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HYPE

WHAT'S HAPPENING
MOVIES: Opening Friday, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (PG) and "XXX: State of the Union" (PG-13, Ice Cube and Samuel L. Jackson star in action adventure); May 19, "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith."

New on video/DVD: Coming May 3: "National Treasure"; May 10, "In Good Company" and "Racing Stripes"; May 17, "Son of the Mask"; May 24: "The Aviator."

Concerts: Saturday, ($6), Oppressed Youth, Devils Advocate, The Decline,Xtreme Wheels, 356 Hertel Ave.; May 1, Ani DiFranco at Shea's ($30, $35); May 14, Ryan Adams, Sphere Entertainment Complex ($25); May 17, Chevelle, Sphere ($20); July 26, Vans Warped Tour at Six Flags Darien Lake.

Other: May 10 to 15, "Chicago, the Musical," Shea's ($27.50-$54.50).

A MUST EATERY: SAHARA GRILL
If you think Elmwood Avenue doesn't need another restaurant with a Mediterranean flair, you must shed your preconceived notions and visit the newly opened Sahara Grill at the corner of Elmwood and Bidwell Parkway. Once you step inside, it's hard to believe you are on Elmwood (much less in what used to be a pizza joint). The setting is soothing, with maroon and forest green walls, polished hardwood floors, and atmospheric lighting. Interesting pictures and artifacts speak to the Middle Eastern origins of the enthusiastic owners, three cousins. On a recent weekend night, one of the owners, Frank, told me that "everything is made from scratch and is completely fresh." My appetizers of tabbouli, hummous and baba ghannooj, served in generous portions, were light and delicious. The soups, salads, wraps, sandwiches and entrees are more than enough to please every palate. Sandwiches are $3 to $7 and vary from an "All American Burger" to different chicken, lamb, and beef options. There are also vegetarian soups and sandwiches.

A real draw is the lavish smoothie bar. I especially like the Berry Blizzard, made with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and raspberry sherbet. Choices seem to include every fruit or fruit juice imaginable plus a "Mocha Blast" for diehard coffee fans. The smoothie bar has a separate entrance for speedy service. The Sahara Grill is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

-- Emmy Sykes, Buffalo Seminary
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I had head approval, so (the designers) would bring me samples and ask, 'Do you like this one?' I'd say, 'I'm not that ugly. Seriously, could you make it a little prettier?'"

-- Actress Anna Paquin, on the making of the action figure for her "X-Men" character, Rogue, in People.