By Cara Jepsen

19 FRIDAY “We have not only professional circus performers on our staff, but we also have some incredible talent within our classes,” says Actors Gymnasium cofounder Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi. “We were feeling like we were wasting a lot of talent by not putting a troupe together.” The school’s new resident troupe, the Flying Griffin Circus, includes Flying Wallenda high-wire artists Tony and Lijanna Hernandez, puppeteer Michael Montenegro, teen acrobats Alea Jensen and Zach Hamity, the fire-juggling Bumbilini Brothers, and music by Andre Pluess. Their first outing, directed by Joe Dempsey, previews tonight at 7:30 at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes in Evanston (847-328-2795). Tickets are $8. The show continues on weekends through June 25.

20 SATURDAY The southeast side is a patchwork of industrial and natural areas; thanks to local activists, nature is on the rise. Today veteran activist Marian Byrnes leads the Chicago Recycling Coalition’s Toxics Tour of the Southeast Side. The tour meets at 9:30 at the CRC’s office at 2125 W. North, where a rented bus will be waiting. South-siders can catch up with the group at 10:30 at Balanoff Realty, 10100 S. Ewing. It’s free to CRC members, $10 for everyone else; call 773-862-2370 for reservations. Binoculars are recommended for bird-watching.

G.B. Jones’s over-the-top queer-punk video The Yo Yo Gang (1992) pitted the title girl gang against rivals the Skateboard Bitches in a riot of hostage taking, catfights, and dyke sex. It’ll be screened along with the Toronto-based Jones’s newest work, The Troublemakers, and several of her music videos at tonight’s G.B. Jones Retrospective & Multimedia Extravaganza, a coproduction of Homocore Chicago and Women in the Director’s Chair. Hipster supergroup Le Tigre–including video maker Sadie Benning, zine publisher Johanna Fateman, and Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill–headlines, performing with slides, videos, samples, a live DJ, and more. Local performance band Bride of No No opens. It starts at 7 at the WIDC Theater, 941 W. Lawrence, fifth floor. Tickets are $10, $5 for WIDC members (become a member at the door and get in for free). Call 773-907-0610 for more.

21 SUNDAY During the second half of 1999, 1,764 Illinois residents were infected with HIV; 1,278 of them live in Cook County. Tonight’s Honoring and Remembering: An Interfaith Assembly is meant to be “a call to all whose lives have been touched by this disease to remember that silence = death in 2000 as much as it did in 1985,” says Carol Reese, executive director of the AIDS Pastoral Care Network. The half-hour liturgy will be followed by a candle-lighting ceremony. It all starts at 7:15 at the lakefront totem pole at Addison and Lake Shore Drive. Call 773-334-5333 for details.

22 MONDAY When the Chicago Symphony Orchestra held a town meeting at the South Shore Cultural Center in 1997, they learned that area residents wanted voice classes, so they added some to the center’s programming; last weekend, the CSO brought in Bobby McFerrin to lead a vocal workshop there. There will be another CSO town meeting tonight, moderated by the orchestra’s president, Henry Fogel, at 6:30 at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive. It’ll be followed by a catered reception from 8:30 to 9:30. It’s free. Call 312-294-3094.

For Devil Ant, video maker David “the Rock” Nelson ambushed unsuspecting people with a giant rubber ant and, unbeknownst to them, videotaped their reactions. (Other folks–such as first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton–weren’t attacked, just surreptitiously taped.) After a few years Nelson edited the footage into a movie. The result features “performances” by B-movie director Roger Corman, ghost hunter Richard Crowe, and TV-horror-movie hosts Svengoolie and Son of Ghoul. The Rock, who was a Golden Gloves champ (and the subject of a 1995 Reader cover story), will be at the Psychotronic Film Society’s screening of Devil Ant tonight at 8 at the Liar’s Club, 1665 W. Fullerton. Admission is free; you must be 21 or over. Call 773-665-1110.

23 TUESDAY In 1942, when she was 17, Japanese-American Chiye Tomihero and her family were forced to leave their home in Portland, Oregon, for an internment camp in Idaho. “We could only take what we could carry,” she says; their things were stored in government warehouses, “but most of it was vandalized and stolen.” Eleven months later, she was allowed to go to college as part of a program sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee; when her parents were released in 1945, they moved to Chicago and she joined them. Tonight Tomihero will give a free presentation called Memories of Internment & Life Afterwards. It starts at 5 at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State (312-747-4600).

Former Missouri lieutenant governor and president of the National Women’s Political Caucus Harriett Woods says it was a mistake for the women’s movement to focus on making a place for themselves within the system instead of trying to buck it. “We should have noticed when we leveled the playing field, that it still belonged to someone else,” she writes in her book Stepping Up to Power: The Political Journey of American Women. She’ll discuss it tonight at 7:30 at Women & Children First Bookstore, 5233 N. Clark (773-769-9299) and tomorrow at Brent Books & Cards, 316 N. Michigan (312-920-0940). Both events are free.

24 WEDNESDAY In April of 1979, 64 residents of the Russian town of Sverdlovsk died from what officials said was tainted meat. In 1992 a team of doctors and researchers traveled to Russia to find out what really happened. One of those researchers, Boston College sociology professor Jeanne Guillemin, documents their findings in her book Anthrax: The Investigation of a Deadly Outbreak. She’ll discuss biological weapons tonight at a meeting of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. The hour-long lecture starts at 5:45 and will be followed by a reception and book signing. It’s at the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware. Admission is $25, $15 for CCFR members. Call 312-726-3860 for more.

25 THURSDAY The 30-minute puppet opera Master Pedro’s Puppet Show (El Retablo de Maese Pedro) was commissioned in 1923 by Spain’s Princesse de Polignac, and creator Manuel de Falla based it on an episode from Don Quixote. This new production is a collaboration between Redmoon Theater founder Blair Thomas, Gallery 37 artists, and a 19-piece ensemble from the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra directed by Lawrence Rapchak. It opens tonight at 7 and performances run through June 3 at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs’ Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph (312-742-8497). Tickets are $15.