(READING) One of the best kept secrets in Tacoma, indeed in Cascadia, is that Earl Lovelace, the author of five novels -- one of which, Salt, won the prestigious Commonwealth Writer's Prize in 1997 -- regularly teaches at PLU. This came as a complete shock to me when I discovered it last summer; this great figure of contemporary Caribbean fiction was here in the Northwest. And if that's not enough, he is to read at PLU tonight. If you are at all interested in new and important developments in the art of the English language, then I highly recommend this reading. CHARLES MUDEDE
Ingram Hall Room 100, PLU Campus, 253-535-7698, 7 pm, free.
(LIVE MUSIC) There are two distinct kinds of celebrating. First, there's that Kool and the Gang, hands in the air, dancing till your feet fall, all-type-of-celebrating that follows the occurrence of something good. Then there's the other kind of celebrating that involves way too much alcohol, embarrassing emotional wingouts, and sleeping by yourself whether you want to or not, which usually follows the occurrence of something gone horribly wrong, like a breakup. Chokebore are all about that second kind of celebrating, and if you're feeling like-minded, nothing beats this Hawaiian band's cathartic musical misery. KATHLEEN WILSON
Breakroom, 1325 E Madison, 860-5155 (tickets also on www.ticketweb.com), 9 pm, $7.
(FILM) It's time for someone to refill David Schmader's prescription. In an altogether disturbing turn of events, the homo monologist and Stranger arts editor has been invited by the Little Theatre to host a screening of Showgirls, Paul Verhoeven's infamous tone poem of misogyny, ambition, and iced nipples. Promising to explicate the cultural value of this unprecedented cinematic failure as "the most entertaining 120 minutes of film ever shot," Schmader has actually used the word "beautiful" in conjunction with the film. Expect some kind of wanky dissection of the brilliance of Gina Gershon and "the sublimity of failure," and by no means consider contradicting him. (P.S. Go stoned or don't go at all.) STEVE WIECKING
The Little Theatre, 608 19th Ave E at Mercer, 675-2055, one night only at 8 pm, $7.
The Eight: Reindeer Monologues
(THEATER) Old fuckdogs never die, they just become "anti-Christmas" comedies. The producer, writer, and cast of the infamous Poona are back with a dark look at the tawdry secrets behind St. Nick's complacent good cheer. Jeff Goode's The Eight has each of Santa's reindeer stepping forward to share "a horrific tale of corruption and perversion," and the terror is preceded each evening by the music and merriment of Kringle's Kabaret, featuring the hysterical Ian Bell as the Big Red One. Sit on Santa's lap at your own risk. STEVE WIECKING
Re-bar, 429 Boren Avenue N, 323-0388, Thurs-Sun through Dec 19, Kabaret begins when the doors open at 7 pm, The Eight begins at 8 pm, $12.
The End's Deck the Hall Ball
(PARTY) Normally, we'd let this one slide by as being way too corporate. But how often do you get a chance to see Foo Fighters and Bush on the same bill? Remember when Dave Grohl printed up those T-shirts accusing Bush of ripping off Nirvana? See what I'm sayin'?.... KATHLEEN WILSON
KeyArena, Seattle Center on Mercer St, 628-0888, 4:30 pm, $43.50.
(DANCE + ROCK 'N' ROLL) Amie Baca knows about movement. A Cornish graduate, she's toured with the Pat Graney Company and currently teaches jazz dance at her alma mater. For this inspired holiday-ish performance, Baca teams the Virgin Mary with cacophonous rock duo Parini, setting kinetic, athletic choreography to rock, and laying it all out in front of two eight-foot-high, illuminated stain glass windows. Also on the bill are three Baca-choreographed solos. TRACI VOGEL
Freehold's East Hall Theatre, 915 E Pine St, 726-9216, Fri-Sun Dec 10-12, 8 pm, $8.
(LIVE MUSIC) Wu-Tang producer and visionary the RZA is touring to regain the cred he lost after his Bobby Digital hiphop-nostalgia persona/project bombed. But the RZA is the most protean of the Wu Tang Clan. Don't skip the show just because his reach may sometimes exceed his grasp: He deserves your attention for being one of the few hiphop artists to reach for anything more than money. ERIN FRANZMAN
King Cat Theater, 2130 Sixth Ave, 628-0888, 8 pm, $22.50.
(LIVE MUSIC) On the cutting edge of design and technology when it was first launched back in 1935, the Kalakala's timeless art deco beauty persists (see www.kalakala.org) -- and the drive to preserve this historic Puget Sound ferry is in dire need of funds. Kudos to the Funky Joint for setting up this timely benefit (with a hosted bar), featuring the jazzed-up out-funk of San Francisco's Broun Fellinis (appearing with their original drummer), the groovy rhythm-jazz of Rockin' Teenage Combo (w/special guest Bill Horist), and pop adventurers Ota-Prota. JAMES KIRCHMER
Kalakala Ferry, 2555 N Northlake Way, 10 pm, $12.
(LIVE MUSIC) Looking to get your millennium blowout early? Try the OK Hotel's "Pre-Millennium Bash" -- a night of indulgent, dirty rock 'n' roll with Zen Guerrilla, Fireballs of Freedom, and the Gimmicks that'll have you thinking the end is near two weeks before it truly may be. Pull out all the stops, drink and dance yourself into oblivion, then do it all again in 20 days, you lightweight. I bet the Zen Guerilla singer will do it again tomorrow. KATHLEEN WILSON
OK Hotel, 212 Alaskan Way S, 621-7903, 10 pm, $8.
The Cerebral Smut, Safe Sap Combo
(VISUAL ART) The Tacoma Art Museum and Henry Art Gallery have split Inside Out: New Chinese Art into two sections: below-the-belt and over-the-head pieces typical for the Henry, and sentimental, inoffensive ones for Tacoma. Ostensibly this represses TAM and sassifies the Henry, but it may be to Tacoma's benefit: Where the Henry showcases pieces like Pang's Form of Reality -- a little portrait of a cheerful and stately couple accompanied by sex moans on the headphones -- TAM has a wonderful portrait of a young, passionate Mao with a lotus flower painted on his lips, and photos documenting a performance piece where Western products were frozen in blocks of ice in front of a new shopping mall. Instead of cooling the fever for Western goods, the display was looted once the ice began to melt. BRIAN GOEDDE
The Henry Art Gallery, UW Campus, 15th Ave NE and NE 41st Street, 543-2281, and the Tacoma Art Museum, Pacific Ave and 12th Street, 253-272-4258; entrance fee varies, one ticket applies to both museums.
(THEATER) Sign of the Coming Apocalypse #1,253: According to press information, "over 25 million people have seen Miss Saigon worldwide with a gross of $1 billion." It's baaa-ack. Despite the continually atrocious efforts of Andrew Lloyd Webber, when it comes to crass, artless spectacle, nothing can top the Cameron Mackintosh production we know and love as Miss Saigon -- there's a lyric about hamburgers or something at one point. I swear. This is a perfect chance to torment someone you despise under the guise of treating them to an evening of "culture." They'll never know how romantic the Vietnam War really was until you subject them to Miss Saigon's ludicrous take on Madame Butterfly. Oh yeah, and a helicopter lands on stage. STEVE WIECKING
The Paramount Theatre, 292-ARTS (2787), through Dec 26, various days and showtimes, $15-65.
(READING) Okay, what's on TV Tuesday nights -- Buffy? Once and Again? I'll tell you right now: Ann Rule beats 'em all for entertainment value. Leading the bleeding edge of true crime into the new century, Seattle's Rule reads tonight from her newest exposé, And Never Let Her Go: Thomas Capano, Deadly Seducer, the story of true evil in the face of apparent innocence. What TV melodrama could top that? TRACI VOGEL
Elliott Bay Books, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 7:30 pm, free (tickets).
Hank Williams Revue/Buck Owens Tribute
(LIVE MUSIC) The Tractor Tavern puts the honky back into honky-tonk as tribute bands set the record straight on two legends of white culture. Hank Williams Sr., besides being the father of the Ambervision-wearing Monday Night Football redneck, was country's first true superstar and inspired future generations with his reckless alcoholism and fatal morphine injections. Buck Owens, on the other hand, survived all of his excesses except country comedy: Most folks now only know him as the host of Hee Haw. Behind the laffs and tears of these two musicians, though, is a mess of good lovesick country music. NATHAN THORNBURGH
Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave NW, 789-3599 (tickets at www.ticketweb.com), 9 pm, $5.