By Cara Jepsen



There are 1,250 black churches in Chicago, of more than a dozen denominations, including the Nation of Islam and African Methodist Episcopal. The diverse groups can come together this weekend at the Black Church & Gospel Expo, which will offer seminars on community development, creating credit unions, preaching, feeding the needy, and day-care center development, among other topics. It’s from 11 to 8 today and runs through the weekend at the International Amphitheatre, 4220 S. Halsted. Tickets are $7, $6 for seniors, teens, and children five and over. Call 949-9440 for more.

The nation’s Pacifica affiliates were once the model of community radio, broadcasting shows by and for local people and providing a voice for the voiceless. In recent years, though, Pacifica has become more centralized and audience driven, and local shows have been dumped in favor of music and national programming. Indeed, more and more radio stations–even a certain public station here in Chicago–are producing less and less diverse local programming. Lynn Chadwick, president of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, has a pretty good handle on how community stations can maintain some degree of integrity in the face of financial pressure. She’ll speak at 3 today as part of a yearlong celebration of 50 years of student broadcasting at the University of Chicago. It takes place at Kent 107 at the northwest quad at the university, 5801 S. Ellis, and will be followed by a short reception. It’s free; call 702-8289.

Neon, painted metal, and text come together in the animated neon art exhibit “Detamina,” which will feature sculptures by four artists, including work by Deborah “Sam” Bryer, whose portraits have titles like Off With Their Heads: Ten Men With Nothing to Say. An opening reception runs tonight from 5 to 9 at the August House Studio, 2113 W. Roscoe. It’s free; call 327-5644.

Saturday 1

Exhibits on Asian food, culture, and meditation will be featured at today’s Visakha Festival, a Buddhist celebration that takes place from 3 to 9:30 at the Wat Dhammaram Thai Buddhist Temple, 7059 W. 75th. A program of Asian music, dancing, and performance happens at 7. It’s free; call 847-869-4975 for more.

From paperbacks to rare collectibles, over 400,000 books arranged in over 40 categories will be on sale through June 9 at the World’s Largest Used Book Sale. Proceeds go to the North Shore chapter of Brandeis University national women’s committee. It starts tonight from 6 to 10 in the parking lot at Skokie’s Old Orchard Shopping Center, Golf at Skokie. Admission is $5; the rest of the week it’s free; call 847-724-9715.

An art auction and party tonight will help defray the costs of local photographer Suzy B.’s battle with brain cancer. Tony Fitzpatrick, Tom Billings, Don Meckley, and Joyce Piven are among the artists whose work will be auctioned. It happens from 7 to midnight at the Cook County Theatre Department, 2255 S. Michigan. Admission is free; proceeds from the cash bar and auction go to Suzy. Call 842-8234 for more.

I know exactly one person who enjoyed his prom–he lost his virginity that night. Everyone else I know hated it. But it really must suck for gays and lesbians. Tonight’s Over the Rainbow–The Prom You Never Had promises to provide an accepting atmosphere for everyone who attends. It starts at 8 and features music from the 1950s to the 1990s at the Bismarck Hotel, 171 W. Randolph. Tickets are $35 for singles and $60 for couples. It’s sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian and Straight Teachers Network and includes hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Call 792-4140 for more.

Sunday 2

Have you ever been to a party where the person you were talking to kept looking over your shoulder? Instead of being offended perhaps you should have taken notes. Tonight corporate trainer Jan Little will offer networking pointers, including effective exit and entrance lines, how to remember a name, and mastering small talk. The seminar is called Working a Room for Fun and Profit and starts at 5 today at the Center for Creative Living, 2746 N. Magnolia. A networking hour follows the program, where participants can presumably try out their newly acquired skills. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Call 929-9188 for more.

Monday 3

The Olympic torch relay that began in Los Angeles on April 27 is the largest and longest in Olympic history, incorporating 10,000 torchbearers who will pass the flame through 42 states and travel 15,000 miles. It’s not all running, though; the torch will arrive in Chicago today via train. Koko Taylor, Lonnie Brooks, the Joffrey Ballet, and the Chicago Gospel Choir will entertain in Grant Park before the torch arrives at around 12:45, when there will be speeches by politicos and more performances. Then the torch will be run down to the University of Chicago. Events there start at 2:30 and include music by local school bands and a demonstration by the Jesse White Tumbling Team. Afterward the torch goes to Gary. It’s all free. 876-1808.

Tuesday 4

Are you able to express an authentic, joyful spirit, or do you feel boxed in by life? Today Marsha Haake will explain how to create an “authentic life”, a mysterious proposal that has something to do with the spiritual aspects of empowerment and self-esteem. It’s sponsored by the North Michigan Avenue Business and Professional Women’s Network and takes place this morning at 7:30 at the Knickerbocker Hotel, 163 E. Walton. Tickets are $22 and include breakfast. Call 649-3220 for more.

Artist Julie A. Gawne’s mixed-media work includes magazine images and drawings of human anatomy. Her small, intimate constructions emphasize traditional female work, including housekeeping and child rearing. Linde Schlumbohm uses the story of Adam and Eve to explore the role of women and the image of the female body as it’s portrayed by the media and the apparel industry. Her group of collages also examine the issue of food as obsession and symbol. Gawne’s Women’s Work and Schlumbohm’s What’s Eating Eve are on display from 11 to 5 today and through the end of June at ARC Gallery, 1040 W. Huron. It’s free; call 733-2787.

Wednesday 5

Women who worry about traveling alone can feel safe if they use common sense, according to Travelin’ Woman newsletter publisher Nancy Mills, who says women should stay in the best hotels, leave the family jewels at home, and yell “Fire” rather than “Help” when they’re in trouble in a foreign country. Mills will moderate tonight’s “Evening for Women Who Love to Travel (or At Least Fantasize About It).” Speakers include Annabel Marsh, who ran across the U.S. at age 61, filmmakers Carol Kimball and Corinne Whitney, wilderness guide Kathryn Levenson, and Oakbrook teen Geneve Hein, who’s the youngest person to reach the North Pole on foot. It’s from 7 to 9 at the Omni Chicago Hotel, 676 N. Michigan. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Call 800-871-6409.

Thursday 6

Reed Lee, an analyst with the Regional Transit Authority, will lead a free discussion about what the RTA has been doing to encourage developers, municipal planners, and community leaders to implement transit-oriented development in Northeastern Illinois. It’s sponsored by Friends of Downtown. It’s at noon at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Call 726-4031.

Rather than wasting $500 on a new couch or putting it into a low-interest savings account, you could make it work for you. The seminar What Every Person Should Know About Stocks, Bonds, and Mutual Funds will provide some basics, and nd it won’t cost you a thing. It’s tonight from 7 to 9 at DePaul University, 2311 N. Clifton, room 224. Call 248-9593.

Paula Killen and Honey West host a fund-raiser celebrating the establishment of Gay/Lesbian American Music Awards, which will take place in New York this fall. Musical guests at tonight’s “Come Out and Play” event include Stewed Tomatoes, Chrissie Olstad with Simple Simon, Boys Entrance, Patty Elvis, and Poi Energy Inc. Proceeds will benefit STOP AIDS. It’s at 8 at Metro, 3730 N. Clark. Tickets are $15. Call 728-6810.