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Friday 6/5 - Thursday 6/11

JUNE

By Cara Jepsen

5 FRIDAY There might not be much "on the edge" in Wicker Park anymore besides design schemes. But if you do happen to be in the market for some pricey furniture or artwork, this weekend's third annual walking tour of shops and showcases for designer decor, Interiors on the Edge, is for you. This year's walk focuses on the "international flavor" of the newer merchants in the neighborhood, which include Casa Loca, Pagoda Red, and Embelezar. Shuttle buses run up and down North and Damen; schedules and maps of the area are available at participating establishments. The tour begins today at 11 and runs until 9; it also runs all day Saturday and Sunday. It's free. Call 773-278-2345 or 773-278-2972 for more.

6 SATURDAY The Guatemalan consulate says there are between 20,000 and 40,000 Guatemalans living in Chicago; the Latino Institute claims that number is somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000. Whatever the exact figure, the city's third-largest Latino population is mainly spread out across three neighborhoods (Uptown, Albany Park, and Lincoln Square). Tonight the community's political, social, and educational center, Casa Guatemala, will reopen its doors with the first performance of its Saturday night Voices of the Americas series--in a space that's accessible to all three neighborhoods. The event will include music and dance by the Puerto Rican folkloric ensemble Cocobale, traditional Mayan music by Konojel Junam, an art exhibit by Edgar Lopez, and a poetry reading by Julio Revolorio, Cesar Sanchez, Susana Sandoval, and the Reader's Neal Pollack. Students from Antonia Pantoja Alternative High School will also join in. It starts at 7 at the new Casa Guatemala, 3731 N. Ravenswood. Admission is $5 or "what you can afford." Call 773-348-6994.

Lakeview Developers Association president Edward Zaleski has seen his share of humanity during his 24 years as a landlord. And he's learned that appearances can often be misleading. Take, for instance, the "nice-looking young guy who worked at a bank"; after losing his job, this fellow dropped some acid, painted the walls black, glued tiles to the hardwood floors, and trashed the place. Zaleski's best story concerns a family that used his apartment as a base for its burglary ring. After three months the family was evicted--only to return several weeks later to burglarize the apartment. Zaleski will recount some of his favorite horror stories at a discussion called Pity the Poor Landlord. It's tonight at 8 at the College of Complexes, inside the Lincoln Restaurant at 4008 N. Lincoln. Admission is $3 plus a food or drink purchase; rebuttals are encouraged. Call 312-326-2120.

7 SUNDAY The Inclusive Theatre's Shakespeare on the Lake performances are bare-bones affairs--no sets, no lights, no props, and no fourth wall. But the troupe's minimal means have never kept audiences away from its free plays, which are presented in such venues as libraries, bars, and parks. "It's a way to present Shakespeare that's not stuffy and boring," says artistic director Nancy Sheeber. Actors will often join the audience between scenes because there is no backstage area. The company will perform The Comedie of Errors today at 1 at Promontory Point Park, 5491 S. South Shore Drive. It's free; bring your own chairs, blankets, and snacks. Call 312-295-2754.

8 MONDAY Hollywood could learn a thing or two from Rhodessa Jones. In her one-woman show Big Butt Girls, Hard-Headed Women, the San Francisco-based performance artist transformed herself from a teenage drug addict to a much-older prison trustee in a split second. It's one of the many shows she and Cultural Odyssey cofounder (and Chicago native) Idris Ackamoor have created since 1983 in their quest to present original performances reflecting the contemporary African-American experience. Tonight the two will offer Performance Music, a sampling of their often-humorous work, as the latest installment of Steppenwolf Theatre's "Traffic" series. It's at 7:30 at Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted; tickets are $25. For more information, call 312-335-1650, or see the Critic's Choice in the Section Two performance listings.

9 TUESDAY In 1982 a group of young filmmakers became the fifth class to graduate from the Beijing Film Academy after the Cultural Revolution. Members of this "Fifth Generation," assigned to far-flung studios where they enjoyed more independence, set their movies in the past in a not always successful attempt to avoid censorship; examples of their work include Chen Kaige's Farewell My Concubine and Zhang Yimou's Raise the Red Lantern. This month the Film Center will present a number of their lesser-known films. Tonight there are two from 1985: Yan Xueshe's In the Wild Mountains, which examines collective farming and wife swapping, at 6, and Huang Jianxin's satire on bureaucracy, The Black Cannon Incident, at 8; both are at the Film Center at the School of the Art Institute, Columbus and Jackson. Admission to each film is $7. Call 312-443-3737.

10 WEDNESDAY Between 1846 and 1930 1.5 million Swedes emigrated to the U.S. in search of land and opportunity. In 1996 Swedish photographer Nikolas Werngren crisscrossed the country photographing the towns they settled in, which he found to be disappearing rapidly. Sweden, New York, consists of a barn and a historical marker, and all that's left of Karlsborg, Wisconsin, is a cemetery. In Illinois, things are a bit less dismal; west central Bishop Hill (named for Biskopskulla) and Galva are still thriving. An exhibit of Werngren's photos, Signs of Swedish Place Names in North America, will be on display through August 24 at the Swedish American Museum Center, 5211 N. Clark. Tonight's free opening is from 6 to 8; after that, admission is $4. Call 773-728-8111.

11 THURSDAY American paintings before 1840 reflect the cultural notion of the family as an economic unit: children, viewed as more hands to work on the farm, were usually depicted as unsmiling little adults, according to art historian Debra N. Mancoff. Attitudes began to shift in the mid-19th century, when Rousseau's idea that children should be idle between the ages of 2 and 12 crossed the ocean. Thus began the sentimental age of American childhood, when kids began to be portrayed in art as smiling innocents. So what's the next phase? "I have no idea," says Mancoff. She'll give a slide presentation called Domestic Bliss: The Family in American Art tonight at 6 at the Glessner House, 1800 S. Prairie. Admission is free; reservations are recommended. Call 312-326-1480.

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