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Friday 5/15 - Thursday 5/21

MAY

By Cara Jepsen

15 FRIDAY Last week Jay Leno asked random Californians if they knew where Chicago was. Only one person had a clue: "On the bottom of the Great Lakes, right?" As Ohio native and blue-collar bully Ted explains in Jeffrey Sweet's new drama, Flyovers, "We're the ones living down here in places you'd never even think of touching down and visiting." The target of Ted's hostility is his former high school rival, Oliver, a successful movie critic who's returned for their 20th high school reunion. Also in town is the once popular Iris, whose life has gone downhill since graduation and who gets in the middle of a showdown between the two men. Previews of the play, which stars William Petersen, begin tonight (the play opens May 21) at Victory Gardens Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln. The show starts at 8; tickets are $18 to $21. Call 773-871-3000.

16 SATURDAY Poet Larry Davis remembers the west-side riots following Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968: "There were people breaking glass, throwing each other against the wall, robbing people." Davis, who was 13 at the time, also saw policemen driving past with guns and rifles pointing out the squad-car windows; they'd been given the infamous "shoot to kill" order by Mayor Richard J. Daley. But Davis doesn't think Daley was in error, either then or when he sent out the troops again at the Democratic National Convention in August. "I think he did a pretty good job, although some police officers may have gone too far," says Davis. "I don't think he himself was an extremist." Davis will defend da mare's actions tonight in a speech entitled Why We Should Have a City Recognition Day for the Late Richard J. Daley. The debate starts at 8 at the College of Complexes at the Lincoln Restaurant, 4008 N. Lincoln. It's $3, but you also have to eat or drink something. Call 312-326-2120.

17 SUNDAY "You'll be seeing a lot of the good and a little bit of the bad and the ugly," says the Calumet Ecological Park Association's John Pastirik about today's Great Calumet Bike Tour. The "good" parts of the strange patchwork of industrial, residential, and natural areas that makes up the southeast side include Oakwoods Cemetery, the historic Pullman neighborhood, and over 100 acres of wetlands around Lake Calumet and Wolf Lake; the bad include garbage dumps and landfills. Today's leisurely 32-mile ride will start at 11 at the First Unitarian Church, 5650 S. Woodlawn. A $4 donation includes lunch. Call 773-768-4663. The ride is one of 25 Chicago Bike Week events--the biggest of which is tomorrow's Bike to Work Day and Rally, which will pit this pedaling writer against other media types in cars and buses in the annual Commuter Challenge. The rally is from 7:30 to 9 tomorrow morning at Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn. Call 312-744-3315.

18 MONDAY In her new book, Symptoms of Culture, Harvard professor and cultural critic Marjorie Garber pulls together such seemingly unconnected phenomena as sneezing, the faked orgasm, Great Books, the Promise Keepers, the use of Roman numerals, politicians who misquote Shakespeare, and the way athletes invoke God at sporting events--things she says point to our society's fears and values. But, says Garber, "I do not propose to diagnose culture as if it were an illness of which we could be cured, but to read culture as if it were structured like a dream, a network of representations that erodes wishes and fears, projections and indentifications." She'll read tonight at 7 at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th. It's free. Call 773-684-1300.

19 TUESDAY According to the people at the Kalapadma Bharatanatyam Dance Academy, in Indian dance "not a single part of the human anatomy is denied expression." The hundreds of subtle movements that are involved include 14 head gestures, 5 toe movements, 19 kinds of breathing, and 7 varieties of eyebrow mo-tions, not to mention 36 types of "love glances." Add the bhava (expression) to the raga (music) and the tala (rhythm) and you have an extremely complex and precise art form. Today students from the academy will combine all of the elements at a program called Poetry of Movement: Indian Classic Dance. The free performance is at 5:30 in the auditorium of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State. Call 312-744-0019.

20 WEDNESDAY Before performance art, there was vaudeville. This popular form of entertainment--it was a proving ground for Charlie Chaplin, Will Rogers, and the Marx Brothers--was pushed aside by the advent of talkies in the late 20s, but Mary-Arrchie Theatre has resurrected its short-variety-act structure to create a "new theatrical experience" called Vaudeville Nights: Voice of the City, which will feature different routines every Wednesday night through June 24. Tonight master of ceremonies Richard Cotovsky will introduce nine acts by performers including Margaret Goddard, Douglas Grew, and Frank Melcori, who's styling himself "Melcori the Italian." It starts at 8 at Angel Island, 731 W. Sheridan. Tickets are $5; call 773-871-0442.

21 THURSDAY New York filmmaker Lewis Klahr has been using cutout animation for about 20 years, way before those South Park young 'uns stumbled on it. But Klahr's experimental films--thoughtful explorations of identity and perception that also incorporate found footage and collage--couldn't be more different from that hit show's pop-culture regurgitation. Klahr's vision of suburban childhood, as seen in the 43-minute The Pharaoh's Belt (1995), is an eerie dreamworld of abstract landscapes, a giant sun, and epic boyhood battles. Klahr will be present at tonight's free showing, which will also include 1997's Pony Glass, described as an "outing" of Superman's pal Jimmy Olson. It's at 7 at the University of Chicago's Cobb Hall, room 307, 5811 S. Ellis. Call 773-702-8596. Klahr will show Pony Glass again, as well as his films Whirligigs in the Late Afternoon, Lulu, Green '62, and Altair, tomorrow at 7 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. That's free too; call 773-384-5533.

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