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Friday 5/30 - Thursday 6/5

MAY

By Cara Jepsen

30 FRIDAY Over the past three years residents of Uptown and Edgewater have developed and performed theatrical works for the community under the name Scrap Mettle Soul. The ensemble aims to cut across generational, ethnic, economic, and religious backgrounds and provide members with self-confidence, role models, and a better understanding of their neighbors. "By overcoming the isolation, fear, and mistrust that are often part of the urban setting, community performance fosters respect, the sharing of skills and wisdom, and mutual support," says artistic director Richard Geer. The sketches in Scrap Mettle Soul's latest production, Out My Window, deal with addiction, robbery, segregation, suicide, and the joys of thrift-store shopping. The show opens tonight at 7:30 and runs through June 8 at the Chicago Park District's Margate Park, 4921 N. Marine Drive. Tickets are $7 or whatever you can afford. Call 773-506-3408 and press #89 for more information and show times.

31 SATURDAY Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the point man of New German Cinema, made 43 films in 15 years before his death at the age of 37. Tonight a colloquium promises to fill in some of the blanks in the artist's short life and explain his influence; speakers include Lola and Berlin Alexanderplatz star Barbara Sukowa, University of California professor Eric Rentscheler, Facets director Milos Stehlik, and Film Center director Barbara Scharres. It's from 2 to 5 at the Film Center of the Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. Tickets are $7; call 312-443-3737 for more.

Each year a phalanx of authors, publishers, booksellers, and assorted literary riffraff from all over the globe descends on the city for the Printers Row Book Fair. Some don't have to travel far; Libertyville-based poet Lisel Mueller, 1997 Pulitzer Prize winner for her book Alive Together: New and Selected Poems, will read today at 2 with poet Paulette Roeske. It's in the poetry tent at Grace Place, 637 S. Dearborn. It's free. The book fair is from 10 to 6 today and tomorrow on South Dearborn between Congress and Polk. Admission is free; call 312-987-9896 for more.

JUNE

1 SUNDAY The good news is that survival rates for certain cancers have gone up in the last four years, due to early detection and better treatment. And as any cancer survivor can tell you, life becomes doubly precious to them. Today's noncompetitive Lurie Cancer Center's Survivors Walk and Celebration for survivors and their families will start at 9 at Lake Shore Drive and Randolph and continue north along the lakefront to Fullerton and back. Registration is $10--that includes a T-shirt. Call 312-503-0760 to sign up.

2 MONDAY "Why don't lesbians wear make-up? Because by the time we finish changing the oil, splitting a cord of firewood, repainting the backyard shed and cleaning the catbox, then finally get out to the store to pick some up, the drag queens have bought the place out." So writes lesbian humorist Ellen Orleans in her book Who Cares If It's a Choice: Snappy Answers to 101 Nosy, Intrusive and Highly Personal Questions About Lesbians and Gay Men. Her sharp satire The Butches of Madison County centers on the story of 50-year-old lesbian Billie Bold, who corrupts bored farm wife Patsy Plain, and also pokes fun at lesbian romance novels and coming-out narratives. She'll read and discuss her work tonight at 7 at Barnes & Noble, 659 W. Diversey. It's free. Call 773-871-9004 for more information.

One of the greatest challenges to participants in the Twin Cities/Chicago AIDS Ride is not getting into shape for the six-day, 470-mile bicycle trip but raising the $2,300 necessary to participate in the event. Some riders have house parties, some enclose requests with holiday cards, and just about everyone hits up their friends and family. Rider Jacqueline Westhead happens to be a member of the Jellyeye drum theater, which will unveil a new piece of work today and donate all of the proceeds to Westhead's ride fund. It's at 7:30 tonight at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. Tickets are $15; call 773-935-6860.

3 TUESDAY Bored Hong Kong residents Neville "Bunt" Mullard and his mother Betty have no use for China, referring to the upcoming reunification as "Chinese take-away" and running their family's textile factory as they have in the past. In Paul Theroux's new novel Kowloon Tong, a mysterious Mr. Hung from the Chinese mainland offers to buy the factory, and the Mullards are forced to abandon their self-satisfied existence. Tonight Theroux will be in town to discuss his work and the situation in Hong Kong as a guest of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. A reception for Theroux begins at 5:30; the lecture and discussion start at 6 at the University Club, 76 E. Monroe. Tickets are $22; call 312-726-3860.

4 WEDNESDAY In its heyday from 1920 to 1950, the south side's Bronzeville neighborhood was the center of African-American cultural and economic activity, bringing about comparisons to Harlem and nurturing a generation of jazz and blues musicians. After decades of neglect, the neighborhood is regaining some of that old vitality with the help of events such as the 43rd Street Blues Festival, now in its fifth year. This year's lineup features headliner Junior Wells as well as Otha Turner, Ron Prince, David Myers, and John Primer. The free event is from 4:30 to 8 at King Center Plaza, 43rd and Cottage Grove. Call 773-924-1330.

5 THURSDAY "Terrance recounted his first day, sitting alone in his new room, wondering whether he had made a good choice. Maria, another resident, knocked on the door, poked her head in, and said, 'Well, I hope you came here to live and not to die,' a reassurance that made him realize that things would be OK." That's an anecdote from Mara Adelman and Lawrence Frey's The Fragile Community: Living Together With AIDS. The two spent seven years interviewing, observing, and recording everyday events at Chicago's Bonaventure House, a residential facility for people with AIDS. The book looks at community power, authority, social life, romantic relationships, and bereavement in a setting where the average stay is seven months. Tonight at 7 Frey, a communications professor at Loyola University, will talk about their experiences in a free discussion at People Like Us Books, 1115 W. Belmont. Call 773-248-6363 for more.

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