David Cruise & Allison Griffiths
Cruise and Griffiths have put together what the historical literature community has been waiting on for decades: an epic, historical novel about... Vancouver, BC!? Yee-haw! Annie Bloom's Books, 7834 SW Capitol Hwy, 246-0053, 7:30 pm, free


* Nora E. Coon
Stuff like this is great: Coon's a FOURTEEN-year-old who has been published numerous times and has now edited a book called It's Your Rite: Girls' Coming of Age Stories. God bless her. Barnes & Noble (Jantzen Beach), 1720 N Jantzen Beach, 283-2800, 7:30 pm, free

Joe Kurmaskie
I don't trust anyone who refers to himself as a "metal cowboy," but that's exactly what travel writer Kurmaskie does in Riding Outside the Lines, his book about biking around and hanging out in nudist colonies and whatnot. Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St, 228-4651, 7:30 pm, free


* A Traveler's Guide to Mars
What would a vacation to Mars be like? Pretty dusty, I imagine, but also fascinating. William Hartmann's new book features attractions like the universe's biggest volcano and a canyon that makes the Grand Canyon look like a crack in the sidewalk. Tonight he'll read and present a slideshow. Bring your asthma inhaler. Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St, 228-4651, 7:30 pm, free

Kirk Read
It's wonderful that gay fiction is on the up-and-up, but at the same time these tales of young gays navigating hormone-drowned high school, then coming of age, and finally coming out, are getting a wee bit cliché. Still, Read's How I Learned to Snap is getting good reviews. Twenty-Third Avenue Books, 1015 NW 23rd Ave, 224-5097, 7:30 pm, free

visual arts

And Even More Everyday Sunshine
Harrell Fletcher spent days at the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice interviewing clients and staff about bodily scars. Photographs of the scars and their histories are on display, making for an odd sort of queasy humanity. Mead Building, 421 SW 5th Ave, Through August

* Canvas: Art on Skateboards by Skateboarders
A title that pretty much says it all, except that the artists featured at this installation include, in addition to local skateboarders, team managers, board artists and designers, some true legends like Tim Kerr and John Lucero. Department of Skateboarding, 15 NE Hancock, 493-9480, through August

Sing it for me one more time! Alicia J. Rose's successful Springtime debut exhibition Histrionic returns to a new venue. Same photos, but at a new venue with longer, more consistent hours. Villa Villakula, 2810 NE Everett, Through Aug. 31, Wed-Sat 9 am-8 pm

* Meeting a Small Tree
Natascha Snellman's work dips a doubting finger into the wounds of tenderness, without ever veering into maudlin sentimentality, which is a wondrous artistic achievement. Meeting a Small Tree concerns a business man who undergoes a subtle spiritual awakening of sorts after meeting a lone green tree. PDX Window Project, 612 NW 12th, Through Sept. 6

* Jet boats to The Modern Zoo
I pity the fool who drove out to Highway 30 to the Modern Zoo, forgetting that the St. Johns Bridge is closed. I pity you because I was once one of you. This First Thursday, however, the folks at PCAC are offering free jet boat rides to the Modern Zoo. Boats depart from the Riverplace Marina, 1750 SW Harbor Way, every 45 minutes. Portland Center for the Advancement of Culture, 6635 N Baltimore, 481-7450, Thurs 6-9 pm, Boat rides are free

* Ryan Jeffery: Short Films
Be sure to stop on by this little show while out on your First Thursday ramblings. Jeffery's flickering, haunting film vignettes announce the arrival of a promising new talent. Soundvision, 625 NW Everett #108, 238-7007, Thurs 6 pm, free