DOCTOR NIGHTLIFE is going down to the Roxy Friday for a double shot at the hard-blues bar -- Jim Thackery's Wammie-winning Assassins and blaster master Bobby Radcliff. Elsewhere: FRIDAY


The D.C. Arts Center celebrates its first anniversary with a weekend of rock, readings and performances. Friday's 9 p.m. concert features the Rhomboids and Plum Crazy ($4); Saturday is a free open house from noon to 7 with music, poetry and Acting! by the usual DCAC suspects, including Art Schuhart (in his farewell reading), Kenneth Carroll, Foodhead, Susan Mumford, Kweli Smith, Silvana Straw and Brian Tate. Sunday's 2 p.m. party showcases the head-on Dead Eddie and ex-Neighbors John Moreman and Peter Gilstrap, now known (with drummer Alex de Seabra) as the Super Jones Affair ($4). Call 462-7833.


Christine Lavin has for years been one of the most prolific and supportive songwriters on the contemporary folk scene, but she's always been something of an artist's artist. Maybe it's that combination of truth-telling traditionalism and sharp social commentary. Lavin and Julie Gold, one of the dozens of performers who have benefited from Lavin's encouragement, double up at the Birchmere Friday and Saturday ($15; 432-0200). SATURDAY


The D.C. Blues Society hosts its annual picnic and pickup concert starting at 12:30 at the Lavert home on Littleton Road in Aspen Hill. Bring your own bag, bring your own blues, bring your own instrument. There's no admission, but donations go to support the society and its Washington Blues Festival (scheduled for Sept. 8). Call 369-6781. SUNDAY


They're traditional enough when it comes to living in caravans (RVs, actually), cooking on open fires (even in Arles) and speaking patois (gitane, a mix of French, Spanish and Catalan); but when it comes to recording Top 10 albums, the Gipsy Kings are very modern, using synthesizers and percussion to turn flamenco into flash. They, of course, play gut-strings. The 42-string Kings return to DAR Constitution Hall ($22.50; 432-0200).


The 94th Aero Squadron was vintage WWI -- Rickenbacker vs. von Richthofen -- and while they can't quite match the music to the decor, Walt Starling's newly renovated 94th Aero Squadron restaurant in College Park has the next best thing: WWII-era aces the Artie Shaw Big Band from 7 to 9, plus house vocalists Paul Pangaro and Sharon Starling reviving the hits from the pre-rock 'n' roll era. No cover, but reservations suggested; 669-9400.


Who says Southern rock will never rise again? Master picker Toy Caldwell slipped his new band into town over Memorial Day weekend, and now the Toler Brothers Band -- Dangerous Dan and Drummer Dave of the various internecine Allmans and Betts bands -- are opening for (speaking of rising again) the Southern metal-heavy Molly Hatchet, along with the Roadducks at Wilmer's Park in Brandywine. Gates open at 1, show starts at 3; take Route 301 south to Brandywine Highway and turn left; go about five miles. Tickets $14; 301/888-1600. MONDAY


Well, you had all those chances to sit down and hear Luka Bloom when he lived in town, but you just never got around to it, right? Well, now that his all-acoustic album has made such a splash, you'll just have to stand up for the occasion; he's at the 9:30 club ($8; 393-0930). TUESDAY


Talk about writing what you know: They were so down and street-dirty that they started out on the supply-side of the club scene before deciding the house needed a new and harder groove. The Manchester, England post-acid house Inspiral Carpets at the 9:30 ($9; 393-0930). THURSDAY


In the Incan Quechua language, sukay means "to prepare the ground for planting." The contemporary Sukay is a fluent quartet of musicians -- among them they play more than 25 native pipes, percussion and stringed instruments, including the armadillo shell charango -- who perform both traditional and traditionally flavored South American music. They sing in both Quechua and Spanish, and perform in costume; at the Museum of Natural History's Baird Auditorium ($16; 357-3030).


Ever wonder how much French Acadian is left in Cajun country? Harry Lafleur still sings and fiddles mostly in patois, but the message to your toes is plain. Lafleur and traditionalists Allons Zee rosin up at the Glen Echo Ballroom starting with a 7:30 workshop ($10; 320-2330).