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Kick the Habits 

New play plays doctor

WED-SUN 10/15-19

Sometime during the years between Freud and the Summer of Love, our Pilgrim-founded country, trying to reconcile its citizens' basic human urges with the contrived Pollyanna-type repression society demanded, produced some wholly bizarre nonfiction about the act of lovemaking. One of these books came from an important male shrink who used pie charts and diagrams to document his naive conclusions about how and where ladies of the time were doin' the nasty. Screenwriter and playwright Julie Marie Myatt came across this amusing, dated tome several years ago, and marveled at its well-meaning earnestness in comparison to its current absurdity. Myatt was immediately interested more, however, in the doctor's life (and wife) than in the book itself. In her witty new play, The Sex Habits of American Women, she re-creates the author as the fictitious Dr. Fritz Wittels, who's writing a groundbreaking book about female sexuality. But while he is writing the book, Dr. Wittels is entirely unaware of the sex habits of his own wife and his pathetically still-single adult daughter -- though his spouse's young lover and his daughter's new female playmate could certainly fill him in. Smart and edgy, Sex Habits is directed by Michael Bigelow Dixon (of the Guthrie Theatre and Actors Theatre of Louisville), and opens the Magic's first season under new Artistic Director Chris Smith. The onstage action is augmented with a fictional modern-day documentary film (directed by Amy Glazer) about a free-lovin' middle-aged mom whose daughter is repulsed by her shameless, bed-sharing behavior. Catch the sexperience at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday (the show continues through Nov. 2), at the Magic Theatre, Fort Mason, Building D, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Tickets are $24-50; call 441-8822 or visit
-- Karen Macklin

Sweet and Sticky

FRI 10/17

It's a cold world out there, it often seems. But here in San Francisco, we're plenty warm, because we have theater productions featuring gal-friendly naked ladies. Some might call it politically correct stripping, but we call it fun. The latest eyeful is "Loll-i-pop," an event that includes awesome girl DJs, live hip hop from Katastrophe, an appearance by filmmaker/comedian Julia Query, and the country's only all women of color burlesque troupe, Harlem Shake. If tonight's performance is anything like this trio's recent shows, audience members will be the ones shaking when it's through. Attendees wearing lollipop-themed costumes might get prizes, starting at 9 p.m. at Club Galia, 2565 Mission (at 22nd Street), S.F. Admission is $7-10; call 970-9777.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Sibling Rivalry

FRI 10/17

When parents leave two young sons orphaned with just $500 and the names Lincoln and Booth, strife will surely follow. Topdog/Underdog uses this premise to build a story so potent it earned playwright Suzan-Lori Parks a 2002 Pulitzer. Broadway critics seconded that emotion, praising the play's darkly comic take on the strained relationship between the grown-up brothers, who battle over finances, housework, women, three-card monte, and lingering family secrets. Now the intense, taut narrative arrives in our neck of the woods, premiering tonight at 8 (and running through Nov. 16) at the Curran Theatre, 445 Geary (between Taylor and Mason), S.F. Admission is $25-68; call 551-2000 or visit
-- Joyce Slaton

Hearing Voices

FRI-SAT 10/17-18

Anyone who's ever sung in the shower and imagined future rock stardom can appreciate the good luck of Robert Pollard. The former Midwestern fourth-grade schoolteacher was already in his 30s when he transformed himself from an ordinary schlub into the singer, songwriter, and siren of lo-fi band Guided by Voices. Now, 33 albums later, Pollard and his revolving cadre of bandmates are a certified indie institution, adored by thousands of fans who've kept the group chugging along for almost two decades. It's all part of your rock 'n' roll fantasy when the Go opens for GBV at 9 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $18.50-20; call 255-0333 or visit
-- Sunny Andersen


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