Music to Wake the Dead The Chapel of the Chimes, a columbarium and mausoleum adjacent to the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, is said to have great acoustics. It's generally hushed, as buildings full of dead people's remains tend to be, and famed local architect Julia Morgan incorporated meditative elements like winding passageways, stained glass skylights, fountains, and gardens into its design. It's a natural spot for a concert, and 20th Century Forum, a nonprofit group that gives composers and musicians opportunities to perform new music, is taking advantage with its third annual Garden of Memory: A Columbarium Walk-Through Event. Roaming guests will be treated to new music literally at every turn in a program featuring simultaneous performances in different parts of the building, with glass music composer Miguel Frasconi, pianist Sarah Cahill, Tibetan singer Te Chung, Balkan ensemble Panacea, and saxophonist Dan Plonsey, among others. The event begins at 5 p.m. at Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont (at Pleasant Valley Road), Oakland. Admission is $8-10; call 255-8225.
The Taxman Returneth Central Works Theater Ensemble offers a break to everyone whose pockets were recently picked by Uncle Sam: a free preview of IRS -- I Want You. Inspired by recent congressional hearings filled with public testimony about IRS collection quotas and armed raids conducted by agents with drug-sniffing dogs, scriptwriter Gary Graves created a political satire on the federal government's most unpopular arm. Parodying bureaucratic red tape is by no means new, but Graves tries to inject a bit of novelty into the tale by changing the protagonist from a likable average guy to a journalist. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and runs through Aug. 23) at Santa Fe Bar & Grill Performance Space, 1310 University (at San Pablo), Berkeley. Admission is $10-13; call (925) 798-1300.
It's How You Play the Game Ex-geeks who were hoping to work through, or at least laugh off, the anguish of high school with Steamroller's theatrical dance performance Loserville lost their chance when the company canceled the show at the last minute due to an overbooking problem. In its scramble to find a replacement, the Lab came up with AWD, a 12-member performance band whose reckless physicality and arty urban antics should fill Steamroller's slot nicely. Their show, which melds trance rhythms, live vocals, and spoken word with video and athletic dance, begins at 9:30 p.m. (and runs through Sunday) at the Lab, 2948 16th St. (at Capp), S.F. Admission is $7-10; call 864-8855.
Dutch Treat Named for a Dutch expression that loosely translates into English as "Act normally and you'll be weird enough," the exhibit "Do Normal: Recent Dutch Design" highlights over 200 examples of works that might take American eyes by surprise, although they are commonplace in the Netherlands. Studio Dunbar's orange-and-blue-striped police cars, Total Design's roadside signs, and Jaap Drupsteen's graphics for the Dutch monetary system are among the bold and colorful images to which the Dutch are accustomed; the show also includes such eyebrow-raising pieces as Henk Stallinga's bookcase supported by electric screwdrivers and Piet Hein Eek's geometric furniture, which incorporates everyday materials in unusual and sometimes ironic new ways. The show opens at 10 a.m. (and is up through Oct. 20) at the SFMOMA, 151 Third St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is free-$8; call 357-4000.
Book Smart Expect less Princess Di and chicken soup for the soul at Books by the Bay, and more tomes on science, language, history, and travel. Over 40 independent bookstores will be setting up shop at the open-air fair, including locals like Green Apple, the European Book Co., and A Different Light, as well as visitors from the Monterey Bay Aquarium store and Capitola's Seeds of Change, which specializes in children's books. Authors Dorothy Allison (Cavedweller, Bastard Out of Carolina), Jane Smiley (A Thousand Acres), and Alison Lurie (Foreign Affairs) will be reading and signing their work, while Thom Gunn and August Kleinzahler will declaim during the poetry hour. Walter the Giant Storyteller entertains kids and investment expert Suze Orman offers tips at the fair, which begins at 10 a.m. at Pier 32 between Bryant & Brannan, S.F. Admission is free; call 927-3937.
It's the Bon Lost love and the dearly departed make a comeback this weekend at the Bon Odori and Tanabata festivals. Japanese Buddhist families have welcomed the spirits of their dead ancestors for over a thousand years with Bon Odori, variously known as the Festival of Souls, celebrated in parts of Japan by lighting candles and sending them afloat in little boats, like the way Day of the Dead is celebrated in parts of Mexico. The Japantown celebration lacks boats, but it will have the Bon Dance, led by women and girls in yukata (bright cotton kimonos) and traditional silk kimonos, and men and boys in yukata or happi coats. Fans and scarves will be dispensed, and the public will be invited to follow along with the dancers, who will perform simple line and circle dances with lyrical gestures. Tanabata, which marks the annual reunion of heavenly lovers Shokujo (Vega) and Kengyu (Altair), may appeal to astronomy buffs. Myth has it that Shokujo, the Princess Weaver Star, and Kengyu, the Cowherd Star, were separated by the king of the heavens after they fell so deeply in love that they neglected their duties. They're supposed to be reunited once a year, visible in what astronomers call the summer triangle. Japantown will be decorated with bamboo branches hung with short romantic poems and good wishes and dramatic large ornaments with colored streamers in the lovers' honor. Dancing begins at 3:30 p.m. (also Sunday) at the Japan Center Peace Plaza, Post & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is free; call 202-0353.
Tread Marks The excitement that bubbled up over protease inhibitors at the International AIDS Conference in Vancouver two years ago evaporated some at this year's conference in Geneva, as doctors noted staggering international rates of infection and the limited access millions of people have to the expensive drugs, as well as new studies indicating that some patients aren't responding to treatment. The end of the conference happens to segue into the beginning of the 12th annual AIDS Walk San Francisco, which will benefit local service groups that focus on all aspects of AIDS, from prevention to expanded access to drugs and housing. Actress Lisa Nicole Carson (of Ally McBeal and ER) is among the celebrity guests who'll greet walkers at an opening ceremony, and a concert with Me Jane and Alphabet Soup follows the 10K course. Walkers can register in teams or individually, and volunteers are still needed to help set up the park and run the event. The walk begins at 9 a.m. at Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is free with pledges; call 392-WALK.
Space Cowboys Like the Cramps used to, Portuguese psychobilly band The Tedio-Boys sound more than a little unhinged, as if they spent too many late nights drinking cactus juice and eating lunch meat, and bathing in the pale glow of TV zombie movies. Their first U.S. release Outer Space Shit veers wildly from twangy cowboy swing, heavy on barroom piano and harmonica, to spooky surf layered thick with reverb. Lyrics and surfin' bird stutters are delivered in English, with Portuguese-accented Southern drawls and exuberant whoops. San Diego's Barnyard Ballers, who run with Deadbolt, join the Tedio-Boys for a late-afternoon hoedown; Misfits tribute band Plan 9 open the show at 4 p.m. at the Covered Wagon, 917 Folsom (at Fifth Street), S.F. Admission is $5; call 974-1585.
High Spirits As long as it contains the sponsor's vodka, any beverage concocted by the 18 competing bartenders during the cocktail contest The Sky's the Limit is fair game. A panel of judges will choose the winning libation based on presentation, creativity, and taste, but guests get to sample drinks and vote for their favorites, too. The winning cocktail (smart money says it'll be some variation on the martini) will be dubbed SkyyDeck; party proceeds benefit the Little Jim Club, which supports pediatric and neonatal programs at the California Pacific Medical Center. Inebriated guests can snack on finger foods and enter a prize giveaway while they watch local mixmasters from hip joints like Aqua and Backflip work their magic. Winning bartenders will be treated to hot air balloon rides and trips to Vegas. The event begins at 5 p.m. at Scott's Seafood Grill & Bar, Promenade Level, 3 Embarcadero, S.F. Admission is $25; call (888) 737-5933.
Stuff, Stuff, Stuff Self-proclaimed "collectologist" Mark Sloan, a curator at North Carolina's mobile Meta Museum, walks the line between connoisseurism and pack rat-ism in his slide and video presentation "Obsessive Collections." Sloan focuses on people whose hobbies have evolved into all-consuming passions, and whose collections fall outside of the snow globe- and shot glass-souvenir mainstream. The collectors Sloan has collected include Unknown Museum curator Mickey McGowan, who specializes in TV culture paraphernalia ranging from lunch pails to Mr. Potato Heads and plastic Godzillas. (He stocks the museum's boys' and girls' rooms with toy tanks and bridal magazines, respectively.) Sloan also introduces viewers to Jeff Reed, a Southern hat collector who plans to open a hat museum, and Caryl Burtner, whose lipstick blot collection -- labeled with the date, lipstick color, who wore it, and on what occasion -- borders on excessive. The presentation is held in conjunction with the exhibit "Photo Backdrops: The George C. Berticevich Collection," an extensive compilation of those scenic and often cheesy studio backdrops that make family portraits so memorable. The presentation begins at 7 p.m. at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is free-$5; call 978-