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TODAY

Thursday, January 18

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Slowdown

February 2006

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Hot Mama: Sex and Pregnancy

Join Atena Danner-McPhaden at Early to Bed for a workshop on the sex and the pregnant woman. Learn about pregnancy hormones, the "dichotomy between lover and mother," and hear other women's experiences during this time. The idea of pregnancy scares the bejeezus out of me, especially since I'm old enough for it to be a tangile reality...I hope things like this exist when I finally get the urge to reproduce. 7:30pm at 5232 N. Sheridan Rd. Call 773-271-1219 for more information.

The Berghoff Closes

If you haven't gotten in the door at Chicago Loop institution The Berghoff, today's your very last chance. Lines are stretching around the block as you read this (no more reservations are being taken, it's all first come, first serve), but here are some hints about getting that last 'vurst. Doors close (for good) at 9pm. Take some pictures, and post them here to preserve the memories.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ Logan Square Auditorium

Tickets may be sold out online, but rumor has it you can still see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs by getting your tickets at the door. The band hits the Logan Square Auditorium tonight at 8:30pm, 2539 N. Kedzie. $20. All ages. Call 773-252-6179 for more information.

Smoking Popes/Bayside record release party

The Smoking Popes are putting out their first album in forever, and you can listen to it tonight at 9pm at aliveOne, 2683 N. Halsted, along with one by Bayside. Then, if you're so inclined, you can buy either one at midnight for just $10. And you could win tickets to their upcoming shows! Free (the listening party, not the CD), 21 and over.

Gabriela Mistral Tribute @ Cultural Center

Gabriela Mistral, the Chilean poet who was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, is honored this afternoon at 3 PM in Preston Bradley Hall by a program of readings and music by Chicago-based Latin American composers. Free. 78 E Washington Street. For more information, call 312-744-6630 or visit the website.

The2ndHand #19

The2ndHand celebrates the release of their 19th issue with readings by Al Burian, Brian Costello, Jeb Gleason-Allured, Sussan Felts, C.T. Ballantine and 2ndHand editor Todd Dills. Also featuring a DJ set by Hairstyles of the Damned author Joe Meno. Free at Skylakr, 2149 S. Halsted, 8pm. Call 312-948-5275 or 773-278-7034 for more information.

Cat Power @ The Vic Cancelled

You just never know (no kidding, see below) what Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power) will bring to a show, (or will require of you) so you'll likely be quite entertained tonight when Cat Power & The Memphis Rhythm Band take the stage at The Vic. The group, which has an album on Matador called The Greatest, contains a "bona fide All-Star team of Memphis musicians," including Al Green sideman Teenie Hodges on guitar, Leroy "Flick" Hodges and David Smith on bass, Rick Steff on keys, Jim Spake on sax and trumpteer Scott Thompson amongst others. Tickets are $22.50 and the show is All Ages. Doors open at 6:30pm with music at 7:30pm. The Vic is at 3145 N. Sheffield, Chicago. Update! Cat Power's U.S. tour has been mostly cancelled, including this show.

Quasar Wut Wut score "The General"

Quasar Wut Wut perform their original score for Buster Keaton's The General tonight at The Darkroom, 2210 W. Chicago. Shelley Short opens. Doors open at 7pm, music starts around 8pm, with the film beginning at 9. $7 cover, 21 and over.

Ayyam-i-Ha Party @ Baha'i House of Worship

Ayyam-i-Ha is a holiday about generosity and joy in the Baha'i faith, and it is from February 26 to March 1. The Baha'i House of Worship (100 Linden Avenue, Wilmette) is hosting an Ayyam-i-Ha party today at 11am. According to their ad, there will be art, storytelling, and refreshments as well as a children's book drive. Free, but it would be nice if you brought a book or two to donate.

Sarah Dunant @ The Book Cellar

Sarah Dunant, author of the best-selling and critically acclaimed Birth of Venus, will be reading from her new book, In the Company of the Courtesan, at The Book Cellar today at 1pm. The Book Cellar is located at 4736 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Visit the bookstore's website for more information.

15th Annual Hopefest

It's a concert to benefit the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. In the 15th Annual Hopefest, Aswah Greggori and the Enforcers provide reggae beats and Otis Clay sing the blues with the BoDeans headlining the show. The BoDeans...remember them? They did the theme song to Party of Five. (Ah...I love the 90s!) Advance tickets to the 8pm show are $40; $45 at the door. $100 gets you into the VIP reception. Call 312-435-4548 for tickets and information or get them at Ticketmaster. 322 W. Armitage Ave.

Vintage Beer Fest @ Delilah's

Raising the standards for noontime drinking, Delilah's hosts a tasting of over 60 vintage beers (expect strong ales, blondes, and bitters) from more than 40 different breweries. Local brewers include Three Floyds and Goose Island. $20. 12 PM to 6 PM, 2771 N. Lincoln Ave. Call 773-472-2771.

Ceremony of Innocence @ Evanston Arts Depot

This is the last weekend to catch "Ceremony of Innocence" at the Evanston Arts Depot. "Ceremony of Innocence" by Ronald Ribman is an award-winning play about the 11th Century English king, Ethelred the Unready, who ruled during an age of violence and uncertainty. The play is the inugural production of the Idle Muse Theatre Company. Performances begin at 8pm on Friday amd Saturday and take place at the Evanston Arts Depot, located at 600 Main St. in Evanston. Tickets are $15-20. Call the box office at 847-804-8534 or visit the Idle Muse website for more information.

GB Get-Together @ Billy Goat (original)

Gapers Block's monthly GB Get-Together is tonight at the original Billy Goat Tavern, 430 N. Michigan Ave at Lower Level (near Tribune Towers and Wrigley Building), from 9pm to around midnight. Join us for drinks, hobnobbing and warmth. Get your Cheezborger!

Mardi Gras Ball @ Double Door

Tonight at the Double Door, you don't have you show your ta ta's to enjoy 4 bands for $12 (that's $3 per band FYI). 56 Hope Road, Family Style, Bumpus and John Wasem play tonight starting around 9pm. The night's music will sure be an eclectic mix ranging from jazz-infused rock to improv to rock rock. The music flows like the beer, one band to the other. Head. On. Out.

Ceremony of Innocence @ Evanston Arts Depot

This is the last weekend to catch "Ceremony of Innocence" at the Evanston Arts Depot. "Ceremony of Innocence" by Ronald Ribman is an award-winning play about the 11th Century English king, Ethelred the Unready, who ruled during an age of violence and uncertainty. The play is the inugural production of the Idle Muse Theatre Company. Performances begin at 8pm on Friday amd Saturday and take place at the Evanston Arts Depot, located at 600 Main St. in Evanston. Tickets are $15-20. Call the box office at 847-804-8534 or visit the Idle Muse website for more information.

Frozen Snot Century (Bike Ride)

Feeling hearty? Meet up at the Hollywood Grill (1601 W North Avenue) at 6 AM for an early breakfast, and then ride to Milwaukee in time for Critical Mass (and other festivities). On Saturday morning, turn around and ride back (or hop the Metra for all or some of it). Contact John Greenfield to RSVP.

826CHI Wine and Dumplings Fundraiser

At 6:30 tonight, 826CHI is hosting a wine and dumplings fundraiser at their 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave location. Chicago Tribune wine writer Bill Daley and food writer Monica Eng, as well as wine consultant Magan Eng, will be there to discuss their favorite wine and dumplings, as well as offer personal recommendations. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the 826CHI website.

Ow-Box Winter Benefit Auction

For 96 years Ox-Bow at 847 W. Jackson has hosted a fleet of burgeoning artists. Tonight's Winter Benefit Auction not only helps raise funds for the artists' residency, it also provides art lovers with the chance to purchase works by Ed Paschke, Ellen Lanyon and Karl Wirsum in a silent auction featuring over 100 pieces of art. Robert Amft is this year's guest of honor, having contributed to the art world for over 70 years. Tickets are $75 in advance, $95 at the door. 5:30-9:30pm. Call 312-897408 for tickets and information.

Confessions of a Sociopath @ Film Center

As part of the Conversations at the Edge series, Joe Gibbons screens four of his recent videos. 6 PM. Tickets are $9, or $5 for Film Center members. 164 N. State St. For more information, call 312-846-2600 or visit the website.

Erotic Iron Poet @ darkroom

The Guild Complex presents Iron Poet Erotic Version, where teams of poet-improvisers compete before an audience that provides “secret ingredients.” The evening also includes music, an erotic photobooth, and refreshments. 2210 W. Chicago, 6 PM. $15 at the door or $10 in advance. For more information, click here or call 1-877-394-5061.

Urban Sandbox Open Mic Extravaganza @ Ice Factory

Hosted by Def Poet Dan Sully, tonight’s featured visual art is by Jane Ryder and featured word artists include poets from the Louder than a Bomb teen poetry competition and the Speak'Easy Ensemble. $2. 8 PM (doors open at 7:30), 526 N. Ashland Ave. For more information, visit the website.

James L. Swanson @ Newberry Library

The author of Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer discusses his work tonight at 6 PM. Free. 60 W. Walton St. For more information, call 312-255-3700 or visit the website.

The Newlywed Game @ Cultural Center

Chicago Scriptworks presents a staged reading of Cheryl Winkelmann’s new screenplay The Newlywed Game, tonight at 7 PM in the Chicago Cultural Center’s Studio Theater. Linger after the performance to talk with the director, writer, and cast. 77 E. Randolph Street. A $5 donation is requested. Email rsvp-at-chicagoscriptworks-dot-org to make a reservation. For more information, visit the website.

Not Funny @ Cultural Center

Curators and artists represented in Situation Comedy: Humor in Recent Art discuss what is and is not funny in the ongoing exhibition. This free event takes place at 6 PM in the Exhibit Hall. 78 E Washington Street. For more information, call 312-744-6630 or visit the website.

Johnny Cash's Birthday @ Delilah's

Joe Camarillo and Jon Langford of the Waco Brothers assume DJ duties in honor of the 74th anniversary of Johnny Cash's birth at Delilah's, 2771 North Lincoln Ave. Call 773-472-2771.

Neo-Futurist benefit @ Four Moon Tavern

The Neo-Futurists are holding a benefit this evening at the Four Moon Tavern (1847 W. Roscoe, one block east of Damen). From 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, the theater group gets a percentage of the food & drink sold, so stop by and have a beer with the Neo-Futurists.

Radio Plays @ Cultural Center

Expand your conception of radio drama by checking out this performance by the AFTRA/SAG Senior Radio Players, a group dedicated to “keeping alive the uniqueness of radio as the theater of the imagination." Tonight’s performances include a Sam Spade murder mystery and a sitcom, circa 1930 – 1945. Free, at the Cassidy Theater. 78 E Washington Street, 7 PM. For more information, visit the website.

Vintage Beer Fest @ Delilah's

Raising the standards for noontime drinking, Delilah's hosts a tasting of over 60 vintage beers (expect strong ales, blondes, and bitters) from more than 40 different breweries. Local brewers include Three Floyds and Goose Island. $20. 12 PM to 6 PM, 2771 N. Lincoln Ave. Call 773-472-2771.

Anna-Lisa Cox @ Newberry Library

The author of A Stronger Kinship discusses the little-known Michigan town of Covert, site of a completely integrated community for more than 100 years. Free, 6 PM. 60 W. Walton St. For more information, call 312-255-3700 or visit the website.

Literary Gangs of Chicago @ MCA

The Museum of Contemporary Art's Literary Gangs of Chicago continues tonight with readings by 826CHI. Sister program to Dave Eggers's 826Valencia, the Chicago varient officially opened in 2005. Tonight's reading includes those by the tutoring program's students. Free and open to the public, 6:30-8pm in Puck's.

Car-Sharing and Hydrogen Fuel Cells Seminar @ Chicago Center for Green Technology

This seminar discusses the changing automotive landscape. Free, but advance registration is required. 6 to 8 PM, 445 N. Sacramento Blvd. For more information, and to pre-register, call 312-746-9642, email greentech [at] cityofchicago [dot] org, or visit the website.

Lindjo @ Cultural Center

This 40-year-old folk ensemble from Dubrovnik performs music and dance in traditional costumes tonight at 7 PM on the stage of the Cassidy Theater. Free. 78 E Washington Street. For more information, call 312-744-6630 or visit the website.

Early to Bed's Sex Salons

Chicago women-owned sex shop Early to Bed is hosting a series of facilitated – yet casual – group discussions about different topics related to sex. They'll start with some wine and cheese and informal mingling, then sit down to talk about that night's topic. It might be philosophical, cultural, political or even spiritual. No lectures, no demonstrations. There will be some good questions posed, and the conversation will flow from there. No experience or special knowledge is necessary. Just curiosity and a willingness to share your ideas and listen to others. The salons are open to everyone over 18. For more information, call 773-271-1219. Early to Bed is located at 5232 N. Sheridan Road, just north of Foster Ave.

The first salon will take place tonight, and is titled Movie Sex/Real Sex

From 7-8:30pm you can discuss the following:

What is your earliest memory of watching a sex scene in a mainstream movie? How did these sex scenes influence our emerging ideas of what sex is? How do sex scenes we see in mainstream movies shape our perceptions of what good sex is supposed to be like? How realistic are sex scenes in mainstream movies? What makes a great sex scene? How much do we judge our sexual experiences by what we see in these movies?

Learn to Knit Mittens

One of my resolutions this year was to learn to knit a pair of mittens. You can do what I've been too lazy to do (so far), and make a pair of mittens at this mini-workshop at The Knitting Workshop in Lincoln Park. The class costs $75 (plus materials) and runs on Tuesdays 7-9pm on Feb. 21 and Feb. 28. Please call or stop in to sign up at The Knitting Workshop, 2218 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago 773-929-5776.

Aleksandar Hemon & Jonathan Lethem @ Abbey Pub

Aleksandar Hemon, author of GB Book Club pick Nowhere Man, and Jonathan Lethem, author of Fortress of Solitude, stop by the Abbey Pub to read from Bernard Malamud's work. Both authors have written introductions to Malamud's books and hope to introduce a new generation of readers to his writing. Buy your tickets online -- $8 for regular tickets, $6 for students 25 and under. 7pm at 3420 W. Grace St. Presented by Nextbook.

Opening: Josephine Tonight! @ Theatre Building Chicago

A new musical about the early career of jazz-age icon Josephine Baker, who “put the sin back into syncopation,” opens tonight at 8 PM and plays through 26 March. $25 to $30. 1225 W. Belmont Ave. For tickets and more information, call 773-327-5252 or visit the Theatre Building Chicago website.

The Hawk: Byther Smith @ Buddy Guy’s Legends

Tonight, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, Byther Smith will be performing at Buddy Guy’s Legends, 754 S Wabash. Tickets are $10; for more information, you can call Buddy Guy’s Legends at 312-427-0333 or check out The Hawk's website.

The Hawk: Nick Tremulis Orchestra, Langford Band, Rick Rizzo @ HotHouse

Tonight at 9pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, the Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra, Langford Band, and Rick Rizzo will be performing at HotHouse, 31 E Balbo. Tickets are $15; you can purchase them through HotHouse's website; for more information, see The Hawk's website.

2nd Annual Day of Opera @ Cultural Center

From 1 – 5 PM this afternoon, wander through the Cultural Center to sample a variety of operatic sound, performed by music students as well as artists from Opera Moda, Intimate Opera, and Chamber Opera Chicago. Free. 78 E. Washington Street. For more information, call 312-744-6630 or visit the website.

Henry Butler @ Millennium Park

New Orleans pianist Henry Butler plays a concert this afternoon at 3:30 PM at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park (100 N. Michigan). The event is free and open to the public.

Make a Biscuit (for the dog)

Today, from 2-4pm, learn to make an array of homemade, organic-friendly doggie treats and biscuits for that favorite pooch in your life from the editor of Healthy Dining Chicago newsletter. Don't have a dog? I bet you know someone who does. The class costs $20 per person. (Advance payment required.) For more information or to register, call 312-666-9979. Healthy Dining Chicago is located at 934 West Fry Street, Chicago IL 60622.

Opening: Nina Simone: The High Priestess of Soul

The world premiere musical tribute to the late musician Nina Simone officially opens tonight at The Black Ensemble Theater, 4520 N. Beacon St. Tickets for "Nina Simone: The High Priestes of Soul" are $35 and are available by calling the Black Ensemble Theater Box Office at 773-769-4451 or Ticketmaster at 312-902-1500, or online at ticketmaster.com. Visit the Black Ensemble Theater website for more information.

The Hawk: The Lonesome Organist, Mucca Pazza @ Hideout

Tonight at 8pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, The Lonesome Organist and punk marching band Mucca Pazza will be performing at the Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia. Tickets are $8. For more information, see the Hideout's websiteor The Hawk's.

The Hawk: The Black Angels, The Sleepers, The Danger @ EB

Tonight at 9:30pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, The Black Angels, The Sleepers, and The Danger will be performing at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased through the Empty Bottle's website; for more information about the festival, see The Hawk's website.

Anti-hate rally @ Agudas Achim North Shore Congregations Synagogue

The 84 year old Agudas Achim North Shore Congregation Synagogue (5029 North Kenmore) is holding an anti-hate rally on Sunday, February 19th at 2pm. Clergy and members of all faiths will participate in painting over the swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans which vandals painted on their walls the weekend of February 12. Read more here.

The Hawk: Animate Objects, Bad News Jones, Know Boundries, Tabakin @ Double Door

It’s a hip-hop showcase tonight at 9:30pm for The Hawk Music Festival, which is celebrating Chicago’s music scene. Animate Objects will be performing with Bad News Jones, Know Boundries, and Tabakin at The Double Door, 1572 N Milwaukee. Tickets are $8; to purchase tickets, go to the Double Door’s website.

The Hawk: Eddie C Campbell, Eric Noden, Sammy Fender @ Buddy Guy’s Legends

Tonight, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, Eddie C Campbell, Eric Noden, and Sammy Fender will be performing at Buddy Guy’s Legends, 754 S Wabash. Tickets are $15; for more information, you can call Buddy Guy’s Legends at 312-427-0333 or check out The Hawk's website.

Opening: The Willing Participant

Factory Theater presents "The Willing Participant," a new play about a Chicago police officer questioned for a death, in a romantic tangle with the deceased's sister and abducted by aliens. Sounds like The X-Files on crack, doesn't it? Which isn't a bad thing. Tickets to tonight's 8pm Special Gala Benefit are $40 and include food and drink at the post show reception. Call 866-811-4111 for reseverations. Factory Theater at Prop Thtr is located at 3504 N. Elston Ave.

The Jungle Centennial

The Chicago Historical Society commemorates the hundreth anniversary of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle with a panel discussion featuring Ann Durkin Keating, coeditor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Chicago; Patrick Readon, feature writer for the Tribune; and James Barrett and Christopher Phelps, editors of different editions of the book. The program starts at 9:30am with a continental breakfast; the discussion starts at 10am. Call 312-642-4600 for more information.

The Hawk: Tiempo Libre @ HotHouse

Tonight at 10:30pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, Tiempo Libre will be performing at HotHouse, 31 E Balbo. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door; you can purchase them through HotHouse's website; for more information, see The Hawk's website.

Make a Biscuit (for the dog)

Today, from 2-4pm, learn to make an array of homemade, organic-friendly doggie treats and biscuits for that favorite pooch in your life from the editor of Healthy Dining Chicago newsletter. Don't have a dog? I bet you know someone who does. The class costs $20 per person. (Advance payment required.) For more information or to register, call 312-666-9979. Healthy Dining Chicago is located at 934 West Fry Street, Chicago IL 60622.

Audition for Hairspray: The Musical: The Movie

Today, try out to be the next Ricky Lake, er, Tracy Turnblad, or any of the cast of characters, in the newest adaptation of John Waters' film Hairspray -- now better known as "Hairspray: The Musical". Auditions will be held from 11am to 6pm at the Chicago Academy of the Arts 1010 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago. Details are on the Chicago Film Office website. Hey, This could be you!

The Hawk: Life During Wartime dance party @ Hideout

The Life During Wartime dance party is getting an early start at 9pm at the Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia, as part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene. DJs Mother Hubbard, J2K, and Bald Eagle will be there, as well as guest DJ Matt Roan. Cover is $5. For more information, see the Hideout's website or The Hawk's.

The Hawk: The Returnables, The Dials, The Negligents @ EB

If you missed the terrific 3 Friends benefit at Metro last month, you'll get another chance to see three of the bands involved. Tonight at 10pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, The Returnables, The Dials, and The Negligents will be performing at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave. This show will aslo be The Returnables' CD release party and final show. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased through the Empty Bottle's website; for more information about the festival, see The Hawk's website.

"You Can't Tell Lawyers How to Do Their Job"

The National Lawyers Guild in Chicago presents "You Can't Tell Lawyers How to Do Their Job," a "speak-out" about the upcoming sentencing of attorney Lynne Stewart. The event features NYC attorney and talk-radio host Michael Smith and a 20-minute video on the case. 1-3pm at the DePaul University College of Law, in the Loop Campus, 25 E. Jackson Blvd. Classroom 803. Free.

The Hawk: Tim Reynolds, Dearborn @ Double Door

Tonight at 9pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, Tim Reynolds and Dearborn will be performing at The Double Door, 1572 N Milwaukee. Tickets are $12, but this show is currently sold out; for more information, you cancheck out The Hawk's website or the Double Door’s.

The Hawk: Harmonica Hinds, Johnnie Bassett, Sharon Lewis @ Buddy Guy’s Legends

Tonight, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, noted session player Harmonica Hinds, Johnnie Bassett, Sharon Lewis will be performing at Buddy Guy’s Legends, 754 S Wabash. Tickets are $15; for more information, you can call Buddy Guy’s Legends at 312-427-0333 or check out The Hawk's website.

AREA: Chicago Release Party

AREA: Chicago Art/Education/Activism is holding a release party for the publication of their second issue. AREA#2 focuses on "food politics through the lens of local groups who are committed to urban argriculture, radical ecology and to creating an alternative food infrastructure in Chicago." Stop byt the Chicago Cultural Center at the Randolph and Michigan entrance to pick up a free copy of the magazine and learn more about AREA's goals, 6-7pm. Email areachicago[at]gmail[dot]com for more information.

Opening: Museum

Appetite Theatre presents Museum, a "multi-layered c omedy of manners that follows the movement of art lovers, skeptics, students and lost souls through the final day of an art show." Written by Tina Howe, the show goes on at the Studio Theater in the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph. Tickets to tonight's opening night performance are $40 and include a post-show reception with wine and hors d'oeuvres. Regular tickets are $15; $12 for students and seniors. 8pm. Runs through March 26. Call 773-275-1931 for tickets and information.

Opening: Optimism

What is optimism? Is it the glass half full? Is it the belief that everything works out for the best? Faith that good will ultimately triumph over evil? Aesthetic Eye examines all of this with a group show opening tonight with a gala reception. Featuring the works of artists such as Jan Hobson, Tara Thelen, Kevin O'Connell and Larry Zgoda with painting, photography, stained glass and fiber. 6pm at 1520 W. Chicago Ave. Call 312-243-1520 for more information.

Chris Saathof Benefit tonight

The 2nd anniversary of Chris Saathof's passing was this past Tuesday. A benefit will be held tonight at The Beat Kitchen (10PM, $10, 18+), featuring The Hot Machines whose member, Miss Alex White was Saathof's old musical partner. [Thanks Jennifer!]

The Hawk: Andy Zipf, Josh Harty, Mike Reeb, FREE @ Uncommon Ground

Tonight at 8pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, there will be a free songwriter showcase at Uncommon Ground, 3800 N Clark Street. Tonight's featured performers are Josh Harty, Mike Reeb, and Andy Zipf. For more information, see The Hawk's website.

The Hawk: Andy Zipf, Josh Harty, Mike Reeb, FREE @ Uncommon Ground

Tonight at 8pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, there will be a free songwriter showcase at Uncommon Ground, 3800 N Clark Street. Tonight's featured performers are Josh Harty, Mike Reeb, and Andy Zipf. For more information, see The Hawk's website.

The Hawk: Brandy Carlile, Gibb Droll, Teddy Geiger @ Schuba's

Tonight at 10pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, Brandy Carlile, Gibb Droll, and Teddy Geiger will be performing at Schuba's, 3159 N Southport. Tickets are $8 in advance at $10 at the door, but this show is sold out. For more information, see Schuba's website or The Hawk's website.

The Hawk: David Mead, Matthew Ryan @ Schuba's

Tonight at 7pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, David Mead and Matthew Ryan will be performing at Schuba's, 3159 N Southport. Tickets are $15, and can be purchased at the Schuba's website. For more information, see The Hawk's website.

The Hawk: Undertow Orchestra (feat. Mark Eitzel and Vic Chestnutt) @ Park West

Tonight at 9pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, The Undertow Orchestra, featuring Mark Eitzel, Vic Chestnutt, Dave Bazan, and Will Johnson will be performing at the Park West, 322 W Armitage. Tickets are $16 in advance, $18 the day of the show, and can be purchased through the Park West's website. For more information, see The Hawk's website.

The Hawk: Stars, The Elected @ Metro

Tonight at 9pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, Canada's Stars and The Elected will be performing at the Metro, 3730 N Clark. Tickets are $16, but this show is sold out. For more information, see the Metro's websiteor The Hawk's.

The Hawk: Chicago Afrobeat Project, Fareed Haque @ Martyrs'

Tonight at 10pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, the Chicago Afrobeat Project and Fareed Haque will be performing at Martyrs, 3855 N Lincoln. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, and can be purchased through the Martyr's website. For more information, see The Hawk's website.

The Hawk: Oteil & the Peacemakers @ HOB

Tonight at 9pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, Oteil & the Peacemakers will be performing at the House of Blues Backporch, 329 N Dearborn. Tickets are $15, and can be purchased through the House of Blues website. For more information, see The Hawk's website.

The Hawk: B. B. King @ HOB

Tonight at 9pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, B. B. King will be performing at the House of Blues, 329 N Dearborn. Tickets are $72.50-$75.00, but this show is sold out. For more information, see the House of Blues website or The Hawk's website.

The Hawk: Monday Michiru @ HotHouse

Tonight at 10pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, Japanese soul starMonday Michiru will be performing at HotHouse, 31 E Balbo. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door; you can purchase them through HotHouse's website; for more information, see The Hawk's website.

The Hawk: Palaxy Tracks, Roommate, Velvetron @ Hideout

Tonight at 9:30pm, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, Palaxy Tracks, Roommate, and Velvetron will be performing at the Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia. This is one of the last two shows in Chicago for Palaxy Tracks before Brandon Durham moves to Austin. Tickets are $8. For more information, see the Hideout's website or The Hawk's.

The Hawk: Hard Lessons, The Quitters, The Ruiners @ EB

Tonight, as a part of The Hawk Music Festival celebrating Chicago’s music scene, Hard Lessons, The Quitters, and The Ruiners will be performing at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased through the Empty Bottle's website; for more information about the festival, see The Hawk's website.

Gallery Lowdown @ Cultural Center

Art dealers discuss how artists can successfully approach galleries at a free event this evening at 6 PM in the First Floor Garland Room. 78 E Washington Street. For more information, call 312-744-6630 or visit the website.

Langston Hughes and Nina Simone Tributes @ Cultural Center

Dancers from the Cerqua Rivera Dance Ensemble, local musicians, and vocalists perform tributes to the great African-American artists this evening at 7 PM in the Claudia Cassidy Theater. Free. 78 E Washington Street. For more information, call 312-744-6630 or visit the website.

Voices from Home: Local Authors Speak

Former Clinton diarist Janis F. Kearney joins the Friends of the Blackstone Branch Library in their local author series. Kearney will read and discuss excerpts from her book Cotton Field of Dreams: A Memoir in which she speaks of her family of seventeen children and her sister's battle with mental illness. Free at 7pm, 4904 S. Lake Park Ave. Call 773-288-7382 for more information.

Ctrl-Alt-Rock

Chicagoist presents Ctrl-Alt-Rock, an evening of alternarock starting at 8pm tonight at Schubas, Belmont & Southport. The lineup features The Assembly, May or May Not and Alphabet. $8 gets you in the door, assuming you're 21 or over. Much more info here.

Powell's North Reading Series: Hunt, Anderson and Marbais

Tonight at Powell's Bookstore (2850 N. Lincoln) sit on down and hear emerging local writers Emily Anderson and Amanda Marbais, and the fiction of Samantha Hunt. Hunt (interview here) is a writer and artist whose stories have appeared in McSweeney's as well as on NPR's This American Life. Her first novel, The Seas, was published in 2004. Powell's North is sponsored by the Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Poetry Center of Chicago, and Powell's Bookstore. Each reading pairs an established poet, fiction, or non-fiction writer from around the nation with one or two emerging writers in an event that exposes the community to a dynamic variety of work from writers at different stages in their career. The readings start at 7pm.

Chicago Green Drinks Movie Night

Chicago Green Drinks is holding their regular discussion night, complete with a movie screening, at Jefferson Tap & Grill, 325 N. Jefferson, from 5:30-9pm. The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream starts at 6:45pm. $5 cover, no reservations required. Call 312-670-7812 for more information.

Sprawl: A Compact History @ Architecture Foundation

Robert Bruegmann, author of Sprawl: A Compact History, talks at 6pm tonight at the Chicago Architecture Foundation to explain his research on urban sprawl. Bruegmann theorizes that this is not a new phenomenon and it occurs "when a new class rises in economic stature and is able to afford privacy, mobility, and choice." A panel discussion follows the talk. $20 for general admission, $10 for CAF members and $5 for students. Call 312-922-3432 for tickets and information or buy them online.

James McManus @ SAIC Ballroom

Possibly McManus is best known for going to the World Series of Poker some years ago to write an article for Harper’s, and unexpectedly coming in fifth. He is also a novelist, but his latest book, Physical: An American Checkup, is nonfiction, centered on a visit to the Mayo Clinic for a high-end checkup. McManus reads tonight at 6:30 PM. 112 S. Michigan Ave. $10, or free if you’re a Poetry Center member. For more information, call 312-899-1229 or visit the website.

Harv @ Cultural Center

The Swedish folk ensemble Harv performs tonight at 7 PM in the Cassidy Theater after spending a few days at Austin's Folk Alliance conference. Free. 78 E Washington Street. For more information, call 312-744-6630 or visit the website.

Bilingual Poetry @ California Clipper

A new poetry series, Palabra Pura, focuses on Chicano and Latino artists, presenting local and visiting writers after 30 minutes of open mike readings. Tonight, Paul Martinez Pompa and Jorge Frisancho are featured. Doors open at 8 PM. Free. 1022 N. California Ave. For more information, call 877-394-5061, or visit the Guild Complex website.

Chicago Genealogy 101 @ Orland Park Public Library

Grace DuMelle, author of Finding Your Chicago Ancestors, appears at the Orland Park Public Library tonight at 7pm for a presentation about local genealogical research, followed by a book signing. So, if you find yourself in the south suburbs tonight, stop at the library at 14921 Ravinia Avenue in Orland Park for this event. See the library's program calendar for more information.

Local Author Night @ The Book Cellar

Join authors Wendy McClure, Claire Zulkey and Amy Krause Rosenthal tonight at The Book Cellar for the bookshop's monthly local author series. The authors will be talking about blogging (and you know how much we love blogs), children's publishing, writing memoirs and much more. This free event begins at 7pm at The Book Cellar, located at 4736 N. Lincoln Ave. For more information, visit The Book Cellar website.

Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein

The Museum of Contemporary Art is hosting "Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein." Co-produced and co-presented with About Face Theatre, the chamber-scale musical focuses on the life and loves of the famed author and feminist. Tickets range from $20-$40. To buy them and to get more information, call the MCA box office at 312-397-4010. You can find the schedule of performances here. Tonight's inagural performance is at 7:30pm.

St. Valentine's Massacre Skate Party @ Fleetwood Skating Rink

The Chi*Town Sirens, Chicago's newest league of roller derby girls, is throwing a Valentine's Day skate party at Fleetwood Roller Rink. Meet the Sirens, skate with them, and have your dance card totally filled on Valentine's Day-- what could be better? Tonight will be filled with features like The Dating Game, where one lucky guest can win a night out with a Siren, good music (rollergirl DJs), and lots of other Valentine's Day surprises. If you're coupled-- do something different and enjoy eight-wheeled nostalgia with a couples' skate to "Endless Love". If you're single, there's no better place to be. The skate night costs $10 including skate rental and will run from 7:30-10pm tonight. The Fleetwood Skating Rink is located at 7321 W. Archer Ave. (Archer & Harlem), Summit IL (just past Midway on I-55). Call 708-458-0300 (Fleetwood) for more information.

Throw Darts (at your ex's picture) @ Ravenswood Pub

Ravenswood Pub celebrates X-Valentines Day starting at 7pm tonight. Bring a picture of your "ex" and throw darts at it for prizes. Enjoy other fun contests and beer specials. Ah, sweet sweet catharsis. The Ravenswood Pub is located at 5455 N. Ravenswood Ave. Call (773) 769-6667 for more information.

Personals @ Starbucks

Looking for love, coffee lovers? This ValDay, head on over to the Piper's Alley and Roscoe Village Starbucks. From 7-9 p.m., the folks from Yahoo! Personals will help you create an online personal, take a professional snap of you, and hand you a $10 coffee card. Hey, where else can you (maybe) find the love of your life -- and a week's worth of joe? Via TOC.

Chocolate Eating World Championship

Today, bunnies are cowering in fear (well, chocolate bunnies anyway). The Onion and the International Federation Of Competitive Eating present the Chocolate Eating World Championship at the Chicago Chocolate Company. Billed as the GoldenPalace.net Valentine's Day Chocolate Massacre, this event will pay the winner a cool $5,000 (and, you know, a belly full of heart-shaped chocolates). The Chicago Chocolate Company is located at 847 W. Randolph St. and the contest starts at 11a.m.

Mice Parade @ Empty Bottle (FREE)

I checked out the post-rock/electronic group Mice Parade at the Bottle about 6 months ago and was definitely not dissapointed. The fact that they're coming back to town, and the bottle, is enough to get me there. The additional fact that the show is free is enough to get me there on a Monday night at 10pm. Del Rey opens.

Gapers Block Book Club Meeting

This month's meeting of the Gapers Block Book Club takes place tonight at The Book Cellar at 4736 N. Lincoln Ave., where we will be discussing Division Street: America by Studs Terkel. The meeting begins at 7:30pm. Hope to see you there! And, join the book club email list for news, updates and alerts about future meetings.

TheCollectedWorks @ Underground Lounge

Aethestics, creativity and originality are the values held sacred by TheCollectedWorks, a production company that helps promote local filmmakers. Held at the Underground Lounge, 952 W. Newport, tonight's get together features Jodi Mack, Jennifer Peepas, Jen Messner, Benjamin Rogerson, Brian Lange and Rich Szcepanski. Doors open at 8pm; no cover; 21+. Call 773-327-2739 or email thecollectedworks[at]mail[dot]com for more information.

Chicago Chamber Orchestra @ Cultural Center

The Chicago Chamber Orchestra continues its celebration of Mozart’s 250th birthday with this performance of excerpts from Mozart operas using the Harmoniemusik arrangements for wind instruments typical in Mozart’s time. Preston Bradley Hall, 3 PM. Free. 78 E Washington Street. For more information, call 312-744-6630 or visit the website.

Beer + Chocolate @ Hopleaf

So the bunny never tasted so good as when you dipped it in your stout? You're just the person who should head over to The Hopleaf for their Beer + Chocolate tasting. Reservations required, check out the specifics here [PDF]. The cost is $25/person, and the event starts at 7pm tonight. The Hopleaf is located at 5148 N. Clark St. Call (773) 334-9851 for more information or to make a reservation.

Around the Coyote Winter Arts Festival

Wicker Park's Around the Coyote Arts Festival features hundreds of painters, photographers, actors, poets, filmmakers and more in a neighborhood-wide art exhibition. Walk from building to building as each hosts a different gallery and a different set of artists (click here for a list of artists). Check out the full schedule of events or get your $5 day pass and browse the galleries at your leisure. All-Access tickets can also be purchased for $40 by calling 773-342-6777.

Shimmer Women's Wrestling Match

Who says "Stone Cold" Steve Austin can have all the fun? Women are wrestling in Berwyn, Illinois! The Shimmer Women Athletes will be filming its latest DVD during a new round of women's professional wrestling matches at the Eagles Club (6309 26th Street) in Berwyn, IL, just outside Chicago. All seats will be just $10 general admission, and will be available at the door. This ain't no foxy boxing match.

Watch Six Nations Rugby Tournament

The Six Nations is Europe's premier Rugby Union tournament, featuring matches between England, Ireland, France, Scotland, Italy, and Wales. Enjoy a great Irish breakfast, $4 Heineken and Amstel during games, and giveaways. Johnny O'Hagan's is located at 3374 N. Clark St. (773) 248-3600. Today: Sunday, February 12, at 9:00 am see Wales vs. Scotland as they round out the second round of tournament play. Every weekend until March 19th, you can roll out of bed and see some rugby from "across the pond". No hooligans.

Garfield Park Chocolate Fest

Hop on the Green Line and eat yourself some chocolate this weekend. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday, you can enjoy a bevy of chocolate-related events at the Garfield Park Conservtory. In addition to 250,000 pieces of FREE chocolate, there will be a chocolate spa, kids activities, chef demonstrations and tastings. Suggested donation is only a buck, but bring more cash, because there are plenty of yummies for purchase.

Opening: Lovecore

Getting you ready for Valentine's Day, "Lovecore" is Fluxcore's multi-media art event exploring modern love stories through the work of the local artist community. Tonight's opening reception starts at 8pm at the Peter Jones Gallery, 1806 W. Cuyler. Suggested donation is $5 at the door. The show runs through March 10. Call 773-472-6725 for more information.

Love's Labours Lost @ Newberry Library

The Shakespeare Project puts on a free production of the bard's Love's Labours Lost at the Newberry Library. The prologue by Dorian Hadley starts at 9:45am and the show goes on at 10:00am. Ah...just in time for Valentine's Day. The Newberry Library is located at 60 W. Walton St. Call 312-255-3700 for more information.

For the Love of Chocolate

The South Shore Cultural Center is doing a wonderful thing -- transforming their digs into a Willy Wonka-style chocolate house that will surely bring the sweet-lovers among us to our knees. From 7-10pm, there will be chocolate body art, chocolate sculptures and even a "Cocoa Sutra" room. (Though, one would hope that would bear no resemblance to R. Kelly's "Chocolate Factory." I'm just sayin'.) For the Love of Chocolate benefits Abigail Wodrich, a one-year-old patient in need of a kidney transplant at Chicago Children's Memorial Hospital. Tickets are $45 per person and include food, beer and wine, live music, a silent auction and, of course, chocolate. Call Lisa Wodrich at 219-921-0088 for tickets. 7059 S. Shore Dr.

Dreamdaze @ Corduroys Espresso Spot

Previously featured Transmission artist, and electonic musician Dreamdaze performs at Corduroys Espresso Spot in Chicago on Saturday February 11 at 7 PM along with Divide by Pi and 1 TBA.

2nd Annual Art of Connection symposium @ Art Inst of Chicago

The Department of Art Therapy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago proudly presents the 2nd Annual Art of Connection symposium, today from 9:30am to 5pm in Gallery 2 of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 847 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago.

This symposium is in conjunction with the 2nd Annual Art of Connection exhibit featuring artwork created by Master of Arts in Art Therapy students at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and clients from their internship sites. The exhibit is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 1-6pm; Sunday, February 12 and Saturday, February 18, 2006, 10am-4pm. The Art of Connection exhibition is free and open to the public.

Around the Coyote Winter Arts Festival

Wicker Park's Around the Coyote Arts Festival features hundreds of painters, photographers, actors, poets, filmmakers and more in a neighborhood-wide art exhibition. Walk from building to building as each hosts a different gallery and a different set of artists (click here for a list of artists). Check out the full schedule of events or get your $5 day pass and browse the galleries at your leisure. All-Access tickets can also be purchased for $40 by calling 773-342-6777.

Handmade Market

Erica Coslor, aka DJ Plastique, helps make the local indie designer market grow by creating the monthly Handmade Market. It's going to be at the Empty Bottle today from 12-5pm. It's free to get in. Come shop, drink bloody marys, and listen to some great tunes while meeting 25 of the best hip, new designers in the city.

Demetri Martin @ Lakeshore Theater

Not only does Demetri Martin have a great half hour episode on Comedy Central's stand-up series, he's also been featured in Bust and has spent some time with The Daily Show. In "These Are Jokes," Martin tells joke, shows some of his drawings, and plays music. If you've ever seen him on TV, you know this is a show worth going to. 8pm on Friday and 7pm and 9pm on Saturday. Tickets are $20 each at the Lakeshore Theater, 3175 N. Broadway. Call 773-472-3492 for more information.

Vegetarian Valentine's Fundraiser

Mercy for Animals is holding a Vegetarian Valentine's Fundraiser at Framing Mode, a south loop art gallery. There'll be catered food, spirits (all-you-can-drink!), a DJ and "Best Dressed in Red" wins some fab prizes.

Email Chicago@mercyforanimals.org with questions.

$10 in advance (by making a $10 donation to get on the guest list at
www.MercyForAnimals.org), or $15 at the door.

Where: Framing Mode
1526 S. Wabash
Chicago, IL 60605
(Red line- Roosevelt stop)
When: 8:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.

Watch Six Nations Rugby Tournament

The Six Nations is Europe's premier Rugby Union tournament, featuring matches between England, Ireland, France, Scotland, Italy, and Wales. Enjoy a great Irish breakfast, $4 Heineken and Amstel during games, and giveaways. Johnny O'Hagan's is located at 3374 N. Clark St. (773) 248-3600. Today: Saturday, February 11, at 7:30 am see France vs. Ireland, then at 10 am see Italy vs. England start the second round of tournament play. Every weekend until March 19th, you can roll out of bed and see some rugby from "across the pond". No hooligans.

Garfield Park Chocolate Fest

Hop on the Green Line and eat yourself some chocolate this weekend. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday, you can enjoy a bevy of chocolate-related events at the Garfield Park Conservtory. In addition to 250,000 pieces of FREE chocolate, there will be a chocolate spa, kids activities, chef demonstrations and tastings. Suggested donation is only a buck, but bring more cash, because there are plenty of yummies for purchase.

Free Wine Tasting @ In Fine Spirits

Here's a cheap date: take your sweetie to Andersonville wine shop In Fine Spirits for their free Argentinian wine tasting today, then slosh home, pop in a DVD, and do what the mood (and alcohol) dictates. Tastings run from 3-6pm. In Fine Spirits is located at 5418 N. Clark Street, call them up at (773) 506-WINE.

Anti V-D Partry @ Funky Buddha

By which I assume they mean "Anti-Valentine's Day" and not "Anti-Syphilis" or "Anti-Chlamydia" because crowded clubs are usually the place where you contract such ailments. So, if you hate Valentine's Day, but love being smashed into a club with questionable, sweaty, drunk people, Funky Buddha's $30 open bar party might be for you. Come between 8-11pm to get all the alcohol you want at 782 W. Grand Ave. Live and silent auction prizes include a VIP package for 10, a cruise on Lake Michigan and more. Call 773-342-3575 for more information.

Opening: 9th Annual Critical Mass Art Show @ Reversible Eye

This exhibition of art with bike-centric and anti-car themes kicks off with a party starting at 7 PM tonight. The exhibit runs through 24 February (when it closes with another party). 1103 N. California Ave. For more information, call 773-862-1232 or visit the website.

Chicago Arts District 2nd Fridays

Every second Friday of the month, the Chicago Arts District holds monthly receptions at galleries and artists' studios around S. Halsted and 18th Streets. This month's 6-10pm recpetion is features "Drawings that Happen: Reactionary Drawing Class Exhibition" at the Chicago Art Department, 1837 S. Halsted. Also available for viewing are Moka Gallery, 4Art's Xclusive Group Show, "Imprints" at Vespine Gallery and more. Free and open to the public. Call 312-738-8000 x 112 for more information.

Sketchcore's "Urban Legends" @ Oracle Theatre

SKETCHCORE’s "Urban Legends" continues tonight at 10:30 at The Oracle Theatre, located at 3809 N. Broadway Ave. The show runs on Fridays until March 31st . Tickets are $10 general admission and $8 with student ID. To reserve tickets call 773.780.9174 or, for more information go to www.sketchcore.com or www.oracletheatre.org.

Opening: "The Innocent Eye?"

Nick Osborn, of Square America fame, opens a show of vernacular photography entitled "The Innocent Eye?" at Carl Hammer Gallery, 740 N. Wells St., tonight from 5:30pm to 8pm. The show runs through March 18.

Singles Cooking Class @ Kitchen Chicago

Chef Daniel drops by Kitchen Chicago for a Singles Cooking Class wherein he'll show how to make his signature first course. Teams will help prepare the rest of the menu and then everyone gets to enjoy the meal together in the cafe. 6:30-9pm at 4664 N. Manor. The menu include Sashimi Tuna Spring Rolls with Tobiko Caviar, Soup of Sweet Potato and Chipotle Chiles and Red Wine Infused Rack of Lamb, among other tasties. $75. Register online.

Around the Coyote Winter Arts Festival

Wicker Park's Around the Coyote Arts Festival features hundreds of painters, photographers, actors, poets, filmmakers and more in a neighborhood-wide art exhibition. Walk from building to building as each hosts a different gallery and a different set of artists (click here for a list of artists). Check out the full schedule of events or get your $5 day pass and browse the galleries at your leisure. All-Access tickets can also be purchased for $40 by calling 773-342-6777.

Demetri Martin @ Lakeshore Theater

Not only does Demetri Martin have a great half hour episode on Comedy Central's stand-up series, he's also been featured in Bust and has spent some time with The Daily Show. In "These Are Jokes," Martin tells joke, shows some of his drawings, and plays music. If you've ever seen him on TV, you know this is a show worth going to. 8pm on Friday and 7pm and 9pm on Saturday. Tickets are $20 each at the Lakeshore Theater, 3175 N. Broadway. Call 773-472-3492 for more information.

Tree House Meow-Mixer

For the cat lovers, there's the Tree House Animal Foundation's Valentine's Day Meow Mixer tonight at Bar Chicago. Support one of Chicago's no-kill cat shelters with $5 all-you-can-drink tap beer at 9 W. Division Street, from 8-11pm. For more information, call (773) 784-5488 x.231. Proceeds benefit the Foundation.

Professional Pet Photography & Party

Celebrate the one person who'll never leave you high and dry on Valentine's Day -- your dog -- at the Chicago Canine Rescue's Valentine's Day Party. Tonight, from 7-10pm at the Grubman Photography Studio at 456 N. Morgan Street, Chicago, have your pet immortalized by pet photographer, Steve Grubman. Tickets are $75 per person in advance or $80 at the door, and proceeds benefit the Rescue organization. Sparky loves you, Sparky will never ever leave you. Give Sparky a treat. RSVP by emailing lisa{at}chicagocaninerescue[dot}com.

Mrs. Meow's Talenza Bonanza Talent Show

Head to Phyllis' Musical Inn, 1800 W. Division, tonight at 9pm for the first-maybe-annual Mrs. Meow's Talenza Bonanza Talent Show. Drink beer and watch folks flaunt off their various talents, including bellydancing, magic, a puppet show and more. Includes prizes for the best contestants and entertainment by DJ Dirty Cowboy. 21 and over. Free!

Hearts for Housing

The Lawyer's Committee for Better Housing is hosting a "Hearts for Housing" tournament. It's an evening of card games, food and drinks to support affordable housing in the city. $25 gets you into the tournament and covers your snacks. If that weren't enticement enough, prizes include gift certificates to local restaurants, candy shops and, for first place, a week in Lake Tahoe. Call 312-347-7600 or email rsvp[at]lcbh[dot]org for reservations and information. It all goes down at the Union League Club of Chicago, 65 W. Jackson Blvd. at 5:30pm.

New World Resource Center Benefit

Tonight the Wicker Park dance club Subterranean will hold a benefit concert for the New World Resource Center. Founded in 1971, the Center is Chicago's oldest running independent bookstore. 2011 W. North Ave. at 9:30 pm with acoustic quartet Unlucky Atlas with Shannon Murray performing. $5 to get in. Call 773-278-6684 for more information.

Arte y Pureza Flamenco Ensemble @ Cultural Center

As part of a series of concerts, workshops, and other events making up the Chicago Flamenco Festival, the Arte y Pureza ensemble, which features gypsy performers from Seville, appears in Preston Bradley Hall tonight at 7 PM. Free. 78 E Washington Street. For more information, call 312-744-6630 or visit the website.

More Politically Inspired Fiction @ Quimby's

Stephen Elliott and friends read from Stumbling and Raging: More Politically Inspired Fiction tonight at Quimby's bookstore. From Quimby's: "We live in political times where it is impossible not to be involved, inspired or motivated by the current administration. It seems like everyone has something to say about politics these days, and fiction writers are no exception." Contributors to the book and featured readers at this event: Stephen Elliott is the author of four novels, including Happy Baby, and the political memoir Looking Forward to It: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The American Political Process. Audrey Niffenegger is a writer, visual artist and author of The Time Traveler's Wife as well as Three Incestuous Sisters. Jeff Parker's stories recently appeared in Hobart, Ploughshares, Tin House, and Life & Limb: Skateboarders Write from the De p End. Stefan Kiesbye is the author of the novel Next Door Lived A Girl. The reading starts tonight at 7pm at Quimby's Bookstore, located at 1854 W. North Ave., Chicago, call (773) 342-0910 for more information.

The Changing Chicago River @ Cultural Center

Libby Hill, author of The Chicago River: A Natural and Unnatural History, will be speaking about the development and use of the Chicago River through the city's history in her lecture titled, "The Changing Chicago River: From Commerce to Recreation." This free lecture, hosted by the Friends of the Parks, will take place at the Claudia Cassidy Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center, located at 77 E. Randolph St. The talk will begin at 12:15pm. For more information, see the Friends of the Parks event calendar.

The Modern Temper @ The Hideout

This week's Transmission artist, The Modern Temper will blow their stack tonight at The Hideout (w/Devin Davis).

Hot & Bothered: An Evening in Bed

Jonathan Ames, Lynn Harris and Neal Pollack come together at the Abbey Pub for Hot & Bothered: An Evening in Bed. The reading is presented by Nextbook and focuses on "erotic escapades," which, if you've read these authors, you know will be worthy of hearing. Buy your tickets online -- $8 for regular tickets, $6 for students 25 and under. 7pm at 3420 W. Grace St.

Art of Chocolate

Youth Outreach Services is holding their third annual Art of Chocolate at BIN 36, featuring creations from ten local pastry chefs. Wines complimentary to chocolate will be available for tasting and the event includes a raffle and silent auction. Tickets are $36 and can be bought by calling 312-755-9463; proceeds benefit the Youth Outreach Services. 6-9pm at 339 N. Dearborn.

Koren Zailckas @ Harold Washington Library

Author of the bestselling memoir Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood, Koren Zailckas speaks tonight at the Harold Washington Library at 6pm. Zailckas's book speaks of her life as an abused and alcoholic woman, interjecting statistics with her reality. Call 312-747-4050 for more information.

Arte y Pureza @ Old Town School

As part of a series of concerts, workshops, and other events making up the Chicago Flamenco Festival, the gypsy flamenco ensemble Arte y Pureza performs in the Old Town School of Folk Music’s La Pena series tonight at 8:30, joined by members of Mardrid-based Noche Flamenca. Free, but the Old Town School requests a $5 donation. 4544 N Lincoln Ave. For more information, call 773-728-6000 or visit the website.

Opening: The Art of Teaching @ Gallery 37

This exhibit showcases the artwork of CPS elementary and high school art educators alongside that of their students. In the CenterSpace at Gallery 37 until 28 February. 66 E Randolph St. For more information, visit the website.

Jazz Links Jam Sessions @ HotHouse

The Jazz Institute of Chicago, in partnership with HotHouse, presents a free (no cover!) program featuring elementary and high school student musicians jamming with professionals. 5 to 7 PM. 31 E. Balbo. For more information, call 312-427-1676, or visit the website.

Chicago Smart Business Hour

Join the Chicago Smart Business Hour for a chance to network, socialize and generate business leads with a goal to "stay ahead of emerging local and national sustainability developments and trends." 5:30-8:00pm, with tonight's dicussion topic to be announced. $5 entry at Jefferson Tap & Grille, 325 N. Jefferson. No reservations necessary. Call 312-670-7812 for more information.

Mike Ditka @ Borders

Borders Michigan Ave. hosts the legendary Mike Ditka and Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander as they sign their new book In Life, First You Kick Ass: Reflections on the 1985 Bears and Wisdom from Da Coach. Free at 6pm, 830 N. Michigan. Call 312-573-0564 for more information.

Empty Bottle’s Pete Toalson Curates @ Cultural Center

As part of the Cultural Center’s ohm series, which highlights new media in music, performance, and visual art, Pete Toalson of the Empty Bottle guest-curates tonight’s program at 7 PM in the Claudia Cassidy Theater. Free. 78 E Washington Street. For more information, call 312-744-6630 or visit the website.

Trader Vic's Day @ Harry Caray's

This afternoon at 12:30, the Trader Vic's and Harry Caray's restaurants come together at the Harry Carry's at 33 W. Kinzie, as the president of Trader Vic's passes the Tiki Torch to Harry Caray's in honor of the two restaurants ccollaborating to open a new Trader Vic's location somwhere in Chicago next year. To commemorate the partnership, the restaurant will be serving food from the Trader Vic's menu for just today. (In case you don't make it, you'll still be able to enjoy the Trader Vic's Mai Tai at Harry Caray restaurants; the bartenders at all 3 Harry Caray's have been trained to pour the drink exactly the way they do at Trader Vic's locations.)

Lawrence Weschler with Ira Glass @ AIC

The newly named Artistic Director of the Chicago Humanities Festival, New Yorker writer Lawrence Weschler, talks about his new book, Everything that Rises: Convergences, with Ira Glass in Fullerton Hall at the Art Institute of Chicago. 111 S. Michigan Avenue. Free, but call 312-494-9509 for reservations.

Taylor Branch @ HWLC

Taylor Branch, who won the Pulitzer Prize for History for the first volume of his America in the King Years trilogy, has just published the third volume, At Canaan's Edge. He reads tonight at 6 PM in the Pritzker Auditorium of the Harold Washington Library Center. Free. 400 S. State Street. For more information, visit the website.

That's Weird, Grandma @ Neo-Futurarium

After a short hiatus, the Barrel of Monkeys theater company returns to the Neo-Futurarium tonight to continue its long-running show That's Weird, Grandma. The show presents a series of plays based on writings by Chicago Public Schools students, and the results are often as not hilarious. The show runs Monday nights at 8:00, and tickets are $10 ($5 for children). For reservations call (312) 409-1954. Neo-Futurarium: 5153 N. Ashland (at Foster).

Free Premiere: Turning a Corner

Beyond Media and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless present a free screening of Turning a Corner, a movie that "tells the stories of people involved in the sex trade in Chicago and their efforts to raise public awareness of systemic injustice and promote needed reforms." The premiere is from 5:30-8pm, with the film shown from 6-7pm, at Northwestern University Thorne Auditorium at 375 E. Chicago Ave. A panel discussion, reception and art exhibition follow the screening. Call 312-435-4548 or 773-973-2280 for information and reservations.

Lawrence Hall Youth Services Bowl-A-Thon

From 5:30-9:30pm, join Lawrence Hall Youth Services for their 2nd Annual Bowl-A-Thon. The $100 entry fee includes lane fees, shoe rental, food and drink and benefits the child welfare agency that "treats, educates and provides a home for serverly emotionally and behaviorally distrubed children who have no place else to turn." In sum: bowl and help children. How can you beat that? It's all at 10 Pin, 330 N. State St. Call 312-456-2490 for tickets and information.

Julian Barnes @ Newberry Library

Author of Flaubert's Parrot, Julian Barnes stops by the Newberry Library to discuss his latest novel Arthur and George. Based on a true event in the life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the novel follows the Great Wryley Outrages and Doyle's own investigations into a mystery. Free at 6pm, 60 W. Walton St. Call 312-255-3700 for more information.

Javier Ruibal @ Cultural Center

As part of a series of concerts, workshops, and other events making up the Chicago Flamenco Festival, Spanish flamenco artist Javier Ruibal performs in Preston Bradley Hall tonight at 7 PM. Free. 78 E Washington Street. For more information, call 312-744-6630 or visit the website.

Chocolate & Beer Seminar @ Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate, 1747 N. Damen Ave., hosts a chocolate-and-beer seminar conducted by Scharffen Berger and Unibroue tonight from 7pm to 8:30pm. It's $25 to participate and reservations are strongly recommended. Call 773-489-1747.

Mahler’s 5th @ Cultural Center

Feeling moody? Here’s music to match your temperament, courtesy of the Classical Symphony Orchestra, which consists mainly of graduate and undergraduate music students. A live performance of Mahler’s 5th Symphony begins this afternoon at 3 PM in Preston Bradley Hall. Free. 78 E Washington Street. For more information, call 312-744-6630 or visit the website.

StoryStudio Chicago Writer's Cafe

Still working on that NaNoWriMo novel? Head over to StoryStudio Chicago for a quiet writing space complete with snacks and peers available for some instant feedback. The cost is $10 (which covers your coffee and snacks) and the session runs today from 11am-3pm. Pre-registration is not required, but it helps them to know if you're planning on attending. StoryStudio is located at 3717 N. Ravenswood, #115, Chicago (near corner of Addison and Lincoln avenues). StoryStudio is just three blocks from the Addison stop on the Brown Line El. Or, there's a parking lot and street parking available.

Watch Six Nations Rugby Tournament

The Six Nations is Europe's premier Rugby Union tournament, featuring matches between England, Ireland, France, Scotland, Italy, and Wales. Enjoy a great Irish breakfast, $4 Heineken and Amstel during games, and giveaways. Johnny O'Hagan's is located at 3374 N. Clark St. (773) 248-3600. Today: Sunday, February 5, at 9 am, see Scotland vs. France finish off the first round of tournament play. Every weekend until March 19th, you can roll out of bed and see some rugby from "across the pond". No hooligans.

Drinking & Writing On the Radio

You don't care about the Super Bowl because, hey, there are no Bears in it. The obvious choice now is to sit down, beer in hand, beside the old radio and listen to The Drinking & Writing Brewery Radio Show, tonight at 6pm on WLUW, 88.7FM (or listen online). Featured tonight is the recently retired Chicago sports writing legend Bill Jauss. They'll also talk to brewer Rick Schmidt from the Mishawaka Brewing Company in Indiana about his award winning beer, Four Horseman Ale. Finally, the instructive, entertaining ramblings of Pete Crowley, Radio Brewmaster.

The Four Skulls Show

As part of Diatribe Media's monthly reading series, The Four Skulls show hosts a number of zine writers reading stories titled, "The Four Skulls of..." How that phrase ends is up to each writer. Featuring stories by Aaran Cynic, Emerson Dameron, Kate Sandler, Grant Schreiber and others yet to be announce. Free at the new MoJoe's House of Soul at the intersection of California, Elston and Belmont. 7:30pm. Email aaroncynic[at]gmail[dot].com for more information.

Young Authors Reading Series @ Barbara's

Barbara's Bookstore Oak Park is inviting Columbia College to bring high school students from all over the city to read thier stories. All aspiring young writers and all interested in hearing the voices of the next generation of authors should come to this unique reading. 6pm at 1100 Lake St. Call 708-848-9140 for more information.

Coming Out Against Cancer Ball

The Coming Out Against Cancer Ball holds the title of the largest midwestern fundraiser for lesbians. Running for 15 yeras, the Ball helps raise money for the Lesbian Community Cancer Project's work. This year's Ball will be at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. Shore Dr., with a dinner at 6:30pm and the Ball running from 8pm-12am. Tickets are $150 and can by bought online or by calling 773-572-5117.

Pistil Slumber Party

PISTIL Magazine will host its 1st slumber party on Saturday, February 4th at the Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia). For most of us, it has been a good 15 to 20 years since our last full evening of Truth or Dare, Spin the Bottle and crank phone calls. Have Mom drop you off at 9 p.m. and make sure to tell her you’re sleeping over because you can guarantee a late night, complete with games, snacks, booze, a dance party with DJ Sprinkler Valve and more! Bring your friends, make-out buddies, TP and slippers, and make sure to leave your post-graduate maturity at the door. Pajamas are definitely acceptable attire.

A $5 cover will be collected at the door. Proceeds from the evening will benefit PISTIL, a magazine that celebrates the creativity, ingenuity and relevance of modern culture, aiming to inspire readers with a diverse coverage of news, issue, fashion, events, arts, music and sexuality.

Opening: Toy Camera Show

Damen Studios opens its latest exhibiton tonight. This show works with toy cameras and features the photography of Alex Segreti. Free from 6-9pm at 4528 1/2 N. Damen. Call 773-275-0235 for more information. The show runs through March 3.

Art & Poetry at Leadway Bar & Gallery

Tonight at Leadway Bar & Gallery, 5233 N. Damen Ave., there's an opening celebration for a new show of paintings by Allison Rae Butkus, Sarah Jones and David Sisk, as well as poetry by Emilio Maldonado. Free, 6pm - 11pm.

Watch Six Nations Rugby Tournament

From Saturday, February 4 to Sunday, March 19, wake up and watch live rugby every weekend at Johnny O'Hagan's. The Six Nations is Europe's premier Rugby Union tournament, featuring matches between England, Ireland, France, Scotland, Italy, and Wales. Enjoy a great Irish breakfast, $4 Heineken and Amstel during games, and giveaways. Johnny O'Hagan's is located at 3374 N. Clark St. (773) 248-3600. Today: Saturday, February 4, at 7:30 am, watch Ireland vs. Italy, then at 9:30 am, see England vs. Wales.

Gay Games Town Hall

Screw Torino, friends. What about the Gay Games being held here in the Windy City this summer? Here's your chance to talk about it with the staff and board of the Gay Games. No RSVP required. Just show up from 6-8 p.m. at the Broadway Methodist Church, 3344 N. Broadway,

Opening: Through the Skin

"Through the Skin" opens tonight at the International Museum of Surgical Science, 1524 N. Lake Shore Dr. In the exhibit, Canadian artist Ruth Chambers "explores thresholds between the internal and the external [by] combining light and translucent porcelain in the form of human organs and apothecary jars." This is part of the museum's "Anatomy in the Gallery" series which figures medical-themed art. Tonight's free opening and reception is from 5-7pm. The show runs through April 21. Call 312-642-6502 for more information.

Underground Gamers League of Chicago

The Underground Gamers League of Chicago are having their weekly LAN party this afternoon, 4-7pm. What happens at these parties, you ask? Starcraft, Counter Strike, and, "for those who can handle it" the simultaneous PC version of RISK. Can you handle it? If you think you can, don't forget that there's Geek Talk, Social Networking, and Samurai Dodge Ball to follow at 7pm. Still think you can handle it? Head to the Neighborhood Boys and Girls Club at 2501 W. Irving Park Rd. (Alas, I am not making this up.)

Dollar Store @ Hideout

It's the first Friday of the month and you know what that means. Get out your singles and head to the Hideout for the monthly Dollar Store readings, all based on objects bought for a single buck. Featuring the writings of Jimmy Vickery, Latoya Wolf and John Beer, with hosts Jonathan Messinger and Jeremy Sosenko. 1354 W. Wabansia; $1 cover. Call 773-227-4433 for more information.

Chicago Craft Mafia @ 826CHI

The Chicago Craft Mafia present the St. Valentine's Crafts-acre, an evening of handmade crafts sold by their creators. Espect to see such crafters as Bad Kitten Soaps, Girl Metro, Loosetooth.com, Poise.cc, and others. The event happens tonight at 826CHI, 1331 N. Milwaukee, from 7:00 to 11:00 PM. Admission is free. See the Chicago Craft Mafia site for full details.

Sketchcore's "Urban Legends" @ Oracle Theatre

SKETCHCORE’s "Urban Legends" opens tonight at 10:30 at The Oracle Theatre, located at 3809 N. Broadway Ave. The show runs on Fridays from tonight until March 31st . Tickets are $10 general admission and $8 with student ID. To reserve tickets call 773.780.9174 or, for more information go to www.sketchcore.com/ or www.oracletheatre.org.

The Diamond and Ice Ball 2006

It's cold outside but HOT inside this year’s Diamond and Ice Ball taking place at Bloomingdales; Chicago’s headquarters for style and taste. Chicago’s social scene promoter Lincoln Park Young Professionals (LPYP) joins forces with one of the city’s most popular events to take “Play The Field” on the road Friday, Feb. 3rd for a night of live music, jewelry, wine, fashion, caviar and chocolate.

Friday, February 3rd from 6pm to 9pm. Tickets are $30.00 in advance, $40.00 at door. Tickets are available through Ticketweb.com or through LPYP at 312.642.5097

First Fridays @ MCA

Yeah, yeah, people always slam First Fridays as a nasty meat-market, but we do know of lasting couples who met at this regular MCA hook-up. This month's party celebrates Valentine's Day early, featuring signature drinks like the Ladykiller Cosmo, plus sex accoutrements from the ladies at Early to Bed. Oh, and then there's art from newcomer Diann Frid. Tickets are availabe in advance for $10, at the door for $14, and for members at $7, and includes admission to the after-party at Cabaret (15 West Hubbard).

24 Hours on Craig's List

If you're a fan of our own little column here at GB, "Public Notice", then you've gotta high-tail it to the last night of "24 Hours on Craig's List," at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The 82-minute movie tracks down the postings and posters over a single 24-hour period on August 4, 2003. For reals. Your Public Notice GB gal Shylo Bisnett will be there. Will you? It's just $9, and shows at 6:15 and 8:00 p.m.

A Child's History of Bombing Opens

A Child's History of Bombing opens tonight at the Neo-Futurarium. This multi-media, interactive, live documentary takes a Neo-Futurist look at explosives, the advent of aerial bombing, and the role of racism in the development of "military ethics." Founding Director Greg Allen begins by using interviews with his uncle, a prominent chemist in the Manhattan Project, and moves on to examine Los Alamos, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Bikini Atoll, Vietnam, and the current war in Iraq. Written and performed by Greg Allen and Donovan Sherman. Previews are tonight and tomorrow nights at 8pm. The show opens Feb. 4 at 8pm. Performances continue through March 11: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm. The Neo-Futurarium is located at 5153 N. Ashland. Pay-What-You-Can on Thursdays and during previews; $15 on Fridays and Saturdays ($10 for students/seniors). For more information call 773-275-5255.

Become a Windy City Roller

You've seen them hustle their way around the flat track all year, but now it's time to see if you've got the right schtuff to become a Windy City Roller Derby girl! Come out to Delilah's tonight from 8:30pm till close to learn about what you can do to join the team. In addition, a $5 donation at the door helps to send an elite force of Windy City Rollers to the 1st Annual Dust Devil Flat Track Tournament in Tucson, Arizona. Come out, arm wrestle the gals, drink some drinks, and learn all about roller derby. Yeah, I'd call that a good time on a Thursday night. Delilah's is located at 2771 N. Lincoln Ave, just south of Diversey.

Anthony Elms Opening @ VONZWECK

Tonight from 6pm to 9pm, there's an opening reception for a show of new drawings by Anthony Elms at VANZWECK gallery, 1626 N. Humboldt Blvd. Free.

Reading Under the Influence

If you're the type who loves to read in bars, then check out Reading Under the Influence. Tonight's theme is First Novels, and will feature readings from well-known first novels as well as newbie novelist Brian Costello, whose book "The Enchanters vs. Sprawlburg Springs" is available now from Featherproof Books.

The RUI kids will be do some first-novel trivia in exchange for drink tickets, plus drinking in general. It all happens at Sheffield's at 3258 N. Sheffield, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Cost is only $3.


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