One Car, L, Followed by ... Don't look now, but performers from the BodyCartography Project have taken over the city's public transportation and are inviting commuters to perform with them onboard, which ought to give all those safety-conscious Muni drivers palpitations. From noon until 2 p.m. today, this band of dance and movement improvisationalists and a handful of their regular collaborators will be hitting Market street trams and bus stops; at 4 p.m., they'll fan out over the city, performing on buses and trains, on ferries and in terminals. The fun doesn't end there: on Thursday at noon, they'll hit Justin Herman Plaza, disguised as 9-to-5ers on lunch. It'll be hard to tell them from the real thing, until they get up and start waltzing actual workers and each other around the square to string-quartet accompaniment. Call 541-5644 for more information.
Hey, Sailor! The same people who staged A Midsummer Night's Dream with puppets and set Homer's Odyssey to a bluesy dirge have done it again: The Shotgun Players, collaborating with Darvag Theater Company, present the indoor/outdoor, bilingual musical production The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad. Forget the lurid Technicolor epic starring Douglas Fairbanks -- this Sinbad, based on the 1964 work by Iranian playwright Bahram Beyzaie, boasts an English-Farsi script, elements of Persian mystery plays, and Asian-style storytelling. Backed by a chorus of sailors, Sinbad, now resettled in his hometown and performing with a local theater troupe, recounts his seven adventures on the high seas and prepares for his final destination: death. The show, which includes Persian refreshments and pre-show discussion, opens with a preview at 8 p.m. (and runs through June 27) at South Berkeley Community Congregational Church, 1802 Fairview, Berkeley. Admission is $8-20; call (510) 655-0813.
Bringing You the World Even if you don't recognize Danya Smith's Grieving Widow at Funeral, Izbica, Kosovo, 6 November, chances are good that some entries in this year's World Press Photo Exhibition will look familiar. The competition recaps 1998 with over 200 uncensored international newspaper photos, from harrowing landscape images of floods in Poland to artful action shots of Bolshoi Ballet dancers to science photography that captures the body's inner workings. Like Smith's photo, which won this year's top prize, the best of these humanize stories through a dazzling variety of styles. The exhibit opens at the Main Library's Jewett Gallery (100 Larkin) and City Hall lower level (1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place), S.F. It is up through July 1. Admission is free; call 557-4277.
First Down Former football pros tend to retire most conspicuously as coaches, commentators, or product pitchmen, but San Francisco 49er draftee Scott Barry found another outlet: playwriting. Solo Gig2, Barry's third work after the comedy Answer Man and the short-play trilogy Looking Up the Downside, is an autobiographical solo show that traces his journey from the fields to the boards. A UC Davis All-America quarterback and sixth-round draft pick in 1985 (the same year the team acquired Jerry Rice), Barry saw his boyhood dreams realized and dashed in a short time frame; the perils of celebrity and a string of personal tragedies made him wonder what life might be like outside of football. The answers, which came slowly, are revealed in the show. Solo Gig2 previews at 8 p.m. (and runs through June 27) at Il Teatro, 449 Powell (at Post), S.F. Admission is $15-18; call 433-1172.
What Goes Up Must Come Down Physicists will argue for skateboarding-as-rocket-science when they call the play by play at "The Science of Skateboarding." While local boarders do noseslides, wallrides, and kickflips on a specially constructed park of rails and ramps, in-house physicists will use slow-motion instant video replay to assess airborne maneuvers in terms of, say, Newton's third law of motion (when a force is exerted, it prompts an equal and opposite force). The implications of friction and gravity extend way beyond road rash today at the event, a precursor to ESPN's 1999 X Games to be held in the city June 25. It begins at noon at the Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon (at Bay), S.F. Admission is free-$9; call EXP-LORE.
Jumbo Gumbo Lick the powdered beignet sugar off your fingers, breathe in the tangy aroma of barbecue, and it might seem for a minute that New Orleans by the Bay has transported you to the French Quarter. Minus swamps and voodoo, the two-day festival offers a generous bit of Louisiana through a zesty combination of Cajun and Creole delicacies and a concert lineup of zydeco, jazz, blues, funk, and gospel music. The Funky Meters and Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet get the dance party up and running both nights; listen, too, for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Samba de Coracao, Galactic, and the New Orleans Parade Band, as the traditional parasol parades wend through the crowds, showering onlookers with festive Mardi Gras beads. The party begins at noon Saturday (also 11 a.m. Sunday) at the Shoreline Amphitheater, 1 Amphitheater Pkwy. (at Rengstorff), Mountain View. Admission is free-$20; call (510) 762-2277.
Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot Pyromaniacs aren't bad people; they just need an outlet, like ... welding. At the Fire Arts Festival, hosted by nonprofit foundry the Crucible, local artists will demonstrate how arsonist tendencies can be parlayed into marketable skills. This is the place to watch and learn about industrial arts like blacksmithing, glass working, bronze casting, and sculpture; exercise caution around creations like the fire bra, a vest equipped with a propane system that exhales flames at chest level. Ultra Gypsy and Firefly eat, breathe, juggle, and twirl fire, accompanied by bands and DJs. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Crucible, 1035 Murray (at San Pablo), Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 843-5511.
Get Your Fil Our local street fairs are nothing if not multicultural, which is basically the only way to explain how former New Kid on the Block Jordan Knight wound up headlining Fiesta Filipina '99, a celebration of the Philippines' independence from Spain over 100 years ago. But with the exception of Knight, who has hit the comeback trail with a brand-new pop release, most Fiesta entertainment has Filipino roots, like the percussion ensemble Ating Tao, hip-hop crew Pandemonium, and the 32-member dance/music company Sinig Kumintang Ng Batangas. Modern meets traditional throughout the two-day block party, with appearances from Filipino TV stars and a fashion show of barong Tagalog formalwear reworked in vivid dyed silk organdies and Muslim weaves. The fiesta begins at 10 a.m. (also Sunday) at Civic Center Plaza, Polk & McAllister, S.F. Admission is free-$5; call (650) 757-4803.
And All That Jazz Besides cheap lap dances, Beach Blanket Babylon, and Eurotrash, North Beach is known for the beat poetry movement, which began here four decades ago and sees a renaissance every year at the North Beach Festival. Shades of the neighborhood's colorful history emerge, as priests from the towering Saints Peter and Paul Church bless people's pets in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, and artists ornament city sidewalks with great sprawling scenes rendered in colored chalk. Poet Ruth Weiss, a veteran of the beat scene, performs with saxophonist George Long on the Poet's Stage, which also hosts a kind of free-form extended jam with performance poet Genny Lim, Francisco X. Alarcón, and the Marcus Shelby Trio with spoken-word artist Marcus Poston. The festival begins at 10 a.m. (also Sunday) in Washington Square Park, the 1200-1500 block of Grant and the 500 block of Green, S.F. Admission is free; call 989-2220.
Get in the Grove When the fog lifts from the avenues and the sun glints through the fragrant stands of eucalyptus, when the crowd isn't so dense and there's room to spread out a picnic and see the performers clearly from the hill, taking in a show at the Stern Grove Festival ranks high among the lazy pleasures of summer. And there's plenty to recommend this season of free shows, beginning with today's "From Cuba to the Congo" program, which features Latin jazz from the Chucho Valdees Quintet and the Congolese-Caribbean hybrid from Richard Lemvo and Makina Loca. Along with return guests the San Francisco Symphony (June 27) and Ballet (August 1), and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band doing their 30th Father's Day Grove show, the series also offers intriguing bills like "Women of Spirit," where folk singer Janis Ian and Celtic percussionist Mary Jane Lamond meet Mali superstar Oumou Sangare (July 18). The series begins at 2 p.m. at Sigmund Stern Grove, 19th Avenue & Sloat, S.F. Admission is free; call 252-6252.
That Ain't the Way to Have Fun, Son "Joy to the World," which sold 12 million copies, was just one of the 21 Billboard Top 40 hits that Three Dog Night racked up between 1969 and 1975, but as far as singer Chuck Negron is concerned, the band's signature song could have been "Mama Told Me Not to Come." By the time the group broke up in 1975, Negron was joylessly wallowing in the excesses of success, with a $2,000-a-day drug habit and so much subsequent rock-star degradation that it almost seems like a joke, or at least a VH1 "Behind the Music" special. He pawned his 12 gold records for drug money; he slept with so many women and abused so many substances he had to be hospitalized over 100 times; he went from living in a Hollywood Hills mansion to the streets of L.A. There were suicide attempts, dramatic arrests, three dozen rehab stays, and so on, all chronicled in Negron's new book, Three Dog Nightmare, which he'll discuss at 7 p.m. at the Booksmith, 1644 Haight (at Cole), S.F. Admission is free; call 863-8688.
Q Ball Tom Orr has some pretty queer notions of what's entertaining, which makes him a good guest for "Queer for a Year: The Q Cabaret One-Year Anniversary Show." Orr, via video and accompanied live by Trauma Flintstone, reprises some of the memorably twisted ditties that made his musical satires Sweet Parody! and Dirty Little Showtunes! so popular, like "How Do You Solve Your Problem Gonorrhea?" (sung to the tune of the Sound of Music's "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?"). He'll be joined by one-time Ricki Lake show guest the Swamp Lady (doing drag comedy), stand-up comic Dan Rothenberg, and acoustic rockers Sparrow's Point, among others. The show begins at 8 p.m. (also Wednesday) at Venue 9, 252 Ninth St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $6-10; call 289-2000. For more queer entertainment, see our Pride Guide insert, after Page 52.