You Better Work A celebration in honor of workers and their unions, "Laborfest '95" spans 12 days, and it offers a variety of recreational activities: film and video screenings, guided mural tours, art and photography exhibits (including work by Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans), and readings. Dedicated to supermarket and newspaper workers, the festival's first night features music by local (and Local) performers, and a special video show. The fun begins at 7:30 p.m. at LWU Local 34 Union Hall, 4 Berry, S.F. Tickets are $5-10; call 587-1220.
Love and Cutlery The latest effort by area playwright John Fisher (The Joy of Gay Sex), Medea: The Musical isn't really a song-and-dance version of Euripides' play -- it's about a theater company trying to produce the so-named show. In a bit of timely satire, Fisher himself appears as the ill-fated show's director, still smarting from a Shakespeare-festival fiasco (his leading man portrayed Hamlet as Bette Davis). Cutlery in hand, Fisher and Medea attack sacred cows (feminism, gay rights) and irritating theatrical practices (in particular, modern revisions of literary classics). Are the results bloody funny? Find out for yourself at an 8 p.m. preview performance at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 620 Sutter, S.F. The show continues Wed-Sat at 8 p.m. through July 29. Tickets are $14-20; call 436-0806.
The Ice Queen She's blond, beautiful, French, intellectual, and emotionally remote. She made her debut in a Roman Polanski film, and currently, she appears on the new Malcolm McLaren album (unfortunately, McLaren does, too). She's Catherine Deneuve, and she's an icon: Why, she even has a magazine (the lesbian chic Deneuve) named after her. The tale of a cold bourgeoise woman with a steamy erotic life, Luis Buuel's Belle de Jour is tailor-made for Deneuve. Describing the 1967 film ("ravishing, perverse, hilarious, and poetic all at once"), Martin Scorsese sounds like Gene Shalit. Find out what got Marty so hot and bothered at a benefit screening for the Pacific Film Archive at 7:30 p.m. at the George Gund Theater, 2621 Durant, Berkeley. Tickets are $10; call (510) 642-1412.
Johnson and Johnson The Robert Henry Johnson Dance Company has rapidly gained an international reputation; technically precise, their performances mix neoclassical ballet with modern, African, and urban dance. In conjunction with the "Bay Area Dance Series," playwright/choreographer Johnson and his African-American crew are spreading three premieres over two separate full-length programs, one of which features a special guest appearance by Christina Johnson, principal dancer with the Dance Theater of Harlem. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. at Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakland, and continues through July 9. Tickets are $5-14; call (510) 889-9550.
Bitchin' GTO Since its 1971 release, Two-Lane Blacktop has attained midnight-movie status, as reflected by its inclusion in the first of critic Danny Peary's excellent trio of books on cult films. Low on dialogue, high on speed (get it?), Monte Hellman's road flick stars snake-eyed, stubbly-faced Warren Oates, in a performance the esteemed Leonard Maltin felt should have gotten an Oscar. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, a lesser-known Sam Peckinpah actioner, rounds out an Oates double-bill. The trip starts at 8 p.m. at Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St, S.F. Tickets are $6.50; call 863-7576.
Thunder and Lightning Omulu Capoeira Group specializes in Afro-Brazilian dance, martial arts, music, and acrobatics. San Francisco Taiko Dojo studies and performs traditional Japanese drumming. Dancing Thunder brings the two companies together to explore shared (both Capoeira and Taiko involve improvisation) and distinct cultural identities (Capoeira emerged as a form of self-defense, whereas Taiko began as an expression of good will). Presented in conjunction with the S.F. Museum of Modern Art exhibit "Japanese Art After 1945: Scream Against the Sky," the movement and rhythm begin at 7:30 p.m. at Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, S.F. The program continues through July 9. Tickets are $12-18; call 978-2787.
Beer and Food Or food and beer, whichever you consider more important. Consume large amounts of both at KQED's International Beer and Food Festival -- 250 different brews (including banana and peach flavors) and 40 different restaurant booths. Also, free shuttle service will be on hand to cart happy campers home safely. A benefit for KQED, the three-hour event starts at 1 p.m. at the S.F. Concourse, Eighth & Brannan, S.F. Tickets are $35; call 553-2200.
Frankie and Adeva The new CD Welcome to the Real World brings together two of the most famous names in house music -- DJ/songwriter Frankie Knuckles and singer Adeva -- so its current status as the No. 1 dance album in America is hardly surprising. Credited by many as the inventor of house, Knuckles was recently name-dropped by Patsy and Edina on Absolutely Fabulous -- whether that's a curse or a compliment is for you to decide. Hear him, Adeva, and DJs Page Hodel and David Harness at 9:30 p.m. at Club Universe, 177 Townsend, S.F. Tickets are $10; call 985-5241.
Party With the Plants Produced by SLUG (San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners), the Festival at the Farm celebrates the opening of the four-acre Alemany Urban Mini Farm with a combination of work and play. The former includes tree planting and composting; the latter features free barbecue and music. Dig this scene beginning at 9 a.m. at Lower St. Mary's Park, Bernal Heights & Alemany Blvd, S.F. Free; call 285-7584.
Whole Lotta Labor Through fate or through planning, labor-rockers X-Tal's first S.F. concert in months coincides with a week of union-related "fun" in the Bay Area. A recent European tour with Beck and Counting Crows cemented the group's popularity in places like Germany (where they are lumped in with Barbara Manning and others as part of an S.F. "neofolk" movement); here in America, though, J. Neo's scathing class critiques don't fit in with punk's current obsessions: sexual politics and style. Feed your head with songs from the group's new LP, Good Luck, at 10 p.m. at El Rio, 3158 Mission, S.F. Tickets are $5; call 282-3235.
When Dogs Fly See vaults, midair catches, front flips, and spins: not a weird fusion of figure skating and football, but the Canine Frisbee Disc Championships. Canine Frisbee is one of America's hottest sports, and its stars tend to have high IQs. Sponsored by Friskies, the competition's Northwest finals will be based on showmanship, leaping ability, degree of difficulty, and execution; beginners and veterans may compete. The fur will fly 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Benedetti Baseball Diamond, 213 Fulton, S.F. Free; call (818) 509-1840.
Crime and Punishment Unfortunately, in these days of televised trials, "three strikes" laws, and capital punishment blood lust, TV talk and cop shows (not books) shape public opinion, and knee-jerk reactions win out over reason. Featuring panel discussions, music, and performances, the prison symposium "This Isn't Working -- What's Next?" probably won't change the system, but at least it might change some minds. Speakers include S.F. Assistant Sheriff (and one-time prisoner) Michael Marcum, Richard Korn, Laura Magnani, and Peter Sussman; performers and artists include Rhodessa Jones and the Medea Project, as well as the Prison to Praise gospel choir, Todd Gilens, Richard Kamler, and Phavra Kujichagulia. The program begins at 2 p.m. at Headlands Center for the Arts, Bldg 944, Fort Barry, Sausalito. Tickets are $5-7; call 331-2787.
Piano Phenom in the Park A Bronx native, Terrence Wilson first became passionate about music at age 9. Since his professional debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra two years ago (when he was 17), Wilson has established a reputation as a gifted soloist. He joins the S.F. Symphony (under the direction of Michael Lankester) to perform Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major at 2 p.m. at Sigmund Stern Grove, 19th Ave & Sloat, S.F. Free; call 252-6252.
Queen for a Day Are you a drag queen trapped in the body of a woman? If you are, tonight's the night for you to put your glamour to the test. Presented by La Klubstituta, "The Fabulous She-Male Impersonators Contest" judges female contestants on talent, drag, and personality. Entrants should prepare one lip-sync number. A thank-you party for the Women and Cancer Walk starts at 9 p.m. and the competition begins at 11 p.m. at La India Bonita, 3089 16th St, S.F. Tickets are $3; call 864-3695.
Loony Tunes Probably the only big band ever compared to the Flying Karamazov Brothers, Holland's 10-member, 20-year-old William Breuker Kollektief effortlessly leaps continents, centuries, and genres, often within a single composition. Alternating between melodic whimsy and jazzy dissonance, Teutonic horn-blowing and neoclassical quiet, their show mixes original compositions with music by Weill, Gershwin, Morricone, Prokofiev, and Ellington. Catch it at 8 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, S.F. Tickets are $12; call 885-0750.
Ugly Swans "Goddamn the sun," Michael Gira of Swans groans on one of the group's softer, prettier numbers; "Time Is Money (Bastard)," proclaims one of the torturously noisy songs for which his group is better known. Whether they're strumming sweet melodies on acoustic guitars or banging large metallic objects together, Gira and dulcet-toned partner Jarboe turn sunshine into something sinister. Suffer with them at 9 p.m. at Berkeley Square, 1333 University, Berkeley. Tickets are $12; call 841-6555.
Writers That Move You Hellish job experiences often make for great stories, and the cab drivers and transit workers taking part in "Private Lives in Public Places" probably have plenty to share. Presented by Wildcat Words, the evening includes music and readings by Alejandro Murgua, Felix Justice, Mark Joseph, Tom Tompkins, David Frankel, and Mary McGuire and an appearance by ex-cabbie and current mayoral candidate Willie Brown. Hail a taxi or hop on Muni; the program starts at 7 p.m. at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia, S.F. Tickets are $8-10; call 641-0235.