One Fish, Two Fish When we left Tuna, Texas, last Christmas, gun shop owner Didi Snavley had lost her husband to alien visitors, and devout Baptist Bertha Bumiller had found a new religion after tossing back a few drinks with DJ Arles Struvie at a holiday party. With a remarkable talent for quick costume and character changes, actors Joe Sears and Jaston Williams created the fictional Texas town and all 22 quirky, deluded, hopeful people in it, beginning with Greater Tuna and followed by A Tuna Christmas, which played the city in December. Local fans can catch up on the latest and meet new characters at the third installment of the Tuna trilogy: Red, White, and Tuna. This time the homespun comic premise is a high school reunion, which promises a fierce fight for the Reunion Queen title and the return of two prodigal Tunites from their newfound bohemian lifestyles. Williams and Sears make droll work of conservative small-town life in the show, which opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through March 28) at the Marines Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $25-39; call (877) 771-6900.
Dance Through Time There were complaints in the early '80s that America's line of great modern dance innovators had ended with Merce Cunningham and Paul Taylor. Then along came the Mark Morris Dance Group, who electrified dancegoers and changed the conversation completely. American modern dance hadn't come to an end, of course: There were fine new and old choreographers working then, and Morris absorbed plenty from both before striking out on his own, reviving classical scores through unadorned, often joyful, modern movement. The company unveils the world premiere of Morris' Dixit Dominus, with live music from the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and the American Bach Soloists Choir, along with Love Song Waltzes and New Love Song Waltzes, set to movements from Brahms' Liebeslieder Walzer. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and runs through Sunday) at Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft & Telegraph, UC Berkeley campus. Admission is $20-45; call (510) 642-9988. For comparison's sake, catch this weekend's free performance by Taylor 2, the youth offshoot of Paul Taylor's company, who offer a window on the upcoming S.F. Taylor residency. The show begins at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum, 701 Mission (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 978-2710, ext. 110.
Out of the Frying Pan Set to Wagner and tango music, Lillian Garrett-Groag's drama The Magic Fire follows one family's flight from the political unrest of Hitler's Europe to the political unrest of Juan Peron's Argentina. Daughter Lise Berg (played by a rotating cast of actresses) narrates the story, which begins in 1952 when she is 7 years old and Eva Peron is dying. Berg's eccentric family members hold grim political realities on both continents at bay through their love of the arts, especially opera, but in the end, fascism's choke hold tightens unbearably. Garrett-Groag (author of The Ladies of the Camellias) saw the show become a hit at last year's Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It previews at 8 p.m. (and runs through May 7) at the Berkeley Repertory Theater, 2025 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley. Admission is $29.50-45; call (510) 845-4700.
Manly Dances Air Force brat Scott Wells spent a macho childhood on military bases, playing sports with his older brothers. For the last two years, the adult Wells has been thinking about his youth and what it means to be a man, and his answer lies in "Chaos Theory," a dance concert that snaps the sissy-boy male dancer stereotype clean in half. An hour or two with Scott Wells & Dancers would do that anyway, considering their strong, athletic contact improv style. Wells' new work, Wrestling With Affection, combs through our culture in search of male physicality, finding its expression in the butt-slapping, full-body tackling tradition of team sports and weird adolescent rites of passage. Also on the program: Square Dance, an installation of movable walls that shape the choreography, as dancers navigate a shifting maze of alleys and doorways in the space. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and runs through March 27) at ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. (at Shotwell), S.F. Admission is $12-15; call 863-9834.
Brave New World The drab industrial ugliness of Britain's postwar landscape inspired a backlash among young London architects in the early '60s. They called their movement "Archigram," condensed from the magazine title Architectural Telegram. The same pop-art aesthetic that gave us period pieces like the Beatles/Peter Max collaboration Yellow Submarine shaped their whimsical creations, which are represented in the retrospective "Archigram: Experimental Architecture 1961-1974," and the accompanying film and slide installation "Arena." Among the 3-D projects Archigram considered, with varying degrees of feasibility: "suitaloons," which would put one's house on one's back; walking cities that would travel the globe on metal legs; and a range of plastics and gadgets. The exhibit opens at 11 a.m. (and runs through June 15) at the SFMOMA, 151 Third St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is free-$8; call 357-4000.
Brass in Pocket Big-band dance music rarely sounds richer or warmer than it does under the direction of Cuban trumpeter Jess Alemany, who organized the descarga (or jam session) that led to ACubanismo! This all-star gathering of Havana musicians dips into traditional dance rhythms -- salsa, cha-cha, mambo, rumba -- rooted in the Cuban son, mixing standards like the '50s hit "El Platanal de Bartolo" with Alemany originals and high-spirited jams. The brass is blistering in Reencarnación's "Mambo UK," while the bongo and conga solos of "En Las Delicias" command happy feet. Shows start at 8 and 11 p.m. at Bimbo's 365 Club, 1025 Columbus (at Chestnut), S.F. Admission is $22.50-25; call 474-3606.
A Glimpse of Stocking Burlesque seems to be making a comeback, on the heels of Cocktail Nation and the swing revival; in L.A. not long ago, Velvet Hammer staged a show in which dancers in skimpy lingerie emerged from a giant oyster shell and kicked up their heels in a 6-foot martini glass. Inspired by such decadent displays, "Bardot a Go-Go" impresario Alan Parowski and Frenchy's Brian Lease have put together "Tease-O-Rama!," an old-fashioned strip show with tiki undertones. With the exception of the oyster girl, who charged a prohibitive fee, "Tease-O-Rama!" will be teeming with buxom beauties, including hula-dancing ukulele player Leilani and the ladies of Hollywood fashion contingent In the Mood, who model their original vintage-style lingerie. The lucky gents scattered among the ladies include Inferno, the Human Funeral Pyre (also known as Nat from the Aquamen, who trades his regular Bacardi-breathing antics for a fire-breathing act with his buddies), and Lease himself, in the guise of Fisherman & His Back Alley Boys. They'll be playing a Las Vegas striptease grind that kicks into overdrive for the show's climax: "Exoteasia: Untamed Lust in a Savage Land!" That's when the drums start pounding, the tiki torches flare, the fire-breathers roar, and dancer Kitten Deville slooowly strips down to pasties and a G-string. The party begins at 9 p.m. at Club Cocodrie, 1024 Kearny (at Broadway), S.F. Admission is $10; call 986-6678.
Art Crawl Some of the spaces at California Mini-Storage are so big that when you visit "Annex," an indoor/outdoor art party held there, you can actually step inside a storage unit and immerse yourself in art. A big space might run 4 feet by 4 feet by 20 feet, while a smaller space would average 4 by 4 by 4 -- just enough to accommodate something like a small computer installation. DJ Cycloman and guests provide a live soundtrack, and as viewers arrive, they can help themselves to a beer or soda before they begin roaming the quarter-mile lot, where photographers, painters, sculptors, and multimedia and installation artists, under the auspices of the Lab, have been setting up their work for the last three weeks. The show begins at 11 a.m. at 790 Pennsylvania (between 23rd and 24th streets), S.F. Admission is free; call 441-8269.
East Meets West Earlier this week, Tibetan exiles worldwide observed the 40th anniversary of their country's failed revolt against Chinese government rule with a variety of events and protests. Tibet Day 1999 counts as one of these: San Jose Mercury News photographer Eugene Louie's shots of last year's Tibetan hunger strike in Delhi will be shown, and there will be information booths encouraging people to lobby for Tibetan freedom. Politics aside, the event gives Americans a sample of Tibetan culture through slide lectures, traditional music and dance, and handicrafts like rugs, jewelry, and ritual objects. The event begins at 10 a.m. at the Fort Mason Conference Center, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is free-$5; call (510) 548-1271.
Wisdom of Ages What's in it for you when San Francisco State University celebrates its 100th anniversary with Founders' Week? If you're an alum, nostalgia. If you're a prospective student or curious visitor, tours of the planetarium and observatory or the Sutro Egyptian collection. If you're just hungry, a free piece of a 100-foot birthday cake. The party begins at noon on the main lawn of the SFSU campus, 1600 Holloway, S.F. Admission is free; call 338-1665 for information on this and other public events throughout the week. While you're there, swing by "Sinusoidal," a sound art show highlighting sonic oddities like Phil Dadson's large-scale custom-built instruments, Brenda Hutchinson's Giant Music Box, and instrument designer Qubais Reed Ghazala's experimental noisemakers, favored by Tom Waits. The exhibit opens at 11 a.m. Wednesday (and runs through April 14) at the Cesar Chavez Student Center, SFSU campus, 1600 Holloway, S.F. Admission is free; call 338-2580.
Rock and Roll In an ongoing attempt to make computer engineering just that much sexier, the creators of the Robot Races have hit upon a sure-fire new crowd-pleaser: International Robot Sumo Wrestling. The Robot Races, and the Robot Wars held at Fort Mason, have inspired tinkerers of all ages and skill levels to create machines that can compete with, and potentially destroy, other machines. They've entered from as far away as France, and given their creations names worthy of monster trucks -- like Thor and the Mulcher. The sumo wrestling competition pits 10 champion Japanese robots and their makers against 10 American counterparts. Robots, in light- and regular-weight categories, must try to force or trick their opponents out of the 1-meter ring, relying on the data they "absorb" to make "decisions." The competition begins at 12:30 p.m. at the Exploratorium, Bay & Lyon, S.F. Admission is free-$9; call 561-0363.