Friday 1/25 – Thursday 1/31

25 FRIDAY Chicago Critical Mass’s annual polka ride hits a bunch of south-side landmarks: the site near Harrison and Clinton where the Great Chicago Fire allegedly started; bakeries run by Holsum Bread and Huck Finn Donuts; the Midway Airport parking garage. This year’s 13-mile ride, the third, ends up at the Baby Doll Polka Club for accordion music, beer, and pizza. There’s no entrance fee; just show up with your bike at Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington near the Picasso, at 5:30 PM. Call 773-278-2107 or see for more info.

26 SATURDAY Before he was seduced by music, Jazz Record Mart owner and Delmark Records founder Bob Koester thought he might become a cameraman. Instead, over the years he’s collected jazz-related film clips, which he screens annually as the finale of the Jazz Institute of Chicago’s free CinemaJazz program. This year’s lineup also includes a French documentary on German bassist Peter Kowald, live footage of Sonny Rollins and Steve Lacy, and Born to Swing: The Movie About the Alumni of the Count Basie Band of 1943. Screenings run from 1 to 5 today in the Claudia Cassidy Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; call 312-427-1676.

“I think the reason critics did not take her seriously is because she is too fashionable and therefore not ‘serious,'” Camille Paglia has written about Tippi Hedren. “The interplay between Hedren and [Suzanne] Pleshette in The Birds tells me more about women than any number of articles on feminist theory.” Decide for yourself at today’s Tippi Hedren extravaganza at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Hedren herself will answer questions following the 3 PM screening of The Birds (tickets are $8); she’ll be back at 7 to be interviewed by critic Michael Wilmington before the showing of Marnie ($20). A private reception with Hedren takes place from 6 to 7 in the Film Center Cafe; tickets to that are $100 and include admission to Marnie. Call 312-846-2600 for tickets to the reception. Movie tickets are available through Ticketmaster (312-575-8000) or at the Film Center box office, 164 N. State.

High school art teacher Tina Mangos has been teaching swing, ballroom, and Latin dance for 22 years. For the last two she’s offered lessons a few Saturdays a month at HotHouse; tonight’s is in salsa footwork, and the next class, on February 16, will focus on the cha-cha. The salsa lesson starts at 9 at 31 E. Balbo and costs $5. Victor Parra’s Mambo Express comes on at 10; cover for that is $10. For more information call 312-362-9707.

27 SUNDAY Columbia College photography grad Rashid Johnson has left the camera behind in his latest work, instead placing objects directly onto photographic paper and leaving them out in the sun to create photograms. The objects he chooses–cottonseeds, chicken bones, black-eyed peas–are emblems of “the black cultural experience,” says the 24-year-old artist, and the resulting images “often begin to resemble the cosmos, [reinforcing] the theory that cultural experience is transcendental.” Today is the last day of an exhibit of Johnson’s work in the McCormick Tribune Gallery of the Museum of Contemporary Art, part of its “12 x 12 New Artist/New Work” series (220 E. Chicago; 312-280-2660). The museum’s open from 10 to 5; admission is $10, $6 for students and seniors. Johnson’s work is also on display through February 15 at G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, 230 W. Huron. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 11 to 6 and Saturday from 11 to 5; call 312-587-8262.

28 MONDAY You may remember Anthony Bourdain as the man who warned you not to order fish on Monday in Kitchen Confidential. Now the foul-mouthed, hard-livin’, chain-smokin’ executive chef at Manhattan brasserie Les Halles is touring in support of his latest book, A Cook’s Tour, in which he travels the world sampling culinary delights like poisonous blowfish and live cobra heart. The offerings at today’s lunch with Bourdain, organized by the Book Stall in Winnetka, will be somewhat less exotic: smoked walnut-encrusted mahimahi over potato fondant and baby bok choy in a carrot-walnut emulsion, for example. It starts at noon at Betise, 1515 Sheridan in Wilmette, and costs $22; call 847-446-8880 for reservations. Tonight at 7 Bourdain will be signing books at the Barnes & Noble at 1701 Sherman in Evanston (847-328-0883); tomorrow night at 7 he’ll be at Borders Books & Music, 830 N. Michigan, 312-573-0564.

29 TUESDAY Members of the turn-of-the-century Caxton Club of Chicago believed that the values of the Arts and Crafts movement–handcrafting over mass production, form that followed function–could apply to books as easily as they did architecture or furniture; they championed the virtues of fine design and production, publishing books of interest to bibliophiles in limited editions. Frank Lloyd Wright was a member of the club from 1907 to 1909; tonight Don Kalec, School of the Art Institute professor of interior architecture and historic preservation, will discuss Wright and his interest in the book arts in room 10 of Concordia University’s Koehneke Community Center, 7400 Augusta in River Forest. Admission is $12; call 708-848-1976 to reserve a seat.

30 WEDNESDAY Christopher Lynch’s family ran Monarch Air Service at Midway Airport for six decades, and when Lynch was a boy his grandfather regularly took him over to the airport, introducing him to pilots from the early days of commercial aviation. Lynch has drawn on his memories, a collection of memorabilia, and years of research for a book called Chicago’s Midway Airport: The First Seventy-five Years (out this month from the local Lake Claremont Press), and he’ll talk about it at today’s Chicago Architecture Foundation lunchtime lecture. It’s free and starts at 12:15 in the CAF Lecture Hall at 224 S. Michigan; call 312-922-3432, ext. 239. Bring a lunch.

31 THURSDAY “Sitting quietly, doing nothing, stilling the mind and calming the body, has never been the Western way,” say the folks at Sahaja Yoga International. But Shri Mataji, founder of the meditation technique known as Sahaja Yoga–which is supposed to help practitioners develop a resistance to depression and anxiety–has received numerous awards for her work, including two nominations for the Nobel Prize. Local members of Sahaja Yoga International are offering a free one-and-a-half-hour class today at 6:30 at the Roosevelt branch of the Chicago Public Library, 1101 W. Taylor. Call 847-604-2185 for details.

Reverend Jesse Jackson and five exonerated Illinois death-row prisoners will be speaking at tonight’s rally, The Illinois Death Penalty: Too Flawed to Fix, organized by the Campaign to End the Death Penalty. Also on the bill are Tim Lohraff, attorney for death-row inmate and Area Two torture victim Aaron Patterson; Gricelda Ceja, mother of Raul Ceja, the first person to be sentenced to death in Illinois after the moratorium against the death penalty was instituted in 2000; and poetry by exonerated Florida death-rower Delbert Tibbs. It starts at 7 at the United Church of Hyde Park, 1448 E. 53rd. Admission is free; call 773-955-4841.