With songs such as "Who Has Seen My Sombrero from Yarey?" and "Cuban Salad", Candido Fabre and his band have carved out a distinctive place for themselves in the Latin American songbook. The versatile sonero is something of a megastar in his home country, famous for writing more than 1,000 songs, and performing stunning vocal improvisations. Now Candido comes to conquer Europe with his 15-strong band. Shake the dust off those Cuban heels and groove.

Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast (01232 242338) 10.30pm


Glasgow gets the horn (and the rest of the band) this week, with music from every part of the syncopated spectrum. Over the next few days audiences can enjoy the BBC Big Band, check out smooth popster George Benson, or investigate James Morrison's Hot Horn Happening. Those who've worked their way through the jazz dens of Merchant City and absorbed the Brewhouse Blues can sail off into a glorious jazz sunset tonight, cruising down the river on the Steamboat Shuffle.

Times and venues vary. Info: 0141-552 3572, tickets: 0141-227 5511


If they didn't already exist, David Lynch would have invented them. Be- quiffed and bewildered, The Cowboys (below) are a troop of sulky, adolescent Finns who parody the cliches of rockdom and glory in their status as "worst rock band in the world". Although this claim is debateable (what about Kajagoogoo?), the boys can be counted on for a professionally humorous performance, and will be supported by weird Finnish girl-band, Varttina.

Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank, London SE1 (0171-960 4242) 7.45pm

Saturday 29


Sporting a sleek bob and the well-drawn rosebud lips of the true femme fatale, Louise Brooks gives an erotically charged performance in this 1928 classic of Expressionist cinema. Directed by GW Pabst, the film follows a flower girl whose succession of lovers leads her from Berlin to murder on the streets of London. Richard McLaughlin and his Cine sextet will be providing a live soundtrack for the silent tragedy.

The Barbican Cinema, Silk St, London EC2 (0171-638 8891) 3pm, pounds 7.50


The largest celebration of Latin American culture in Europe swings into action today, with a feast of spicy rhythms ranging from Jesus Alemany's Cubanismo, to the Afro-Venezuelan Group Madera, jetting in direct from Caracas. Dump your gringo gear and peruse the clothes and food stalls on the river. Salsa, ethnic tango, merengue and salchicha sounds should have the most world-weary Londoners joining the fiesta.

Coin St Festival, Gabriel's Wharf/Bernie Spain Gdns, London SE1 (0171- 401 3610) 1pm-8pm, Sat and Sun, free


Cambridge: the soporific dip of oars in water, the quiet rasp of professors' tongues as they lick their index fingers and turn another page of manuscript, the gentle thump as another Pimms glass falls from the hands of a drunken undergraduate... Well, not this year. The city that pays men in bowler hats to shout at you when you walk on the grass is loosening up with a series of outdoor events that will fill every hallowed quad in the city with boisterous festivities. a children's festival opens with a guided tour of the city, storytelling and street entertainment in Market Square.

For tour tickets phone: 01223 357851, 10am-12noon; Storytelling at Wulfstan Way 11am-12noon, Laundress Green 1.30-4pm


Strange goings on in Upper Street today. As Islington's festival draws to a close, organisers are cordoning off the broad boulevard and squeezing in as much bohemian performance art as possible. Highlights include High Rise Rubber's infestation of giant insects (right) and a plan to turn the street into an open-air gallery by filling it with artworks. French aerialistes Les Passagers promise to abseil down a building, painting a giant canvas as they go, and the event winds up with a parade of Belgian stilt-walkers. Upper St, Islington, London N1 (0171-833 3131) 11am-11pm

Sunday 30


Genteel Chichester will be ablaze with artistic luminaries over the coming weeks, as the festival (above) ensures that its Sussex streets are awash with the likes of Lynda La Plante (in conversation), Loyd Grossman (who promises the world on a plate) and Melvyn Bragg who usually offers culture on a plate to listeners of Radio 4's Start the Week. As well as good stalking opportunities, the festival offers music, theatre, film and exhibitions. Among the works on show will be pieces by local sculptor Philip Jackson, and faux antique paintings by David Cox.

Paradise, Chichester Cathedral, 10.15am-5pm. For further information, or to book other events call: 01243-780192


If you haven't got a festival going on in your town this week, have a moan to your local bigwigs - everyone else has. Warwick is perhaps more stylish than many, set as it is in the grounds of the city's medieval castle. Tonight an audience of 15,000 is expected for a firework concert performed by the hardy Royal Philharmonic. Conductor Owain Arwel Hughes no doubt trains them up for the bangers and rockets with a few unexpected blows on the kettle drums.

Pageant Fields, Warwick (01926 410747) gates open 6.30pm, concert begins at 8.15pm, pounds 16.50


This Surrey beauty spot was a favourite of Jane Austen's, who used it as a venue for her heroine Emma's infamous snub to the boring Miss Bates. 's Country Day will be less scandalous, with visitors enjoying the gentle pursuits of dance, craft demonstrations, and countryside displays on the Donkey Green.

Box Hill, nr Dorking, Surrey (01306 885502) 11am-5.30pm, pounds 2.50


Brave visitors to the Old Warden Aerodrome in Bedfordshire will have the chance to fly planes from the 1920s and 1930s today. Anyone willing to fork out pounds 40 can strap on their goggles and take up one of de Havilland's famous bi-planes. Tiger moths prove the most popular craft for these 15-minute jaunts, but the runway will also offer Hornet, Puss and Leopard varieties. Expect the air to be thick with magnificent men in their flying machines.

The Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden Aerodrome, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire (0891-323310) 10am-5pm, pounds 1

Monday 1


In the competitively frightening world of theme parks, new rides are launched every year with the express purpose of whitening more knuckles and emptying more stomachs than ever before. The latest fun to be had at Thorpe Park (favourite of little Wills and Princess Diana) is No Way Out (above). Four years in the planning, this hell wagon can take more than 1,000 passengers an hour. Their treat? To experience the only ride in Britain that "plummets backwards in total darkness". Why not save your money and just step into the next empty lift shaft you happen to be passing?

Thorpe Park, Staines Rd, Chertsey, Surrey (0990 880 880), 10am-6pm, family ticket for four pounds 40


If you're just beginning to dodge friends' holiday slides and interminable anecdotes, this might be a good time to get along to the Voice Box, where far more interesting, professional storytellers will regale you with exotic tales from faraway shores. Stories from Kazakhstan, India and Australia mean you can lie back and enjoy some armchair travelling without paying for all those nasty jabs and expensive rolls of film.

The Voice Box RFH, South Bank, London SE1 (0171-960 4242) 7.30pm pounds 8


The traditional displays of prize livestock and vegetables, cream teas and children's drawings will be joined by more modern handiwork at this year's Royal Show, where traditional half-timbered houses will be on display. Built by a Hertfordshire company, they are selling like hot-cakes abroad. In Japan there is already an "Elizabethan" timbered university campus, and plans are afoot to construct a Shakespearian theme park from the stuff. You saw it here first.

National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire (01203-696969) 8am-8pm


Sylvia Klein, a Brazilian punkette with a divine voice is principal soloist with the Ars Nova choir. She makes her London debut tonight, accompanied by pianist Wagner Sandler (below), with a selection of upbeat Brazilian folk songs, arias and Minas Baroque music.

St John's, Smith Square, London SW1 (0171-222 1061) 7.30pm, pounds 6-12

Tuesday 2


Bradford Youth Orchestra and pupils from local schools show off their learning today, performing The Fruit of the Knowhow Tree. Their Kathak dance, music and design combine to produce a stunning South Asian performance that is just one of the events in Bradford's festival calendar. This evening, residents can get along to the Buttershaw Rec, where live bands, fun fairs and The Grand Theatre of Lemmings provide a diverting end to the day.

Youth Orchestra at Windsor Baths, Bradford 1.30pm amd 7pm pounds 1.50-3.50 (01274-309199). Touring Parks Festival, Farfield Ave Recreation Ground, Buttershaw 6-9pm


An "Iron John" while most men were still sucking up to the feminists, Sam Shepard (above) is an icon of macho US manhood. Just look at his history: broke the High School League's track record on Benzadrine, "rode everything with hair" in 1960s New York, dodged the Draft by pretending to be a heroin addict. And, of course, he's a great playwright. A two-week season of his work kicks off today with A Lie of the Mind, which explores the dreamscapes of America through a violent relationship and plenty of gutbucket humour.

BAC, Lavender Hill, London SW11 (0171-223 2223) 7.30pm, pay what you can


The man who was Alf Garnett's nasty neighbour In Sickness and in Health has since made a living as a director, playwright and comic genius, performing shows such as his much-acclaimed comedy Jamais Vu. In this new piece, Ken spins out fantastic yarns from his 30 years in the theatre. After tonight's performance he will be fielding questions from the audience.

Royal Court, Sloane Square, London SW1 (0171-730 1745) 7.30pm, pounds 5-15

Wednesday 3


Willy Wonka's fabulous chocolate works come to life tonight in Arena Theatre Company's new production of the children's favourite. Watch as Charlie rips off the winning gold wrapper, gasp as he teams up with the obnoxious Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregard, Mike Teavee and Augustus Gloop. Hunger as together the children discover lickable wallpaper and everlasting gobstoppers. A top treat for the Oompa-Loompas.

The Regent Theatre, Christchurch, Dorset (01202 499148) 7.30pm, pounds 6


For many years, apartheid meant that South Africa's creative talents were far less recognised than those of other African nations. Now people can get a taste of South African dance and music in a festival that unites more than 100 artists. Tonight's launch will feature the Ngqoko Women's Ensemble from the Eastern Cape, whose haunting split-tone and overtone ancestral songs are rarely heard in Europe. The songs will be performed by elaborately costumed Xhosa women, and accompanied by single-string gourd and mouth bows.

The October Gallery, Gloucester St, London WC1 (0171-242 7367) 8-10pm, pounds 7


An oven-ready chicken is trying to escape from The Great Xar's kitchen, threatened on all sides by an arsenal of kitchen implements. As the kitchen comes to life, we see the chicken flee the cold comfort of the fridge and begin a remarkable odyssey. Sound like a half-baked idea? Well, this theatrical folly (above), which combines magic, music, and puppetry, was cooked up by Alexander Sturgis and former Independent writer Giles Smith (among others): head chefs in the creative kitchen of fringe theatre.

Pentameters, Three Horseshoes Pub, 28 Heath St, London NW3 (0171-435 3648) 8pm pounds 7.50

Thursday 4


"Facts are stupid" declared Ronnie Reagan in 1988, and with this brave declaration of free-thinking American independence, Blast Theory launch themselves into an exhilarating exploration of modern America. Spread over a 36ft wide, panoramic stage, theatre, dance, video and computer visuals combine to create a supersonic mix of Americana, packed with icons, headlines and dubious Fortean "facts" drawn from the wilder pages of The National Enquirer. A refreshing exercise in free speech, Something American boasts that it will stamp your brain with subliminal messages and mutated rock'n'roll.

The Purcell Rm, The South Bank, London SE1 (0171-960 4242) 7pm, 9.15pm, pounds 8


"With a thrill in my head and a pill on my tongue, listening to Marvin all night long..." Ahh, dreamy Tony Hadley, he of the heavy flick and kilt, frontman for Spandau Ballet and smoothy idol for a lost generation of teeny popsters. If you ever wondered what happened to him after the heady days of "Gold", here's your chance to find out. The Kemps went off to Hollywood and turned into the Kray brothers, leaving Tony to pursue a solo career. Tonight he sings a medley of Spandau hits and self-penned material.

Ronnie Scott's, Broad St, Birmingham (0121-643 4525) 9.30pm, pounds 16


An over-the-rainbow scenario for gay male artists, who can display their work at the Coombs Contemporary Gallery and the Gallery Differentiate without the opprobrium of mainstream curators and clients. Friends of Dorothy find full expression here, with homoerotic paintings by Neil Canning, Ian Rank Broadley and Dick French, and bronze sculpture and collage by Michael Green.

Coombs Contemporary Gallery, Butler's Wharf, London SE1 (0171-403 6866) 12pm-6pm. Gallery Differentiate, Tower Bridge Piazza, London SE1 (0171- 357 8909) 10am-6pm

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