Today's M u l t i Ticket Stub feature will encompass a wide variety of recommended leisure activities, from theater to your summer reading list to the multiplex. Get out there, folks, only a few weeks of summer left...(shiver):

* Mad Hot Ballroom -- This is truly my favorite movie of 2005 to date, and you can take that as you will, but GO SEE IT. NYC public school kids taking a ballroom dancing class for P.E. -- the premise doesn't convey the wonderfully poised, gawky, funny, honest moments the movie catches on the faces and feet of these middle schoolers. Far less heartwrenching than Hoop Dreams, and much more upbeat than Spellbound, which seems like a festival of schadenfreude by comparison. (A+)

* Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim -- David Sedaris' latest recollections of his nutty family show a maturity and self-reflectiveness that somehow make the antics even funnier: the tale of his raunchy brother ("The Rooster") getting married is a highlight. His writing is so impossibly smooth, the poignant lines sneak right up on you. (A)

* Slanguage and The Syringa Tree -- OK, so it's too late for you to catch either show on the Boston theater scene, but keep a lookout in the future. Utterly different in production, both shows explore identity and how it's shaped by childhood environment: in one case the barrios and ghettos of northern Manhattan, in the other a divided household in apartheid-era South Africa. Creating a unique language of expression is central to each -- the performers of Universes, who developed Slanguage out of the NuYorican poetry slam scene, literally bang out their words with their bodies and voices onstage. Pamela Gien, the one-woman theater troupe who play all characters (young and old, black and white) in TST evokes a whole world with just her body, swinging on a swing across an empty stage. Both are powerful. (B) and (A)

* The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency -- I'm not a mystery person, but I fell swiftly under the spell of this book...probably because it's not a mystery, even though cases get solved and the plot unfolds in neat, satisfying, Austen-esque steps. Mma Ramotswe, the titular lady detective, tells her own engaging story of life, love, and death in Botswana in between tracking down philandering husbands and man-eating crocodiles...or both. (B+)

* The Quilts of Gee's Bend at the MFA -- The quilts are amazing, but you should make tracks over to Huntington Ave for the sociological smorgasbord in the exhibit room alone. With the continued self-examination of Boston (link to yesterday's Globe article on cross-cultural socializing) as a city stonily divided along race and class lines, this exhibit drew a most diverse crowd: young families, wizened grandmas, polished businesswomen, each represented in black, white, brown, and more. But best of all, it was the biggest lesbian pickup scene since Sister Spit; I felt like we were extras in an L Word episode. (Q)

* Centre Street Cafe in Jamaica Plain -- At this perenially popular slow food joint, I had the salad of my life, a huge panzanella with perfectly ripe red, yellow and purple farmer's market tomatoes, cukes, onion, olives, chewy bread cubes, and rich olive oil. OK, maybe it was more of a fattoush. Whatever, it was well worth the trip. (A+) for salad, (B) overall.

* Wedding Crashers -- I admit, my expectations were low, despite many recommendations from fellow Vince Vaughn-o-philes. And he does make the movie: Owen Wilson is starting to dry up like an old flip-flop, and Vince was on fire with his signature random ad-libbing all over the place ("Im gonna choose not to eat with ya..."). The plot is cookie-cutter bedroom farce, which goes down easily enough, but the quirky casting (Christopher Walken and Jane Seymour are married, yet hardly interact onscreen) is wasted by the frantic hopping from joke to joke. That is, until the ponderous last 20 minutes, when it suddenly turns into a chick flick -- the best guy friends fight, grow up a little, and make up, awwwww. Points off for Gratuitous Cameo of the Year (I'm sure you can guess who), and for Rachel McAdams' very poorly-colored hair, but overall an amusing diversion. (C++)

* Eastern Standard, Kenmore Square -- The enormous new bistro in the Hotel Commonwealth is finally open, seating on the sidewalk and in a classy room filled with oversized red leather booths. There's something for everyone on the menu, from liverwurst to steak to addictive, skinny, salty fries. I had the ultimate grilled cheese, oozing from buttery brioche -- it should come with a side of Lipitor. Great for an outing, but probably insane on a game night. (B)

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