Stand-up Tragedy Written by Liz White, "The Associates" is a night of sketch comedy. Its aim? To make a mockery of hypocrisy. In between solo performances, White and a cast of comedians act out skits. They include a TV crime show that uses actual witnesses in its re-enactments and the tale of one female comic's deterioration into a Las Vegas road hack. Laugh and cry at 8 p.m. at 450 Geary Theatre, 450 Geary, S.F. "The Associates" continues through Sept. 30. Tickets are $10; call 673-1172.
Cute 'n' Clever Clive Here's the scariest thing about Clive Barker: He's supernaturally prolific. In the past decade, the brown-haired Brit has penned almost as many books as wordmonger Joyce Carol Oates, still finding time to write and direct a few films (including the notorious Hellraiser) on the side. Famous and "out" in a genre -- horror -- that isn't exactly gay-friendly, Barker casually mixes polymorphous perversity into the narratives of fantasy epics like Imajica. His latest cinematic project -- Lords of Illusion, starring Scott Bakula -- opens soon, and he'll discuss it at a 7 p.m. reading/autograph signing at A Different Light, 489 Castro, S.F. Free; call 431-0891.
Weirdos a Go Go Fetish gear is peddled at Macy's and the neighborhood librarian has her chin pierced -- nothing's shocking. Still, Mystery City continues to give it the old college try. "Ritual" -- the fetish party to end them all -- will feature the standard tattoo and piercing demonstrations, as well as some not-so-standard performances by Bob Matigan the Pubic Pyromaniac, Lance the Pukeboy, Star the Urine Queen, and Violet the Bloodletter. (Yum.) The Seemen bring the noise. Fluids will flow freely at 8 p.m. at the Trocadero, 520 Fourth St, S.F. Tickets are $8-10; call 995-4600.
Get Crafty Q: Where can you find glistening gold, shimmering silver, pretty porcelain, shiny silk, and wacky wood wares? A: At the 20th annual American Craft Council Craft Fair San Francisco. The largest juried event of its kind in California, this year's craft fair features many works addressing the environment and ethnicity. It also boasts a number of strange creations: purses of metal, lamps of alabaster, metal baskets, wooden teapots, and knives and chairs made of glass. Though 47 states are represented, over half of the 350 exhibitors are from California; all will tend their booths, giving shoppers a chance to ask about more than prices. Shop and gawk at stoneware tureens, silk scarves, patterned quilts, ceramic vessels, and more natural-fiber baskets from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Herbst and Festival Pavilions, Fort Mason Center, S.F. The fair continues through Sunday, Aug. 13. Admission is $7; call 896-5060.
Ready for His/Her Close-Up Not only has multitalented Billy de Herrera been nominated for a Bay Area Theater Critics Award, he's also one of San Francisco's foremost wigmakers. A Latino twist on A Star Is Born, Herrera's new one-(wo)man show, Rosa's Turn, focuses on a beauty queen's dreams of fame. Jazz numbers, Broadway tunes, and -- most important -- a dozen costume changes (all Herrera's own creations) help tell the tale. Wig out at 10 p.m. at Josie's Cabaret and Juice Joint, 3583 16th St, S.F. Rosa's Turn continues through Aug. 25. Tickets are $10; call 861-7933.
Strong Coffy In Cleopatra Jones, 6-foot-2 kung-fu champ/supermodel/blacktress Tamara Dobson doesn't work with the system; she makes the system work with her. In contrast, blaxploitation star Pam Grier's films are bleak tales of one woman against the world. As Coffy, Grier decapitates drug pushers and castrates cheating boyfriends, winning not one but two catfights -- one by throwing megatacky furniture, the other by hiding razor blades in her 'fro. (She also leaves leisure-suit sleazebag Allan Arbus -- Diane's husband -- literally drowning in a pool of his own blood.) Grier's other star vehicle, Foxy Brown, also features the incomparable clown Antonio Fargas (who went on to play Huggy Bear on Starsky and Hutch, a no-good, back-stabbing coke dealer). The blaxploitation fest's feminist half starts with Foxy, 7:15 and 9:15 p.m., at the Red Vic, 1727 Haight, S.F. Tickets are $5.50; call 668-3994 for Coffy and Cleopatra Jones show times.
Floral Preservation Society In 1958, Bay Area Beat-era painter Jay DeFeo began working on a piece called Deathrose. Five years and $5,000 in paint later, DeFeo finished the 2,300-pound, 129-by-92-inch work. In 1969, the painting -- ultimately titled The Rose -- was exhibited for the first time, to great acclaim. A symposium devoted to DeFeo's "ultimate statement," "A Day With The Rose" features a screening of Bruce Conner's documentary The White Rose, presentations by conservators currently working to preserve the painting's 2-to-8-inch surface, and a panel discussion featuring artist/DeFeo associate Wally Hedrick, curator Walter Hopps, poet Michael McClure, and author Greil Marcus, among others. Hear about The Rose, then see it 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at S.F. Art Institute, 800 Chestnut, S.F. Admission is $6-12; call 749-4588.
Lend Me a Tenor Last year, Keith Ikaia-Purdy filled in for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti in a performance of Tosca at the Vienna Festival, and in a triumph "under impossible conditions" (to quote one review), gained many ovations from a crowd of Pavarotti devotees. Now a leading tenor with the Vienna State Opera, Ikaia-Purdy is returning to the city -- San Francisco -- where he began his training. He'll be joined by soprano Sharon Davis and baritone Michael Davidson in an homage to the three singers' vocal coach, Maestro Peter Gregg. Titled "A Night at the Opera," the evening includes selections from Mozart, Weber, Verdi, and Puccini. The music begins at 7:30 p.m. at Calvary Presbyterian Hall, 2515 Fillmore, S.F. Tickets are $16-20; call 392-4400.
Mission Maniacs The corner of 16th and Valencia is always noisy and busy, but the "16th Street Rendez-Vous" provides an official excuse for the loud and unruly to congregate. A 12-hour party, the event offers food, live music, and a variety of displays on and off the street. DJs will spin world music at Dalva, and Kilowatt will host several bands throughout the day and night. La Hacienda, Abbondante Restaurant, Malia Thai Restaurant, New Dawn Cafe, Dr. Bombay's, and Katz Bagels will serve up edibles; dancers and jugglers will punctuate the festivities. The mayhem lasts from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. at 16th & Valencia, S.F. Free; call 206-1995.
Attack of the 50-Foot P J She's forsaken heaven and traveled seas and deserts to bring you her love. In fact, she's even willing to go to Mountain View! She's P J Harvey, she's on tour, and her performance at the Warfield earlier this year was so awesome it even makes her superb recent LP seem lame-o in comparison. Liberated from her guitar, free to dance around in a slinky black slip with scary whiteface and fake lashes so long you could sweep the floor with them, the new glam incarnation of the Peej is larger than life. In fact, by the time her razor-sharp band launches into the raucous "50 Foot Queenie," it really does seem like she's a giantess. Prove your adoration; make your own journey to see her open for the god-awful Live at 6:30 p.m. at Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View. Tickets are $15 (lawn seats only); call 962-1000. (P.S. Is megawhiny Alanis Morissette the worst P J wannabe on the planet right now? I sure hope so ...)
Balanchine Ballet The S.F. Ballet's annual summer appearance is both the final event of the Stern Grove Festival season and the last chance to see the company before they depart for a national fall tour. Accompanied by the S.F. Ballet Orchestra, dancers will perform Helgi Tomasson's "Haffner" Symphony, the pas de deux from William Forsythe's In the middle, somewhat elevated, and the principal pas de deux and grand finale of George Balanchine's American tribute, Stars and Stripes (performed to music by John Philip Sousa). Hosted by Ronn Owens, the show starts at 2 p.m. at Sigmund Stern Grove, 19th Ave & Sloat, S.F. Free; call 865-2000.
The Walter and Bell Show Though Walter Mosley's whodunits belong to the hard-boiled tradition of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and James Cain, they also sport some basic distinguishing features. Mosley is a master at evoking urban settings -- from New Orleans to postwar Los Angeles -- and through his memorable main character Easy Rawlins, he inserts an African-American voice into a role normally occupied by white males. The last installment in City Arts and Lectures' "On Art and Politics" series finds Mosley discussing theories of mystery and mysteries of theory with teacher/cultural critic bell hooks, who's authored three books (Teaching to Transgress, Outlaw Culture, and Art on My Mind) in the past 12 months. The conversation commences at 8 p.m. at the Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness, S.F. Tickets are $15; call 392-4400.
It's A Crumb-y Life The media hoopla surrounding Terry Zwigoff's documentary Crumb would seem to be a filmmaker's dream, but Zwigoff wasn't pleased when critics and journalists painted comic artist R. Crumb and his siblings as a "dysfunctional family" of freaks. The panel discussion "The Making of Crumb" gives Zwigoff, producer Lynn O'Donnell, and editor Victor Livingston a chance to air their views. It also gives the film's passionate audience a chance to ask questions. Hear more about one of this year's biggest independent smashes from 7 to 10 p.m. at Film Arts Foundation, 346 Ninth St, S.F. Tickets are $15-20; call 552-8760.