"I was talking to a [bicycle racing] teammate this winter," says Chicagoland Bicycle Federation program director Randy Warren, "and he said, 'I really need a bike trainer with rollers.' I said it's too bad we don't have a swap meet here in Chicago, because it's a good way to get stuff inexpensively." Now Warren's one of the people behind the first Chicago Bicycle Swap Meet, which is being presented by XXX Racing-AthletiCo and the University of Illinois at Chicago's Circle Cycle Club and will include free seminars on everything from safe riding to bike racing. It's today and tomorrow, April 12, from 10 to 4 at UIC's Physical Education Building, 901 W. Roosevelt, Chicago. Browsing is free; vendor tables are $10 for individuals and nonprofits, $20 for businesses. You can also donate items to the CBF for a tax write-off. For more information call 312-427-3325 or see www.xxxracing.org.
The two small houses that make up the Shugsep nunnery in northwest India are a haven for some 60 Tibetan Buddhist nuns who have fled harassment by Chinese authorities. But as more refugees have arrived, the damp, isolated buildings have become a leaky and overcrowded breeding ground for illness. To raise funds to build a bigger, drier nunnery, Tibetan Nuns Project directors Rinchen Khando Choegyal (sister-in-law of the Dalai Lama) and Elizabeth Napper (a Tibet scholar) have embarked on a nine-city North American tour this month. Tonight from 6 to 9 they'll attend a cocktail reception and give a slide lecture about the Shugsep nuns at Jessica Tampas Photography Studio, 312 N. May, #104, Chicago; to reserve a spot call 312-942-1905. Tomorrow, April 12, they'll appear at 6:30 at TIBETgift, 827 Foster in Evanston, for a dinner and another slide presentation; call 773-743-7772 or 847-492-0809 for reservations. There's a suggested donation of $20 for each event. For more information on the TNP go to www.tnp.org.
Some Enchanted Evening--Three Short Plays About Love, Laughter and Longing introduces new work by three local playwrights: The Richard Rodgers Syndrome by David Rush (author of Prairie Lights and Leander Stillwell); Exchange of Vows by Roger Rueff (who wrote Hospitality Suite and its film version, The Big Kahuna); and Thinking 2 by critic Jack Helbig, whose opinions about other playwrights' work are found regularly in this paper. Presented by Talisman Theatre on a stage erected in the lobby of the State Financial Bank, 16 N. Spring in Elgin, it's part of the town's second annual Arts Infusion festival, which includes an exhibit of work by 30 Fox Valley artists that's also on view at the bank. "Enchanted Evening" performances start at 8 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday through April 26. Tickets are $18 at the door, $16 in advance ($14 in advance for seniors and students); to purchase go to www.talismantheatre.org or call 847-622-0300.
Images from Vietnam have new urgency now that we're at war again. Students at DePaul's Barat College worked with Chicago's National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum to bring 65 pieces from its collection to the Lake Forest campus for Innocence-War-Reconciliation: A Visual Exploration Through the Eyes and Art of Vietnam Veterans. The free exhibit includes 65 photographs, five paintings, and two sculptures by veterans and is the opening event for Barat's new Center of Education and Reconciliation of Southeast Asia, which will sponsor programs, collect historical material, and administer scholarships for southeast Asians. It's up through May 23; hours are from noon to 5 Saturday and Sunday and 11 to 5 Monday through Friday at the Barat Gallery, Old Main Administra-tion Building, 700 E. Westleigh in Lake Forest. Call 847-574-4212.
"We have what we call a 'low cheese factor,'" says Michael Molloy, director of the New Deal, the advanced vocal jazz ensemble from the music conservatory of Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts. "Our arrangements are harmonically complex--tunes we feel we can learn from." Today the group will perform an a cappella set of jazz standards and pop songs that includes Stevie Wonder's "With Each Beat of My Heart" and Michel LeGrand's "This Quiet Room." Part of the monthly series Sunday Songs With Lucy Smith (Smith will also perform with her quartet), the show runs from 3 to 6 at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, Chicago. Tickets are $8, $5 for students; call 312-362-9707.
Rumer Godden's 1939 novel, Black Narcissus, told the story of a group of Anglican nuns in the Indian Himalayas who turn an old palace into a mission and wind up being tempted by the pleasures of their lush surroundings. But when Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger directed their 1947 film adaptation of the book, Powell famously insisted that it be shot in a controlled studio setting rather than on location. The stunning, hallucinatory color and art design of the movie won Academy Awards for cinematographer Jack Cardiff and art director Alfred Junge. It'll be shown tonight at 6 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State in Chicago, in conjunction with the Art Institute of Chicago exhibit "Himalayas: An Aesthetic Adventure," which runs through August 17. University of Chicago film scholar Jean Ma will introduce a second screening at 6 on Wednesday, April 16. Tickets are $8; call 312-846-2800.
The process of applying for a commemorative stamp is "Kafkaesque and arcane," says Bennett Johnson, founder of the Harold Washington Commemorative Stamp Committee. "You don't know who's in charge." Last year committee members wrote to the U.S. Postal Service's Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee, asking it to approve a stamp honoring the late mayor, who was elected April 12, 1983, and died in 1987. They received a form letter in reply. This fall they resubmitted their letter, along with 140,000 signatures. "Our plan is to start a rather intensive drive this summer for letters and petitions from outside the state of Illinois," says Johnson. He'll discuss the campaign today at an event called The Last Independent: Creating the Washington Coalition, 1983. He'll be joined by DuSable Museum senior historian Charles R. Branham, who'll talk about Washington's legacy. The free discussion starts at noon at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State, Chicago. Call 312-747-4875.
In July 2001, Ohio congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced a bill to establish a Cabinet-level Department of Peace that would use the tactics of conflict resolution to avoid war, prevent violence, and expand human rights; it would also develop a peace education curriculum for schools and "be coordinate and complementary to the Department of Defense on all matters relating to national security." The measure, which had 44 cosponsors, got held up in committee and went nowhere. At press time Kucinich was planning to introduce a new version of the bill--this time to the 108th Congress. Peace activist Marjorie Dixon Zamora will give an update on the status of the bill tonight at 6 at the J. Ira and Nikki Harris Family Hostel, 24 E. Congress, Chicago. There's a suggested donation of $10; call the Peace Museum at 773-638-6450 for more information.
Jazz musician, composer, arranger, and conductor William Russo got his start playing trombone when he was seven and living on the near north side. He was the chief composer and arranger for the Stan Kenton Orchestra by the time he turned 21 and went on to start the London Jazz Orchestra and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble; he also helped found the Body Politic and Free Theater. From 1965 until last year Russo also chaired Columbia College's music department; he passed away in January from pneumonia related to a two-year battle with cancer. Today Corky Siegel, the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, the Columbia College Jazz Ensemble, vocalists Carol LoVerde, Laura Walsh, Bobbi Wilsyn, and Reader critic Albert Williams will perform selections from his work at a free Celebration of the Life and Work of William Russo. It's hosted by radio personality Roy Leonard and starts at 1:30 in Columbia College's Getz Theater, 72 E. 11th, Chicago; call 312-344-6102.
"Under the trees, everything, everyone was aquiver, laughing, filled with wonder at this life, so new for all, and in these vibrations there was something strangely immovable, watchful, reserved, protected like someone praying," wrote Jean Genet in his 1983 essay Four Hours in Chatila, an exploration of the time he spent at a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan in 1970 and '71. The memory of that period was evoked by Genet's 1982 trip to Beirut shortly after the Lebanese massacre of hundreds of Palestinian refugees, an experience that also informed his final and most overtly political book, 1986's Prisoner of Love, which is the centerpiece of Swiss documentarian Richard Dindo's 1999 film Genet at Chatila. It'll be shown tonight at 9 as part of the Chicago Palestine Film Festival at Women in the Director's Chair's Preston Bradley Center, 941 W. Lawrence, Chicago. Tickets are free, but seating is limited; to reserve a spot call 312-873-4401. See the Movie listings for more festival information.