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Friday 5/28 - Thursday 6/3

MAY

28 FRIDAY This week the Greater State Street Council removed the spent tulip bulbs from planters along State to make way for summer flowers. Today gardeners can pick them up for free; with proper storage and care the bulbs can bloom for years to come. The bulbs, packaged by the dozen, will be given away from noon to 3 (or until they run out) at Pritzker Park, State and Van Buren. Call 312-782-9160.

29 SATURDAY Today and tomorrow the Zen Buddhist Temple celebrates the birth of the man formerly known as Prince Siddhartha at its annual Buddha's Birthday Celebration. It starts today at noon with a free Peace & Happiness street parade, followed at 2:30 with a forum on religious and racial diversity within the Buddhist community (for which a $5 donation is requested). At 6 the temple will host a vegetarian dinner with music from Eric Ziegenhagen, plus puppetry and dance performances; reservations are requested, and admission is $20. Call 773-528-8685. Activities on Sunday include an introduction to meditation, a ceremony for those who want to commit or recommit to the Buddhist path, and a Korean flower-lantern lighting. All events are at the temple, 1710 W. Cornelia (773-528-8685).

It's Indiapalooza today at the Zee TV Heritage India Festival. Besides more than 100 vendors hawking colorful clothes, jewelry, and fabric paintings, there will be a troupe demonstrating ghumar and other traditional dance styles from the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan, plus puppetry and special kids' activities like mehndi henna tattooing and kite making. And then there's the food--you can count on popular items like lassis, chicken tikka, and samosas in addition to more adventurous fare. For single South Asians seeking same there's a singles meeting that promises a "face-to-face introduction in a safe, comfortable, and informal surrounding." The festival runs from noon to 9 today and noon to 7 tomorrow at Soldier Field, 1410 S. Lake Shore Dr. Admission is $5 each day (free for kids under 6); the singles event is $30. See www.rushiinc.com/ hifestival/chicago.htm.

It ain't the Seine, but an evening canoeing along the cleaner-than-ever Chicago River with dinner provided by Brett's Cafe Americain could be quite romantic. Chicago River Canoe and Kayak offers Moonlight Dinner Paddles every Saturday throughout the summer. The excursions put in at 7:15 from Clark Park, 3400 N. Rockwell, and head up to River Park at Argyle and back--it's about four miles round-trip. Tickets are $36, and you must reserve in advance; call 773-704-2663. The outfitter also offers daytime outings and lessons; see www.chicagoriverpaddle.com for more info.

30 SUNDAY At this year's Bike the Drive, the annual event that gives bicyclists the chance to enjoy fabulous views of the skyline from a Lake Shore Drive free of cars, both northbound and southbound lanes will be open to riders for the first time. The ride kicks off at 5:30 AM from Upper Hutchinson Field, at the southwest corner of Columbus and Balbo; cyclists should plan their routes and start times carefully, as they must be off the road by 10:15. But they don't need to go straight home: from 8 to noon they can relax with music and food at a postride party at the starting point. Advance registration is required; register online until noon on Saturday at www.bikethedrive.org (which also offers safety and equipment tips) or on Friday between 11 and 2 at Bally's, 1455 W. Webster (773-929-8114). It's $35.

Don't expect to find Elvis's or Marilyn's John Hancocks at the first midwest show of the Professional Autograph Dealers Association today--the stock runs more toward folks like Oscar Wilde and FDR. Dealers from around the country will show letters, documents, signed photos, and books from luminaries in the arts, sciences, politics, and more. In addition, manuscript-preservation experts from the Graphic Conservation Company--which has worked with the Art Institute and the Chicago Historical Society--will demonstrate conservation techniques. The show runs from 9 to 5 in the Consort Ballroom on the 16th floor of the Westin Hotel, 909 N. Michigan. Admission is $5; call 312-944-3085or see www.padaweb.org for info.

31 MONDAY A traditional Memorial Day parade, featuring the Lane Tech ROTC marching band, starts today at 10 from 5739 N. Clark and proceeds north to Rosehill Drive, then west to Rosehill Cemetery, 5800 N. Ravenswood. Afterward there will be a Civil War reenactment in the cemetery's Veterans Memorial Rose Garden, complete with cannons and muskets. Call 773-561-5940.

It's ladies' night tonight at the Girlie-Q Variety Hour, a melange of spoken word, burlesque, striptease, and drag featuring activist pom-pom girls the Lickety Split Cheerleaders, the performance group Mouthy, and former Sister Spit members Len Plass and Cooper Lee Bombardier (who now run San Francisco's Junkyard Books, a small publisher of GLBT writers), among others. It's from 8 to midnight at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo (312-362-9707), and cover is $10. You must be 21 or over.

JUNE

1 TUESDAY As part of its weeklong effort to whip residents into shape, the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce is offering a free scuba diving lesson today. Chamber president and Professional Association of Diving Instructors-certified teacher Tim Harrington will lead the clinic in the safety of the pool at the Edgewater Athletic & Swim Club, 1040 W. Granville. Harrington emphasizes that this is not a certification course: "It's just to get people to try it out." Equipment is provided but reservations are required, and participants must be ten or older. It starts at 6; call 800-213-4818. Other Edgewater Fitness Week activities include yoga classes, volleyball, and seminars on healthy living and eating. See www.edgewater.org for a full schedule.

2 WEDNESDAY Here's your chance to nose around the bulging cabinets and dusty shelves of the Field Museum: previously a members-only affair, this year the Behind-the-Scenes Event allows all comers to view rare animal specimens in the museum's collection, watch taxidermy in progress, and talk to scientists. An exhibit, "Indiana Jones, Scientist or Graverobber," explains archeologists' data-collection techniques; another offers an outline of how exhibits are prepared. There's also music, arts and crafts, and dancing for kids. The event runs today and June 3 and 4 from 5 to 10 PM at the museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. (312-922-9410). Tickets are $20, $10 for children.

3 THURSDAY Two writers tell their tales tonight at a reading entitled Fish Sliming in Alaska, Fire on the South Side. Casey Sanchez will read from his essay "As Bad as It Gets, As Good as It Comes" (published in the anthology The Clear Cut Future), about a summer spent working 15-hour days in an Alaskan salmon cannery and surviving on Heath bars and painkillers. Luis Aguilera grew up in southwest-side McKinley Park. His 2000 memoir, Gabriel's Fire, recounts his scrapes with racist white gangs and a slimy priest as well as an affair he had with a teacher when he was 13. It starts at 7 at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia (773-227-4433). Donations are requested.

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