From Illinois to Canada, includes maps, photographs, documents, and other artifacts that reconstruct the secret trails and hiding places that made up the route. It opens today from 10 to 5. The museum is located at 740 E. 56th Place. Admission is $3, $2 for students and seniors. Call 947-0600.

TUESDAY 30

In her 1993 book The Fountain of Age, author Betty Friedan showed that getting older can open new possibilities for adventure and intimacy--especially for women. Indeed, the way society views aging is slowly changing and will likely continue to do so as baby boomers reach their golden years and force the rest of us to pay attention to their new discoveries. Today's seminar on Images of Women and Aging will look at the psychology of growing older and examine the handful of positive role models found in film and literature. It's from 9:30 to 11:30 this morning at Regency Nursing Centre, 6631 N. Milwaukee, in Niles. It's free; call 847-647-1116, ext. 248.

Just about any cyclist knows that most in-line skaters could use a lesson or two in how to propel themselves in a straight line, how to confine themselves to one side of a bike path, and how to stop themselves without bouncing off another moving object. Today's in-line skating clinic will touch on those areas. Physical therapist Jo Fasen addresses strength, flexibility, and injury prevention. It's from 6 to 7:30 at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's Center for Spine, Sports, and Occupational Rehabilitation, 1030 N. Clark. It's free, but space is limited. Call 908-6044.

When a criminal case affects more than one nation there's often the question of where the trial should be held and where the sentence should be served. A world court exists, but if a country disagrees with its judgment, it doesn't have to follow the decision. The solution may lie in a criminal court administered by the United Nations. Tonight representatives of Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the American Bar Association will participate in an international criminal court panel and debate these issues from 7:30 to 9:30 at the Friends Meeting House, 1010 Greenleaf, in Evanston. It's free; call 847-673-4484.

The alarming trend of church fires--approximately one black or multiracial church per week has been firebombed, burned, or vandalized, since January, according to the Center for Democratic Renewal--is actually nothing new; 92 churches have been damaged since 1990. The majority of those arrested have been white males, and, not surprisingly, many have had connections to white supremacist groups. Tonight's benefit, From Ashes to Allies, aims to raise money to help rebuild the churches. There will be speakers as well as music by the R & B group Chicago Katz. It's from 8 to midnight at the Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood. Tickets are $20. Call 338-3858.

WEDNESDAY 31

In the past year the Boys and Girls Clubs' health-awareness days have provided free medical services and health education to more than 2,000 children. This year the club hopes to reach even more kids with its series of dental, vision, hearing, foot, and lead screenings and immunizations, which will be held at a different club each week. Today the services will take place at the Logan Square Boys and Girls Club, 3228 W. Palmer, from noon to 6. The screenings and shots are free, but children under 18 must have a release form signed by a parent or guardian. Call 271-8711.

AUGUST 1

THURSDAY

If it's as clever as its press release, The Convention will be a hoot and a half. The setting of the interactive comedy is a political convention that takes place in front of and around the audience, with the audience members acting as delegates. Leading the festivities is Mississippi governor and presidential hopeful Richard "Dick" Hartwood, who describes his political stance as "progressively abstract." He wants to tap General Colin Powell as a running mate, "which might discourage folks from thinking he is a racist." Like Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding, this show combines scripted lines with improvisation. It opens tonight at 7:30 at the Comedy Asylum, 2011 W. North. Tickets are $18.50. Call 665-2856.

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