The Wayward Cloud
White Lecture Hall
Continuing its function as a reliable exhibitor of Asian art cinema, Duke's Screen/Society will show The Wayward Cloud, the latest effort from Taiwanese stalwart Tsai Ming-liang (The River; What Time is it There). Despite the gently bucolic title, this is a musical fantasy set in the world of pornography. Early reviews have found thematic affinities with such earlier Tsai films as the absurdist musical The Hole, and the focus on cinematic representation found in Goodbye Dragon Inn. The screening begins at 8 p.m. and is free. --David Fellerath
Sole, Sage Francis
"Detroit was interesting ... At the end of the night some girl was yapping my ear off about how much she loves poetry. The next thing I know, she attacks some other girl on the side of me and then takes a bite out of security's arm," Providence's Sage Francis told me in March, days before his last sold-out gig at the Cradle, backed by Sol.iLLaquists of Sound. That set came shortly after Francis included "Voice Mail Bomb Threat"--an answering machine recording of a diss-wad telling Sage, "Come to Detroit, and we will rip your shit apart"--on his excellent Epitaph debut A Healthy Distrust. Sage Francis is another-level lyricist, and he embraces his ultra-divisive role in hip hop by refusing to stand down. Protean opener Sole should have stood up to El-P way back when, as his own "Da Baddest Poet" is more engaging than half of Def Jux's catalogue. Tickets are $15, and the show starts at 9:30 p.m. --Grayson Currin
Quail Ridge Books
When is a letter more than one character? At 7 p.m. tonight. Conley discovered 76 uses for the letter X, and he'll tell you about them then.
Ant Scientists and Marine Biologists plot to capture the legendary lagoon goon, endearingly known as the Onion Head Monster. Local icon Paul Friedrich parades his post-hip pop-visionary cast of bumbling merrymakers in his new exhibit, impactful paintings. Based partly on his Onion Head Monster comics, Friedrich's new works use bright landscapes punctuated with bold striated lines. His colorful characters, spouting their absurd non-sequitors, bring to life Friedrich's delightful imagination. Indulge in the display of Friedrich's charming curmudgeons in the opening reception tonight at 7 p.m. --Virginia Daniel
Super Furry Animals
If media critics kept up with music critics' batting averages every time some scribe wrote "X is the next Y," we'd all be pitchers hitting ninth. Sure, there may be a grand slam now and then, but the league would be defined by big cuts and concomitantly massive massives. Oasis as The Beatles? Nay. The Welsh Super Furry Animals have certainly moved in that lineage over the past 12 years and seven albums, taking short pop songs (sung in Welsh for two EPs) and expanding them into psyched, teased and toyed opuses on ambitious albums of interwoven characters and collagist ethos. Their latest, Love Kraft, is their most advanced yet. Hamilton, Ontario's Caribou sees a rainbow of rhythm through a cracked kaleidoscope and a sugar injection. Pay $14-16 at 9:15 p.m. --Grayson Currin
Keith Norval & Anna Podris
Two Artspace artists who share an enthusiasm for the colorful and the unexpected, this joint installation between Norval and Podris runs through the end of the month and is open today until 6 p.m. Norval's work is an exercise in the playfully absurd, personifying animals in ways that reveal the innate inanity of human plights. His love of nature stems from his time as a child in Zimbabwe and his entomologist father, but--luckily--he's decided to call the Triangle home.
Second Saturday: Old Skool Hip Hop & '80s Jams
This monthly night of vinyl and volume matches steadfast spins from DJs Uzi, Beau and Silvaback with RoboSapien, a female electro duo. Chad and Whit transplanted to Chapel Hill from San Francisco, bringing their sass to the beat game in party rap and roll. Look for their EP out on the local FrequeNC vinyl imprint. Throw back at 10 p.m. --Chris Toenes
White Lecture Hall
There's a busy projectionist and two fine films to see at White tonight and Monday night. As part of an ongoing focus on contemporary Italian cinema, one of the finest films to emerge from that country, Gianni Amelio's Lamerica, will be shown at 8 p.m. What starts out as something of a political satire turns into a moving epic as we meet two con men who try to exploit political turmoil in Albania. Monday night, as part of a separate series entitled Genes and Screens, Michael Winterbottom's largely overlooked Code 46 will explore the ethics of in vitro fertilization, with Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton playing the leads. --David Fellerath
The Brewery hosts this regular hip-hop event, with open mics, MC battles and special guests. Don't miss a new, consistent chance to peek at some of the area's finest hip-hoppers capping off the weekend. Beats drop at 10 p.m. --Chris Toenes
Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
Colony Theatre-- Robert Greenwald's impassioned exposé of Wal-Mart's business plan gets the first of numerous Triangle screenings today.-- David Fellerath
Benevento Russo Duo
The Pour House
Jazz? Jam? Rock? Rollers? Sure, Ecstasy may enhance the Benevento Russo Duo experience if that's your tab of choice, or a deep appreciation of Monk or Jimmy Smith may lead you to the organ-and-drum pairing, loved by jam band fans for their Phish associations and lengthy improvisations and grooved on by rockers for their ability to catapult simple moments into sounds-like-more-than-two-piece heroics. Truth is, it's not easy to define the Duo's sound or determine why it's so worthy, but it's infinitely easy to enjoy on several levels. Decide for youself at 10 p.m. for $10. --Grayson Currin
Art Chansky--who has already written two books about Dean Smith--better be careful when he travels to Durham's Ninth Street, about a mile away from Cameron Indoor Stadium, with his new book, Blue Blood: Duke-Carolina--Inside the Most Storied Rivalry in College Hoops. Even though some Dukesters are already claiming the book takes a sky-blue slant and vilifies Duke Coach Krzyzewski, Chansky's book should at least spark some always-welcome pre-ACC debate. The reading starts at 7 p.m. As for the games: Feb. 7 in Chapel Hill and March 4 in Durham.
Lee Smith & Hal Crowther
In his essays, especially several in his latest collection Gather at the River: Notes from a Post-Millenial South, journalist and columnist for the Independent Weekly and The Oxford American often notes that his wife, Lee Smith, is the more famous Southern writer in the house. Perhap that's why joint readings between the two are so rare. They do come together, however, for this shared bill at NCSU at 7:30 p.m. They will also present the winners of the school's annual NC Fiction Contest, the largest in the state.
In The Year of the Pig
The Pigs root in a gooey metal-drone mash, but not without its melodic merits. In the midst of the fragmented noise of the drums and bass duo, who've recently added a third, one can discern a floating line of song, unkempt but melancholic and stirring all the same. The Lovekill and Tiger Bear Wolf open. Get swined at 10 p.m. and bring $6. --Chris Toenes