At 10 today Maya Angelou kicks off the youth summit portion of the Expo for Today’s Black Woman with an inspirational message for kids. Other performers include the Slick Boys, policemen who rap about violence and drugs, poet Mama Edie, and Black Entertainment cohosts Dajour and Anada Lewis, who will lead a discussion on teen issues. From 11 to 12:30 attorney Carl Douglas, from the law offices of Johnnie Cochran, newscaster Warner Saunders, and author and activist Sister Souljah will take part in the panel discussion “Race in Your Face.” Tomorrow at 11 Rolanda Watts, of the TV show Rolanda, will moderate “Breaking the Silence of Domestic Violence,” and at 5 Ben Chavis, of the National African American Leadership Summit, will be present at the discussion “After the Million Man March.” The expo, featuring over 30 seminars, runs all weekend at McCormick Place East, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive. It’s $8, $5 for seniors and children under 13. The youth summit is $3. Call 913-9334 for more.

Mexican author Carlos Fuentes’s subjects range from ghost stories to political satire; mainstream Americans may know the master of magic realism from his novel The Old Gringo, which was made into a 1989 movie starring Jane Fonda and Gregory Peck. Mexico’s former ambassador to France has also been an active participant in the quest for peace in Central America and is a member of Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights. Tonight he’ll read from his latest book, The Crystal Frontier. His appearance kicks off the Del Corazon Mexican Performing Arts Festival, which runs through June 2. Tonight’s reading is at 6 at the Art Institute’s Rubloff Auditorium, 111 S. Michigan. Tickets are $10. Tomorrow at 3 he’ll discuss Mexico’s current political climate at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, 1852 W. 19th. Tickets for that event are also $10. Call 738-1503 for more.

My friend J.T. moved to Los Angeles after college, saying she didn’t want to live in a city as racist and segregated as Chicago. After the LA riots she packed her bags and moved to Raleigh. Most people didn’t have that option. Lisanne Skyler’s unblinking documentary No Loans Today looks at postriot South Central LA through the eyes of its residents, including gang members, concerned parents, and the owners of small businesses. It screens tonight at 8 at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Division. Admission is $6. Call 384-5533 for more.

Saturday 30

Women’s History Month comes to a close with a celebration that includes performances–notably a staged debate between Abigail Adams and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn–visual art, and food. Over 20 local artists have contributed work to the event, called Remembering the Past . . . Envisioning the Future. At 4 Charles Payne, professor of Afro-American studies at Northwestern University and author of I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle, will speak on women’s involvement in the civil right’s movement. The celebration takes place from 10 to 5 today at the Chicago Historical Society, Clark at North. It’s $3, free for children. Call 561-8795 for more.

Few things polarize people more quickly than a discussion of affirmative action. Today’s debate will give both sides of the argument a chance to load up on ammo. Barbara Bergmann, professor of economics at American University and author of In Defense of Affirmative Action, argues that there are no effective substitutes for affirmative-action programs and that dismantling them will not result in a color-and-sex-blind society where merit rules. Terry Eastland, editor-and-chief of Forbes and author of Colorblind Justice: Ending Affirmative Action, maintains that any distinction between the races gives way to racial discrimination. The two sides come together today at 1 to discuss the issue and sign their books at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th. It’s free; call 684-1300 for more.

Author E. Lynn Harris used to work in computer sales for IBM; he left the job in 1991 to devote his time to writing. His latest best-seller, And This Too Shall Pass, is set in Chicago and tells the story of a pro football player accused of sexual harassment who befriends a gay journalist covering the story. Harris will read from it tonight at 6 at Breasted Hall at the U. of C.’s Oriental Institute, 1155 E. 58th. It’s free; call 752-4381 for more.

If you saw Backbeat a few years ago, you know that the Beatles cultivated much of their early look and style in Hamburg, Germany, where fifth Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe ran around with Klaus Voorman and photographer Astrid Kirchherr before dying of a brain hemorrhage. Find out whether that city is still on the cutting edge when four Hamburg rock bands hit town tonight as part of the Sister City exchange program, cosponsored by the Goethe-Institut and the cultural department of the city of Hamburg. Die Goldenen Zitronen (The Golden Lemons), Die Braut Haut ins Auge (The Bride’s Going to Strike You in the Eye), Eisenvater (Iron Father), and Silly Walks Sound System play a 21-and-over show at 10 at the Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee. It’s $7. Call 489-3160 for more.

Sunday 31

Anyone who’s pounded the pavement searching for a wanderlusting pet will appreciate HomeAgain, a computerized animal-retrieval system that allows the pound to scan an implant in the pet’s neck to find its owner. Vets will be on hand to implant the microchips at this weekend’s 10th annual International Cluster of Dog Shows; proceeds from the procedure will benefit LifeLink, a program that helps owners pay for costly vet bills. Today’s highlights include an appearance by Dryfus from the TV show Empty Nest, a performance involving a dog trainer dressed as Popeye and a borzoi doing tricks while dressed as Olive Oyl, a “puppy extravaganza,” and juried dog shows galore, featuring 2,000 dogs of 135 different breeds. The event runs today from 8 to 6 at McCormick Place East, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive. Tickets are $9 for adults, $6 for seniors, $3 for children under 12. Call 791-7995 for more information.

Poetry slam guru Marc Smith performs from his new book of verse, Crowdpleaser, at a release party that includes guest performances by other “slam masters” and music by the band Pong Unit. It’s free and runs from 2 to 4 at Frida’s, 2143 N. Damen. Call 337-4327.

Monday April 1

The increasing governmental control of women’s bodies is at the forefront of the national debate on health-care reform. Mandatory HIV testing of pregnant women, involuntary sterilization, and disparities in federal funding of medical research involving women and men will be among the subjects discussed by doctors, law professors, and other experts at today’s free symposium: Whose Body Is It Anyway? Perspectives on Urban Women’s Health. It runs from 3 to 7 at Northwestern University’s School of Law, 357 E. Chicago. Call 409-7852 for more.

Abnormal weight loss and gain, distorted body image, yo-yo dieting, binge eating, self-induced vomiting, depression, and low self-esteem are among the food-related disorders that plague many women. The one-day workshop Journaling and Your Health will address the issues of control and eating and help participants explore their relationship with food and with their bodies. It’s from 7 to 8 at the Awakening Center, 3166 N. Lincoln, suite 213. Admission is $4. Call 929-6262 for reservations.

It might not play in Peoria–yet–but Tony ‘n’ Tony’s Wedding previews in Chicago tonight. The gay variation on the hit show promises to be completely different, with live disco classics by the band Freak Flag and the commitment ceremony of Tony Clark, a hairdresser, to Tony Addison, an accountant. Jeffrey Williford and Paul Ellis play the two Tonys, and the supporting cast includes the Baton club’s Monica Munro and Honey West from Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. Tonight’s show is at 7:30 at Piper’s Alley, 230 W. North. Tickets are $39 and include an all-you-can-eat Italian buffet, champagne, and wedding cake. It opens April 8. Call 664-8122 for more.

Tuesday 2

Long before stores were crammed with 50 types of quick-dip egg-decorating kits there was the ancient Ukrainian art of hand-decorating Easter eggs. The egg was drawn on in wax and dipped in dye. The wax was then peeled away and a new design drawn. The process was repeated several times before the final, intricate design appeared. (The finished eggs were called pysanka.) Pysanka artist Vera Samycia gives a free demonstration of the technique today from 10:30 to 2:30 at the U.S. Catholic Bookstore, 160 N. Wabash. Call 855-1908 for more.

So what if the ground is still frozen; avid gardeners can get a head start by propagating seeds indoors. The Botanic Garden and the Park District have teamed up to offer a season-long group of classes aimed at the urban gardener. The first class, “Starting Seeds for Spring,” will teach participants how to sow seeds indoors and will let them take home a sample of their work. The class is from 1 to 3 today at the Lincoln Park Cultural and Community Center, 2045 N. Lincoln Park West. It’s $23. Call 742-7726 for more.

The theme of the spring issue of The Neighborhood Works is greening cities. The issue includes user-friendly stories about creating open-air markets, parks, and green spaces in urban areas. The bimonthly, nonprofit newsmagazine, published by the Center for Neighborhood Technology, covers community organizing and focuses on housing, economic development, energy, transportation, and the environment. Tonight’s benefit for the magazine is from 7 to 10 and features music by Cassius Clay. Winston Damon opens. There will be hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. It’s at the Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee. Admission is $10. Call 278-4800, ext. 111, for more.

Wednesday 3

Redball combines funk with hard rock to create a sound that’s been described as something akin to Pearl Jam meets Sly and the Family Stone with Janis Joplin sitting in. The group is playing tonight at 7:30 and 10. The first show will include a reading by poet Matthew Clark Davison as well as an open mike. It’s a Guild Complex event and will be held at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. Admission to the 7:30 poetry/music event is $5; the 10 o’clock dance set is $7. Call 278-2210 for more.

Thursday 4

African-American poet, mother, and lesbian Audre Lorde once said that her challenge was “to envision what has not been and to work with every fiber of who we are to make the reality and pursuit of that vision irresistible.” Ada Gay Griffin’s 1995 film A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde details Lorde’s life, from her childhood in Harlem to her nomination for the National Book Award for both poetry and prose to her battle with breast cancer. Griffin will be present and speak after the screening tonight at 7 at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place. Admission is $5, $3 for students and seniors. Call 947-0600, ext. 336, for more.