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I can’t tell you who the Victor Gruen of our age is. But I’d like a word with the guy who led the consumer revolution past wonderfully mod brick and mortar to awfully modern computer code, who tempts me into the virtual mall at all hours in my tighty-whities. Sure, the landmark storefront designs Gruen had a hand in—said to attract would-be purchasers like ìa pitcher plant captures fliesî—helped homogenize America, and the man is also responsible for the heinous concept of the modern shopping mall. But he never meant to crush our souls: His creations had a social vision of community that went way beyond the food court. M. Jeffrey Hardwick’s biography Mall Maker: Victor Gruen, Architect of an American Dream, is at times almost too detailed, but his subject is fascinating enough to make it hard to put the book down. Find yourself drawn toward the fluorescent lights when Hardwick speaks at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s Books & Records, 418 7th St. NW. Free. (202) 638-7610. (Mike Kanin)