HIPHOP--Okay, three things I like about LL Cool J: 1) His name stands for Ladies Love Cool James. 2) He decided long ago to forgo gangsta rap in favor of lyrics that would make the ladies juicy. And, 3) he's the author of "Hey Lover," which contains one my favorite quotable rap lyrics, "He can't stop me from having daydreams/ Tongueing you down with (uhh!) vanilla ice cream." Feel the magic. WSH
Roseland, 8 NW 6th, 224-TIXX, 8 pm, $30, all ages

BOXING--When done right--and not by hatchet-men such as Mike "I Will Eat Your Babies" Tyson--boxing can be a graceful sport, which demands as much restraint as unleashed power. With local boxers and fighters, all hand-picked by Oscar De La Hoya, tonight's bout promises to be a beautiful display of what boxing can be. In the main event, Carlos "El Terror" Madrigal (21-2; 14 knockouts) defends his bantam-weight title. PB
Rose Garden, One Center Court, 797-9615, 6 pm, $20-80.75

MUSIC--With the back-alley swagger and sneer that usually accompanies gangs of street toughs, The Dishes wield their guitars like switchblades, and slash with a charged battery of devil-may-care, punk rock and roll--You'd want them on your side in a rumble, for sure. JS
Blackbird, 3728 NE Sandy, 282-9949, 9 pm, $7

FRIDAY, July 19

FILM/LECTURE--Cinematic disaster or the most brilliant movie ever made? Find out with tonight's "Summer Movie Megathon" entry, Showgirls. And to make things doubly interesting, guest commentator David Schmader (Straight) will occasionally interrupt the film to expound on its brilliance. Hilarious? You betcha! Plus there's beer!! WSH
Guild Theater, 829 SW 9th, 221-1156, bar opens at 10:30 pm, film at 11, $5

MRS. PORTLAND MERCURY--As a former beauty pageant contestant, I can safely say that the Mrs. Portland Mercury Beauty Pageant is completely inappropriate and ludicrous. I happen to know that the hosts are planning on serving alcohol, endorsing full frontal nudity, and showcasing talent a decent person would never see in a real beauty pageant. I urge you, in the name of Katie Harman, to boycott this ungodly event. But I have heard that the contestants are "nice-looking." KD
Berbati's Pan, 231 SW Ankeny, 248-4579, 8:30 pm, $4


MUSIC--Hippity hop your rap-smackin' heiny to J-Live, who was kind enough to apply his formal scholastic grammatical skills to the far more badass skool of rad, smooth MCs. Pay attention to the lyrics, cause he's not just running at the mouth. MS
Fez, 316 SW 11th, 224-TIXX, 9 pm, $12-15

MUSIC--A duo from Chicago, The Fire Show's pairing of disturbed, disjointed vocals with invasive, jarring guitar and electronics, makes their futuristically complicated melodies that much more haunting. Pretty, rocking, and also sort of unsettling, in the way only people with visions this developed can be. JS
Blackbird, 3728 NE Sandy, 282-9949, 9 pm, $7


VAGABONDS!--Someday I'll pop an eye and disappear into the underworld of roving carnies. Meanwhile, I'll live vicariously through The Yard Dogs Road Show, a spontaneous troupe that boasts film shorts, sword swallowing, music, poetry, and art sprung from transience and Godspeed. MS
Dante's, 1 SW 3rd Ave, 226-6630, 9 pm, $6

MOTORCYCLE RACING--To maximize speed around the track's twists and turns, the riders lean at nearly 45 degree angles to the ground, their knees only two to three inches from the pavement. This is all done at, ohh, about 100 mph. PB
Portland International Raceway, I-5 Exit 306-B, 221-1487, Qualifying Heats at 10 am, Finals at 1 pm, $10

MONDAY, July 22

READING--Haven't you always wanted to know what it's like to be a dominatrix? Or to be an male prostitute who just services women? Or just to hear some of these people talk about this stuff? Find out in the panel called "Sex Worker Literati," featuring fantastic writers Shawna Kenney, David Sterry, and Cara Bruce. KD
Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside, 7:30 pm, free

TUESDAY, July 23

METAL--I don't know about you, but I hate life the most on Tuesday. You're only one day into the week, you have stupid Wednesday to look forward to, and there's never anything fun going on besides a gut-busting rerun of Frasier. This week, however, you can look forward to Tuesday because a seriously righteous metal band is playing. Zao combines the tightest math rock with scratchy black metal vocals that, believe me, will make you want to headbang like it's still the '90s. Watch out though, their riffs are so hot, you might spontaneously combust. KS
w/Hai Halud, Unearth, From Autumn to Ashes, Underoath, and Coheed to Cambria; Meow Meow, 527 SE Pine, 230-2111, 9 pm, $12


FILM--Critics have been falling over themselves like penguins fighting for an electric blanket over Fast Runner, the first all-Inuit cast and Inuit directed film... and, oh yeah, winner of the Palm d'Or. Love, betrayal, murder, a naked man chased across the frozen tundra. Who says that nothing happens north of the Arctic Circle? PB
Cinema 21, 616 NW 21 st, 7 pm, $6