MUSIC--Shipping News are an extremely literate people--they're named for the eponymous E. Annie Proulx novel, they put poetry on their webpage, and their press releases read more like postmodern epics than basic biographies. This shines through their amazing music: well-crafted math rock that's laid out in the form of suspenseful, eloquent novels. JS

Pine Street Theater, 215 SE 9th, 231-1530, 8:30, $8


DANCE--If you know anything about dance in this town, then you definitely know the name Mary Oslund. One of Portland's treasured artists, Oslund now brings us Nine Red Steps, a conglomeration of new and repertory music in which 11 pairs of equally famous dancers move together to illustrate the ex- tremes of human relationships. KD

Conduit Studio, 918 SW Yamhill, 221-5857, 4th Floor, 8 pm, $12-$13

MUSIC--Even after 16 years, Neurosis is still fucking shit up. I mean, have you heard Sovereign, the album they put out last year? It's absolutely incredible--math-y, melodic, and intricate without sacrificing any of their vice-like aggression or signature vocals like salivating grunts. Add Botch (see Music pg 11) to the mix, and this is guaranteed to be one of the best shows of the year. JS

Pine Street Theater, 215 SE Pine, 231-1530, 9:30, $12-$14


MUSIC--After losing a guitarist and going on an all-too-long hiatus, The Plan The is making a triumphant, probably chaotically intelligent return. The legend goes that they spent FOUR MONTHS fine-tuning ONE SONG... one gloriously neurotic song. If that doesn't spur your spleen into excitement, perhaps the fact that they've added a keytar might? JS

w/Cobra High, Beulahland, 118 NE 28th, 235-2794, 9:30, free

READING--Sarah Vowell is my hero. She should be yours, too, because she's one of the smartest essay writers around, and at this reading she'll teach you all about growing up in Montana, appreciating Frank Sinatra, The Godfather, and being an American. KD

Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave, 224-TIXX, 6 pm, $14.50


FILM--From Dennis Nyback's seemingly endless archive of weirdo shorts comes this evening of death penalty cinema, appropriately entitled Capital Punishment: Is It For You? Funny title? Yes, it is. Funny movies? Wellllll...only if you have the kind of dark, morose sense of humor that likes live historic executions, famous movie stars getting the chair, or the accompanying graphic slide show. Interesting? Absolutely. WSH

Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton, 7 and 9:15, $6

BAKE SALE--A few weeks back, a house party went bad when a scuffle broke out between some punks and 43 of Portland's finest. Now, with the DA pushing for some real jail time--eight years hard-time for allegedly kidnapping a cop!--things have gotten out of hand. Pitch in a few dollars to keep the scales of justice balanced, pick up a baked-good, and catch some of the stridently good Third & Failing. PB

Legal Defense Benefit, Chez What?, 2203 NE Alberta, 281-1717, 6-10 pm, $5 suggestion donation


MUSIC--What germinated from a demented art school seed has emerged as a forceful and frolicking experiment in punk, hip hop, and, god save us, disco. With crashing drums and a healthy helping of snide mockery for the girl-loves-boy genre, Chicks on Speed spur on their runaway sound. PB

Crystal Ballroom, 1334 W Burnside, 225-0047, 9 pm, $10


MUSIC--Now that we Third Wave feminists have grown up, our lady-band peers have evolved from scrappy, toughass punks to... scrappy, toughass punks who play a more sophisticated kind of rock. Case in point: the velvety voice and guitar of the Butchies. Scholar-femme Sarah Dougher and Second Waver Amy Ray assist the cause. JS

Crystal Ballroom, 1334 W Burnside, 9 pm, $10

FILM--Remember the '70s? Me neither. However, we can easily bone up by catching Dennis Nyback's Defining the 1970s Through Classic Commercials. Learn what life was really like via 130 commercials for toys, clothes, make-up, soda pop, cereal, cigarettes, beer, and my personal favorite, feminine hygiene sprays.Not to be missed! WSH

Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton, 8 pm, $6


ROCKERS--Pocket for Corduroy are kind of like indie rockers who've just had their teeth pulled out with a string. It's like your run of the mill, mellow, skinny guys humming a tortured tune... and then all of a sudden they freak out on their guitar and blow out speakers. KD

Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside, 225-0047, 9 pm, $12