(THEATER) He's best known for politically trenchant plays like Plenty and The Judas Kiss (one of the least self-serving in a sudden slew of dramatic returns to the Oscar Wilde trial). But British playwright DAVID HARE does the personal pretty well, too. Hare has a flair for intimate, often humorous exchanges, and pauses loaded with private history. Hare's SKYLIGHT listens in on such an exchange between Tom and Kyra, years after they've ended an extramarital affair. Following a successful run in New York (Broadway does love those Brits), Skylight opens at the Intiman Theatre this week, under the direction of Associate Artistic Director Victor Pappas. -- TONIA STEED

Intiman Theatre, Seattle Center, through Sept 18, 269-1900, $10-$39.

Evergreen State Fair

(DIVERSIONS) It's openin' day of the Fair, and you can get it on with corn on the cob and elephant ears, easing your sweet sugar rush into Ferris wheels, ugly muddy pigs, and STYX -- yes, you heard me right -- on Sunday's Grandstand (7 pm). But Fair-fallen musical groups aside, the real attraction (aside from the food) would be your MONSTER TRUCK SHOW and "Globe of Death." Featuring "Captain America," Washington State Champ, and eight other Monster Trucks, plus that freaky steel-mesh globe in which motorcyclists defy both gravity and their mother's best advice (Fri Sept 3 at 7 pm). -- TRACI VOGEL

Evergreen State Fairgrounds, one mile west of Monroe, 14 miles east of Everett on Hwy 2, 30 miles northeast of Seattle via I-405 and SR 522, 360-794-7832, $4-$7.


Happy Panties

(THEATER) For an evening of good, goofy showmanship, haul your sweet cheeks over to Fremont for HAPPY PANTIES: SPECIAL EDITION. Written and directed by Robert Gifford, this modern take on a vaudeville variety show features more pratfalls, gags, stuffed animals, and bisexual love triangles than you can shake a stick at. The first run of Happy Panties nearly had snooty Stranger theater critic Tonia Steed wetting herself with pleasure; go see how your own bladder holds up. -- DAVID SCHMADER

Fremont Palace (home of the Empty Space Theatre), 3509 Fremont Ave N, Thurs-Sun at 8 pm through Sept 5, 425-640-5738, $10.

Better Than Chocolate

(FILM) Mother, brother and new girlfriend all move in with a little slacker lesbian who hasn't yet told her uptight mom that she's boinking the girlfriend. Boasting a talented supporting cast of skinheads, zealots, transgendered people, and other miscreant freaks of nature, BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE is a must see. A smart, romantic comedy where women get naked together! -- JEFF DEROCHE

Broadway Market, Broadway and E Harrison, Capitol Hill, 323-0231, $7.


Superhero Parade

(DIVERSIONS) Holy mysterious P.R.! This last week of August has been designated "NATIONAL SUPERHERO WEEK" by some organization calling itself C.A.P.E. -- Citizens in Appreciation of Powerful Entities -- to bring renewed interest to those role models who answer spotlight calls to justice and bring a little joy to our lives with their tight tights. The make-shift parade, in which you may participate by resembling your own favorite hero, will march through downtown Seattle and arrive at the southern end of Lake Union, where Super Hero-related games and events continue the festivities. -- TV

Downtown Seattle, email:, 10 am, free.

SAM All-Nighter

(MUSEUMS) Seattle Art Museum closes out the run of the manufactured summer blockbuster IMPRESSIONISM (shouldn't that title have an exclamation point in it?) with an all-night, all-day, and most-of-the-next-night marathon. Late-night and early-morning visitors will be rewarded with discounted tickets, hourly raffles, live entertainment, a no-host bar until 2 am, and -- oh yes -- three floors of art, including the 60-plus works by the likes of Monet, Degas, Renoir, and Cassatt that have been drawing busloads of tourists to the museum all summer. Here's hoping the wee hours of Sunday morning find some decent debauchery going on in the Hammering Man's shadow. -- ERIC FREDERICKSEN

Seattle Art Museum, 100 University St, 654-3100, Sat Aug 28 at 9 am through Sun Aug 29 at midnight.

Body Building Championships

(PERFORMANCE) Here's your chance to eyeball FREAKISHLY MUSCULAR TORSOS, all tanned and oiled and shaved, as they pose on stage for your gawking amusement -- and for the coveted Excalibur Sword award at the 1999 NPC Northern Gold. MR. & MS. TACOMA will also be crowned, along with special performances from "famous" posers. -- BRADLEY STEINBACHER

Temple Theatre, Tacoma, 253-383-3245, 7 pm, $12-$18.

Romance Night

(FILM) Romance night at the FREMONT OUTDOOR CINEMA includes the cult-classic Harold and Maude -- an endearing (albeit twisted) film about a creepy loner boy and a shameless granny who fall into a groovy kind of love you will not forget. Also showing is Lolita, the film based on the Police song "Don't Stand So Close to Me." -- JDR

Fremont Outdoor Cinema, the U-Park Lot at 670 N 34th St, seating at 7 pm, $5.


Steve Earle

(LIVE MUSIC) Calling someone a "COUNTRY MUSIC OUTLAW" seems like it should be redundant. But in an age where most so-called country music is really the late '90s version of suburb-friendly, Camaro-ready, pre-fab pop-metal, STEVE EARLE is the Real Deal. It's not just his gruff voice -- which practically exudes hard time and hard times -- it's more his overall demeanor which strikes a genuine chord. It doesn't take more than a passing listen to know that he's the genuine article -- or to get the feeling that every chord and lyric has been lived through. -- BARBARA MITCHELL

King Cat Theater, 2130 Sixth Ave, 628-0888, 8 pm, $27.


Country Western DJ

(DJ MUSIC) Bring a "ho" down to the LAVA LOUNGE to hear some goldarned purty country-western music. It's not really the "white man's blues" like they say -- it's actually an elixir. An aphrodisiac. Bring a date with DREAMY EYES. Get shitty. Listen to the words. Have sex, quick. -- JDR

Lava Lounge, 2226 Second Ave, 441-5660, 9 pm, free.


Matt Briggs

(READINGS) You really oughta catch Seattle writer MATT BRIGGS before he goes off to graduate school at Johns Hopkins, because someday you'll be able to say you knew him way back when, toot your local celebrity horn, call him your own hometown boy and all that. Briggs' collection of linked stories that function as a novel, The Remains of River Names, is just about to be published by Black Heron Press. It follows a hippie family through tribulations, a metaphoric search for home, and some marvelously well-handled narrative flips. A delightful work, read by the author himself. -- TV

Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, 322-7030, 7:30 pm, free.

Javon Jackson Quartet

(LIVE MUSIC) A graduate of the late, great drummer Art Blakey's final "Jazz Messengers" edition, JAVON JACKSON's got hard-bop chops aplenty -- but thankfully his tenor sax hasn't been stuck in any sort of classic-jazz stutter. His funky new CD (Pleasant Valley) finds him in a deep soul-jazz mode, and for this run Javon's gone out and hired two of that genre's masters: Hammond B3 Organ legend Dr. Lonnie Smith, and former Prestige Records house drummer Idris Muhammad, acid jazz's most sampled drummer. Javon's soloing is marked by a methodical confidence that's way beyond his years -- so reserve your table now, and set the expression "young lion" aside. This savvy player is clearly coming into his own. -- JAMES KIRCHMER

Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave, 441-9729, through Sat Sept 4, prices vary.


Go Amish!

(LIFESTYLE/CULTURE) As responsible citizens of the world, it's our duty to EXPLORE CULTURES other than our own. So tonight, take a walk on the AMISH side! You don't need to retreat to southeast Pennsylvania to enjoy the wisdom of the Plain Folk. Simply unplug your modern appliances, slip into some coarse black wool, and sit quietly in the coming darkness. For extra fun, try underscoring your simple reveries with a classic Amish prayer: Dear God, let all my hours be thine/Whilst I enjoy the light/Then shall my sun in smiles decline/and bring a pleasant night/Damn I wish I had a TV. -- DS

Your home, any time, free.

W Hotel Opening

(SOCIETY) The last precast-concrete block has been fixed in place; Starwood Hotels' ex-Pottery Barn staff has placed the last mohair armchair in the lobby -- I mean, the "living room"; jetsetting restaurateur Drew Nieporent (of Manhattan's Nobu and Tribeca Grill fame) has put the finishing touches on a fusiony surf-and-turf restaurant called, appropriately enough, EARTH AND OCEAN; the five-story steel tubing and mesh pyramid on the room has been lit just so, burnishing the downtown skyline with its soft glow. It's time to open W Seattle Hotel, the latest in a line of upscale business-traveler hotels in New York, Atlanta, and San Francisco (L.A. is next). A "community open house" gives the HOI POLLOI a chance to bounce on the beds and sample some finger food. -- EF

W Seattle Hotel, 1112 Fourth Ave, 12 to 5 pm.