PMS Dawn Inside sources tell me PMS makes it hard to be polite and ladylike. Thankfully, PMS Dawn offers some aspirin-free relief, allowing a wide variety of female writers --from Lisa Palac to Marge Piercy -- new freedom to gush extreme anger and humor. Edited and published by local writer Mary Elizabeth Williams, the first issue ranges from the silly (Details' infamous Anka Radakovich lying about her age) to the serious (Piercy paying tribute to women killed in abortion terrorism). Help Williams pay the printer: Featuring words and music by local talent like Palac, Julene Snyder and Cory McAbee, a fund-raiser for the zine starts at 8:30 p.m. at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia, S.F. Tickets are $10-15; call 431-7690.
Pop Goes the Art Where can you catch the West Coast premiere of the Spam Castle and the Macaroni and Cheese Altar? Why, the one and only Pop T.Art festival, of course. Architecture built from white-trash cuisine is just one of the event's many delicious edible and nonedible treats. Snooty theorists can wax philosophical about displays featuring Pop Pogs and Pez, Elvis, Garfield and Star Trek; actual consumers can fight over Barbie collectibles, celebrity posters and antique lunch boxes at the Pop Mania auction. Last but not least: The only reason to watch Beverly Hills 90210 in this spiritually empty post-Brenda era, Tori Spelling receives the ultimate tribute -- a look-alike drag contest. A benefit for Southern Exposure, Pop T.Art starts at 7 p.m. at Ten 15, 1015 Folsom, S.F. Tickets start at $25; call 863-2141.
Attack of the Man-Eating Lotus Blossoms Whether he's skewering "Orientalism" or the body fascism of gym queens, solo performer/author Justin Chin is always wicked -- wicked smart and wicked honest. With an emphasis on irony, his new show, Attack of the Man-Eating Lotus Blossoms, promises an "authentic cultural experience" of all things Asian. As tour guide, Chin assumes various personae, including a karaoke bar host, Margaret Mead (on speed) and a Wok With Yan-style TV cook. The result is a comic critique of cultural consumption, in particular, American cravings for "exotic" delicacies. Chin appears Fri-Sat at 8 p.m. at the Lab, 1807 Divisadero, S.F. Tickets are $5-7; call 346-4063.
Bay Area Dance Series Best-known in San Francisco for Paved Paradise, his humorous but affectionate drag tribute to Joni Mitchell, New York's John Kelly is actually a multidisciplinary artist, trained in opera and dance. Constant Stranger, Kelly's latest work, uses songs, arias, movement and text to confront mortality; it also kicks off 1995's Bay Area Dance Series. First, though, Kelly and numerous other artists -- including the Robert Henry Johnson Dance Company, Nao Bustamante, Mahea Uchiymama and the Harupin-Ha Butoh Dance Theater -- offer sneak previews of their pieces, as part of the festival's 10th anniversary celebration. The performance/party begins at 7:30 p.m. at Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakland. Tickets are $15-20; call (510) 889-9550.
Edward James Olmos Actor/director Edward James Olmos hosts the closing evening of the National Educational Media Network's three-night 25th anniversary celebration, a screening of two films on gangs, crime and incarceration. Barbara Leibovitz's Salvaged Lives looks at six men who are part of an innovative reform program at Chino State Prison; Susan Todd and Andrew Young's Lives in Hazard follows the making of Olmos' own acclaimed feature, American Me, in which young Latino gang members and prison inmates appear as actors. Co-sponsored by Cine Acción and the Hispanic Education Media Group, the program begins at 7:30 p.m. at Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland. Tickets are $7-35; call (510) 465-6400.
Carnaval The West Coast's largest two-day outdoor festival, Carnaval San Francisco has blossomed into an international bash, including European, African, Polynesian, Asian and Caribbean, as well as Central, South and Native North American, contingents. Carnaval also offers several stages of entertainment. On these stages, performers -- including Urban Soul, Claudia Vilella, Caribbean All Stars, Pete Escovedo and Orchestra, Tee Fee, West African Highlife Band, and Tony Thompson of Hi-Fives -- will play salsa and samba, classic calypso, world beat and reggae. Some people will wear elaborate costumes, some will wear tiny costumes and some will wear elaborately tiny costumes. Join them all to eat hot food, drink fruity beverages, think (at environmental and cultural exhibits) and be merry 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat-Sun at Harrison between 16th and 22nd Sts, S.F.; call 824-8999.
Woodstock Jr. For many people, the idea of camping with thousands of strangers -- many of them on drugs -- is frightening, not exciting. The promoters behind Laguna Seca Days aim to conquer those fears through music, a familiar ruse that's worked before and will probably work again. They're offering electricity, water, picnic tables and fire pits. They're also offering Bob Dylan, the Black Crowes and George Clinton and the P-Funk Allstars (on Saturday), and the Indigo Girls, Widespread Panic and the Boxing Gandhis (on Sunday). Wavy Gravy will be on hand to MC and -- by extension -- recall acid flashbacks for any Woodstock survivors on hand. The madness begins Sat and Sun at noon at Laguna Seca Recreational Area, on Highway 68 between Monterey and Salinas. Tickets are $28-55; call 974-6726.
Everything's Coming Up Roses With a one-day exhibit titled "Blooming Genes," the Ex-ploratorium promises you a rose garden, and they do so -- of course -- to demonstrate something: Controlled breeding has been an indirect way of modifying DNA for hundreds of years. Antique rose-growers bring flowers for the public to scratch, sniff and ponder from 2-5 p.m. at the Palace of Fine Arts, Marina and Lyon, S.F. Admission is sliding scale; call 561-0360.
Everybody Loves a Parade The largest event of this weekend's Carnaval, the Grand Parade boasts big numbers. Jesse Sapolu of the San Francisco 49ers will lead the procession as grand marshal. He'll be accompanied by the Spirit of Polynesia, a group of more than 100 dancers. Over 200 colorful floats and contingents will slowly snake through the Mission District. And thousands of dancers and musicians will cavort and frolic. The Carnaval Grand Parade runs 11 a.m.-3 p.m., beginning at Bryant and 24th St. Reserved seats are $15; call (510) 762-2277.
Half Japanese Celebrate Memorial Day with Jad Fair, the nasal-voiced nerd supreme with the Coke-bottle glasses who refuses to grow up, let alone register for the armed services. Touring in support of their recently released two-CD greatest-hits compilation, Jad and his brother, David, continue to walk a fine line between the funny and the irritating, the spontaneous and the contrived. They will rock you along with Pee at 8 p.m. at Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St, S.F. Tickets are $6; call 621-4455.
Bill Jacobson Contemporary art rarely strives for -- let alone achieves -- the ephemeral. The photographs of Bill Jacobson, however, are a striking exception. Jacobson's blurry "Interim Portraits With Figures" are evocative ghosts, open to symbolic meanings: lovers lost to AIDS, fleeting sexual encounters and unfulfilled desires. Like the work of Robert Flynt, Jacobson's closest contemporary, the images occupy a dreamy, interior realm beyond language. (To cut the pretentious blather and put it simply, they're beautiful.) "Bill Jacobson: Interim Portraits With Figures" shows with "Duane Michals: Questions Without Answers" from 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. through July 1 at Robert Koch Gallery, 49 Geary, S.F.; call 421-0122.
The Black Athlete Though classicism strives to deny it, art and history aren't totally distinct. A perfect example: Leni Riefenstahl's Olympiad. Aesthetically gorgeous, the film is muddied by the events that surround it. Recently screened at the Goethe Institut, the film provokes many troubling questions about fascism and race, not just in Germany, but in America as well. Watching Jesse Owens and other black athletes (win medals, one can't help but wonder what it was like for them, competing for a country that didn't even recognize their humanity.The documentaries Body and Soul and The Black Athlete both address this issue, interviewing figures such as O.J. Simpson, Arthur Ashe, Muhammad Ali and Tommy Smith (disqualified for giving the Black Power salute on the victory stand at the 1968 Olympics). The movies screen at 6:30 p.m. at the Goethe Institut, 530 Bush, S.F.; call 391-0370.