* 9th Annual Valentine's Invitational
Hey cheap-asses! Here's your chance to score some serious-quality art at prices you like, while routing half of the money to the nonprofit outfit p:ear. Reading Frenzy hosts a silent auction of primo artists such as Kristan Kennedy, Bwana Spoons, Tara Jane O'Neil, and Vanessa Renwick, so you know what that means--the artists basically give shit away, and you make out like a bandit! Reading Frenzy, 921 SW Oak, 274-1449, Thursday, 6-9 pm

Hatching an Art Center
Portland, we have a new art center. From the ashes of the defunct PCAC arises PAC, who hopes to boost the Eastside art scene as well as Portland art in general. While we wish the fledgling center all the best, please excuse our inaugural skepticism. The opening exhibition, auction, and festivities are all chicken-themed (no, I'm serious). Chickens will be on hand for visitors to sketch, and the resultant drawings will be sold as a fundraiser. Several well-respected local artists have donated chicken-related works for a silent auction, and artists Andy Brown and Jason Frank have created a (what's another word for chicken-themed?) video installation for the space. First of all--NOBODY GIVES A SHIT ABOUT CHICKENS! They taste good, and their popularity threatens the cattle industry. Period. Secondly, it's hard not to resent the curatorial impulse to have really good artists like Tom Cramer and Laura Ross Paul make lesser artwork to fit your thematic whim. How about this idea for an opening exhibition: "Here are ten mind-blowing artists who don't get shown enough locally, and we're going to make their work look so good that they will instantly be players"? Curators should be anthropologists, not marionettes. Best of luck to the new Portland Art Center. Portland Art Center, 2045 SE Belmont, 239-5481, Grand Opening Friday, 7 pm, closes Feb 19

Blessed I Cursed
Portland photographer Liam Drain has based his brand of portrait photography on the musical stylings of the Swedish glam band ABBA. Bedazzling soullessness calls for one tool, and one tool only--hello, Star Filter! Artists Thom Heileson and Daniyel Hicks are also in Blessed I Cursed. Newspace, 1632 SE 10th, 963-1935, Opening reception Friday, 7 pm, closes Feb 27

* Kristan Kennedy, Claire Cowie, Amanda Wojick
Three awesome Northwest artists. All women. All of whom use pink effectively, without kitsch. All making quite good artwork. Elizabeth Leach Gallery, 417 NW 9th Ave., 224-0521