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Friday 6/9 - Thursday 6/15

JUNE

by MIKE SULA

9 FRIDAY Guests are invited to sing to and sign the birthday card for Affie, an 11,000-pound African elephant living at the Brookfield Zoo, who is celebrating the big three-oh today. At that age most pachyderms don't mind putting on a few pounds, and her keepers will present her with a giant cake of carrots, lettuce, hay, bread, cantaloupe, apples, and watermelon. Festivities begin this morning at 10:30 in front of the elephant yard at the zoo, First and 31st in Brookfield. Admission is $7 for adults; $3.50 for kids and seniors. Call 708-485-0263.

10 SATURDAY If on-site indoctrination of the young in the principles and practices of aviation isn't good PR for the Friends of Meigs Field, then I'm Amelia Earhart. The group, which opposes the mayor's scheme to carpet Meigs with grass, hosts free ground orientation and flights over the city today for kids aged 7 to 17 as part of their Young Eagles Program. It's from 9 to 3 at 1500 S. Linn White Dr. (south of Adler Planetarium). Call 312-409-5621 for reservations (not needed after noon).

Today's mistitled City BBQ class promises to "show how quick and easy grilling can be." But while barbecuing, which requires slow smoking and low, indirect heat, is about as quick and easy as reconstructive surgery, Atwood Cafe's Heather Terhune and Paul Diballa probably do know some slick moves on a Weber. They'll demonstrate at noon on the rooftop terrace of Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, 66 E. Randolph. It's $20. Call 312-742-8497 to register.

In the 50s, Webb Pierce was one of the best-selling country singers in the game, allowing him to indulge an aesthetic sense that reached pinnacles of refinement with a guitar-shaped swimming pool, a silver-dollar-covered convertible, and kaleidoscopically gaudy suits. You can see Webb in his blinding glory on The Country Show, a mid-50s TV program costarring Ray Price, Jean Shepard, and others. It'll be screened at Chris and Heather's Lil' 16mm Film Jamboree tonight at 8 and 10:30 at Chris and Heather's Record Roundup, 2034 W. Montrose (773-271-5330). Kelly Hogan will also perform; it's all $7.

11 SUNDAY "I'll play harp till my lips bleed," says veteran Maxwell Street bluesman "Mr. H." By today, the second day of the 48-Hour Save Maxwell Street Blues Marathon, H may need a transfusion. Al Harris & the Six-Pack R & B Band will command the Frank "Little Sonny" Scott Juketown Community Bandstand from 10 till 3 today, and will make way for musicians stopping by all weekend, from midnight Friday till midnight tonight. There won't be any corporate sponsors hawking diet-chocolate-latte-yogurt-covered-schnitzels-on-a-stick, unlike at some other blues festival held this weekend, but you can gorge yourself on Polishes all day long. It's at the corner of Maxwell and Halsted, and it's free. Call 312-341-3696.

A recent article in the New Yorker by William Vollmann suggests that the oppressively restrictive atmosphere imposed by Afghanistan's ruling Taliban government might be easing. But many of the brief interviews Vollmann was able to conduct with women occurred in secret and on the fly, so how accurate a picture is it? Two women from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan are touring the U.S. to raise Western awareness about the brutal realities of life in that country. RAWA--a women's rights organization founded in 1977 and now based in northwest Pakistan--runs underground schools for girls inside Afghanistan and open schools for boys and girls in Pakistan's refugee camps. They also provide medical care and seed income-generating projects like carpet weaving for women confined to their houses. Sajida Hayat and Sehar Saba (not their real names) will talk and answer questions following a free screening of Shroud of Silence: Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan. It's from 1 to 5 this afternoon in the Devonshire Conference Room of the Holiday Inn North Shore, 5300 West Touhy in Skokie. Call 312-344-7479 for more details.

12 MONDAY Food photographer Eric Futran toured the city's down-home institutions for the 40 shots that make up Soul Food: A Photographic Exhibition With Recipes, which runs through June 29 in the Daley Center lobby. Accompanying photos taken at Army & Lou's, Leon's Bar-B-Q, family parties, and catfish shops are framed recipes from some of the featured chefs. The free exhibit is open from 6:30 to 5:30, Monday through Friday, at 50 W. Washington. Call 312-744-6630 for more information.

13 TUESDAY Constitutional scholars rarely mention the fine print that says, "We the People demand to see shit get blown up." But every year the city dutifully pays professionals who know the right way to get the people off on those multiorgasmic fireworks displays over the lake. This afternoon John Trick, director of operations for the Mayor's Office of Special Events, and a rep from Melrose Pyrotechnics will explain how it's done, with a presentation called KABOOM! Fireworks Displays in Downtown Chicago--How Do They Do It? It starts at 5:30 at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan. The $35 admission includes drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Call 815-469-8451 for reservations.

14 WEDNESDAY Judging from a list of stock characters in Metin And's book Karagoz--Turkish Shadow Theater, the folk puppet tradition relies on some unfortunate ethnic stereotypes for laughs; there's a haggling Jew, a haughty Kurd, a cowardly Greek, a dim-witted "Negro" servant, and a humorless Armenian. You can find out if the modern form has grown any more sensitive when master puppeteer Mustafa Mutlu presents a free performance and puppet-making demonstration at 6:30 at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, 1155 E. 58th. Call 773-702-9507.

The title character in Aleksandar Hemon's 1999 short story "Blind Jozef Pronek & Dead Souls" is a Bosnian refugee waiting out the war in Chicago so lonely and alienated he could have been dropped from Mars. Tonight Hemon joins Vietnamese poet Nguyen Duy and writer and Vietnam veteran Larry Heinemann for Inventing Peace, a reading and discussion, about writing and surviving in the midst of war. It starts at 7:30 at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, and it's $7. Call the Guild Complex at 773-296-1268, ext. 26, for more info.

15 THURSDAY The brickbats that sex columnist Dan Savage received after publishing a Swiftian account of his stint as an undercover germ warrior in Gary Bauer's presidential campaign haven't kept him from hitting the road to plug the paperback edition of his book The Kid. He'll read from it tonight but will refuse comment about the other business. It's at 7 at Borders, 830 N. Michigan. Call 312-573-0564.

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