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Friday 5/10 - Thursday 5/16

MAY

10 FRIDAY An old joke goes: How many anarchists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? All of them!...Yeah, I don't get it either. Maybe that's because since World War II anarchism has become less an organized movement than a guiding principle (happy birthday, Sid Vicious). Still, any city worth its labor riots has an anarchist community, and this weekend Chicago's is putting on the third annual Matches and Mayhem festival, a three-day celebration of the antiauthoritarian impulse that features films, art, debates, a book fair, a variety show, a flag contest, and a soccer tournament. It all starts today at 4 with a pickup soccer game in Wicker Park (Damen and Schiller) and continues through Sunday at several venues. Most events are free; some are $5 to $10 on a sliding scale, but nobody will be turned away for lack of money. For more information, call the Autonomous Zone at 312-494-3455 or go to www.matchesandmayhem.org.

11 SATURDAY I remember my first time on a plane. It was 1978, I was four years old, and my family and I were about halfway to Disney World when the 747 hit heavy turbulence and suddenly dropped 100 feet. The plane leveled off, but for the next 20 minutes it felt like we were bumping over mountaintops at 400 miles an hour. "Dad," I cried, "are we gonna crash into the mountains?" "There aren't any mountains," he replied, and slammed the rest of his beer. Since 1992, the Experimental Aircraft Association has sponsored Young Eagles, a program that gives free plane rides to kids in hopes that a good first flight will instill an aviation-positive attitude. More than 780,000 kids have taken part internationally; 6,000 of them have flown out of Meigs Field, where this month's Young Eagles Rally begins today at 9 AM and continues until everybody's had a turn. Kids must be between 7 and 17 years old and accompanied by an adult, with a parent's written permission to fly. Call 312-409-5621 for more info and to register; walk-ins are welcome, but they'll fly last.

After a 1997 trip to Hong Kong, Macau, and southern China, ghost hunter Richard Crowe started offering Supernatural Chinatown, a walking tour of the south-side neighborhood's haunts. Many Chinese, says Crowe, take a "holistic approach to the supernatural--everything pertains to it." For instance, at the Emperor's Choice restaurant on Wentworth, next door to a funeral home, "Local patrons almost always sit on the left--south--side of the dining room, leaving tourists and nonlocals to sit on the right--north--side. This is due to a widely held belief in the neighborhood that the wall next to the funeral home is cold--not physically, but psychically--because of the dead bodies next door." Today's tour begins at 11:30 AM with a lecture and slide show at the Triple Crown Restaurant, 211 W. 22nd Pl., and runs till around 3. Tickets are $30, which includes lunch. Call 708-499-0300 to register.

On Mother's Day 1977, La Mere Vipere, a sleepy north-side gay bar at 2132 N. Halsted, shelved its disco records and broke out the Ramones. Business exploded, and a month later the bar held a weekend "Punk-o-Rama," featuring film footage of bands like Television and Blondie and a "punk fashion show." Soon there was a line out the door every night, and everyone from Chris Spedding to Link Wray to members of Chicago was trying to get in. Legend has it that during a show in Chicago Patti Smith once remarked, "I went to a bar last night called La Mere Vipere, and it's just too fabulous--someone should burn it down." Burn down it did, less than a year after it opened--now it's a Dynamic Liquors. Tonight the Artful Dodger (1734 W. Wabansia, 773-227-6859) will celebrate the 25th anniversary of La Mere Vipere's opening with a party starting at 9:30. WNUR's Morry Barak, 'XRT's Bob Skafish, and others will DJ. There's a $7 cover, and you must be 21 or over.

12 SUNDAY In her 2001 Harper's essay "Welcome to Cancerland," Barbara Ehrenreich bemoaned the "cult of pink kitsch" that has sprung up around breast cancer, a disease that hits one in eight American women--Ehrenreich among them. Raised awareness of the disease began with feminist health movements of the 70s and 80s. But in recent years, says Ehrenreich, breast cancer has become "the most popular girl at the corporate charity prom," partly because of its perceived "blandness." (Unlike AIDS or lung cancer, the causes of breast cancer are free of any lifestyle connotations.) Ehrenreich points out that despite all the corporate handouts and celebrity advocacy, breast cancer death rates have hardly changed since the 1930s. Still, she concedes, "cheerfulness, up to and including false hope, has a recognized place in medicine....So, it could be argued, the collectively pumped-up optimism of [mainstream] breast-cancer culture may be just what the doctor ordered. Shop for the Cure, dress in pink-ribbon regalia, organize a run or hike--whatever gets you through the night." Today at 9 AM the 11th annual Y-Me Race Against Breast Cancer starts in Grant Park on Columbus, just south of Balbo. Registration is $23 for adults, $12 for kids 14 and under ($30 and $15, respectively, on race day). Call 877-963-7223 for more info or go to www.y-me.org.

13 MONDAY Ehrenreich, by the way, highly recommends Trust Us, We're Experts: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles With Your Future, by investigative journalists Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, authors of 1995's Toxic Sludge is Good For You! Tonight at 7 they'll discuss their new book, which they claim will be hated by corporations everywhere, at Borders Books & Music in Oak Park, 1144 W. Lake, 708-386-6927.

14 TUESDAY In a September 1999 article in Talk magazine, conservative pundit Tucker Carlson quoted Texas governor and presidential candidate George W. Bush ridiculing the death-row pleas of ax murderer turned born-again Christian Karla Faye Tucker: "'Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'don't kill me.'" Here in Illinois, our soon to be ex-governor, George Ryan, won't move on to such lofty office. But he has acknowledged that a criminal justice system that sentences to death 13 innocent men (and counting) might need a little fixing. Today at 4 the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty, and the Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal are holding a rally at the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph. For more information call 773-955-4841.

15 WEDNESDAY Last December, Theresa Kubasak and Gabe Huck went to Iraq as part of a delegation from Voices in the Wilderness, an organization working to end UN sanctions against that country. The group donated blood in Baghdad, crossed the no-fly zone in a converted Russian cargo plane, and were joined by Muslims at midnight mass in Basra. Tonight at 7 Kubasak and Huck will talk about the trip and screen the 2001 documentary Hidden Wars of Desert Storm at the main branch of the Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington (847-866-0300). It's free.

16 THURSDAY From 1977 to 1984, says Tolly Burkan, "I was the only person on the planet teaching fire walking classes. I should also mention that I made many mistakes in those early years, and several dozen people were badly burned." Walking over hot coals is now touted as a cutting-edge prescription for overcoming fear and unlocking human potential. Unsurprisingly, it's been included in executive empowerment seminars at Microsoft and other underachieving corporations. Tonight at 7 Burkan will discuss his new book, Extreme Spirituality: Radical Journeys for the Inward Bound, at Transitions Bookplace, 1000 W. North, 312-951-7323. It's free.

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