A woman's jewelry is expropriated by an old flame and given to another. One man has been rejected for looking too much like a lover's sibling. And there are many, far too many, people with their share of sexually transmitted diseases.

Who wants to hear these horrible tales? J.R. Pella does.

The R&B troubadour (he's one half of the vocal tag team that fronts the PDX soul band Black Angel) wants to know about the worst words a lover has ever uttered and the most offensive tales of betrayal--the more depressing the better--for his month-old late-night project Cry in Your Beer.

Truth be told, the idea of a night devoted to sharing "poor me" tales at a downtown bar sounds pretty pathetic. Why would anyone want to spend an evening listening to a bunch of whiners who can't get over a long-gone relationship?

Luckily, Pella, host of this twice-monthly event at downtown's XV on Thursday nights, doesn't want to hear a bunch of whining, either. Above all, he wants us to laugh--laugh about infidelity and heartbreak and the stupidity of our exes.

To laugh, more importantly, at ourselves.

Open mic for the newly single this is not; this is Pella's show, after all. In between his energetic renditions of mostly sad songs (including a number from the late English love-song siren Dusty Springfield), members of the audience hand Pella slips of paper with their terrible tales of someone-done-me-wrong, and he reads every last one out loud.

When told by Pella, these miserable tales take turns toward the hilarious. He develops imagined intonations of the supposed evildoers, and he offers reactions to their crimes. One tale of deceit receives a "that is so Dynasty" and another gets a simple, "OK, that's pretty fucked up." Pella also engages the collective opinion of the audience as they help him post each story under a category ("scrub," "mental case," "all-encompassing asshole," "pathological liar") based on the faults of the ex.

It's not so much therapy as a comedic remedy to the folly that is love.

XV, 15 NW 2nd Ave., 790-9090. Next Cry in Your Beer is 10 pm Friday, Oct. 3. $3. 21+.