Help the Dykes, Wear a Dress

The Dykes need your help! That's right; without your support, hundreds of Dykes might not be able to participate in this year's Annual Dyke March (Saturday, June 14). That's why we're ordering you to do your part AND look pretty while you're doing it. This Thursday is a very special episode of SKERVY--PDX's fun-tabulous weekly dance party at the Cobalt Lounge for queers and their friends. Expect the same queer-flavored spins of DJ Zanne, mixing up dishes of tasty hiphop, ska, and sounds eclectic, but this week you gots to WEAR A DRESS, for reals! If you don't have a dress, you can buy one at the door for only $1. All donations will go to help the Dykes pay for march insurance, sign-making materials, and convertible car rentals, to make this year's March as spectacular as it can be. So if you like "hot dykes and their friends" says organizer Erin, then put on that sassy chiffon number from prom night '94 and git to the Cobalt. BRIAN BRAIT

Skervy Dyke March Benefit Dress Party, Thursday, May 22, 8pm, Colbalt Lounge, 32 NW Third Ave., $6 donation (more if you can, less if you can't)

Breakdance Class

In the '80s, the rise and subsequent fall of the breakdancing scene forced many B-Boys and B-Girls to go underground. However, renewed interest in the art form has spawned a resurrection, and local breaker Huy Pham (aka Knuckles, of Amplified Techniques Productions) is offering breakdancing lessons to those lost and wannabe breakers who are looking to find their way home.

Huy's goal is simple: to teach not only the moves, but also the culture. "These classes are going to get back to the foundations of breakdancing," says Huy. Rather than workshopping a couple of power moves (like head spins), the classes will be taught in a progressive manner, so students can know it all--from the music beats to the footwork. Classes will also feature occasional guest instructors who will focus on a particular style or move.

If you've ever been to a dance party and watched people shimmy down a "Soul Train" line doing the running-man, now is your chance to put those people to shame by busting out your new-and-improved breakdancing skills. Word. NICOLE WARREN

Tuesdays and Thursdays at Nocturnal, 1800 W Burnside. Beginners: 4 ¯ 5 pm; Intermediate: 5 ¯ 6 pm. Eight lessons (one month) cost $52 for beginners and $48 for intermediates.

Punk Chamber Ensemble

Tango and palm pilots. Theremin and Kurt Weill. Marimba and Russian folk music. If anyone knows the meaning of cultural detritus (and uses it in a daily application), it's Barbez: New York's chamber punk sextet. With a valiant pairing of sensibilities from past and future, the eclectic ensemble brings the feel of cabaret to their vagabond music. They pair traditional instruments (such as guitar and voice) with more extraordinary ones (such as a one-of-a-kind "musical palm pilot," theremin, and melodica), and perform a selection of covers ranging from The Residents to Kurt Weill to traditional folk songs. However, they include their own selection of Eastern European-influenced acoustic punk, lilting melodies with a sense of danger about them, songs sung in Russian by stellar vocalist Ksenia Vidyaykina--who uses her profound gift for choreography to "pepper" Barbez's performances with a sampling of tango and other graceful types of motion, plus costume changes. With six members whose musical resumes include Brian Eno, The Boredoms, Geggy Tah, The Sea and Cake, and Guv'ner, you can gather they're coming from a very special place. It'll be like traveling to an enchanted land, but without having to get an international driver's license. JULIANNE SHEPHERD

Saturday May 24, Dante's, 1 SW 3rd, 226-6630, 9 pm, $7


Portland Area Robotics Society (PARTS) is holding its fourth annual robotics exposition

, featuring cutthroat, Japanese-style, robotic Sumo championships, obstacle courses, a walking robots race (no wheels allowed), and a futuristic Robot Talent Show.

According to Warren Leach, Vice President of PARTS, the focus is on autonomous robots using no manual or radio controls. Unlike television's Battlebots, these automatons think for themselves, utilizing the newest technology. "Our robots are much smaller and a lot smarter," he notes.

Leach says visitors will observe the joys of victory, as well as the agony of technology gone awry. "In the heat of battle, batteries can unexpectedly go dead, software bugs suddenly appear, or wheels simply fall off. But when it works and puts up a good fight, it's quite exciting."

Then there's the audience-judged Talent Show. This year's entrants include a humanoid animatronic robot, an asparagus picker, and even a stair-climbing robot. At past events, fan favorites have included a self-guided lawn mower, as well as a robot that can fetch brewskies from the fridge. Plus tons of products will be raffled off including (gasp!) a portable LCD oscilloscope donated by Tektronix! Lemme at it! JOHN DOOLEY

PDXBOT.03, Sunday, May 25, in the Smith Center Ballroom on the PSU campus, from 10 am¯5 pm, free.