The Finnish language is so diplomatic. Did you know it has a word (hän) that means he or she? Forget what you've heard about metal bands and ritualistic suicides, Finland is a real cool time. And at FinnFest 2004, you can learn all about the language, food, and people and enjoy folk dancing, live music, and lectures. Learn important Finnish sayings such as Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa ("A house is not a home without a sauna") and Tiedän hyvän diskon ("I know a good discotheque"). Impress your friends! Check out FinnFest Thursday through Sunday at Gulfstream Hotel, 1 Lake Worth Ave., Lake Worth. Call 561-540-6000, or visit www.finnfest2004.com.
Patrice Lumumba was in office as the Republic of the Congo's prime minister only a few months before he was assassinated by Belgian soldiers. His is a depressingly familiar story -- the African liberation martyr who stood up for his country and was shot down -- and director Raoul Peck's depiction of Lumumba has all the troubling specifics. His film captures a nation in chaos after the Congo declared its independence from Belgium in 1960 and Lumumba became prime minister. Of course, in his outspokenness and in his commitment to liberate the country from foreign domination, he gained a slew of enemies, including the American CIA and dictator-in-training Joseph Mobutu, who engineered Lumumba's assassination on January 17, 1961. In honor of Black History Month, Florida Atlantic University (777 Glades Rd., Boca Raton) screens Lumumba at 7 p.m. Call 561-297-2971.
What says "I love you" better than sappy cards and almost-dead flowers? Courtroom dramas, of course! Check out the final performance of The Anastasia Trials in the Court of Women, an interactive play about five women who betrayed Anastasia Romanov (or at least the woman who claimed to be Anastasia), who was said to be the last surviving daughter of the Tsar of Russia. There's passion, intrigue, feminist rhetoric, sociopolitical humor, and the audience delivers the verdict! How could you choose a romantic dinner at Bennigan's over that? The play starts at 8 p.m. at the Old Davie School Museum (6650 Griffin Rd., Davie). Tickets cost $20. Call 954-797-1044.
Rhode Island hip-hop artist Sage Francis doesn't hate the player; he hates the company. And that company is Clear Channel. Can you blame him? With holdings that include approximately 1,225 radio stations and 130 concert venues, Clear Channel's sketchy business practices, shady radio deals, and orgiastic monopolization of virtually every live concert space in the country have drawn much attention to their billion-dollar baby. They've even had dalliances with the Roman Catholic Church, fer chrissakes. Evil! So it only makes sense that the Fuck Clear Channel Tour -- featuring Sage Francis, Grand Buffet, Joe Beats, the Gimme Fund, and Mac Lethal -- is invading only non-Clear Channel-sponsored venues. And that's no small feat. When pressed as to why he decided to organize this musical protest, Sage delivered this cryptic statement via e-mail: "We are victims of a fast food culture. The empire will topple and people will take control again, and then another empire will rise and we will repeat this cycle until humans are smart enough to learn from their own history." Yes, Sage is somewhat of an enigma wrapped in a riddle and mixed down with some tasty beats, but he also isn't afraid to say he'd kick the shit out of Eminem or Fred Durst for wearing his hat backward. Help Sage and friends say "Fuck Clear Channel" at I/O (30 NE 14th St., Miami) at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $10, and the show is for those 18 and older. Call 305-358-8007. (AS)
Misook Doolittle. Does the name ring a bell? Is she a magician or a fashion designer? Actually, a little of both. Using a miraculous kind of yarn, Doolittle makes classy women's clothes that do not wrinkle and can be machine-washed! The genius herself is in town today for a trunk show -- a special event where you can custom-order pieces from her collection that aren't available on the rack at Nordstrom. Ladies who, uh, have a lot of junk in their own trunks may be especially interested, as this show takes place at a store specializing in plus-size fashions: the Lisa Todd Boutique (2200 Glades Rd., Boca Raton). Champagne and hors d'oeuvres will be served. The event is free and starts at 11 a.m. Call 561-395-1930.
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So you've finally accepted the fact that it's time to liberate your walls from the country duck motif that's plagued them for years. You're ready to tear down the wood paneling, update the shag carpet, and maybe even pull the ceramic gnomes out of the yard. You considered signing up for an episode of Trading Spaces, but you know the neighbors will just hang a Velvet Elvis where the "Dogs Playing Poker" used to be. No worries. Martha Stewart may be on her way to the pokey, but Katharine Kaye McMillan and Patricia Hart McMillan are here for you. The mother-and-daughter team that wrote Home Decorating for Dummies speaks at the Delray Beach Public Library (29 SE Fourth Ave., Delray Beach) at 6:30 p.m. Not that you're dumb; just stylistically challenged. Admission is free. Call 561-266-0194.
Still fiddling with the back of your new digital camera, trying to figure out where the film goes? Perhaps you could use some help from the instructors at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre (55 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach). Don't bother paying the thousand-dollar tuition for a workshop; you can soak up much of the same information during the Wednesday-night lecture series, which costs only five bucks per session. Tonight, learn the best way to scan and print images from Dan Burkholder, who was making digital prints back in 1992, when you still thought windows were glass panels in the wall. Brenda Tharp, whose clients include National Geographic and the Sierra Club, also imparts some 411 in the form of a lecture called "Outdoor and Nature Photography." Starts at 7:30 p.m. Visit www.workshop.org, or call 561-276-9797.