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Mystery Theater 

Scott Heim's cult novel -- in the flesh

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WED-SUN 4/30-5/4

Part science fiction and part after-school special, Scott Heim's 1995 cult novel Mysterious Skin is rife with grit, delusion, and graphic sex. Now it's being brought to a stage near you. Produced by the New Conservatory Theatre Center as part of its Pride Season 8, this worldwide premiere, adapted for the stage by SFSU grad Prince Gomolvilas, reveals the unhappy results of a grisly secret shared by two former Little League comrades. In a word -- it's heavy.

"Structured more as a mystery than the book," according to Gomolvilas, the play tells the tale of 18-year-old Brian, a confused, cornfed teenager from Kansas. Brian can't remember a missing chunk of time from his past, which he suspects is connected to an alleged alien abduction that happened when he was 8. He tracks down his old teammate Neil, now a beat-up New York City hustler, who knows the sordid truth. Directed by Arturo Catricala, the drama demonstrates how two people can interpret a shared experience differently (just what that experience is, you'll have to find out for yourself); one person's emotional baggage is another's treasure.

Gomolvilas admits that adapting a novel for the stage proved challenging, especially one as popular as Heim's. "It was kind of terrifying," he says. In the end, Gomolvilas believes he's created a play that both authors can find satisfying: "Scott loves the play, and so do I," Gomolvilas insists. The curtain rises at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday (through June 28) at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), S.F. Tickets are $18-38; call 861-8972 or visit www.nctcsf.org. -- Brock Keeling

Interior Designs

FRI-SAT 5/2-3

For someone who's not an architect, local choreographer Lizz Roman sure spends a lot of time mulling over spatial design and structural elements. With Roman, location comes first; instead of creating a piece and staging it within a particular space, she crafts dances based on the unique proportions of each setting. In her latest site-specific work, Here Is Good: Playing in Stable Places II, nine performers from her troupe, Lizz Roman & Dancers, explore every nook and cranny of Danzhaus, a new venue in Potrero Hill. Catch it at 8 and 9:30 p.m. this weekend and next at 1275 Connecticut (at Cesar Chavez), S.F. Admission is $20; call 970-0222 or visit www.danzhaus. com. -- Lisa Hom

Spray and Watch

FRI 5/2

In a world filled with idiots ... in a world they couldn't control ... in a world where they had to fight to survive -- five drag queens busted out of the closet and made life their own, using rock and disco as their weapons. Yes babies, we're talking about the one and only Pepper Spray. "Behind the Makeup," a public interview/talk show, gets these performers telling the truth about a subject everyone else just gossips about: themselves. These real stories of real people wearing real platforms are an inspiration to us all, and the band rocks an acoustic set after the 8 p.m. discussion. At the SF LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market (at McCoppin). Admission is $8-15; call 865-5633 or visit www.harveymilk.org. -- Hiya Swanhuyser

Are We Not Rock?

THURS 5/1

Le Kim and L'Erin, front-ladies of Crack: We Are Rock, are obsessed with death and dismemberment -- and proud of it. The band's bashy percussion and electro-drone are never better than in the song "Hooker Leg," for example. The group first got together as part of the city's no-wave noise explosion several years ago, but back then it was only one guy, King Riff. Next came the addition of another guy, Obscuratron, and with the final addition of the aforementioned twins, C:WAR morphed into the mighty creep-out factory it is today. Rock out at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Missouri), S.F. Admission is $8; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com. -- Hiya Swanhuyser

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