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Charlotte's Web 

A cross-dressing spoof on a classic film

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ONGOING 6/8-8/31

With an over-the-top story line about a batty spinster slowly decaying in her antebellum mansion, the 1964 Bette Davis film Hush ... Hush Sweet Charlotte was ripe for a drag queen sendup. And with the original's train-wreck scenes from Charlotte's life -- an ex-lover's mysterious death via meat cleaver, an overly loyal maid who's her only companion (a lesbian perhaps?) -- it's no surprise the twisted geniuses from Make It So Productions couldn't resist creating a sidesplitting parody. If the company's laugh-out-loud productions of Whatever Happened to BB Jane and Awe About Eve are anything to judge it by, this slightly altered version of the classic movie is sure to be a riot. Dubbed Hush Up, Sweet Charlotte, the theatrics feature drag superstar Matthew Martin as Charlotte and Varla Jean Martin as her devious cousin, Miriam.

The gloomy setup is straight from the Southern Gothic canon: An aging Charlotte, who's been shunned by society since the unexplained murder of her married lover decades earlier, is the sole heir to her wealthy family's estate. The modern age -- and the government's plan to build a highway straight through her property -- catch up with her, and her home is slated to be bulldozed. Charlotte summons her cousin for assistance in fighting the bureaucrats, but Miriam (next in line for the family fortune) has another plan in mind: to get her relative committed to the mental ward and rake in the family's dough. Hush Up runs through Aug. 31 at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 620 Sutter (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $27-32; call 474-8800 or visit www.lhtsf.org for a performance schedule.
-- Jane Tunks

Getting Action

THURS 6/9

There's really no need to introduce the Extra Action Marching Band: The Bay Area institution has been crashing parties, invading bars, and blowing minds with its signature "high school marching band on acid" punk-meets-Sousa bombast for years now. The tuba players, flag team, and percussion section take perverse delight in twisting the staid conventions of their respective forms, and it can be downright disorienting to spot a sexy trombone player. Tonight you can see the band in a somewhat rare planned appearance as part of the Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival. The Dead Hensons, the Gay Barbarians, and Three Day Stubble open at 9 at the Eagle Tavern, 398 12th St. (at Harrison), S.F. Admission is $7; call 626-0880 or visit www.sfeagle.com.

-- Hiya Swanhuyser

The Opposite of Sex
Modern dance hits the Citadel

ONGOING 6/8-22

To the uninitiated, sex clubs may seem like the domain of expert perverts or, perhaps, those who just can't seem to get a date. But the merely curious finally have an excuse to tiptoe into one of these pleasure palaces for a dose of Ecstasy. Despite a provocative name and an intimidating tag line ("For mature viewers only"), this Citadel-sponsored event is neither Kink 101 nor a drug-induced orgy. Choreographer Joe Landini's modern dance piece explores the terrain of human joy, aiming to discover whether there's a distinction between the rapture that comes from ardent religious devotion and the more earthly pleasures of the flesh. Ecstasy runs at 8 and 9 p.m. on Wednesdays through June 22 at the Citadel, 245 Eighth St. (at Clementina), S.F. Admission is $10-20; call 289-2000 or visit www.queerculturalcenter.org.
-- Jane Tunks

Don't Stop the Dance
Twenty years of ultramodern

ONGOING 6/10-19

A 20th anniversary is all about platinum, but Company Chaddick is giving gifts, not expecting them. To celebrate its two decades of existence, the local dance troupe is offering its admiring fans a retrospective program, "Company Chaddick 20th Anniversary Season," filled with numerous treats -- 10 pieces, to be exact. The company combines ultramodern movement with an examination of society that's both serious and humorous enough to keep audiences on their toes; some highlights from its two-week program include Hard Drive (2001), an investigation of the quest for success; Bread and Water (2003), a Pablo Neruda-inspired piece about connection; and The Calling (2005), a premiere about the repression of the heart and mind. The show opens Friday at 8 p.m. (and continues through June 19) at the Project Artaud Theater, 450 Florida (at 17th Street), S.F. Tickets are $20; call 626-4370 or visit www.artaud.org.
-- Karen Macklin

Musical Comedy

THURS 6/9

Why can't you be more like Eugene Mirman? He's absurdly funny, for one. For another, he's continuing the David Cross instigated tradition of boldly mixing stand-up comedy with live music. Would that be so hard for the rest of you? Is it too much to ask for musical performers to associate with funnypeople? Maybe you just don't understand how it would work, so let this evening of bands and cackles be your guide. Rock acts Loquat and Langhorne Slim share the stage with Mirman at 9 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Missouri), S.F. Admission is $10; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

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