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Weekly highlights for arts and entertainment in the Triangle

Practice your curtsies--the Queen of Cyberpunk has arrived. Pat Cadigan is visiting from London to discuss science fiction writing, and will hold court tonight at Borders. 6:30 p.m., 404-101 E. Six Forks Rd., Raleigh. 755-9424. Free.

Dances of Universal Peace, also known as Sufi dancing, are sacred circle dances accompanied by singing and live music. Instructions are given, and no experience is needed. Sponsored by the Duke University Interfaith Alliance. 7 p.m., Freeman Center for Jewish Life, 1415 Faber St., Durham. 493-9109. Free.

Kusun Ensemble is introducing "Nokoko" to North America. It's a new brand of music and dance which fuses bass and lead guitars with jazz and traditional West African rhythms, and you can witness these artists from Ghana in their third (!) performance in one day. We've heard that they'll still have energy to spare. 8 p.m., The ArtsCenter, 300 E. Main St., Carrboro. 929-2787, www.artscenterlive.org. $14.

Less than 20 percent of young U.S. citizens (age 18-24) voted in the last election. This time around, youth all over the nation are organizing their peers to make sure they participate. The Youth Vote Coalition, N.C. Common Cause, N.C. PIRG and SURGE are holding a nonpartisan Youth Democracy Summit for high school and college students featuring workshops on organizing a voter-registration drive, the influence of money in politics, women in leadership, and more. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., UNC-Chapel Hill Student Union. www.unc.edu/surge/youthvote, NCsummit2003@yahoo.com. Free, and lunch is provided.

If you're new in town and you're from north of the Mason-Dixon line, Chapel Hill Library is hosting a lecture that may help illuminate a few things about your new habitat. John Shelton Reed, a UNC professor emeritus, will discuss disappearing, enduring and emerging southern regional differences in What's Southern About the South? 3 p.m., 100 Library Dr., Chapel Hill. 968-2780. Free.

Fall equinox is about a week away, and it's time to tear tomato plants out of the garden and get your kale and collards in. While you're at it, start dreaming of the best scarecrow design ever for Niche Gardens' annual Scarecrow Contest & Exhibit. Kids, adults, classrooms and garden clubs may enter by Oct 1 for judging on Oct. 18. 967-0078, scarecrow@nichegardens.com.

How does rapid change in racial demographics affect small-town America? The Divide, created by filmmaker Orlando Bagwell and director John Valadez, brings the question very close to home in its look at Siler City. The film explores how Siler City reflects national transformations taking place and it challenges the audience to reconsider the relationship of race to power in this country. UNC Professor of African-American studies, Charlene Regester, will moderate a discussion with the filmmakers following the screening. Sponsored by the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History and UNC-TV. 7 p.m., Gardner Bldg., Room #8, UNC-Chapel Hill campus. 962-7265. Free.

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