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Friday 6/14 - Thursday 6/20

JUNE

14 FRIDAY The art of bonsai--literally translated as "tray planting," in which shrubs and trees are stunted and trained into shapes that complement their containers--was born in China and refined in Japan, where it's been practiced since the 14th century. The Chicago Botanic Garden's 184 bonsai are overseen by master artist Susumu Nakamura, who commutes from Yokohama. Two years ago Nakamura donated 19 specimens from his personal collection to the garden; this weekend, for the first time, they'll be assembled for public viewing. The Nakamura bonsai collection is on display in the north gallery of the garden's education center today through Sunday. Hours are 8 to sunset, and docents from the Midwest Bonsai Society will be there from 10 to 4 all three days, giving tours and answering questions. The Chicago Botanic Garden is located at 1000 Lake Cook Rd. in Glencoe (847-835-5440). Parking is $8.75; admission is free.

Genevieve, the bitch behind Memoirs of a Papillon: The Canine Guide to Living With Humans Without Going Mad, argues that doorbells on television commercials should be banned, as they cause dogs to run to the front door and "bark their heads off," and goes on to explain such things as the best way to ride in cars--on the driver's lap. Genevieve will be "pawtographing" her book alongside author Dennis Fried today at 11 at Books-a-Million, 144 S. Clark (312-857-0613), and tonight at 7 at Barnes & Noble, 728 N. Waukegan in Deerfield (847-914-9293). Tomorrow they'll appear from 1 to 4 at the Books-a-Million at 14906 S. La Grange in Orland Park (708-460-4840). All events are free.

15 SATURDAY Juneteenth marks the announcement of the end of slavery in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865--some two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. The Park District is celebrating today with an event dedicated to Eighth Ward alderman Lorraine Dixon, who died last June of breast cancer. It starts at 10 with a "parade of pride" in honor of civil rights activists that will be followed by food, music, and a health fair from noon to 6 at Rainbow Beach and Park, at 77th and the lake. The parade starts at the New Regal Theater, 1645 E. 79th, and travels east on 79th to the beach. It's free; for more information call 312-742-7529.

"Contrary to popular belief, a leather lifestyle and Christian spirituality are not mutually exclusive," says a spokesman for the Dignity Defenders Leather/Levi Club. The leather outreach of Dignity Chicago is one of nine such clubs around the country, and its purpose is to "create a space that leather men and women find welcoming and unique in its spiritual dimension." Today from 2 to 4:30 pastor Rich Rossiter of Brookfield's Holy Covenant Metropolitan Community Church will discuss how to integrate leather and spirituality at a location TBA in Andersonville. Admission is $10; for specifics call 773-296-0780.

16 SUNDAY "I've eaten stuff that was actually hair conditioner and sampled fruits that I found out later are poisonous unless cooked," says Marilyn Pocius of her quest to find exotic ingredients. "The hair conditioner was a nut-shaped thing called 'aretha,' which I found on Devon Avenue in one of the Indian spice shops. It looked sort of like nutmeg, so I figured I'd try it. It was rock hard (but then so is nutmeg) and tasted kinda like soap....An Indian coworker told me what it was really for....She was much amused that I tried to eat it." In her new book, A Cook's Guide to Chicago, Pocius covers everything from ethnic grocery stores and cooking schools to the best places to get knives sharpened. There are also recipes; today at 1:30 and 2:30 Pocius will prepare and hand out samples of Asian greens with black beans and polenta and grilled mushroom-soy pork tenderloin at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd. in Glencoe. Admission is free, but parking is $8.75. Call 847-835-5440 or see www.chicagobotanic.org for more information.

17 MONDAY In 1909 James Joyce dubbed Dublin "the city of failure, of rancor and of unhappiness." But each June 16, people in 60 countries commemorate his 1922 masterpiece Ulysses, which follows Dubliner Leopold Bloom around town one day in 1904. This year's local Bloomsday reading and celebration, held a day late, will be emceed by independent scholar and Ulysses expert Steve Diedrich. The event starts with a cash bar at 5:30; the program follows at 6:30 at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan (22nd floor). Admission is $10 and reservations are strongly recommended; call 312-922-8080.

18 TUESDAY The work of five young (male) directors known as the Iberian Peninsula's "brat pack" is showcased in the Film Center's Spanish Film Week, which started Friday. What the brats have in common, says Instituto Cervantes cultural activities head and film week organizer Paco De Blas, is a view of relationships that is "fresh, urban, and socially conscious." Three of them--Sigfrid Monleon, Gonzalo Tapia, and Miguel Santesmases--will discuss the state of Spanish cinema and how they made the leap from short films to features tonight at 8:15, following the 6 PM screening of Santesmases's Love, Curiosity, Prozac and Doubt. It's at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. Admission to the film is $8; the discussion is free. Call 312-846-2600.

19 WEDNESDAY Former Chicagoan Fran Zell recently won an award from the Wisconsin Library Association for her new novel, The Marcy Stories, about a midwestern woman coming to grips with her past. It's based on a series of chapbooks Zell started writing when she was a graduate student at UIC in the late 1980s. Zell now lives--like her heroine--in Madison and calls Marcy her alter ego. She'll read tonight at 7:30 at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, along with poets Ian Bryan and Blair Ewing, as part of the Guild Complex's "First Book" series. Admission is $5, $3 for students and seniors. Call 773-227-6117 or see www.guildcomplex.com.

20 THURSDAY The Chicago Cultural Center's new series E3: Electronic Sound and Film/Video Art explores the relationship between sound and image and kicks off tonight with a tour of the exhibit "Magnum Cinema: Photographs From 50 Years of Movie-Making." That'll be followed by a panel discussion of sound and film/video with artists Doug Lussenhop, Anthony Mathile, Jason Ajemian, Chris Clepper, Jeff Economy, and members of the band Frontier, moderated by University of Chicago English professor James Lastra, author of Sound Technology and the American Cinema. The artists will end the evening with performances that combine music and experimental film. The tour is at 7, the discussion is at 7:30, and the performances start at 8 at 78 E. Washington. It's free; call 312-744-6630.

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