*RANDALL KENAN--A fascinating and substantial book, Kenan's Walking On Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century acts as a repository for narratives documenting what it means to be black--including interviews with people ranging from Dorothy West to one of Atlanta's new Panther-style militants. Elliott Bay, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 7:30 pm, free.
CLAIRE RUDOLF MURPHY & JANE G. HAIGH--Murphy and Haigh's exploration of Alaska settlement and exploitation demystifies history in Children of the Gold Rush, with vintage photographs and individual accounts. Elliott Bay, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 5 pm, free.
VOICES OF COLOR--Seattle's Red Letter Press presents an anthology of writings by activists: Voices of Color. Local contributors Debra O'Gara, Ann Rogers, and Gil Veyna will read. Elliott Bay, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 7:30 pm, free.
SONIA SANCHEZ--Prolific, visible, articulate, Sanchez presents her newest collection of poems, Shake Loose My Skin, which collects works over 20 years. Sanchez is a master of form, while managing to rise above the rules, and her poetry has the solid punch and beauty of real speech. Elliott Bay, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 7:30 pm, free.
SANDRA BERNHARD--Queen of the confessional, smart, sassy: Sandra Bernhard follows up her Seattle performances with a signing of her new book, May I Kiss You on the Lips, Miss Sandra? Elliott Bay, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 1:30 pm, free.
*HENRI COLE--See Calendar Box. Elliott Bay, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 4 pm, free.
ROBERT MRAZEK--A former member of Congress fictionalizes history in Stonewall's Gold: A Novel, which follows characters in pursuit of Confederate gold. Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way NE, 366-3333, 4:30 pm, free.
SATISH KUMAR--Kumar's memoir about traveling from India to America to eventually become a leader, with E.F. Schumacher, of the "small is beautiful" movement is titled Path Without Destination. Kane Hall, Walker Ames Room, UW Campus, 534-3400, 7 pm, free.
BILL SCHULTHEIS--Seattle money man Schultheis reads from his how-to, The Coffeehouse Investor: How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street and Get on with Your Life. Elliott Bay, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 5 pm, free.
DIANE MCKINNEY-WHETSTONE--Popular fiction revisiting the themes of race and home, McKinney-Whetstone's newest, Tempest Rising, evokes the fragility of family, when a series of accidents leaves three children parentless. Elliott Bay, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 7:30 pm, free.
*JEROME GOLD--Short prose narrative and poems comprise Seattle writer Gold's newest book, Prisoners. Gold, in the words of one Stranger critic, "looks into the darkest corners of contemporary life, telling us without mercy exactly what he finds ...intense, socially conscious, and emotionally evocative stories." Elliott Bay, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 7:30 pm, free.
VICKI LEON--Local writer Leon reads from maverick history book Uppity Women of the Renaissance. Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way NE, 366-3333, 7 pm, free.
RUTH KIRK--Well-known local author reads from and signs Sunrise to Paradise: The Story of Mount Rainier National Park, a collection of accounts from scientists, park rangers, Native Americans, and climbers such as John Muir, together with photographs from Imogen Cunningham, et al. Kane Hall, Walker Ames Room, UW Campus, 634-3400, 7 pm, free.
*SKETCH CLUB--Who they could have been, who they wish they were, who they secretly think they might be, all are suppositions that get addressed at tonight's Sketch Club reading, featuring local artists Carlos Martinez, Allison Green, Jose Carillo, Kathryn Hunt, and Diane Ma. Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, 322-7030, 8 pm, $5 donation.
MARLY SWICK--"Powerful and dignified" story of a family torn apart by an accidental shooting death, ranging the domestic trauma territory favored by Sue Miller. Swick, the author of Paper Wings, reads from her newest, Evening News. Elliott Bay, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 5 pm, free.
ROBERT THURMAN & TAD WISE--Buddhist scholar and student write about their journey to Tibet in Circling the Sacred Mountain; as part of the Seattle Spiritual Reading Series, they read tonight. Kane Hall 120, UW Campus, 634-3400, 7 pm, free.
Note to regularly programmed open mikes: The Stranger will list events only if we receive an announcement--regular listings will be dropped unless we are notified that the events are in fact ongoing.
665--Words and music add up to this evening venue, tonight presenting open- mike-o-rama. Four Angels, 1400 14th Ave (at Union), 689-8661, 7:30 pm, free.
FLYING LEMON LOUNGE--Coffee, open mike, and board games; alcohol/smoke-free. Every Thursday. Flying Lemon Lounge, 425 First Ave, 285-2282 ext 12, 8 pm, free.
RED SKY POETRY THEATER--Continuing its 18th season of readings, spotlighting local writers, plus an open mike. Tonight featuring Sharon Cumberland. Globe Cafe, 1531 14th Ave (at Pine), 633-5647, 7 pm, free.
LIVINGROOM--Every Monday about this time, people read and rant and play music. Tonight, make room for Hope Amico. Habitat Espresso, 222 Broadway E, 689-8661, 7:30 pm, free.
HOMELAND--The homiest of open mikes, tonight featuring Nathan Bates, along with carrot cake cookies. Globe Cafe, 1531 14th Ave (at Pine), 324-8815, 7:30 pm, free.
CHAOS MICROPHONE--Sell your soul for the perfect word? Then you're welcome at this weekly open venue, which warns that "you will undergo some metamorphosis." Coffee Messiah, 1554 E Olive Way, 860-7377, 7 pm, free.