(THEATER) Hot on the heels of 14/48 comes another "Quick, make something up!" event. Hothouse invites four playwrights to town and gives them a director, actors, and two weeks of rehearsal time. Last year the results were a mixed bag--but what clicked had the electric mix of high hopes and terror, since no one's sure if anything is going to work. This year's event includes playwrights Louis Broome (whose lovely Texarkana Waltz was a recent hit at the Empty Space) and Lawrence Krauser (whose nasty, funny Horrible Child was a punchy success in the hands of Printer's Devil Theatre a couple of years ago). BRET FETZER
Annex Theatre, 1916 Fourth Ave, 728-0933. Thurs-Sat May 25-27, 8 pm (with a 2 pm matinee on Sat), $12.
(READING) Here is the first stanza of former UW Professor of English Theodore Roethke's stunning, titular poem The Waking: "I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow/I feel my fate in what I cannot fear/I learn by going where I have to go." The first time I read this my blood went cold in my veins, and I decided I didn't hate poetry so much after all. Since 1964, the University of Washington has been importing world-famous bards to read Roethke's work; this, the 37th Annual Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Reading, will be hosted by American Academy of Arts and Letters member, Guggenheim Fellowship-getting, and multiple award-winning poet J. D. McClatchy. RICK LEVIN
Kane Hall, Roethke Auditorium, UW Campus, 543-2634, 8 pm, free and open to the public.
(READING) Ishmael Reed's novels and poems are very upsetting. They are a messy mix of standard English, street slang, black dialects, and pure mumbo jumbo. He uses phonetic spellings, capitalizes words for emphasis, and invents new words, like "hoodoo." And as if this weren't enough, it's hard to figure the time and place his books are set in: Is it the past, the present, the future? And where is this story or poem happening ("I am a cowboy in the boat of Ra")? The effect is both violent and beautiful; all you can do is surrender, fall into the brutal pages, embracing his long dream (in the Richard Wright sense), his islands of hallucination (again in the Richard Wright sense), and flashes of madness (now in the Dumbudzo Marechera sense), as he tries to break, destroy, disrupt, and dismantle American racism. CHARLES MUDEDE
Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 7:30 pm, free (tickets available at store).
(MUSICAL REVUE) Hello, smart people. Just wanted to tell you to drag your butts out to Unloaded: An Homage to the Work of the Velvet Underground, tonight at the Crocodile, hosted by me and the ferociously glamorous Hannah Levin. For the first time ever, a whole bunch of local bands will stop ripping off the greatest band in American history and salute 'em outright, with such artists as Rusty Willoughby, Harvey Danger, Voyager One, Marc Olsen, Faith & Disease, and many more playing their favorite Velvets songs. Plus, a special guest appearance by former VU bassist/singer Doug Yule! Be there or die trying. DAVID SCHMADER
Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave, 441-5611, 9 pm, $7.
(FESTIVAL) Live music, dance workshops, art exhibits, and a film festival represent a mere fraction of the banjoriffic good times to be had as Seattle Center's sprawling 74 acres are transformed into a four-day global extravaganza for the Northwest Folklife Festival 2000. Folks, when the eagle flies with the dove, it's time to get down and celebrate the unofficial start of summer at an event that can only be described as folktastic! JASON PAGANO
Seattle Center, Fri-Mon May 26-29, 11am-11 pm, free (suggested donation is $5 per person, per day). Visit nwfolklife.org 11call 684-7327 for specific scheduling information; see page 69 for The Stranger's Folklife picks.
Michael Sakamoto, Ku'ulei Miura, Cheronne Wong
(DANCE) Two nights of three different dancers: a contemporary pop spin on the classical discipline of Butoh from Los Angeleno Michael Sakamoto; a meditation on ephemera from Ku'ulei Miura; and what sounds like a crazed mixture of science fiction and New Age wonkiness from Cheronne Wong, who's worked with local choreographers KT Niehoff and Pat Graney, as well as danced with companies in New York. A-Fest 2000 continues to present a delirious variety of Asian art--this weekend also includes puppets and comedy. BRET FETZER
Theater Off Jackson, 409 Seventh Ave S, 340-1049. Sat-Sun May 27-28, 8 pm, $9-$15.
The Now at Outdoor Cinema
(LIVE MUSIC/FILM) The opening night of Fremont Outdoor Cinema offers the most ingenious film/music tie-in I've seen since the Bangles' Susanna Hoffs was mistakenly arrested for prostitution by Pam Grier in the late-'80s B-classic The Allnighter. The lads in the Now play a very cheeky set; surely you've heard drummer Jon Bolton's impression of Dudley Moore in Arthur? In Arthur 2? The show should flow seamlessly into the suspiciously Dudley Moore-esque Mike Myers movie Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. And look, I made it this far without a fucking "Yeah, baby!" ERIN FRANZMAN
U-Park Lot, 670 N 34th St (near the Fremont Bridge), 767-2593, 7 pm, $5.
Another Girl, Another Planet
(FILM) As week two of Satellites 2000 kicks in, the Little Theatre presents the Seattle premiere of Michael Almereyda's 1992 film, shot entirely on a Fisher Price Pixelvision camera, then blown up to 16mm. Almereyda--director of Twister (the Crispin Glover one, not the Helen Hunt one), Nadja, and the new, far-better-than-you-are-expecting Hamlet--likes to explore the murky textures of primitive images, but never surrenders his characters and stories to novelty. The distressed visuals tend to bring the movies a step closer to intimacy; his films are sensitive, smart, funny, and well crafted. SEAN NELSON
Little Theatre, 608 19th Ave E, 675-2055, Thurs-Sun May at 25-28, 5:30, 7:30, 9:30 pm. $7.
(FILM) Just, Melvin just might be the most disturbing movie you'll ever see. James Ronald Whitney's documentary of the tragic repercussions of sexual abuse in his hyper-extended family is alternately gripping, infuriating, hilarious, sad, vain, egoless, tasteless, exquisite, compassionate, dispassionate, horrible, and beautiful--what more do you need? (What more is there?) While there are moments that threaten to veer into exploitation, and one or two stylistic choices that are somewhat, well, baffling, the film holds together as a sterling work of human art, a diary with a mission. What emerges is a portrait of family in America so unflinchingly honest that you feel like an intruder, but you can't look away. This film transcends good and bad, transcends all judgment--as all survivors must. What better way to spend Memorial Day than watching a film that you'll never forget? SEAN NELSON
Showing as a part of SIFF at the Egyptian Theater, 805 E Pine, 12:30 pm, call 324-9997 for ticket info.
The Honeymoon Killers
(FILM) Shirley Stoller and Tony Lo Bianco are forever enshrined in the Cult Movie Hall of Fame for their starring roles in The Honeymoon Killers (okay, Lo Bianco's also got God Told Me To). Based on the true story of a smooth Bluebeard who met his victims through the Lonely Hearts ads and the hefty woman who stole his heart, this fascinating look at love and murder, American-style hasn't lost its edge with time -- it's only deepened from a smart bit of exploitation into something sadder and wiser. Useless trivia: Original director Martin Scorsese was kicked off after one week for taking too long with his setups. More useless trivia: It's often said that Killers was Francois Truffaut's favorite American film. Yawn. BRUCE REID
Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 50th St, 523-3935, Fri-Thurs May 26-June 1 at 5, 7, 9 pm (no 9 pm show on Tues May 30), $7.50.
Pet Your Bunny
(PARTY) Toys in Babeland is hosting a party to celebrate the end of Masturbation Month. If you didn't know that May is National Masturbation Month and neglected to pitch in and stimulate yourself (hell, even if you did), head on down to Re-bar for Toys' Pet Your Bunny Party. There will be prizes, live performances, live music, and the Babe's babes. Since Re-bar serves booze, don't expect any nudity or actual masturbation at the party. But, hey, if you and a friend wanna lock yourselves in Re-bar's bathroom and masturbate yourselves bow-legged, well, who's gonna stop you? DAN SAVAGE
Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 233-9873, 8 pm, $8.
(THEATER) I don't actually know much about Blue's Clues, having no "interactive" children in my life, but I do know that if you don't have a soft spot for a floppy-eared blue dog featured in educational software, you're probably a curmudgeon. I have such a soft spot that once, while attending a software conference professionally, I abandoned all journalistic integrity in order to have my photo taken on the lap of above-mentioned Blue. During his Seattle tour, needless to say, he and I will be enjoying intimate dinners at an undisclosed restaurant, but you and your kids can catch his show at the Paramount. TRACI VOGEL
Paramount Theatre, Ninth & Pine, 292-ARTS, Wed-Sun May 31-June 4, times vary, $11.50-$25.50.