Open-mike nights can be brutal. Just try having a relaxing drink with friends while some kook stumbles through “We Are the Champions.” It’s hard to have fun when you’re desperately trying to ignore someone whose misreading of the motivational anthem is so awful that Freddy Mercury himself might any minute rise from the grave to snatch away the microphone. That’s why we love Monday afternoons at Jilly’s (1744 Broadway). Around 4 p.m., the Consolidated Beat Institute (otherwise known as Shane Whitsitt and Dustin Hawkins) sets up shop on the modest stage to play preprogrammed beats, inviting other rhythm producers to join them for what they call the Think Tank.

Just after dusk on the first Monday of every month, Dale Benson and Dan Meyer of Lumascope Productions set up a digital projector for First Monday Films. “It’s like an open mike for film,” Benson says. “If you’ve got something, we’ll pop it in.” The boys share nicely — for about a half-hour, Benson and Meyer screen short films (an epic might last 15 minutes). Then the focus switches back to beats for a while. Benson can’t promise that the films won’t suck, but they can’t be that bad. Call 816-221-4977. — Michael Vennard

Cracker Tax
Is cricket the new poker?

FRI 7/30
Nominated for a Best Foreign Language Academy Award in 2002, Lagaan tells the story of a village in Victorian India. Forced to pay a crippling land tax by their evil British rulers, the villagers have the chance to bet double-or-nothin’ on the outcome of a 3-day cricket match, a sport completely foreign to them. Bloody English.

The movie screens outside at 9:30 p.m. Friday in the parking lot of St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church (3101 Troost). Life at St. Mary’s, according to its Web site, is “centered on the daily cycle of Orthodox prayer and church services.” The film might just overlap this cycle; it’s practically shot in real time, clocking in at just under 4 hours. Consider yourself warned. Call 816-931-4751 for details. — Annie Fischer

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