Washington's Urban Verbs, having almost disappeared from the home-town New Wave scene, have set their eyes across the sea, to Italy, where they will tour in July. First stop: Bologna, which sponsors an annual New Art/Music festival, this year called "Contaminazzioni" (Contamination). According to guitarist and group founder Robert Goldstein, the journey's genesis began last year when the Verbs performed at New York's fabled Peppermint Lounge. "Several Italian pop journalists were apparently very impressed with what we were doing. Europeans seem to be, more so than Americans," he sighed. "I don't know why that is."

Several laudatory articles in the Italian pop press led to the Bologna invitation. Since they'll be in Italy, the Verbs are trying to set up a short European tour; to that end, they'll give benefit concerts for themselves Friday and Saturday at Piccolo's Ballroom, above Piccolo's Restaurant at 8th and D streets NW.

In the meantime, Goldstein's looking forward to the trip overseas. "As far as I'm concerned, I'd like to not return until I'm an Italian pop star," says the short guitarist. "I am worried that we'll be made mincemeat by both the right and the left. We're the perfect target for the left-wing brigades since we're a capitalist tool, and for the right wing because we're corrupting the morals of the people. We'll probably get it from both ends. If they try to kneecap me, I could get it right in the chest."