Grave-robbing, surgery, and bizarre tortures -- some people do these things for fun. Accounts of such activities are usually considered too ghastly even to publish, much less read. But the stories in Morbid Curiosity magazine are quite real, and because they're written in the first person by people who may or may not be professional writers, their immediacy is completely shocking. Besides, most of the tales in editor Loren Rhoads' publication are a whole lot more insane than anything you can see on television. Issue 8, for example, features a guy who got buried under a pile of roadkill; stalkers, disgusting injuries, and bad personal hygiene are only a few of the other subjects. And the whole shebang starts out with a story guaranteed either to suck you in or make you run screaming: a chilling account from a man who murdered his girlfriend with a baseball bat, and who is contemplating his crime from prison.
It's "All the dark elements that make life worth living," according to Rhoads' publicity materials. Cater to your dark side at a reading hosted by the editor starting at 3 p.m. at Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia (at 19th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 824-8203 or visit www.borderlands-books.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Metal matriculation at the Avalon
Who says headbanging can't be educational? Guitarist Jon Schaffer has been mixing thrash riffs with Iron Maiden-style power-metal epics since founding the band Purgatory in 1984. By the '90s, the outfit had been rechristened Iced Earth and was fast becoming a major draw in Europe, featuring Schaffer's musical takes on everything from Dante's Inferno to Todd McFarlane's Spawn comic series.
The group's latest effort, The Glorious Burden, ditches fantasy for realism with metallic renderings of conflicts from the American Revolution to the Napoleonic Wars, plus a three-part, 32-minute retelling of the Battle of Gettysburg (I shit you not). Iced Earth beats history into the skulls of stoned heshers with the help of new lead singer and one-time Judas Priest vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens. Children of Bodom and Evergrey open at 8 p.m. at the Avalon Ballroom, 1268 Sutter (at Van Ness), S.F. Admission is $20; call 673-5716 or visit www.morningspringrain.com.
-- Dave Pehling
Here Comes the Bride
When lesbians get hitched
Planning a wedding is fraught with tension, particularly when it's a union that flouts the law of the religion you practice. So is it any surprise that Jewish lesbian spouse Sara Felder uses juggling as a metaphor in her show June Bride? Inspired by the tribulations and triumphs Felder experienced while planning her own big day, Bride takes audience members from a female couple's uncomfortable first date to their accident-prone nuptials, with awkward moments in between, punctuated by Felder's juggling of knives, boxed wedding presents, and other meaningful objects. Get all choked up starting at 8 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 3200 California (at Presidio), S.F. Admission is $20-24; call 292-1233.
-- Joyce Slaton
Funny Like That
Comedian Kathleen Madigan heads up "Funny Girlz: A Smorgasbord of Women's Humor," and the rest of the lineup -- including Karen Williams, Lisa Geduldig, and honorary lady Coco Lopez -- gives audiences a break from the all-men-all-the-time comedy world, too. It begins at 8 p.m. at the Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness (at Grove), S.F. Admission is $20-25; call 522-3737 or visit www.koshercomedy.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser