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Friday 7/24 - Thursday 7/30

JULY

By Cara Jepsen

24 FRIDAY "What I walked away with is how important strong leadership is within a community and how important it is that the different factions learn to communicate," says Louis Rosen, author of The South Side: The Racial Transformation of an American Neighborhood. As detailed in last week's Reader, Rosen came to that conclusion after interviewing more than 60 people who, like him, experienced the racial transformation of Calumet Heights in the late 60s and early 70s. Rosen, who now lives in Brooklyn, will sign copies of his book tonight at 8 at Barnes & Noble, Old Orchard Shopping Center, Golf Road and Skokie Boulevard in Skokie. It's free. Call 847-676-2230.

25 SATURDAY A link between Chicago and Haiti began way back in the late 18th century, when Jean Baptiste Point DuSable founded the settlement that became our city. These days the local Haitian community numbers around 50,000--that's why it's surprising that today's Taste of Haiti is the city's first. The daylong event will feature typical Haitian food like griots (boiled and fried pork or goat), bananes pesees (fried plantains), and riz et pois colles (red beans and rice), as well as music by the Rafo International Combo, Frank Desire, Raphael Benito, and DJ Patrick Augustin. It's from 11 to 8 outside the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place. Admission is free. Call 773-947-0600.

You won't have to go far if reggae's more your style. The annual Rastafarian Festival, which celebrates the birthday of former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie and features the music and food of Jamaica, takes place today and tomorrow from noon to 10 in Washington Park, 57th and Cottage Grove. It's free. Call 773-873-0680 for more.

It's a good bet that nothing you'll find at the Gap will meet the dress code at the annual Tough Love American Style Ball of Whacks "pansexual alternative lifestyle event." Only those who dress in latex or leather or engineer an outfit that can pass as bitch, butch, kinky drag, uniform, glam, or "PVC" (polyvinyl chloride--the tight shiny stuff rock stars wear) will have access to all areas of the annual party, which is open to the public for the first time this year. Tonight's event will include live stage combat, a piercing demonstration, fetish-dance performances, video clips of previous events, and a raffle for a custom-made catsuit. But the most important components are dressing up and "looking at everyone else," says promoter Cindy DeMarco. It starts at 9 at the Park West, 322 W. Armitage. Admission is $24 to $35; call 773-725-9132 for more information.

26 SUNDAY When poet Michael Warr was in high school, the black power movement was in full swing, and consequently he was exposed to the writings of Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Paul Laurence Dunbar, which provided him with inspiration. But others were not so lucky; he dedicated his 1992 book of verse, We Are All the Black Boy, to "those whose voices may never be heard and those who did not want to listen." Today Warr, who was a BBC correspondent in Ethiopia and a print journalist before landing his gig as director of the Guild Complex, will read with Andrea Change at this week's installment of the Chicago Park District's free Beach Poets Series. It starts at 4 at North Avenue Beach, North Avenue and the lake. Call 312-742-7726 for more.

27 MONDAY Puerto Rican conguero Giovanni Hidalgo first picked up a drum at the age of five (his father and grandfather were noted conga players); since then he's jammed with the likes of Ravi Shankar, Tito Puente, and Mickey Hart. Tonight, as a prelude to Hidalgo's August 4 performance at Ravinia, local Latin percussionist and Northwestern University professor Ruben Alvarez will give a talk entitled Salsa Meets Latin Jazz (which is also the title of Hidalgo's concert), followed by a set by the Ruben Alvarez Quartet. The free event is at 7 at the Lozano Branch Library, 1805 S. Loomis. Call 312-746-4329.

28 TUESDAY "If you have too much empathy and compassion for other people and express feelings and are willing to listen to what other people are saying, you can't make the hard business decisions like 'Hey, who do we fire next week?'" says Bill Lundin, coauthor of the book When Smart People Work for Dumb Bosses. Lacking a sense of humor is also characteristic of many managers: "I had a man who came to one of our book signings who said that he would have to sneak it into work in a brown paper bag." Lundin and his coauthor (and wife), Kathleen Lundin, will give advice tonight at 7:30 at Borders Books & Music, 49 S. Waukegan in Deerfield. It's free. Call 847-559-1999.

29 WEDNESDAY According to some homeopathic healers, a tincture that includes California poppy and skullcap can release the grip of drug addiction; yucca flowers, holly, and horehound can curb an explosive temper; and morning glory, wild mountain iris, daffodil, lotus, and impatiens cure irritability. Tonight Gaye Mack, a member of Britain's Bach Flower Society--whose namesake, Edward Bach, devised a system of combining various blossoms to maximize healing--will explain the link between botany and health in a free talk called Introduction to Flower Essences. It's at 7:30 at Walsh Homeopathics, 21161/2 Central in Evanston. Call 847-864-1600 to reserve a seat.

30 THURSDAY Seems like everyone's grousing about greedy HMOs these days. But what about the 43 million uninsured people in this nation--not to mention the 56 million Americans who are underinsured? Some of them will demand that the government recognize their right to decent medical care at today's Healthapalooza!, a rally and 24-hour vigil that happens to coincide with the 33rd anniversary of medicare. The rally starts at noon at the John C. Kluczynski Federal Building plaza, 230 S. Dearborn. At 1 people will march to the Chicago Board of Trade (where HMOs are bought and sold like used CDs) and then back to the plaza, where there will be speakers, music, and entertainment, including performance artist Brigid Murphy and members of Redmoon Theater. Call 312-554-0382 for a complete schedule.

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