The British and American flags are marched down the street at the end of the Grand Parade for the 17th Annual Scottish Festival in this February 2010 file
The British and American flags are marched down the street at the end of the Grand Parade for the 17th Annual Scottish Festival in this February 2010 file photo. (Press-Telegram file photo)

THE QUEEN IN PLAID: The 20th edition of the Queen Mary ScotsFest marches aboard and around the ship Saturday and Sunday in a frenzy of piping, dancing, darts, whiskey and everything else that looks good in plaid.

It's a total immersion in all things Scottish (yeesh!), with gatherings of clans, sheep herding demonstrations, whiskey tastings, live entertainment, pipers piping, lords a-leaping, fiddlers and harpists, Scottish cuisine (we generally eat before we go), crafts and other items for sale and competitions in various athletics. If you've got something against the Scots, you might want to try an alternative fest this weekend.

The musical highlight of the festival is Saturday's Rock Yer Kilt concert, from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday, with a lineup featuring the AC/DC tribute band TNT, pop-punk/traditional Irish fusion band Hoist the Colors, Celtic musicians Highland Way, pub-rockers the Whooligans and the Celtic folk-grass band Sligo Rags.

ScotsFest tickets are $18 a day or $24 for a two-day pass ($8 and $14 for kids).

Rock Yer Kilt tickets are $15 online; $20 at the door. There are additional charges, too, for beer and whiskey tastings.

To buy tickets online, and for more information, go to www.queenmary.com/scotsfest.

MAHER THE MERRIER: Regardless of your political bent, you have to admit Bill Maher is hilarious! We're kidding. If you're a big fan of, say, Hannity or Rove, you will likely to find Maher to be a horrible little man, which is weird coming from someone who likes Karl Rove.

Maher will be bringing his scalding political observational humor to the Terrace Theater at 8 p.m. May 11.

The early heads-up is because tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday. Ticket prices are $49.50 and $69.50, To charge by phone, call 800-745-3000, or you can go to the Terrace box office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

BELLY UP: How much belly dancing is too much? We can go about 15 minutes and we're tapped. And by "go" we mean "watch," not actually "do." Which isn't to say we can't belly dance. We can. But to the untrained eye it looks like we're merely turning around.

If you can handle belly dancing all day long - and we mean both "watch" and "do," you probably already know that the 22nd annual Belly Dancer of the Universe event undulates back into town Saturday and Sunday at the Long Beach Convention Center.

It's a huge scene of dancers of the belly, with professionals and students competing, demonstrating and learning nearly a dozen styles of the dance, ranging from Egyptian to cabaret.

There are two sessions each day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 10:30 p.m. The doors will be closed from 4 to 6 p.m. both days.

Tickets are $18 in cash only, for each session, or $30 a day.

FRIDAY PLAYLIST: We're all over the map this week with our stunning tribute to musicians for Black History Month. We're kicking it off with a special request from a certain judge who now is in our pocket. We find ourself in a jam in Compton Superior Court? We walk. We love our job. So many rich opportunities to feather our nest.

1. "If You Want Me to Stay," Sly & the Family Stone

2. "C'est si bon," Louis Armstrong

3. "What'd I Say," Ray Charles

4. "At Last," Etta James

5. "Steal Away," Mahalia Jackson & Nat King Cole

6. "I've Been Loving You Too Long," Otis Redding

7. "Stardust," John Coltrane

8. "It's Your Thing," Isley Brothers

9. "Why I Sing the Blues," B.B. King

10. "I Was Here," Beyonce

tim.grobaty@presstelegram.com, 562-714-2116 or twitter.com/grobaty