Hairy palms, blindness, trips to hell: Adults will tell children any number of messed-up lies to keep them in line, especially when it comes to sex. Liberian comedian Sia Amma's new play What Mama Said About "Down There" investigates the largely misguided tales mothers share with daughters. The one-woman show's many characters reveal that it's difficult for moms to talk to their girls about the facts of life no matter who (or where) they are. As much as daughters must think their mothers have trouble loosening up and telling the truth because they're African, British, Jewish, Latina, Asian, or of any other culture (Amma includes "Lesbian" and "Valley Girl" on the list), it turns out that everyone's doing it, as the kids say.
The show is part of Amma's long-term project, Global Women Intact, which educates and alerts people to the complex dangers of female genital mutilation. With this play, Amma says, she hopes to further those goals by encouraging more clear communication between women -- so go see it with your mom. Performances begin at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (through Oct. 29) at Our Little Theater, 287 Ellis (at Taylor), S.F. Admission is $15-23; call 921-8234 or visit www.celebrateclitoris.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
A property production
In other parts of the country, potential home buyers rarely walk into a $2.5 million house and start giggling, as happened in Russian Hill a while back. Not that I was in the market, or that market, but I was curious what a thick bankroll can get in the city, which turns out to be a $2.5 million hunk of shit.
Owners may not deal with our current home-buying angst -- it was penned in 1972 -- but its theme of property ownership and raging capitalism is as apt as ever. Written by Englishwoman Caryl Churchill and first presented at the Royal Court Theater in London, the play features real estate tigress Marion and put-upon tenants Alex and Lisa battling it out in a comic socialist critique of class, gender, and "get ahead" ideology. It previews Tuesday at 8 p.m. (and continues through Oct. 9) at the Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby (at MLK Jr.), Berkeley. Admission is "pay what you can" until Sept. 11, $10-30 thereafter; call (510) 841-6500 or visit www.shotgunplayers.org.
-- Michael Leaverton
Preserving Sin City
Tale of the Strip
In years past, the Thunderbird Theatre Company has brought us pastiches about pirates (Lusty Booty) and cowboy westerns (Lariats of Fire); now the parody peddlers are at it again with another raunchy lampoon, The Las Vega-Nauts, which stems from the kooky chimeras of comic book artist Stan Schooster. The tale includes fondue-eating Swiss mafiosos with plots to clean up Sin City; a renegade defender of booze, gambling, and all-hour lap dances; and mutant supervillains hellbent on indiscriminate destruction. Expect a classic fantasy rooted in the tenebrous bedrock of the American Way, complete with corruption and tawdry sex. The ruse begins at 8 p.m. Thursday (and continues through Sept. 17) at New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom (at Eighth Street), S.F. Admission is $17-20; call 289-6766 or visit www.thunderbirdtheatre.com.
-- Nirmala Nataraj
Breed Love, Not War
It's good fun to just listen to Lynnee Breedlove talk. The former Tribe 8 singer and author of bike-messenger-on-dope novel Godspeed is fiendishly witty, yells a mile a minute, and has a lovely, gravelly voice. But for "Gender Pirates," organizers didn't stop at getting Breedlove to MC, along with Annie Danger; they also booked a jillion bands, DJs, and poets. The show starts at 8 p.m. at El Rio, 3158 Mission (at Cesar Chavez), S.F. Admission is $5; call 282-3325 or visit www.elriosf.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser