READING--Honestly? Your brain will be blown by Joel Schalit. He's the brilliant, SF-based writer/editor for Punk Planet, and his columns consistently link up Judaism, Marxism, punk rock, and the logistics of being human in the most tender, meditative ways. Tonight, he reads from his new book, Jerusalem Calling, which deals with everything from Middle East politics to selling out. Goddamn. JS

Powell's, 1005 W Burnside, 228-0540, 7:30 pm, free

MUSIC--Nice Nice makes you want to explore the bowels of the city, to quest after new angles in the rock scene. They are improv, and they go from dub to No Wave with guitar, pedals, and live drums. Their crazy layers are like a cerebral implosion--but the good kind. Dig it! MS

w/ Supersprite, One Human Minute
; Blackbird, 3728 NE Sandy, 282-9949, 9 pm, $6


FILM FEST--Whoopee! It's time once again for the Annual Cascade Festival of African Films, which is always great because of the high caliber of African movies, and they're all FREE! Tonight, the fest opens with T.G.V., by Moussa Touré of Senegal--a fast and fun crowd pleaser about an international busload of passengers, who have a fateful run-in with a rebel army. WSH

Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd Ave, 244-6111 ext. 3630, 7:30 and 9 pm, free

MUSIC--Fu Manchu doesn't come to town everyday, like say, MODEST MOUSE. Another notable quality of Fu Manchu is their great band name, their quality album covers, oh yeah... and that they totally rock. They lavishly overdo it on the cheese-out factor, but the explosive guitar rocking makes it work. Plus, the singer sounds so cool that you'll want to sleep with him. KS w/ Loaded, Injected, Head Strong

Berbati's Pan, 231 SW Ankeny, 224-TIXX, 9 pm, $10.50


CHEERLEADING--Did you hear about the cheerleader who put lipstick on her forehead because she wanted to make up her mind? No, but seriously folks. High kicks, back flips, and human pyramids stacked higher than a push-up bra. It's that time of year again: The Oregon State Cheerleading Championships. Plenty of cheers, jeers, and tears. PB

Memorial Coliseum, 1 Center Ct, 235-8771, 9 am-5 pm, $7

REGULAR HIPHOP--The Oldominion crew are lyrical masters, and they come up with rhymes faster than you can type. And they're so good, they don't even need background music. With all the hiphop going on, you'd think we were in Oakland or something, but we're not, we're in Portland. Weird. KS

Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy, 239-5154, 9 pm

ABSTRACT HIPHOP--As freaky splicing goes, Machine Drum is fresher than a three-dollar pie. Like Odd Nosdam, he programs along the cusp of iDM and hiphop, filtering the crazy beats through crystalline sounds and backwards-looped, mysterious rhyming. It sounds like Storm Troopers in an echo chamber. JS

Flexible Pattern: w/ML, Deceptikon, Glomm, N-Grava, DJ Fussik; Reed College Student Union, 3203 SE Woodstock, $7-10, all ages


MUSIC--Do you like the "concept" of indiepop, but hate, hate, HATE IT, in real life? Then perhaps it's just about the right time for the French Kicks. Smart writing, catchy hooks, and none of that precious lethargy that makes you want to smash those nerdy shoegazers in the face. Get ready to rock, and catch the Kicks now before they get all famous and shit. WSH

W/ Arlo; Blackbird, 3728 NE Sandy, 282-9949, 9 pm

CATS--Cat shows are the best, because there are all kinds of fur-less, rodent-looking animals there, but they're actually cats! Smoke some tobacco out of your five-foot graphix before you go. KD

Expo Center, 2060 North Marine Drive, Sat-Sun, $3.50-$4.50, 736-5200


JAZZ--Repetition rocks. That's why your old Crüe tee is looking so current, and why covers are as reassuring as a mug of Ovaltine. Sex Mob does up favorites like the Stones and the James Bond theme with enough spark and grit to make you forget that jazz ever wandered uptown. MS

w/ The Living Daylights, Selector E-3, DJ S-Dub & Kassino; Berbati's Pan, 231 SW Ankeny, 224-TIXX, 9 pm, $8-10


FILM--Saddle up, folks! 'Cause tonight, for one night only, Four Wall Cinema will be showing a special screening of James Benning's 1986 feature, Landscape Suicide. Juxtaposing two famous murderers, Wisconsin's Ed Gein (who cannibalized his victims) and California's Bernadette Protti (a 15-year-old who brutally stabbed a fellow cheerleader), Benning's landscapes paint an eerie and rarely seen look at the American underbelly. Don't miss it! WSH

Four Wall Cinema, 425 SE 3rd, Studio 400, 231-6548, 7:30 pm, $6 suggested donation


BLUESY PUNK--The Alabama duo Immortal Lee County Killers pumps up the usually soggy-bottomed blues of the Delta with postmodern angst and explode them like homemade pipe bombs. It's a lot of noise for only two guys: El Cheetah plays his slide guitar through three amps and the drummer smashes his set as if he's trying to kill a cockroach. Great stuff! PB

w/ Vue, The Hunches, Catahoula Hounds; Blackbird, 3728 NE Sandy, 282-9949, 9 pm, $7