Friday 7/5 - Thursday 7/11
5 FRIDAY While attending the School of the Art Institute in the 1970s, painter Jonathan Green worked part-time as a security guard at the adjacent museum, studying great works on the clock. It paid off; after the requisite period copying the masters, Green found his own style and subject matter: the everyday lives of the Gullah people of South Carolina's barrier islands, where he grew up. Over 180 of his paintings are featured in the 1997 book Gullah Images: The Art of Jonathan Green, which he'll be signing tonight along with prints of his 1995 painting White Breeze and calendars featuring his work. The free reception runs from 5 to 7 at the South Side Community Art Center, 3831 S. Michigan (773-373-1026); all proceeds benefit the center.
The fund-raiser for the new Master Work Place job-training and placement center on Devon Avenue is called Patakha Night--named after the Hindi term for fireworks. The MWP opened last month, and its services also include ESL classes for people of all backgrounds. Tonight's event features food, music, and an open mike with prizes. It starts at 8 at Bombay Hall, 2448 W. Devon, and tickets are $10. For more call 773-216-3755.
6 SATURDAY Now in its tenth year, the five-day African-Caribbean International Festival of Life attracts a wide variety of roots, reggae, world beat, and gospel musicians. This weekend's 70-act roster includes Third World, Yellowman, Karma Sutra, Shirley Bell, and Calypso Rose. Tonight's headliners are London-born dancehall crooner Maxi Priest and reggae superman Mutabaruka; also performing today are local R & B artists Public Announcement as well as Felony, True Enuff, Swing, Big Huss, and many others. The festival--which includes food, crafts, and other entertainment--began Thursday, July 4, and runs through tomorrow from 10 to 10 daily (the music starts at noon) in Washington Park, 55th and South Cottage Grove. Tickets are $8, or $20 for a four-day pass. Call 312-427-0266 or visit www.martinsinterculture.com.
In her book No More Karma, retired physician and lifetime Theosophical Society member Olga Ivsin says that crime and terrorism can be explained by ancient theories of karma and reincarnation. Bad seeds are "earthborn spirits" who "have very heavy karma and have to be reborn instantly [as equally bad people]....To stop the cycle you have to purify your karma." One way to do that is through hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, which Ivsin would like to see legalized. She'll give a slide lecture based on her book tonight at 8 at the College of Complexes at the Lincoln Restaurant, 4008 N. Lincoln. Tuition is $3, and purchase of food or drink is required. Call 312-353-0446.
7 SUNDAY The route for last year's Ultimate Neighborhood Ride was so well prepared that even minor road hazards--such as a dead rat--were circled and labeled. The 35-mile bicycle jaunt formerly known as the North Side Ride also boasts top-notch assistance, including rest stops with refreshments and SAG (support and gear) service; there's also a 20-mile option. Today's two-wheeled tour of the north side starts at 7 AM at North Park Village, 5801 N. Pulaski. The fee is $19, $15 for kids 10-16, free for those under 10; touring the route with a docent costs an additional $2. Registration is limited to 500 riders; call 773-509-8093 or see www.chicagocyclingclub.org.
8 MONDAY Longtime freelance editor and writer Susan Messer spends every Sunday morning on her work, "no matter how late I've been up the night before." Last year she won WBEZ's "Stories on Stage" competition for her piece about a pack rat in her 60s facing eviction. Messer was recently awarded an Illinois Arts Council grant, and credits mentor Etta Worthington and River Oak Arts in Oak Park, where she started attending workshops several years ago, with helping her find her voice. Tonight she'll be the featured reader at ROA's open mike, which starts at 7:30 at Shanahan's, 7353 W. Madison in Forest Park. Readers have up to five minutes each, and admission is $2; call 708-524-8725.
9 TUESDAY In 1998, just before construction started on a new youth hostel in Beit Shean, Israel, archaeologists went on a salvage dig and unearthed an opulent Byzantine villa complete with mosaics, a family graveyard, and a balcony that once overlooked the Jordan Valley. Under the floorboards they found an urn filled with more than 750 gold coins--enough to keep a family of five going for two decades. It's the largest stash of gold yet recovered from that era. Experts say the house, which dates from the eighth century (in the Umayyad period), was destroyed by a massive earthquake in 749 AD. The coins are part of a new exhibit called Archaeological News From the Holy Land: The Beit Shean Hoard. The exhibit opens today and runs through October 6 at the Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. Admission is $8, $4 for children, students, and seniors; hours are daily from 9 to 5. For more information call 312-922-9410.
10 WEDNESDAY Florence Nightingale was more than just the founder of the nursing profession, says Australian scholar Val Webb. Nightingale's career as a nurse "was a result of her reformist search to expand career opportunities for women in the 19th century." Webb drew on accounts of Nightingale's religious activities, as well as her letters and diaries, for her new book, Florence Nightingale: The Making of a Radical Theologian, which paints the "lady with the lamp" as an intensely spiritual social activist, feminist, intellectual, and reformer. Webb will discuss her book tonight at 7:30 at Women & Children First Bookstore, 5233 N. Clark. It's free (773-769-9299).
11 THURSDAY The traveling exhibit My Reality: Contemporary Art and the Culture of Japanese Animation is meant to appeal to all ages, but adults are more likely to pick up on the double meaning of the pieces, many of which critique Japan's postwar consumer culture. Tonight's opening reception at the Chicago Cultural Center runs from 6 to 9 and includes Japanese food, cocktails, and music by the DJ ensemble the Inflatablemen. Tickets are $35 in advance or $45 at the door, and proceeds benefit the free programs at the center. The exhibit will be up through September 8 at 78 E. Washington. A festival of related anime films starts July 16 in the CCC's Claudia Cassidy Theater. For tickets call 312-742-8497 or log on to www.ccdinnerandamovie.com. For general information call 312-744-6630.