By Cara Jepsen

4 FRIDAY The origins of prejudice, and the ways Western scientists and philosophers have used “facts” to nurture it, are examined in a new exhibit at the Nature Museum called A Question of Truth. Interactive displays show how perceptions based on cultural beliefs can seep into so-called objective study, providing excuses for atrocities like slavery, medical testing on humans, and the Holocaust. Included in the exhibit are an entry system in which participants wait to be admitted based on their appearance and a box the size of the space allotted to Africans on slave ships. It’s at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon (773-549-0606). Hours are from 10 to 5, and admission is $6, $4 for students and seniors, and $3 for kids.

For those who missed the recent revivals of swing, ska, country, and lounge music, it’s still not too late to get into jug music. Tonight and tomorrow night the Lunar Cabaret will host a jug band party, with music, spoken word, and dance. It starts at 9 at the Lunar Cabaret, 2827 N. Lincoln (773-327-6666). Cover is $10, or pay what you can.

5 SATURDAY Dragon years like this one are supposed to be lucky, according to Chinese astrology, but they can also be exhausting, unpredictable, and stormy. One hopes the weather will be clear over the weekend for the city’s two lunar new year parades. Today’s is at noon on Argyle between Broadway and Sheridan; call 773-728-1030 for details. The other is tomorrow at 1 in Chinatown on Wentworth between Cermak and 24th; call 312-255-6198. Both are free.

No one knows if Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, Chicago’s founding father, was a big music fan, but the organizers of the 19th annual Chicago Music Awards have dedicated the show to him nonetheless. Natives Dick Buckley, Chaka Khan, William Warfield, and others will receive lifetime achievement awards, and nominees scheduled to perform include R & B singer Arvell, country and western’s Chase Daniels, and “child prodigy” Maestro. It’s tonight at 8 at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph. Tickets are $20 to $40. Call 312-559-1212 for tickets, 312-427-0266 for info.

6 SUNDAY Who wants to be a millionaire? Or at least win some cold cash? For today’s finale of the John Hancock Center observatory’s weekend-long Winter Fair in the Air, visitors can guess at the amount of money frozen inside an ice sculpture on the 94th floor; whoever guesses closest wins the loot. Downstairs in the plaza, dinosaurs will be carved from ice from 10 to 2 and there’ll be an ice carving race at 3. It’s at the John Hancock Center, 875 N. Michigan. The carving is free to watch; it’ll cost you $8.75 ($6 for kids) to visit the observatory and make a guess. The fair started Friday; call 888-875-8439 for hours and details.

For a lot of people the name John Donne evokes memories of drifting off during lit class. But others revere the 16th- and 17th-century writer as possibly the greatest poet in the English language. Today audience members can bring in their favorite Donne poems at a free celebration of the poet’s work led by Columbia College literature professor Terence Brunk. It starts at 2 in the Veteran’s Room of the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake in Oak Park. Call 708-524-8725 for details.

Since 1995 the Jane Addams Resource Corporation has helped bring industrial jobs back to the north-side neighborhoods of Ravenswood, Edgewater, North Center, Uptown, and Lakeview and trained residents to fill them. Tonight the group will hold a fund-raiser so they can keep up the good work. Hosting the cabaret-style Eclectic Evening With Jane 2000 will be local pols Larry McKeon, Gene Schulter, and Lisa Madigan. Entertainment includes disco tunes from the Generations and folk music from Yvonne Doll and the Locals as well as the Old Town School of Folk Music Irish Trio. It’s from 5 to 9 at Martyrs’, 3855 N. Lincoln. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Call 773-728-9769.

7 MONDAY The family of Doudou N’Diaye Rose wasn’t thrilled when he started playing the drums as a boy in Dakar. But now he’s having the last laugh: 35 family members play with the master percussionist onstage as the Drummers of West Africa. They’ll perform “symphonies of drums” tonight at 8 at Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. Tickets are $15 to $30; call 312-294-3000. See the Critic’s Choice in Section Three for more.

8 TUESDAY According to Unitarian Universalist minister Thandeka, Euro-Americans also suffer under racism–an institution she says robs white people of their humanity as much as other groups. She’ll give a free lecture based on her new book, Learning to Be White: Money, Race, and God in America, today at 5 in the Chicago Authors Room of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State. Call 312-747-4600.

9 WEDNESDAY DePaul University’s Last Lecture series only pretends it’s the speaker’s final talk, so don’t expect any kiss-offs today from comparative religions professor David Gitomer. Instead he’ll answer a question he says he’s often asked–how he, a Christian, can teach Hinduism and Buddhism with empathy. “When you have a religious commitment, you understand that commitment in general,” he says. He’ll get started at noon in DePaul’s Stuart Center, room 220, 2311 N. Clifton. It’s free. Call 773-325-7927 for more.

10 THURSDAY Just when you thought it was safe to stop worrying about nuclear war, India dropped a bomb. Today George Perkovich, director of the W. Alton Jones Foundation’s Secure World Program, will discuss why the Asian nation decided to flex its muscle in his talk, What Makes India’s Bomb Tick? Perkovich speaks at 5:45 and a reception and signing of his book, India’s Nuclear Bomb, starts an hour later. It’s at the Hotel Inter-Continental, 505 N. Michigan. Admission is $25. Call 312-726-3860 for more.

Poet Langston Hughes went to Spain in 1937 to cover the civil war. Tonight at 7 poet Cranston Knight will talk about Hughes’s experiences there, followed by a reading of his own work from an upcoming collection, La Brigada: Spain 1936-1969. It’s at 7 at the International House (where Hughes lived in 1949 when he was poet in residence at the Lab School), 1414 E. 59th (773-753-2285). It’s free.

The movie version of The Sound of Music still strikes a chord 35 years after it was made; witness the yearly TV showings, the never-ending popularity of the “Sound of Music Tour” in Salzburg, and a new memoir about the filming by Charmian Carr, who played Liesel, the oldest von Trapp child. She’ll read from Forever Liesel tonight at 7 at Borders Books & Music, 930 N. Michigan (312-573-0564). It’s free.

The proper use of butt plugs, dildos, handcuffs, vibrators, and other sex toys will be the focus of tonight’s girls-only Pleasure Party. Toy sales at this Tupperware-style event will raise funds for the Chicago Women’s Health Center. It’ll take place at 7:30 at Women in the Director’s Chair, 941 W. Lawrence (fifth floor), and it’s free to attend. Call 773-935-6126 for the dirty details.