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Friday 7/12 - Thursday 7/18

JULY

12 FRIDAY The regional Clean Air Counts campaign--initiated after the Chicago metropolitan area was repeatedly cited for ozone violations--targets five different classes of polluters: businesses, communities, developers, local governments, and private households. The last group is reached through Clean Air Households, an on-line initiative to reduce dangerous emissions from domestic activities such as painting, cleaning, and mowing the lawn. Project coordinator Beverly McClellan will explain how to get involved tonight at 8 at the Hyde Park meeting of the College of Complexes at Futureworld cyber cafe, 1744 E. 55th. Tuition is $2, and purchase of food or drink is required. Call 312-353-0446; for more on the campaign, log on to www.cleanaircounts.org.

13 SATURDAY Between 1975, when the Khmer Rouge invaded Phnom Penh, and 1999, nearly 150,000 Cambodian refugees entered the U.S. About 6,000 of them live in the Chicago area, and 400 are expected to participate in today's Surviving the Journey: Cambodian American Walk to Freedom event--to which they're encouraged to bring "symbols of Cambodia and their personal journey to America." But regardless of where they're from, anyone who signs up can walk and attend the picnic that follows. Registration is from 9 to 12 in the parking lot across the street from the Aragon (1106 W. Lawrence). The two-mile walk starts at 10 and ends at noon at 2831 W. Lawrence, where there will be a ground-breaking ceremony for the future Killing Fields Memorial and Cambodian Heritage Museum and Library--the nation's first. The $25 registration fee benefits the same. For more call 773-878-7090.

There are almost 100 murals in the Pilsen neighborhood, some of which date back to the beginnings of the Mexican mural movement launched in 1968 with Mario Castillo's Metaphysics (Peace), which has since been destroyed. "A lot of them are indoor murals, but those are a bit harder to track down," says Linda Tortolero, executive director of the Pilsen/Little Village Information Center. Fortunately, she knows where they are and is leading today's neighborhood tour of Pilsen and Little Village--two communities linked by Cermak Road that are home to the largest concentration of Mexican-Americans outside East LA. The tour bus leaves at 10 AM (and returns around 2) from the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Tickets are $25 (lunch is not included), $20 for students, seniors, and kids 8 to 18. To reserve a spot call 312-742-1190.

14 SUNDAY Self-transformation through self-observation is the goal of vipassana meditation--the type that the Buddha practiced to reach enlightenment. Each year about 100,000 people around the world attend free ten-day vipassana retreats, during which they must sit still for long periods of time and give up meat, sex, alcohol, drugs, TV, radio, reading, writing, telling lies, and talking (no wonder the retreats are free). The foremost living teacher of vipassana--which means "to see things as they really are"--is S.N. Goenka, who will give a talk tonight at 5:30 in the Field Museum's James Simpson Theatre, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. At 4 there will be a meditation for former students only. Call 773-263-7001 or log on to www.meditationnow.org for more information.

15 MONDAY Naturalist Joel Greenberg spent two decades researching his comprehensive new book, A Natural History of the Chicago Region, which covers changes in plant and animal (including human) life in the four-state area from glacial times to the present. Despite 325 years of settlement, there's still, he found, a surprising degree of biodiversity. Greenberg will explain further at tonight's 7:30 slide presentation based on his book. It's at the Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53 in Lisle, and is free with admission to the arboretum ($7 per car). Seating is limited; to register call 630-719-2465.

16 TUESDAY March's primary election saw new blood begin to edge out some of the old on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, which has an annual budget of $2.6 billion and oversees the largest unified court system in the world (not to mention the second-largest health care system in the country). With the general election looming in November, and questions such as the location of a new domestic violence courthouse still unresolved, the Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women is sponsoring a panel discussion tonight called The New Cook County Board: Will There Be Reform and Why Should Women Care? Panelists include commissioner Mike Quigley and Democratic board candidates Joan Patricia Murphy, Forrest Claypool, and Larry Suffredin. It's from 6 to 8 at Ann Sather restaurant, 929 W. Belmont, and it's $15, which includes appetizers. For more call 773-430-2812.

Clients at the 27-year-old, sliding-scale Chicago Women's Health Center are told the cost of the visit and asked to put what they can into a plain white envelope--and 60 to 70 percent of the center's budget is generated this way. The rest comes from grants and donations. Currently facing a financial crisis, the CWHC will be the beneficiary of tonight's Beats and Words fund-raiser. An installment in the weekly "School's Out!" hip-hop series, it features OUEIA, Tara Betts, and a slew of female DJs, MCs, and vendors. It starts at 8 at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo--admission is $10, $8 for students and seniors. For more information call 312-362-9707, or see www.chicagowomenshealthcenter.org.

17 WEDNESDAY "Away With Gaudy Foreigners and Artificial Varieties!" and "Restore the Native Vegetation!" were a couple of the adamant captions for illustrations in Wilhelm Miller's 1915 tome The Prairie Spirit in Landscape Gardening. The landmark book was the first to push an indigenous style of landscape design, and was recently reissued with an introduction by University of Western Australia professor Christopher Vernon. Vernon links Miller's ideas with the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Burley Griffin, and Warren Henry Manning, among others. Vernon, who did the bulk of his research while teaching landscape architecture at UIC, will give a free slide lecture tonight at 6 called Kindred (Prairie) Spirits: Wilhelm Miller and Jens Jensen. It's at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, and takes place in conjunction with the CCC's Jens Jensen exhibit, which was recently extended through July 28. Vernon will give another talk, "Second Nature: The Garden Art of Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Burley Griffin," tomorrow night at 7:30 at Pleasant Home, 217 S. Home in Oak Park. Admission to that event is $12; call 708-848-1976.

18 THURSDAY Since 1996, Uptown's Enterprising Kitchen has provided paid employment and life skills training for 96 women, most of whom worked there for about a year before moving on to other jobs. Four years ago the nonprofit switched its focus from food to handmade soap, because, according to a spokesperson, "it has a much better margin, and the market was larger." Tonight's Uncommon Scents benefit will include appetizers, beverages, a silent auction, a raffle, and live entertainment. It runs from 6 to 9 at Uncommon Ground, 1214 W. Grace. Tickets are $50; for more call 800-818-6158 or go to www.theenterprisingkitchen.org. i Some of the pieces in the Chicago Short Comedy Video & Film Festival run just one minute, which could explain why the fest is only one night long. Tonight's 7:30 show will feature a talk by actor Paul Dillon, who originated the role of the driver in Hellcab. Comedian Emo Phillips, who finally cut his hair, will talk at the 9:30 screening, which kicks off with Can Man, an eight-minute film he stars in. It's at the Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln; admission is $10 per show. See www.witsendshorts.com/festival.html for a complete schedule or call 312-409-4590 to reserve tickets.

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