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Friday 8/15 - Thursday 8/21

AUGUST

By Cara Jepsen

15 FRIDAY Bonsai trees originally grew on high, rough terrain over 1,000 years ago in the Far East, stunted by a lack of soil and the strong winds that gave them their trademark twisting trunks and sparse foliage. Over several centuries gardeners perfected the art of manipulating the tree's shape by pruning and reshaping the roots, trunk, and branches. This weekend experts will display their work at the Chicago Botanic Garden's annual Bonsai Exhibit, which will also feature vendors and demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday. It's from noon to 5 today and from 9 to 5 tomorrow and Sunday at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe. The show is free; admission to the demonstrations is $1. Call 847-835-5440.

16 SATURDAY Didn't make it to Martinique this winter? Aw, poor baby. Well, you can get a taste of what you missed at today's Carifete '97 carnival, parade, and festival. Many of the hundreds of islands in the Caribbean will be represented with floats, costumes, and giant effigies. The event will naturally include food, such as curried goat, jerk fish, yucca, and roti, as well as arts and crafts and, most importantly, music. The free festival is from 9 to 9 on both sides of the Midway Plaisance between Stony Island and Cottage Grove. The parade is from 11:30 to 2; floats and musicians will park and stick around for the rest of the day. Call 773-509-5079 for more information.

17 SUNDAY If I'm not mistaken, Papa Bear in his later days was one mean, cheap SOB with a bad case of phlegm in the throat. But, as we all know, a man's bad deeds die with him. Since they've already commemorated the life of Richard Nixon at the post office, why shouldn't they issue a George Halas postage stamp? He did help launch the National Football League. The stamp features a very Tom Landry-esque Halas consulting a playbook (or is it a checkbook?) while a group of players awaits his orders. It will be unveiled in a ceremony today at--surprise--Walter Payton's Roundhouse Complex, where a whole bunch of old Bears are expected to be on hand. The stamps will be canceled with a special "Papa Bear Station" football insignia. The free event starts at 1 in the courtyard of Payton's complex at 205 N. Broadway in Aurora. Call 630-844-8842 for details.

Each year it becomes less of a cool, gay, arty neighborhood get-together and more akin to a day at Navy Pier. Each year I vow to avoid NortHalsted Market Days; each year I go anyway, start an argument about the "suggested" admission fee, eat too much, and wish I'd stayed home. This year's version again features three music stages, including one sponsored by LesBiGay Radio. They're touting a dance party with Doug Wood, Rich Beech, Honey West, and Pussy Tourette to be held from 5:40 to 9 tonight, so maybe there's hope for the fair's cred after all. The street festival runs from 11 to 9 Saturday and today on Halsted between Belmont and Addison. Admission is officially free, though the bouncers will hit you up for a $2 donation at the barricade. Call 773-868-3010 for more.

18 MONDAY In the past ten years the area around the junction of Lincoln, Belmont, and Ashland has gone from a low-profile working-class intersection with a lunch-counter-era Woolworth's, a Payless Shoe Source, ten-dollar clothing stores, and an old-school YMCA to a tony hub featuring luxury lofts, a Whole Foods, a Service Merchandise, and parking problems. Even the LaSalle Bank and Lincoln-Belmont Y recently received face-lifts. But there are still a few businesses that have survived the ebb and flow of gentrification and operate much the same as they did in the old days. One is the family-run Dinkel's Bakery, which marks its 75th year this month. To celebrate they're offering daily specials (today it's fudge brownies, two for 75 cents) and free balloons for kids all week; the festivities culminate in a rededication ceremony at 1 on Friday. They're open from 6 AM to 8 PM today at 3329 N. Lincoln. Call 773-281-7300.

19 TUESDAY The bad news: The Lyric Opera's fall production of Mozart's Idomeneo is sold out. The good news: You don't need a ticket to watch. Instead, you can view the performance from the stage as a supernumerary. Those are the real-life average joes who get to rehearse with the cast (including Vinson Cole in October and Placido Domingo in November) and play guards, slaves, prisoners, plague victims, and Cretans. Most importantly, supernumeraries don't sing or talk. They're looking for 25 men, 12 women, and 8 boys to mill about in the background. Auditions are tonight at 6:30 backstage at the Lyric; enter through the stage door at Wacker and Washington. It's free (you're actually paid $10 per rehearsal and performance), but you must be available for rehearsals August 20 and 21 and in October as well as for nine performances between October 18 and November 16. Call 312-332-2244, ext. 312, for more.

20 WEDNESDAY In this fast-paced world, it's tempting to think how a few more hours in the day would come in mighty handy. Well, there's no changing the rate of the earth's rotation (at least not for a long, long time), so you may want to look into learning some time-saving techniques instead at the Women's Professional Sales Network's time management seminar It's About Time! Instructor Glenn Reiner makes a living teaching office types to be more productive both on and off the job, so after impressing the boss with your productivity, you'll eventually be able to leave work at six, go home and face the chores, and maybe even read a magazine before you collapse at a decent hour. Registration starts at 5:30, dinner's at 6:45, and the program begins at 8 tonight at the North Shore Doubletree Hotel, 9599 Skokie Blvd. in Skokie. It's $30 in advance, $35 to walk in (that includes dinner). Call 312-266-3494 for reservations.

21 THURSDAY Pop art in the 90s is more self-conscious and subdued than it was during its first wave in the 50s. It's also less cynical, more culturally involved, and more reconciled to the kitschy world in which we live. Find out what that means when an exhibit called Post-Pop, Post-Pictures opens tonight at the Smart Museum. It includes pieces by artists Michelle Grabner, Rebecca Morris, Mark Ottens, and Amy Wheeler, all current or former Chicago residents. Their work, along with that of the seven other artists in the exhibit, will be put into a cultural context tonight at 5 by Artforum critic Tom Moody. His lecture will be followed by an opening reception from 5:30 to 7:30 at the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, 5550 S. Greenwood. The exhibit runs through September 21. Admission is free; call 773-702-0200.

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