You know what San Francisco needs more of? Celebrity sightings. Sure, we get the occasional piece of Robin Williams or Andrew Firestone gossip, but wouldn't it be great to open Us Weekly and spy Jessica Simpson buying hand soap in the Marina or Drew Barrymore bonding with Gwyneth Paltrow over scallops at Andalu? It could happen, especially now that Gavin Newsom has proclaimed this the first official SF Fashion Week, potentially attracting Escalades full of Hollywood glitterati to our laid-back burg. (Disclosure: SF Weekly is the official print sponsor.) This weekend the Marina District will play host to 15 runway shows by designing heavyweights both local (like evening gown seamstress-to-the-stars Colleen Quen) and international (like Besnik, which has dressed Angelina Jolie, and the footwear-and-jeans gurus at Italian style house Fornarina).
The reality-TV contingent will be representin' as well: Shandi from America's Next Top Model will saunter down the catwalk for Lily Samii, while castmate April will strut for Loungewear Betty. Besides giving fashionistas an excuse to see and be seen, there's a philanthropic angle, too: Some of the profits will benefit Dress for Success, a program that outfits low-income women in classy duds for job interviews and the like.
Runway shows, swanky afterparties, reps from major fashion rags jetting in to cover the action -- it's enough to make a girl trip on her Manolos, like Carrie in that one episode of Sex and the City. Now it's just a matter of time before Liz Hurley and the Hilton sisters are catfighting over those coveted front-row seats.
Runway shows start at 7 p.m. Friday at the Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon (at Bay), S.F. Tickets are $20-25; call 341-7061 or visit www.fashionweek-sf.com for a complete schedule of events.
-- Maya Kroth
At the Alter
Cut Barbie's hair off. "Shave" her head, and she's no longer a suitable role model for future anorexics; she's now deviant, rebellious, or at least ashamed of her unprofessional look. Next take off her clothes, draw tattoos on her, and get her to hump Skipper. That's just one way to update the blond doll's image, but it's been popular with 8-year-olds since at least the mid-1970s. The artists featured in "Altered Barbi & Graffiti" are even more uninhibited: The dolls on display have eyeballs for heads, wear burkas, or (our favorite) have morphed into Divine's character in Pink Flamingos. See them at the Market Street Gallery, 1554 Market (at Van Ness), S.F. Admission is free; call 621-2841 or visit www.mesart.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Hip Hop Happening
Those kids who stand in street-corner circles spitting out fierce words -- are they working their way up to fistfights? Nope, these new-school bards are supplanting the way of the sword with the power of words through the poetic improvised language known as freestyling. A new documentary, Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme, traces the birth of the movement back to the outpourings of Baptist preachers, jazz musicians, and even Muhammad Ali. Meet high-profile MCs like Supernatural, Craig G, and Mos Def as Freestyle opens tonight at 7:15 (and runs through Sept. 1) at the Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight (at Cole), S.F. Admission is $4-7; call 668-3994 or visit www.redvicmoviehouse.com.
-- Joyce Slaton
In a town as smile-on-your-brother as San Francisco, even political battles sometimes get chummy. Case in point: "The Get Down: Think Outside the Box," a fund-raiser for two of the candidates vying for the District 5 supervisor job. Yep, in November tenants' advocate Robert Haaland and nightlife hero Michael O'Connor face off for a supe seat, but tonight they make the long green together. The party features spinning from Page Hodel, David Harness, and DJ Pause; drag king outfit the Momma's Boyz; and MC Tom Ammiano, and it starts at 9 p.m. at the Independent, 628 Divisadero (at Hayes), S.F. Donations are encouraged; call 771-1421 or visit www.independentsf.com.
-- Joyce Slaton