Body Politic Dance-theater company Torque and experimental theater collective the Fifth Floor dip into power, sex, and social ritual in two new works applying dance and video to an exploration of human behavior. Using characters and themes from their acclaimed and much-debated theatrical deconstruction of Waco, last year's Bake Sale, Fifth Floor debut their documentary-style video The Remoteness of the Goal, in which director Kenn Watt theorizes in mock scholarly terms about the tensions that have erupted within a fictitious religious community loosely based on the Shakers and the Branch Davidians. Fifth Floor member Sommer Ulrickson leads Torque through Intervista, where bonding and mating rituals play out in social dance and the body language of social convention. The show opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through May 17) at Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia (at 16th Street), S.F. Admission is $8-14; call 626-3311.
Cool Keith A citywide outdoor exhibit of giant Keith Haring sculptures and a retrospective of his drawings and paintings opening at SFMOMA will plunge viewers into a 3-D Haring experience. Museumgoers can follow Haring's biography chronologically through the galleries, beginning with his childhood and wending through a subway tunnel-installation out into the art world; glass cases will display his childhood photos, the music he loved, and Polaroids of celebrities he met, while videos and photos will trace his site-specific work, and a Day-Glo "Haring World" will re-create one of his favorite nightclubs, complete with rap, Latin, and dance tunes playing over an audio track. Even longtime fans will find something new to see, including salvaged New York subway chalk drawings and vinyl tarps painted in vivid hues, since much of the work from the artist's brief but prolific career comes from private collections. For many viewers, the exhibit will doubtless evoke the '80s, when Haring, inspired by graffiti artists, was scribbling on whatever he could get ahold of, including police barricades and the moving human canvas of dancer Bill T. Jones. Despite all the discussion of semiotics and tribal influences that followed, Haring's work was at his own behest accessible -- his Pop Shop merchandise provided an alternative to big pieces at gallery prices -- and fairly specific to time and place, particularly to urban gay culture and the attendant '80s upheaval. Outside the museum, the S.F. Art Commission will exhibit the big metal sculptures of barking dogs and grooving people in Union Square, outside the War Memorial, at Pier 39, and elsewhere around the city. The SFMOMA exhibit opens at 11 a.m. (and is up through Sept. 6; the outdoor exhibit is up through Sept. 8) at 151 Third St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is free-$8; call 357-4000. Haring's work will also be included in the first citywide Queer Arts Festival, which kicks off Tuesday with a press conference and continues with an art exhibit at Somar and events at the Mission Cultural Center in June; for more information, call 552-7200.
Writing on the Wall To bring the actual community closer to what's sometimes called "community art," Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center leads regular walking, biking, and bus mural tours. In that same sort of populist spirit, the center is offering the Mural Awareness Festival, a daylong art party where adults and kids can create their own spray-can and brush-paint murals. Cruzin' Coyotes and Cafe Con Leche will play live, and local muralists like Andrew Leone (creator of the Sanchez Art Center mural) and Brian Goggin (who created Defenestration with a volunteer crew) will be honored. Area political groups will be conducting some outreach of their own at the festival, which begins at 1:30 p.m. in Precita Park, one block south of Cesar Chavez at Precita & Folsom, S.F. Admission is free; call 285-2287. Meanwhile, guests at a Mission Gun Bake, in which blacksmith Gordon Kirby will melt down three assault rifles in a forge and reshape them into square knots and flowers, are also invited to help paint a collaborative mural, on a series of doors on which the destroyed guns will be mounted to signify a passage from violence to peace. Anti-gun violence group Peaceful Streets is sponsoring this family-oriented event to call attention to shooting fatalities in the neighborhood. Snacks from local restaurants will be served at the bake-off, which begins at 10 a.m. in Mission Play-Park, Valencia & 20th Street, S.F. Admission is free; call 821-2309.
Bunny Hop The Chronicle Building might seem like an improbable stop on the Playboy "History of the Sexual Revolution" Walking Tour, but guide James Petersen, author of the magazine's two-year, 10-part series of the same name, has his reasons: He'll tell his guests that the paper backed the 1914 Red Light Abatement Act, which ended legalized prostitution in the city. "Sex" covers a pretty broad spectrum on this narrated, anecdote-packed tour, which stops at Gallery Six, the site where Allen Ginsberg performed the first public reading of "Howl," and City Hall, where Harvey Milk served as the first openly gay elected official. Petersen also covers the free-love territory of Upper Haight and the more expensive love advertised downtown at the Mitchell Brothers' O'Farrell Theater. It begins at 1 p.m. (also Sunday) at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $14; call (212) 691-1555. In a marginally related note, the Tenderloin Walking Tours conducted by Englishman C.W. Anchor have resumed due to popular demand. Anchor guides the uninitiated through all the attractions in the neighborhood -- from the transvestite bars to the hotel where Billie Holiday was busted -- Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 2 p.m. Meet at the Edinburgh Castle Pub, 950 Geary (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $10; call 522-9621.
Mom's the Word Unless you mean it rhetorically, we have some answers to the question "What should I do with Mom?" Among the many possibilities: a Mother's Day Concert with Russian music and folk dance 2 p.m. Saturday (Russian Center, 2450 Sutter, 510/525-7959, $10-15); Culture Core present an afternoon of performances, including Chinese ribbon dance, poetry, rap, and music 3 p.m. Sunday (ODC Theater, 3153 17th St., 863-9834, $1-5); and free admission for moms and kids to the narrative, large-scale quilts on exhibit in "Dancing at the Louvre: Faith Ringgold's French Collection and Other Story Quilts" 11 a.m. Sunday (UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2626 Bancroft, Berkeley, 510/642-0808).
Meter Readers The English Patient author Michael Ondaatje returns to the city as a poet to share the stage with fellow poet C.D. Wright at a reading and discussion benefiting California Poets in the Schools. The evening begins with a demonstration of the program's merits as Claire McGuire, a 20-year-old published poet who was exposed to the art form through CPS, reads her work. Wright, Rhode Island's poet laureate, has published eight volumes of poetry, among them the book-length Just Whistle, from which she'll read. Ondaatje's considerable body of poetry, including There's a Trick With a Knife I'm Learning to Do and The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, draws from his forebears both in style and content in poems like "King Kong Meets Wallace Stevens" ("... Meanwhile W.S. in his suit/ Is thinking chaos is thinking fences"). The authors follow the reading by answering audience questions. The event begins at 8 p.m. at Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), S.F. Admission is $16; call 392-4400.
Quack-Up It's not annual, it's not a convention, and computers play only partial roles in the Fifth Annual Comedy Computer Convention, a semiregular evening of irregular entertainment masterminded by veteran sketch comedy troupe Duck's Breath Mystery Theater. The show mixes live performances by singer Jo Carol, tap dancer Wayne Doba, Club Foot Orchestra keyboardist J. Raoul Brody, and NPR commentator Ian Shoales with live Internet appearances by Duck's Breath characters Doctor Science and one-time MTV presidential candidate Randee of the Redwoods. Interactive gags include filming the audience as they enter and replaying the footage later in the evening, and a comedy Web tour soliciting audience suggestions. Sketches by the SFcomedy.org players will be broadcast over a big screen at the show, which begins at 8 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $10; call 522-0333.
Swing Set "You'll never see this many [swing] musicians in one room again," claims V. Vale of the Book Release Cocktail Party for Swing! The New Retro Renaissance. Vale and indie publishing house V/Search (ne Re/Search) specialize in cultural phenomena, from the modern primitive piercing and tattoo movement to the new swing revival, which the book traces back to mid-'80s rockabilly and an influx of Art Deco Society members swilling cocktails at the Deluxe. Vale interviewed Swingers house band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and several local acts, including Lavay Smith, the New Morty Show, and cover model Steve Lucky and his band the Rhumba Bums, all of whom are expected to take a night off from working to socialize and autograph books (Vale likens it to a swing high school yearbook signing session). Vintage cars will be parked outside the club; inside, guests will find displays of '40s-style clothes and furniture, as well as photos of swingers in full regalia (memo to Gap marketing: Khakis do not swing). Work That Skirt and other teachers from around the city give dance lessons and demos while Highball Lounge DJ Spencer spins swing tunes. Books and CDs will be given away in a raffle at the show, which begins at 6 p.m. at Bimbo's 365 Club, 1025 Columbus (at Chestnut), S.F. Admission is free (cocktail attire requested); call 474-0365.