Coming Home Way back in 1975 when "choreopoems" were just a glimmer in the theater world's eye, Ntozake Shange brought the first incarnation of for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf to a bar outside Berkeley. In the 20 years since, Shange's performance piece -- which revolves around seven women who relate their life experiences via prose, free verse, music and dance -- has won a Tony in its Broadway premiere and has been translated into more than a dozen languages; stops on the play's current tour included a stint at Joseph Papp's Public Theater and another at London's West End Royal Court. Preview the 20th anniversary celebration at 8 pm at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 620 Sutter, S.F. The production also previews Thurs-Fri, March 23-24, opening Sun, March 26, and continuing through April 16. Tickets are $18-22; call 474-8800.
Art of the Other Mxico: Sources & Meanings With immigrant-bashing at a sustained fever pitch, Center for the Arts Galleries exhibits an important collection of painting and sculpture by 20 American artists of Mexican descent. Developed by Chicago's Mexican Fine Arts Center and Museum, the traveling show is the first and largest major exhibition organized, curated and participated in solely by Mexican Americans. "Art of the Other Mexico is an important development in the self-determination of Mexican artistic expression in the United States," writes curator Rene H. Arceo-Fueros. That self-determination hinges on three major themes -- land, family and afterlife -- as a means of exploring the relationship between Mexican ancestry and contemporary Chicano culture. Among the featured artists are six from the Bay Area: Rupert Garca, Ester Hernndez, Carmen Loma Garza, Frank López Garza, Patricia Rodrguez and Peter Rodrguez. Opening on the same day are two other exhibits, Dear Robert, I'll See You at the Crossroads: A Project by Renee Stout, which examines links between African and New World black culture; and Life Work, Art Work, an exhibition of pieces by senior residents of the Yerba Buena Gardens neighborhood. All three exhibits are open Tues-Sun, 11 am-6 pm (Thurs till 8 pm) through May 14 at Center for the Arts, Mission & Third St, S.F. Admission is $4; call 978-ARTS.
Bettie Serveert Catch the strains of Bettie Serveert's heart-rending grunge before they soar out of reach: The Dutch band, after the success of last year's Palomine, became a magnet for major-label talent scouts hungry for the next big alternative thing. Led by singer Carol van Dijk, the quartet brings its own special brand of ethereal, chiming yet gritty rock to the Fillmore in support of its recent Matador/Atlantic release, Lamprey. Giant Sand opens the all-ages show. Doors at the Fillmore (1805 Geary, S.F.) open at 7 pm; the show starts at 8 pm. Tickets are $12.50; call 346-6000, BASS or Rough Trade.
Bastards of Film "The most unrespectable underground films being produced on unemployment and minimum wage paychecks ... hated by Christians and film school professors alike." What other recommendation do you need? Maybe three shorts by Tamra Davis (Guncrazy, CB4, Billy Madison) -- including a 20-minute flick with that Yber-hipster couple, Adam Horowitz (King Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys) and Ione Skye (Say Anything, Gas Food Lodging) -- would sweeten the bill. Or I Was a Teenage Serial Killer, a film loved by Sassy magazine and the Film Threat Video Guide alike. Eight featured shorts play in sets of four: "Sinister Bastards" at 7 pm and "Tough Little Bastards," 9 pm, March 23-25, at the Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St, S.F. Tickets are $5 for one show, $8 for both; call 928-1745.
Avant Banjo Bay Area artist Bob Davis has made it his mission to prove that banjos aren't just for Deliverance anymore. An aficionado of American folk music, Davis strings together influences as diverse as John Cage and Barney Davis, Bob's vaudevillian grand-father. In Banjo, the one-man show first heard as a work-in-progress at the second High Tides festival in 1994 and later excerpted on KQED's Fog City Radio, Davis combines theatrical monologues, instrumentals and songs performed on banjo-based instruments into a peculiarly American artifact of new music. The so-called "Pete Seeger of the avant-garde" plays Thurs-Sat at 8 pm at the Climate Theatre, 252 Ninth St, S.F., through April 15. Tickets are $10-12; call 626-9196.
Otra Luz/Other Light This exhibit of photography from Mexico, which complements Center for the Arts' current Mexican American exhibition, freeze-frames our southern neighbor in a transitional period of political and spiritual upheaval. Join the photographers at 6:30 pm for an opening reception with food and music at the CARE Gallery, 25 14th St, S.F. Call 703-0264.
Make a Wish The M.H. de Young Memorial Museum celebrates its 100th birthday with free admission to the museum all day long. Although all the tickets to the opening of Monet: Late Paintings of Giverny from the Muse Marmottan have been swooped up, the rest of the facility is well worth a visit. Also featured are children's art activities and entertainment, including a book signing by cartoonist Phil (Farley) Frank, who created a special-edition coloring book for the de Young's centennial. The festivities begin at 10 am and continue till 5 pm in Golden Gate Park. From 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, free shuttle service will run every 10 minutes to and from the UCSF staff parking garage at Irving, Arguello & Carl, where a $3 parking fee is good for the entire day. Call 750-3600.
Time Travel Take a spin through history and get a 10-mile workout with the San Francisco Bike Coalition's labor history tour. Learn about the 1934 general strike, violent labor clashes like the attempted sacking of the Pacific mail docks in 1877, and the steady erosion of the city's base of blue-collar jobs. BYO bike and lunch to the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero at noon and ride till 4 pm. Call 431-2453.
Louise Gluck Break the Sunday blahs with a dose of "emotional and rhetorical intensity": Award-winning poet Louise Gluck, whose most recent volume of poetry, The Wild Iris, won both the Pulitzer and the William Carlos Williams Award for poetry, reads from her new book of essays Proofs and Theories. Published over a period of 20 years, Gluck's other works include Ararat, The Triumph of Achilles, Descending Figure, The House on Marshland and Firstborn. "Not once in six books has [Gluck] wavered from a formal seriousness, an unhurried sense of control and a starkness of expression that, like a scalpel, slices the mist dwelling between hope and pain," David Biepel wrote in the Washington Post. Gluck reads at Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia, S.F. Tickets are $3-5; call 626-2787.
Chuckle for Choice NOW's Reproductive Rights Task Force hosts its third annual comedy benefit at Cobb's Comedy Club. Prizes will be raffled off to audience members who join a letter-writing campaign to protest government inaction during the recent wave of violence against abortion providers. Featured performers include "The Pine Sol Lady" Diane Amos and Johnny Steele. Laugh last and loudest at 8 pm at Cobb's, 2801 Leavenworth, S.F. Tickets are $10; call 928-4320 or BASS.
Couch Potato(e) Root yourself to the TV screen with Oscar Night at EXIT Theatre. Celebrate EXIT's first anniversary and help finance the production of the 1995 San Francisco Fringe Festival, a 10-day round of theater produced each September by Exit. Large-screen viewing starts at 6 pm at 156 Eddy, S.F. Tickets are $5; call 931-1094.
Barbara Imhoff A seminal figure in the Bay Area's new music community for 15 years, composer/harpist Imhoff premieres new work for harp accompanied by Mark Wyman, Jeremy Brooks, Nancy Kaspar, Kaloncia McQuestin, Patti Clemens and Claude Palmer. A member of the experimental ensemble Beasts of Paradise, Imhoff frequently collaborates with Robyn Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins. Also featured are a special performance by composer Pamela Z and projection by Charles Rose. Imhoff and company perform at 8 pm at New Performance Gallery, 3153 17th St, S.F. Tickets are $10; call 863-9834.
Word Noir Join M.I. Blue, Carmaig de Forest, Jennifer Joseph and Tom Wobarst in a celebration of the darker side of the language at Place Pigalle, the reincarnation of Hayes Street's favorite open-mike venue, E'space. Words start flying at 8 pm at 520 Hayes, S.F. Call 552-2671.