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Friday 5/21 - Thursday 5/27

MAY

By Cara Jepsen

21 FRIDAY Author Vikram Seth comes to Hyde Park tonight to read from his latest, An Equal Music. The plot centers on a violinist and pianist who fall in love over Beethoven: boy gets girl, boy loses girl, girl starts to go deaf. He'll start at 7 at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, 5757 S. University (773-752-4381). It's free.

If Ireatha Nwokenkwo has her way, women will soon be wearing her "funky office wear" to the corporate salt mines. Nwokenkwo has just completed her first collection of business clothes using traditional, muted fabrics for unusual ensembles like a jumpsuit with a long jacket, "well tailored with a twist," she says. Chioma Designs will be unveiled tonight at a fashion show and model search that will include food, a raffle, and music by Stella Stephney and Cassandra Martin. It's from 7:30 to 11 at the Orland Park Civic Center, 14750 S. Ravinia in Orland Park. Call 708-460-7219 for more.

22 SATURDAY Today the Chicago Artists' Coalition will address New Technologies for the Millennium at its annual Business of Art Conference. Topics will include legal issues for artists who use new media, marketing on the Web, and creating your own Web site. The conference is from 9:30 to 2:30 in room S102 of the Science Building at Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. Saint Louis. Admission is $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Call 312-670-2060 for details.

This year's Expo of the Extreme is dedicated to Diff'rent Strokes star Dana Plato, who was slated to host the two days of naughtiness, nudity, and noise before her death last week. The show goes on Friday and today, when the lineup will include sets by the Genitorturers, the Dwarves, Electric Hellfire Club, and Fang, as well as a spoken-word performance by Jello Biafra, an excerpt of a video of GG Allin at Exit in 1991, and a lot of other dark stuff "not for the elderly, pregnant, or those with high blood pressure or heart conditions." Nor is it for minors. It's at 7 at the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield. Tickets are $25, $30 at the door. Call 312-409-3600 for more.

Different strokes: the Martha Stewart Craft Group will be making beaded pitcher covers (as featured on page 28 of her book Good Things) today at 2 at Barnes & Noble, 5405 Touhy in Skokie. The instructions and materials are free, and you'll also learn how to make beads. Advance registration is required; call 847-329-0412.

23 SUNDAY The Chicago Cycling Club's 30-mile North Side Ride is limited to 350 cyclists, so participants won't need to worry about bumping tires as they wind their way through Ravenswood, Forest Glen, Bucktown, Wicker Park, West Town, and other neighborhoods on the final day of Chicago Bike Week. There will also be a 15-mile version for families and the short of breath. Both rides start today between 7 and 9 at the North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski. The entry fee is $18; call 773-509-8093 for more information.

Riders can take advantage of free valet bike parking and enjoy free admission today to one of the city's lakefront museums: the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, or the Museum of Science and Industry. You must register ahead of time (call 312-409-9696) and present your bike and helmet between 11 and 4 at the welcome center at either the museum campus, Roosevelt and Lake Shore Drive, or the Museum of Science and Industry, 57th and Lake Shore Drive.

One of the highlights of today's Lowrider Bajito Tour '99 is a "hop" exhibition and contest, in which a bunch of souped-up rides will attempt to defy gravity. The custom-car event will also include a hop demonstration by the Radical '64 Impala Dancer, an appearance by the Lowrider Bomb of the Year, and performances by Rappin' 4-Tay, Frost, Nasty Boy Klick, N-2 Deep, and Latino Velvet. It's from 11 to 5 at the International Amphitheatre, 4220 S. Halsted (773-254-6900). Tickets are $18, free for kids under 11.

24 MONDAY Actor, musician, and all-around creative guy Beau O'Reilly sings the songs of Bob Dylan, who was born 58 years ago today, as part of the continuing "Birthdays at the Cultural Center" series. It's at 1 in the center's Randolph Cafe, 78 E. Washington (312-744-1426), and it's free.

25 TUESDAY Last November the city filed a lawsuit against the gun industry to recover the costs resulting from firearms violence. Tonight's debate on gun litigation will ask if it's appropriate to use the judicial system to set social policy. Participants include Locke Bowman from the MacArthur Justice Center; University of Chicago professor John Lott, who says that legislation allowing people to carry concealed handguns actually reduces crime; and attorney Anne Giddings Kimball, counsel for Smith & Wesson and Strum, Ruger, and Company, as well as for Colt's Manufacturing. The event starts with dinner at 6 at Maggiano's, 516 N. Clark. Admission is $30, $15 for students; call 312-861-8635 for reservations.

26 WEDNESDAY Without relatives or friends to claim their bodies, homeless people who die in Chicago face an ignominious burial in an unmarked grave. Today the interfaith Memorial Ministry will hold a free memorial service for them from noon to 12:45 at the Chicago Temple, First United Methodist Church, 77 W. Washington. Call 312-853-2411 for more.

To make sure the codes and ciphers in his 900-plus-page cyberthriller Cryptonomicon--which involves Nazis and computer hackers--were up to par, Neal Stephenson enlisted the aid of cryptographer Bruce Schneier, who also wrote the book's appendix. The two will sign copies tonight from 6 to 8 at The Stars Our Destination, 1021 W. Belmont (773-871-2722).

27 THURSDAY Roberta Flack will sing her earlier tunes, like "Tryin' Times" and "For All We Know," during tonight's performance of choreographer Kevin Iega Jeff's 1984 tribute, Flack. It's the finale of Deeply Rooted Productions' benefit "An Evening of Deeply Rooted Dance," which will also include Jeff's The Dance We Dance, a performance in six sections codirected by Gary Abbott. It starts at 8 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress. Tickets are $25 to $60; tickets and a preperformance reception will set you back $150 to $500. Call 312-902-1500 or 773-363-1080.

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