If there's one thing talent-competition TV shows like Star Search and American Juniors have proved, it's that the world is loaded with kids just aching to perform Mariah Carey medleys. Should your own family contain such a budding young performer, you could doll him or her up in eyeliner and pancake makeup and drive across the country hitting reality-show auditions. Or you could just redirect those star-struck energies into one of the many local groups whose mission centers on arts training for the under-18 set.
The San Francisco Arts Education Project, for example, has almost two decades of experience recruiting theater pros to train fledgling student thespians as they put on a full-scale song-and-dance performance. We like the sound of their latest effort: Secret Sondheim: A Musical Revue, a survey of some of the musical theater master's lesser-known works. Don't expect to hear "Everything's Coming Up Roses" at the opening tonight at 7:30. The event runs through Feb. 15 at Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson (at Front), S.F. Admission is $8-15; call 551-7990 or visit www.sfartsed.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Men in What?
Here are some words you usually don't see anywhere near each other: "men" and "child care." A workshop on the subject of guys watching kids may seem revolutionary, but don't worry, boys: The skills involved are v-e-r-y b-a-s-i-c. Press materials say the class will "go over how men can positively influence a child's development and contribute to learning in a family child-care setting." Our less polite interpretation: "Some of you dudes need to start picking up some slack, because Mommy needs to go get a massage." If you think you've got something to learn, show up at 6:30 p.m. at the Children's Council of San Francisco, 445 Church (at 16th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 276-2964.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Mysterious 'shrooms at the Randall
Most people agree that it's best to encounter fungus in its edible form: spongy stir-fried straw mushrooms, meaty buttons crowning a steak. But if you think the breadth of the fungal world begins and ends with shiitake, portobello, and enoki, "Mushrooms With the Mycological Society" is the event for you. Scores of varieties from the ordinary (mild oyster mushrooms, fragrant matsutakes) to the freaky (rare California 'shrooms include the dead man's foot, the odiferous stinkhorn, and the tasty fried-chicken mushroom) are on display, with plenty of background information on cultivation, identification, and sampling. And if you work up an appetite, you can shell out for a serving of homemade mushroom soup. The spore celebration starts at 10 a.m. at the Randall Museum, 199 Museum (at Roosevelt), S.F. Admission is free; call 554-9600 or visit www.randallmuseum.org.
-- Joyce Slaton