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Friday 9/21 - Thursday 9/27

SEPTEMBER

21 FRIDAY Prankster cum performance artist Matthew Weddington--profiled in these pages in July--will walk downtown streets today in a performance entitled Rip Off Artist, beginning at 9 AM on Michigan at Chicago. Look for the guy in glasses, white short-sleeved shirt, blue tie, and black pants, carrying his life savings--in five-dollar bills--in a see-through briefcase handcuffed to his wrist, tempting passersby to rob him.

Tattooed and/or pierced elbows will be rubbed by the thousands at this weekend's seventh annual Inkin' Lincoln Tattoo Jamboree. The event--featuring tattoo artists, piercing specialists, leather and jewelry vendors, and tattoo contests--kicks off today at noon and continues through 7 PM Sunday at the Radisson O'Hare, 6810 N. Mannheim in Rosemont. Admission is $15 a day, $30 for the weekend; contact Tim "Freebird" Krings (630-552-3465) or Robin "Boogie" Hanson (608-857-3100) for more information.

According to the World Bocce Association, bocce ball was brought to Italy around 600 BC by the Greeks, who picked it up from the Egyptians, who were playing something like it as early as 5200 BC. The game, a cross between horseshoes and bowling, is won by rolling or tossing large balls nearest to a smaller target ball, the pallino. Though bocce's popularity has waxed and waned over the years--it was banned in Italy at one point to assuage the fears of noblemen who, it seems, couldn't walk the streets without having a ball thrown at their knees--the WBA says it's making inroads in the U.S. and is on the cusp of becoming an Olympic sport. As part of Carmichael's Steak House's Italian Fest, which runs through Sunday, September 30, the restaurant's reigning champion, Mike Otero, will give lessons at tonight's free Bocce Ball Tournament. Equipment and playing field will be provided. It starts at 6 at 1052 W. Monroe; call 312-433-0025 for details.

22 SATURDAY Since 1997 the Children First Fund--the fund-raising arm of the Chicago Public Schools--has distributed more than $400,000 in emergency assistance to the families of students and staff who've suffered hardship as a result of fire, illness, or death. A portion of the proceeds from this year's CPS Walk for FUNds will go to the American Red Cross for disaster relief in New York. The 5K walk will begin at 10 AM at the museum campus at Roosevelt and Columbus, proceed north to Wacker along Lake Shore Drive, and then loop back. Adults are asked to contribute at least $15; CPS students can walk for $5. Registration begins at 8 AM; call 773-553-1540 for information.

Outsider art spends enough time inside galleries, universities, and collections to make one wonder "outside what?" But it will actually be outdoors today at Intuit's Collect-O-Rama, which will bring together artists, dealers, collectors, and barbecue under a tent in the gallery's backyard in celebration of its 10th anniversary. The art sale and open house--which will include the work of Tyree Guyton, creator of Detroit's Heidelberg environment, and environmental installation artist Charles Smith, among others--is from noon to 8 and is just one of a weekend's worth of activities. It's at 756 N. Milwaukee; admission today is $5. Call 312-243-9088 for information on other events.

23 SUNDAY If you're too young to know what Maxwell Street looked like before UIC squashed it, retired geography professor Irving Cutler's slide show today at the open meeting of the Chicago Jewish Historical Society may blow your mind. Cutler's new book, Jewish Chicago: A Pictorial History, documents Jewish life in Chicago through photos of neighborhoods, religious and cultural institutions, and people. The free slide show begins at 2 in Biederman Hall at the Spertus Institute, 618 S. Michigan, and will be preceded by a social hour at 1. Call 312-663-5634 for more information.

24 MONDAY How do you keep student artists from slacking off over the summer? Have a juried art show with cash prizes at the beginning of the fall semester. Since 1993 Columbia College's Hokin Honors Exhibit has shown the summer work of faculty-nominated students, invited professional artists to judge, and doled out cash prizes. The show--which includes painting, photography, sculpture, and several installation pieces--opens today at the Hokin Gallery, 623 S. Wabash, and continues through October 24; call 312-344-7696 for more information.

25 TUESDAY In 1815 a canal digger from Oxfordshire published a map of northwest Great Britain that simultaneously put a bee in the church's bonnet, laid the foundations for the coal-and-mineral mining industries, and paved the way for Darwin's theory of evolution. William Smith's "A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales" is believed to be the first geological map, and as powerful a blow to the creationist worldview as the work of Darwin. Smith and his map are the subject of journalist Simon Winchester's new book, The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology, which he will discuss today at 6:30 at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton; call 312-255-3700 for more.

In a 1996 Harper's essay entitled "Perchance to Dream: In an Age of Images, a Reason to Write Novels," Jonathan Franzen diagnosed the problem with the big, socially engaged novels of the day: they're a bore. "Another 20 years of boring literary novels," he said in a recent New York Times interview, "and the thing's dead." In the same essay he vowed to do it better, and after several years holed up in his East Harlem apartment, often behind soundproof walls, double-paned window glass, earplugs, earmuffs, and a blindfold--measures he took, he says, to keep his mind "free of all cliches"--he produced a novel, The Corrections, that seeks to anchor the intellectual might of DeLillo or Pynchon in psychological portraits of human characters. Franzen will read from and discuss The Corrections tonight at 7:30 at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells. Call 312-642-5044 for more information.

26 WEDNESDAY Also at Barbara's, Vickie Nam and Mia Park host a book release party for YELL-Oh Girls! Emerging Voices Explore Culture, Identity, and Growing Up Asian-American, an anthology of writing by young Asian-American women. Nam, the book's editor and founder of the sister Web site www.yellogirls.com, describes the book and site as part of "a multi-layered project that is predicated on a movement by and for Asian-American girls who are exploring issues of culture and identity," closing her introduction to the Web site with a rousing call to "Go ahead! Speak out, and if it's your desire, YELL like hell!" Nam and local musician and Asian-American arts promoter Park, whose essay "Waving Fans" is included in the collection, will read from and discuss the book tonight at 7:30. Barbara's Bookstore is at 1350 N. Wells (312-642-5044).

27 THURSDAY In the days immediately following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, staffers at Glenview-based LifeSource Blood Services were asking the throngs of would-be donors to "think long term" and return in the coming weeks. LifeSource's Chicago clinics are located in the James R. Thompson Center (100 W. Randolph), in Streeterville (233 E. Erie), and in Lincoln Park (1523 W. Fullerton). Call 800-486-0680 for more information or to make an appointment.

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