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Days of the Week

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Friday 2/7 - Thursday 2/13

FEBRUARY

By Cara Jepsen

7 FRIDAY Life in rural Wisconsin at the end of the 19th century was hell, according to Michael Lesy's 1973 book Wisconsin Death Trip. Outbreaks of diphtheria and typhoid killed thousands, and industrialization along with the depression of 1893 caused a mass exodus to the cities. Still River, a chamber opera based on Lesy's book, shows what happened to the people left behind in the town of Black River Falls. A workshop production of Still River, which combines ragtime, gospel, and country blues, shows tonight at 8 and tomorrow at 2 and 8 at the Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theatre in the Theatre and Interpretation Center at Northwestern University, 1979 South Campus Drive in Evanston. It's free; call 847-491-7282 for info.

Since 1981 the New Arts Six, a classically trained performing-arts ensemble, has been working to preserve African-American folk heritage by blending poetry, storytelling, classical opera, theater, and music. The group performs tonight at 8 at the Dorothy Menker Theater in the Fine and Performing Arts Center at Moraine Valley Community College, 10900 S. 88th in Palos Hills. Tickets are $16.25. Call 708-974-5500.

8 SATURDAY What could be better than riding your motorcycle around in circles on a frozen lake? Freezing your ass off cheering in the grandstand! Both pros and amateurs will be at this weekend's Motorcycle Race on Ice, as well as a hardy crowd of onlookers that make Packers fans look like pussies. The amateur trophy race is open to anyone with 20 bucks, but bikes must be outfitted with rear fenders and special spikes on the tires. Both today and tomorrow registration starts at 9 in the morning, practice runs are from 10 to 11:30, and the racing starts at noon. It's at Lambs Lake at Lambs Farm, I-94 and Route 176 in Libertyville. It's free to watch. Call 847-362-4636.

Police call them a menace, pedestrians call them assholes, and businesses call them to deliver packages. They are bike messengers, of course, and a group of them has gotten together and launched the zine Dead Air. Tonight they're also putting on a Chicago Cycle Courier Concert in an effort to improve their public image. Each band has at least one messenger in the lineup, and the bill ranges from punk to reggae to acoustic country, including music by DJ Will Berry, South of No North, the Random Song Generator, Hoodoo Hoedown, and Pruno. The concert starts at 8:30 at Phyllis' Musical Inn, 1800 W. Division. Admission is $4; proceeds benefit Dead Air. Call 773-927-2016 for more.

9 SUNDAY Expectant parents take note: It's the Year of the Ox, and according to the Chinese zodiac Oxes are methodical, dependable, hardworking loners who prefer to do things their own way; they're also poor losers. Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Richard Nixon were all Oxes. The Year of the Ox--4695--will be welcomed today with a traditional Chinese New Year's Day parade. It starts at one at Cermak and Wentworth in Chinatown. It's free to watch. Call 773-728-1030.

10 MONDAY What's the grossest scene in Pulp Fiction? The one in which John Travolta accidentally blows a guy's head off in the backseat of a car? Or the one in which an OD'ing Uma Thurman gets revived by an adrenaline shot (i.e. stab) to the heart? Those precious moments can be seen in all their gory when the flick shows tonight on the 60-by-80-foot screen at Late Night at the Max. Audience members can also assess whether Tarantino's hipster dialogue does justice to the theater's 12,000-watt, six-channel, multidimensional digital sound system. It's at 9 at the Navy Pier Imax 3D Theater, 600 E. Grand. Admission is $8. Call 312-595-0090.

11 TUESDAY Valentine's Day cards weren't always the generic, mass-produced love tokens that we have today. Andrew McNally III's collection of antique cards includes German pop-up creations, lacy numbers, and multilayered hand-painted cards from England. His cache is on display in Valentines: Cupid's Calling Cards through March 1 at the Newberry Library, 60 E. Walton. The museum is open today from 8:15 to 7:30; admission is free. Tonight McNally will be honored with a reception at 5:30, which will be followed by a tour of the gallery with the show's curator. Call 312-255-3510.

Providing affordable on-site child care is one way that businesses can help welfare recipients make the transition from the dole to the payroll. But are employers up to the task? Today Professor Susan Lambert from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration heads a panel on Moving From Welfare to Work: The Challenges Facing Employers and Lower-Income Workers. It's from noon to 1:30 in room 600 at the U. of C. Downtown Center at 450 N. Cityfront Plaza. The $12 admission includes lunch. Call 773-702-1172 for reservations.

12 WEDNESDAY "I do not give my hide to be tanned, nor my bones to be pulverized to manure the land: This would be premature," writes Edward Post Page in his 1825 will. "But, I give and bequeath my body after death...for dissection: reserving the privilege of placing my head at the disposal of Doctor Mott, of Park Place." Page's will is one of the items outlining medicine's history in the exhibit From Healing Hands: Selected Historic Documents, which also includes letters written by Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton. The exhibit is on view today from 10 to 4 and runs through April 27 at the International Museum of Surgical Sciences, 1524 N. Lake Shore Drive. Admission is $2. Call 312-642-6502.

13 THURSDAY Butoh, the poetic Japanese dance form characterized by dancers with faces painted stark white who communicate through slight movements, will be the highlight at Shinpi No Bi--Mysterious Beauty: A Festival of Japanese Contemporary Dance. The six-week event kicks off tonight at 8 with a performance by Buto-Sha Tenkei ("heavenly birds in the sky") at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 4730 N. Sheridan. Tickets are $14 to $16. Call 773-989-3310.

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