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Friday 8/30 - Thursday 9/5


30 FRIDAY Song (canto), dance (baile), and guitar (guitarra) are the three main components of flamenco, but there's also plenty of audience participation in the form of rhythmic hand clapping (toque de palmas). There will be several opportunities for the latter over the next few weeks, starting with this weekend's Que Viva Espana festival, held in honor of Chicago's 26-year-old Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater. The showcase features the work of former National Ballet of Spain dancers Ana Gonzalez and Juan Mata, singer and guitarist Paco Fonta, singer Maria Elena "La Cordobesa," pianist Juan Antonio Mata, and percussionist Mick LaBiola. Performances began Thursday, August 29, and also run tonight and tomorrow at 7 at the Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble. Tickets are $20 ($35 for Thursday's opening, which includes a reception); for more call 312-431-1330 or visit The city's unrelated Viva Flamenco! festival kicks off Wednesday evening, September 4, with a free opening reception and performances by dancer and choreographer Antonio Vargas and guitarists Tomas de Utrera and Hector Fernandez; the event lasts from 6:30 to 8:30 at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo (312-367-9707). In addition to performances, the ten-day festival includes film screenings, workshops, classes, and an exhibit of flamenco-inspired art. For more call 312-335-1996 or see

31 SATURDAY It takes an IQ in the top 2 percent to qualify for Mensa membership. But you don't have to be a genius to hobnob with Mensans--anyone with a spare sawbuck can hang at tonight's meeting of Chicago Area Mensa, which will feature a lecture by engineer Dave Stybr on how he became a classical music composer. His presentation starts at 7:30 at the Sheraton Chicago Northwest, 3400 W. Euclid in Arlington Heights. Admission is $10, $5 for children; call 312-458-0694 or see

"Girl Talk," "I Want It All," "Bald Men," "Not Getting Married," "I'm Glad I'm Not Young," "I'm Becoming My Mother," and "We're the Lucky Ones" are some of the gems that'll be delivered by cabaret pros Helen Merrier, Carol Moss, Laurie Sucher, and Carol Weston as part of Woman Talk: The WTLK Radio Show. A revival of a performance mounted three years ago with a slightly different cast, it's modeled on Dr. Laura-style call-in shows, with pianist Ester Hana playing the no-nonsense host. This final installment in the Chicago Cabaret Professionals' summer series runs tonight at 8 and tomorrow night at 7 at the Royal George Theatre Center, 1641 N. Halsted (312-988-9000). Tickets are $20, $15 for students and seniors.

Before cabaret, Germany had "tingle-tangle" cafes, where the cocktail waitresses doubled as entertainers. Tonight Raven Hinojosa will perform an aerial dance on a static trapeze as part of the show she's producing, The Tingle-Tangle Menagerie, which will include musical performances by Spires That in the Sunset Rise, the Thin Man, and Dante's Voodoo Cabaret (whose leader also fan dances). Puppetry, performance art, and an art installation will round out the event, emceed by Jayme Kalal. It's the first in a planned series and starts at 9 at the Pilsen Cafe, 2110 S. Halsted. Suggested donation is $10; call 312-375-6746.


1 SUNDAY Growing up, W. Deen Mohammed had problems with the ideology of his father, Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad--particularly his separatist views on race--and was excommunicated more than once. So when his father died in 1975 and he became head of the NOI, W. Deen dismantled the organization (later revived by Louis Farrakhan) to form the less political group that eventually became the Chicago-based Muslim American Society. Mohammed, who is considered the imam, or spiritual leader, of the MAS, will give a free lecture today called The Life Blood of Islam and Christianity Is Peace as part of this weekend's Muslim American Society Islamic Convention, which began Thursday, August 29, and concludes today. Doors open at 11 AM and the lecture starts at 1 at the UIC Pavilion, 525 S. Racine. For more information call 708-798-2215 or go to

2 MONDAY The Polish have been surpassed by Mexicans as the largest ethnic group in Chicago, but the annual Taste of Polonia remains the largest neighborhood event in the city and celebrates what is still the largest urban Polish population (1.2 million) outside of Poland. The three-day party features polska kielbasa with sauerkraut, lots of amber jewelry for sale, and three stages where performers range from Polish folk dancers and cabaret artists to the Polish rock band Norbi, who are flying in today and play tonight sometime between 6 and 9. It runs from noon to 10 on Saturday and Sunday, August 31 and September 1, and from noon to 9 today at and around the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence. Admission is $5, or $3 for seniors (kids under 12 get in free with an accompanying adult). Call 773-777-8898 or log on to

3 TUESDAY Maria Argyropoulos took more than 40 airplane flights and visited 17 countries on five continents during a recent yearlong backpacking trip around the world. (She also documented part of her journey at Before leaving Chicago she put in a lot of time researching an itinerary and visa and immunization requirements as well as what to pack and how to get the best deal on a ticket. She'll discuss how to plan for a trip to Thailand tonight at 7:30 at Borders Books & Music, 2817 N. Clark. The free event kicks off a monthlong series organized by the Chicago chapter of Hostelling International on how to travel on a budget in southeast Asia. It continues Tuesday nights through the end of the month. For a schedule call 773-935-3909 or 312-360-0300.

4 WEDNESDAY Born in Chicago and raised in the landlocked cities of Bloomington-Normal and Draper, South Dakota, artist and former architect Pat Henry became the oldest American woman to sail around the world by herself; it took Henry, who was 48 when she set sail in 1989, almost eight years to finish the trip. Her voyage is chronicled in her new travel memoir, By the Grace of the Sea: A Woman's Solo Odyssey Around the World, which details her trip as well as the setbacks she experienced before departing. Henry will speak at free book signings tonight at 7:30 at Barbara's Bookstore, 1350 N. Wells (312-642-5044), and tomorrow night at 7:30 at Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark (773-769-9299).

5 THURSDAY When they formed in the late 1980s, Mexico's Cafe Tacuba and Colombia's Aterciopelados were punk bands. Nowadays both groups have a more traditional Latin American sound, which Columbia College humanities professor Carmelo Esterrich explains as "transculturation": the "hybridization and transformation [that] occur between outside cultural influences, such as rock or punk music, and the cultural products native to the countries--in this case the traditional rhythms and melodies of mambo, tango, bolero, salsa, cumbia, and carrilera--to create an entirely new, urban, authentic, and vigorous musical genre." Esterrich will give a presentation, Rock With Punk With Pop With Folklore: Transformations and Renewal in Latin American Rock, tonight at 6 as part of a new free series called "Intersections: A Meeting Place for Diverse Ideas on Contemporary Culture and the Arts." It's at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; call 312-744-6630 or see

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