SPOKEN WORDS--The entire Mercury staff has been having a love affair, and it's with a boy named Dino. Seriously, you will be blown away when you hear this little white boy's ability to rhyme. I mean, this guys speaks in rhyme. That's why you shouldn't miss him before he flies South to Cali.

Psychedelic America Spoken Word Hip-Hop at Groundswell Gallery, 1800 NE Alberta, 7:30 pm, 331-1420, Free

METAL--Yes, my friends, Pink & Brown and Lightning Bolt both perform in hoods. Maybe it's to hide their super size ear plugs, so they don't look like wusses while playing their loud as hell art-punk-metal, or maybe they're just FREAKS. Take this opportunity to see the titillating Emergency and Thrones too. KS

Meow Meow, 527 SE Pine, 230-2111, $6


FILM--If you're like me, you love gay shorts. And no, not the kind from the International Male catalog! Don't miss four great and highly-acclaimed gay short films in a program called Boys to Men; chronicling four stages of gay men from teens to death. WSH

Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st, 223-4515, 7, 8:45 pm, $6

MUSIC--YAY YAY YAY! Since 1979, Dutch punkers The Ex have pulled off an adept socialist message while making constantly relevant, hard-lining music, sometimes as a big band or with famous cellists. Confrontational, and never old! JS

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


MUSIC--Word is that No.13 Baby, Seattle's all-Pixies tribute band, sounds disturbingly like the original and put on a better show! Chillingly good tunes and great stage energy! Whew! It's a little blasphemous to say, but after seeing these guys, it might not matter that you missed the real thing. w/ The Standard and Awesome. TL

Berbati's Pan, 231 SW Ankeny, 244-TIXX, $7

AIRSHOW--What better way to wet your appetite for true red, white, and blue patriotism, than watching a bunch of Canadian stunt pilots roll, tumble, and haul ass through the Oregon skies. Like everything else Canadian, they are a shameless rip-off of the God-Bless American Blue Angels; but, it's still jaw-droppingly cool. PB

Hillsboro Airport, Saturday 5 pm, Sunday 11 am, $5-$15


WEIRD THEATER--Check this one out. This theater group made a deal with the Multnomah County Courts allowing them to have a play in the courthouse. The story, appropriately debates issues of justice and theatrics, and is both engaging and funny. KD

Sojourn Theatre, at the Gus Solomon Courthouse, (971) 544-0464, Fri-Sun 8 pm, through July 8, $10


RODEO--Yee-ha! If too much city livin's getting you down, the smell of horseshit and hay should stylishly bring in the fourth of July. Jump into yer pick-up and truck down to St. Paul for some sody-pop, bull-ridin', and some pretty cowgirls in tight pants. There's a new event this year too, Wild Cow Milking. Yee Haw! TL

St. Paul Rodeo, I-5 S to the Donald Exit, June 29-July 4, 1-800-237-5920 $10-14


CRASH! BANG!--Nothing screams "America" like the twisted metal of a stock car after it's been T-boned on a figure-8 track! That's why you should celebrate the 4th early at the 18th Annual Crash-Bang Extravaganza at the Portland Speedway, featuring street stocks, demolition derby, a figure-8 smash 'em up, and... what's this? FIREWORKS?? I am SO there! WSH

Portland Speedway, 9727 N MLK Jr Blvd, 285-9511, Racing at 5 pm, $13

MUSIC--Straight from the heartland of Nebraska comes the next wave in slick, sticky keyboard future-rock: The Faint. If you don't dance at this show, you will be accosted and assimilated by a new wave robot! And he'll have a Human League hairdo! JS

Meow Meow, 527 SE Pine, 227-2111, 9 pm, $6, all ages


FIREWORKS--Last year, I stood behind a man who told his children how the fireworks reminded him of his combat days in Kuwait. The couple behind us was then busted by the cops for drinking. It's the classiest show in town. Roller coasters and rides open at noon. PB

Oaks Park, East side of the Sellwood Bridge, fireworks at 10 pm, $2