Over the past few weeks folks from Chicago Critical Mass have been diligently papering walls and parked bicycles with flyers promoting tonight’s installment of the free monthly ride, which they’ve dubbed the 1,000 Rider Critical Mass. “It’s the strongest push we’ve ever made to get more people to show up,” says a regular, noting that the event comes at the tail end of the city’s three-month-long Bike Chicago initiative. “This has been a really big summer for biking in Chicago.” The route for the leisurely two-hour cruise around the city is still TBD, but cyclists should meet at Daley Plaza, Dearborn and Washington in Chicago, at 5:30 PM; call 773-278-2107 or see www.chicagocriticalmass.org for more information.

Shakespeare on the Green, which produces a free show on the Barat College lawn every summer, started with comedies but hadn’t done one for seven seasons prior to this year’s selection, The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Now part of the DePaul University Theatre School, Shakes-peare on the Green is the biggest of the local outdoor Bard fests, drawing crowds as large as 2,000 on Saturday nights for productions regularly praised for their high quality. This year for the first time there’ll be an attempt to keep the audience in a concentrated area to improve the sound quality without aggravating the school’s neighbors. Performances start tonight and continue Thursday through Sunday until August 10. The grounds, at 700 E. Westleigh in Lake Forest, open at 6; curtain time is at 8. You can bring a picnic or purchase hot dogs and burgers on-site; parking and admission are free. In case of rain, the first 650 patrons will be accommodated in the school’s theater. Call 847-574-4758 for more information.


Lisa Rosenthal’s one-act play Under Our Clothes, which follows the lives of six women, is on tonight’s roster for Great Endings, Circle Theatre’s first attempt at a festival of new plays. Circle, which has made some astute producing choices in the past, in-cluding a couple of world premieres by Rebecca Gilman and one by Stephen Clark, is offering the world’s first look at a dozen short plays in bare-bones productions–four each night in three repertory programs. Besides Rosenthal’s piece, which she describes as a journey portrayed largely through interlocking monologues, tonight’s lineup includes work by Domenick Danza, Jae Kramisen, and Matthew Bennett. Shows start at 8 Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and at 3 Sunday, through August 10. Discussions with the authors will follow the performances. Tickets are $10, $8 for each subsequent evening. Circle Theatre is at 7300 W. Madison in Forest Park. Call 708-771-0700.


About 300 people attended last year’s free Grant Park drum circle, which attracts a wide range of drummers, from tie-dyed Deadheads to die-hard professionals. This three-hour event will be facilitated by John Yost, head of Rhythm Revolution Chicago, a group that advocates using music “to break down the barriers that separate people from their community, to empower people to heal, to educate, and entertain themselves.” It starts at 2 at the Lincoln statue in Grant Park, near Columbus and Congress in Chicago. Novices are welcome; bring something to beat on. Call 312-744-6630.


The Freedom Schooner Amistad is a Connecticut-based replica of the Spanish cargo ship Amistad–site of an 1839 revolt by enslaved Africans, who were subsequently brought to the U.S., imprisoned, and eventually let off by the Supreme Court. A floating museum dedicated to improving race relations, it’ll dock at Chicago’s Navy Pier on July 26; the DuSable Museum of African American History has put together a slew of activities in conjunction with its visit, which ends August 13. Tonight at 7:30 there’ll be a one-time-only performance of Ifa Bayeza and Pam Dickler’s musical Amistad Voices at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand, Chicago. Tickets are $20.50 (312-595-5600). A free mock trial and legal symposium take place Wednesday, July 30, from 5 to 9 at the pier’s Chicago Children’s Museum. Tours of the ship–which is sailing the Great Lakes through the end of the year–take place Monday through Friday from 2 to 4:15 and weekends from 10 to 5:15. They’re $8 for adults, $5 for children; call 773-947-0600, ext. 232, for more information.


Last spring Glenview neighbors Gretchen Grad and Deanna Jacobson noticed how well their four children get along despite their religious differences (Grad is Christian, Jacobson Jewish) and decided to start Hands of Peace, an organization promoting understanding between Israeli and Palestinian kids. They convinced Islamic Cultural Center of Northbrook member Nuha Dabbousseh to join them, and last Monday the ad hoc group brought a dozen teens from the Middle East to stay with North Shore families of various faiths for two weeks. Along with ten local high school students, they spend their mornings talking about cultural differences with the help of adult facilitators and the rest of their time going to the beach and seeing the sights. Tonight’s benefit for Hands of Peace will feature the musical acts Dakota/Dakota, All Natural, and Balthazar de Ley (of Menthol). It starts at 7:30 at Nevin’s Live, 1450 Sherman in Evanston, and there’s a suggested donation of $5. Call 847-869-0450; E-mail novarainx@yahoo.com for more information on Hands of Peace.


The new Sebastiao Salgado exhibits “Migrations: Humanity in Transition” and “The Children” feature 300 photographs taken in more than 35 countries between 1993 and 2000. All of them depict people forced to leave their homelands and set up new lives, usually in slums or refugee camps. “These images tell us a story of our times,” the Brazilian-born photographer has said. “We must not remain indifferent; we cannot afford to turn away.” The Chicago Cultural Center is presenting a series of related films in conjunction with the exhibits. It kicks off tonight at 6 with three shorts about photography, including The Spectre of Hope (2001), which includes interviews with Salgado. The series continues Wednesday nights through August 27 at the Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, Chicago. The exhibits will be up through September 28 and are split between the CCC and the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State, Chicago. All events are free; call 312-744-6630 for more information.


The biggest, most visible Talk Show With Johnny White took place in July 1996 at the Polish Triangle–the island at the intersection of Milwaukee, Division, and Ashland. White sat in a hot tub and presided over guests that included bassist Tatsu Aoki and filmmaker Tom Palazzolo. The Chicago-based actor, artist, and filmmaker later moved to LA, where he scored a role in the Russell Crowe-Peter Weir swashbuckler Master and Commander and worked in the art department on the TV show The Bachelor. He’ll discuss his experiences tonight from 7 to 9 at an event called Meet and Greet With Johnny White: Navigating the LA Scene. It’s at Chicago Filmmakers, 5423 N. Clark in Chicago (773-293-1447). Admission is $7.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Greg Kolack.