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Hampden: Here's your chance to learn about the cultural significance of Madonna

By Benn Ray, benn@atomicbooks.com

2:24 PM EDT, May 20, 2012

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Do you like Madonna? No, no, not the religious one, the pop icon one. If so, be sure to check out Atomic Books, 3620 Falls Road, on Friday, May 25 as Laura Barcella, the editor of "Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop," hosts readings from contributing writers Kelly Keenan Trumpbour and Maria Raha and a discussion her cultural significance.

Also, novelist Michael Fournier will be discussing his new novel, "Hidden Wheel," a sci-fi story about a blossoming art scene in a pop-up colony. Things start at 7 p.m., and admission is free.

If you're an NBA fan or just an avid video gamer, be sure to check out this month's Nintendo Challenge at The Golden West Cafe, 1105 W. 36th St., on Thursday, May 31 as gamers compete in NBA Jam to win prizes. The sign-up to enter the tournament begins at 10 p.m., and gets underway at 11 p.m.. The entrance fee is $5 and first and second place winners can score big cash prizes.

The video game will be projected on a big 60" screen and the sound will be pumped out of The Golden West Cafe's state of the art public address system to help gamers immerse themselves in the game.

On First Friday, June 1, if you're having a hard time deciding between renting and owning your home in these troublesome economic times, stop by Atomic Books as Jane Hodges, author of the book "Rent Vs. Own: A Real Estate Reality Check For Navigating Real Estate Booms, Busts and Bad Advice," will host a discussion about today's real estate landscape. The event starts at 7 p.m., and is open to the public.

An opening night reception at Minás Gallery & Boutique, 815 W. 36th St., will be held Saturday, June 2, from 6-9 p.m., for the exhibit "What I may have seen on Routes 70 & 340,", a collection of new paintings by Teddy Johnson. The exhibit will run through August 26.

Hampden Hi-Fi, an eight-week, free concert series kicks off in Roosevelt Park on Friday, June 8, the eve of HonFest (more on that in my next column). Bands will perform each consecutive Friday, from 6-8 p.m.. And there will be food and beverage vendors present as well. Inaugurating the series will be The Backpages Band on June 8, to be followed by Mr. Wilson on June 16.

To keep up with the schedule and other Hampden Hi-Fi goings-on, check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/hampdenhifi.

And on June 8, after The Backpages Band has whetted your whistle for music, be sure to hit the Golden West as Mean Jeans, Hollywood, Murder and The Shirks all play starting at 10 p.m. It's an all ages show and tickets are $10 per person.

This is one of those area shows that if you like rock 'n' roll, you won't want to miss.