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Friday 3/15 - Thursday 3/21

MARCH

15 FRIDAY The battle of the prehistoric reptiles starts today at Chicago's two best-known science museums. In the Museum of Science and Industry corner, weighing in at 17,500 pounds and measuring 40 feet long, is a 110-million-year-old African crocodile known as "SuperCroc." The complete skull and half the skeleton of this reconstruction are real, unearthed two years ago by a 14-person team in the Sahara. The Field Museum's challenger is "Tiniest Giants: Discovering Dinosaur Eggs," an interactive exhibit intended to re-create a sauropod nesting site discovered in 1997 in Patagonia. There'll be fossilized dinosaur embryos to look at under a microscope, samples of embryonic dinosaur skin, and a dig site full of fake fossils for kids to find. "Tiniest Giants" runs through September 2 at the Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., 312-922-9410. Museum hours are Monday through Friday from 10 to 5 and Saturday and Sunday from 9 to 5. Admission is $8 for adults; $4 for seniors, students, and kids aged 3 to 11; and free to children under 3. SuperCroc and other African fossils will be on display through May 27 at the Museum of Science and Industry, 57th and Lake Shore Drive, which is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 4 and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 to 5:30. Admission is $8 for adults, $6.75 for seniors, and $4.25 for children (kids under 3 are free here too). Call 773-684-1414.

Miniature reproductions of the Daley Plaza Picasso, the Rookery Building, and the Adler Planetarium make up some of the 18 holes at the Epilepsy Foundation's miniature golf course, "Golf Around Chicago 2002," which opens today at Navy Pier's Crystal Gardens. Local architects and builders donate their efforts to create the course annually; new this year are holes 1 (a circular setup winding around a replica of the Loop), 8 (a tribute to Caddyshack), and 17 (inspired by late Chicago artist Roger Brown and based on highways and the CTA system). It's open Monday through Thursday from 10 to 10, Friday and Saturday from 10 to 11, and Sunday from 10 to 7 through April 21 at the pier, 600 E. Grand. Tickets range from $5.25 to $6.75, and all proceeds go to the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago. Call 312-595-7437.

16 SATURDAY In 1831, Ohio-born Elsie Armstrong left her drunken husband and took her eight sons to live in Deer Park, Illinois, near Ottawa. Her sons grew up to work on the Illinois and Michigan Canal and to found the town of Morris, and in 1957 their mother's story inspired Keith Clark to compose "The Ballad of Elsie Armstrong." Today, singer Christine Gaylord and fiddler Joe Wadz will perform the ballad at the Newberry Library, preceded by a "first-person interpretation" of Armstrong's life by actress Connie Piazza and a lecture by the Canal Corridor Association's Ron Vasile. After the music, independent scholar Willa Cramton will speak on the experiences of pioneer women in general. Women Pioneers in Northeastern Illinois: Elsie Armstrong and Other Strong Women is free and runs from 10 to noon at the library, 60 W. Walton. Call 312-255-3700 for more info.

Legend has it that the idea of dyeing the Chicago River was inspired by the pair of green-splotched overalls worn by a plumber who was dumping dye in the river to ferret out the source of a waste stream. That may be true, but the substance poured into the river at 10:45 this morning will be bright orange, turning to emerald only when it reacts with the water; the best views will be from the Columbus Drive and Michigan Avenue bridges. At 11, Irish dancers will perform on Columbus just west of Buckingham Fountain, and the official Saint Patrick's Day Parade, with a lead float honoring Father Mychal Judge, the late New York City fire department chaplain, starts at noon from Columbus and Balbo and marches north to Monroe. It's free, assuming you can muscle your way through the crowds. Call 312-942-9188 or see www.chicagostpatsparade.com for info.

17 SUNDAY "This experience is not a dance class," say the organizers of A Moveable Dance History With Selene Carter, but attendees would nevertheless do well to wear comfortable clothes. Carter, who teaches improvisation, anatomy, and dance studies at the Dance Center of Columbia College and received a Ruth Page award in 2000 for her improvisational work, will lead what she calls "an experiential history of modern dance" set to slide projections of modern art and architecture. Music will be minimal, "because I'll be giving a lot of directions." It starts at 5:30 at Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield. Admission is $5. For info or advance tickets call River Oak Arts at 708-524-8725.

18 MONDAY Omayra Amaya learned flamenco from her family, who were Gypsies in southern Spain. At age six she began performing around the world with a company run by her parents; in 1990 she entered the Boston Conservatory on a dance scholarship, and three years later she started her own troupe. At tonight's lecture-demonstration in the School of the Art Institute auditorium, she'll discuss how flamenco celebrates family and community; she'll be assisted by Joaquin Encinias, dancer and cofounder of the National Conservatory of Flamenco Arts, and flamenco guitarist Jose Valle Chuscales. It starts at 6 at 280 S. Columbus (312-443-3711); admission is $5, $3 for students and seniors. Wednesday night at 8, Amaya, Encinias, Chuscales, and two more dancers will premiere their new work Casta ("Lineage") at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo (312-362-9707); tickets to that are $20.

19 TUESDAY Highlights of tonight and tomorrow night's video screenings at the Renaissance Society include Leah Gilliam's Sapphire and the Slave Girl, which incorporates elements of film noir, blaxploitation, and black militarism; Bjorn and Ronald Melhuis's goofy No Sunshine, set to Michael Jackson samples; and Van McElwee's Confluence, which rapidly intercuts scenes from a state fair in Missouri with footage of streets in India and candles burning at a temple in Thailand. Both 90-minute programs--presented in association with a Michel Auder retrospective that runs through April 21--are free and start at 7 at the University of Chicago's Cobb Hall, room 307, just below the Renaissance Society gallery at 5811 S. Ellis. Call 773-702-8670.

Molive chef Joey Rosetti reveals his recipe for osso buco at tonight's session of Cooking With Inspiration Cafe. He'll also demonstrate how to make black mussels in tomato broth with andouille sausage, leeks, and garlic. Class runs from 7 to 9 at the cafe at 4554 N. Broadway, suite 207; since Rosetti's donating his time, the $35 fee ($100 for three classes) goes to support the cafe's job training programs for the homeless. You can sign up at 773-878-0981, ext. 203.

20 WEDNESDAY "I am always interested in the people in films who have just had a drink thrown in their faces," starts Ron Padgett's poem "The Drink." "My favorites...do not change their expressions at all." Known for his deadpan wit, Padgett--whose "Fixation" is about the great view Christ must've had from the cross--has also had a long career translating the work of French writers, including books by Guillaume Apollinaire and Marcel Duchamp, and teaching creative writing. He'll read from his own work tonight at 6:30 at a Poetry Center of Chicago-sponsored event in the School of the Art Institute ballroom, 112 S. Michigan. Admission is $10; call 312-899-1229 to reserve a spot.

21 THURSDAY Park District superintendent David Doig will join representatives from the Grant Park Advisory Council and the DuSable League tonight at 5:30 to discuss the fate of the still-undeveloped three acres just south of Navy Pier known as DuSable Park, whose situation was chronicled in the Reader last October. DuSable Park: Hidden in Plain View takes place in the lecture hall of the Chicago Architecture Center, in the Santa Fe Building at 224 S. Michigan (312-922-3432). An exhibit of design proposals for the tract generated by artists, designers, and concerned citizens at the behest of artist Laurie Palmer runs through April 4 in the foundation's lecture hall gallery.

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