6 things to do this week

 1  Xtreme music

See some 50 bands packed into eight stages over a dozen city blocks in downtown Modesto this Saturday. The ninth annual Xclamation Festival, X-Fest for short, returns with a slew of popular headliners. Performing are "American Idol" runner-up Blake Lewis, pop punkers Simple Plan, grunge rockers Candlebox, reggae rockers Pepper, classic rockers Y&T and alterna rockers Eve 6. The outdoor event also features merchandise, food and drink vendors and motocross demonstrations. Visit www.xfestmodesto.com.

WHEN: 5 p.m. gates, 6 p.m. music Saturday

WHERE: Downtown Modesto

TICKETS: $20 in advance, $40 at the gate

CALL: 524-1400

 2  Rock out

Sludge-rock act and cult favorites The Melvins bring its signature sound to Modesto. The band is known for its slow, sludgy, post-punk metal music. Since its founding in the '80s, it has amassed a cult following. The group was an inspiration for many of the Seattle bands that pioneered grunge, including Nirvana and Mudhoney. Its latest CD, "Nude in Boots," came out last week.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Monday

WHERE: Fat Cat Music House & Lounge, 930 11th St., Modesto


CALL: 524-1400

 3  Child's play

The Oak Valley Art Society and Friends of the Escalon Library invite families to come out for the Make It & Take It Art Day for Children. Activities include pastel painting, clothes-pin dolls, decorating flower pots, stencil painting and pasta/bean art.

WHEN: 10 a.m.-noon Saturday

WHERE: Escalon Branch Library, 1540 Second St.


CALL: 866-805-7323

 4  'Desdemona'

Get a feminist perspective on Shakespeare's tragedy "Othello" with Paul Vogel's "Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief." Alternately comic and bleak, the show imagines the lives of Desdemona, her maid Emilia and the prostitute Bianca in Cyprus.

WHEN: 8 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday; through Aug. 10

WHERE: Prospect Theater Project, 520 Scenic Drive, Modesto


CALL: 549-9341

 5  Turf war

The Modesto Film Society continues its season with the Academy Award-winning musical "West Side Story." The story of rival gangs and star-crossed lovers Maria and Tony updates Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" story and brings it to the streets of New York in the 1950s. The film features music by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim and was co-written and choreographed by Jerome Robbins. It took home 10 Oscars, including best picture, best supporting actor and actress, directing and cinematography.

WHEN: 3:30 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: State Theatre, 1307 J St., Modesto

TICKETS: $8 public, $5 members

CALL: 527-4697

 6  Merced fair time

The Merced County Fair continues its run with big-name entertainment. The 117th agricultural expo features traditional fair fun, as well as concerts. Headlining tonight are Motown favorites The Spinners, followed by country queen Terri Clark on Saturday and Mexican ranchera singer Yolanda del Rio on closing night, Sunday. All shows are free with the price of admission.

WHEN: 5 p.m.-12:30 a.m. today, 3 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Saturday-Sunday

WHERE: Merced County Fairgrounds, 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Merced

TICKETS: $8 general (ages 13 and older), $3 children (ages 6-12), free age 5 and under

CALL: 722-1507

& 2 to plan ahead for
Cowboy Collectibles Roadshow

, July 26-27, Oakdale

Fiji Festival

, July 26, Graceada Park, Modesto