Fringe Theater Festival

(THEATER) After a decade of festivals -- and an attendance last year of close to 20,000 people -- I suppose the folks over at the annual Fringe Fest are allowed to christen this year's event the "Unsinkable Fringe." As with any arts festival, however, you'll still need to choose your entertainment carefully to avoid the plethora of leaky theatrical ships. The solo shows always offer the greatest chance for either revelation or wincing pain. This year's lot includes Agnostic's Way, an intriguing new piece from Vincent Balestri (of long-running Kerouac fame), and Pu'uhonua, an acclaimed performance by Maria Glanz that took home Pick of the Fringe honors in 1999. Pick up a schedule and have at it: over 400 performances on Capitol Hill in nine different venues. STEVE WIECKING

Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, 322-2018, March 9-19. Venues and times vary; single tickets are $12, but can be discounted by purchasing combination passes or a $2 Fringe Festival button.


Animation Retrospective

(FILM) Our sister to the south, Portland, happens to be one of the animation capitals of the world, particularly when it comes to claymation. Part of the reason is that it's the home of Will Vinton Studios (the people who brought to life those damn California raisins -- perhaps the least of their vast artistic achievements), but another big reason is because it also happens to be the home of legendary animator Bruce Bickford. For one night only, Bickford will present a retrospective of his work -- from his first films in 1964, to his collaborations with Frank Zappa, to the stuff he's working on today. Come see this colorful petal from the Rose City. ANDY SPLETZER

Seattle Art Museum, 100 University St, 654-3121, 7:30 pm, $7/$5 for SAM and 911 Media Arts members.

High Rise/ Kinski

(LIVE MUSIC) Any friend of Kinski's is a friend of mine. And Kinski can't stop talking about Japanese heavy hitters High Rise, with whom they're playing tonight. It's only High Rise's second tour in the U.S., but singer/bassist Asahito Nanjo, guitarist Munehiro Narita, and drummer Koji Shimura return to great fanfare. Sure enough, if their High Rise Live CD's any indication, expect a show that will roll your eyes back into your head. But for me, the recommendation of Kinski, a band whose cool, limpid compositions can start the pulse of even the most jaded Seattle music scenester, is the most compelling reason to go. When a phenomenal band expresses admiration for another group, who am I to disagree? ERIN FRANZMAN

I-Spy, 1921 Fifth Ave, 374-9492, 9 pm, $7.

Spider Baby

(FILM) It could be a profound metaphor, or it could be camp -- but the 1964 rarely screened Spider Baby manages to be both. Enter the home of the Merrye family, whose members suffer from a strange disease that reduces them to a savage state of cannibalism. Lon Chaney Jr., the family chauffeur, sings the infamous theme song, and Jill Banner is Virginia the spider baby, spooky and sexy at once. This is one family for whom dysfunction is the only way to function. TRACI VOGEL

Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 50th St, 523-3935, 11 pm, $7.


Music 4 Food

(BENEFIT) Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know you're gonna start ranting about how all the big corporate dot-coms are evil and greedy. And you're right. But then along comes, sponsoring an event that benefits Food Lifeline, an organization devoted to feeding the hungry in Seattle. All you have to do is show up. There will be live performances from Guster (and others), and all attendants will receive a free "Music 4 Food" compilation CD as well as free food from local restaurants. So shut up and have a good time. You can bitch about corporate power on Sunday. MIN LIAO

The Fenix, 315 Second Ave S (at S Main), 467-1111, 6 pm (early show is all-ages!), $10, or $5 with canned food donation.

The Makers

(LIVE MUSIC) Sheet, dood! How's 'bout we gittin' not ONE, but TWO damn glam Makers shows, back to fuggin' back! And you know they both gonna be a hot, what with the Makers' brand new record just beggin' to git released! Right, so there's two shows to choose from, the first on Saturday evenin', with the beloved Fastbacks... oh, and this night is for grownups, exclusively! The next 'un follows on Sunday's afternoon, and is fer the kids, or "all-ages," and features the Catheters and the Lashes. Uh-huh, if the right 'un don't git cha, you better be damn sure the left 'un WILL! MIKE NIPPER

Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave, 441-5611, 9 pm, $8.

The Herbfarm Cookbook

(READING/TASTING) THE MAN: Jerry Traunfeld. THE MISSION: Executive Chef; Author; Herb Guru. THE PLACE: The Herbfarm, Washington's own Holy Grail of restaurants, where nine herb-infused courses are served nightly to those lookin' fer a li'l slice o' heaven in the Cascade Mountains. THE BOOK: The Herbfarm Cookbook, Traunfeld's new collection of recipes, gardening guidelines, and kitchen education. Featured dishes include Herbfarm specialties like Green Goddess Salad; Baked Mussels Stuffed with Mint Pesto; Herb-Rubbed Duck with Tart Cherry and Sage Sauce; and desserts like Lavender-Ginger Panna Cotta and Bay Leaf Creme Brulee. Witness Traunfeld's magic for yourself at this demonstration, where he'll talk the talk and -- oh yes... serve up samples of his delectable repertoire. MIN LIAO

Elliott Bay Books, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 1 pm, free (advance tickets recommended).


Closely Watched Trains

(FILM) Jiri Menzel's Closely Watched Trains at least gets the focus right; the story takes place during Nazi occupation, but its young hero is far too concerned about getting laid to notice. Until, that is, his sexual and political awakenings are united by a desirable resistance fighter. This comic, bittersweet take on sexual frustration proved so popular that its mood became synonymous with Czech films. It hasn't aged altogether gracefully, but its best moments are still humorous and humane, and it holds up better than several more ponderous efforts from the period (if not as well as, say, Makavejev's far more surreal and delirious mix of sex and politics). BRUCE REID

Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 50th (at University Way), 523-3935, call for times, $7.


Vaudeville Puppets

(EXHIBIT) The frighteningly charming Northwest Puppet Center features a museum exhibit this month, showcasing puppet figurines from the early 20th century. Dancing girls, skeletons, and a variety of trick marionettes leer out at you -- are you the one viewing them, or is it the other way around? Many of the puppets originate from the collection of Len Ayers, the Northwest's first master of marionettes. C'mon down on a Monday and get with your puppet history! TRACI VOGEL

Northwest Puppet Center, 9123 15th Ave NE, 523-2579, weekdays 9 am-5 pm, free admittance to museum.


Grant Lee Phillips

(LIVE MUSIC) Grant Lee Buffalo's breakup was officially because of money -- the band got dropped from Warner Bros. and couldn't afford to tour. But fans know the real beginning of the end came when, after three critically acclaimed albums, bassist Joey Kimble left the group and singer Grant Lee Phillips decided to make a run for the big time, with an album of pop songs that didn't hold a candle to the well-crafted roots music the band had played in the past. The album fell flat, and the band broke up. Now a penitent Phillips is attempting to return to form with a self-released album, Ladies' Love Oracle, and a short tour. Some of his solo stuff falls flat, but while he isn't the same supernatural presence he was in the band's early days, he can still send the old chills down your spine once in a while. He's worth seeing for those moments, and the nostalgia for a band that was itself obsessed with the past. MIKE VAGO

Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave, 441-5611, 9:30 pm, $10.

Butch Erotica Show

(CABARET) Not counting the years I spent watching The Facts of Life, I don't think I've ever had the opportunity to be entertained by a diverse group of butch women. RandyBoy productions and, in a benefit for the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, are officially giving me and any other negligent souls the chance to rectify that with an evening of "Seattle's sexiest butches strutting their stuff on stage." This year, fabulous, funny, potty-mouthed drag queen Kahlúa Ice hosts what was a sold-out show last August, overseeing several group and individual performances, a sex toy raffle, and the premiere of girl group Milky Way. Spinning after the show are special guests DJ Donna and Linda Kennedy, and other surprises are promised. STEVE WIECKING, 925 E Pike, 860-7322, March 14 only, doors at 8 pm, $8 advance/$10 door (advanced tickets at Toys in Babeland).


One Month to Taxes

(WARNING) This is a warning. There's just one month till your taxes are due. The Stranger suggests that you do your taxes early to avoid digestive problems of the sort that might lead to acid reflux. Or, you could watch Law and Order (10 pm, channel 5). It's your choice.