Sex and Gore Gore Vidal has penned numerous historical novels, but he's also known for his public pundit persona (he traded barbs with Capote and punches with Mailer in the '70s). Vidal's recent memoir, Palimpsest, reveals that both he and Tennessee Williams were prolific and promiscuous. One juicy morsel: Vidal says he topped Jack Kerouac, a claim sure to shame macho Beat wannabes everywhere. Presented by City Arts & Lectures and hosted by Wendy Lesser, a lit chat with the man behind Myra Breckinridge begins at 8 p.m. at Masonic Auditorium, 1111 California, S.F. Tickets are $15; call 392-4400.
Music to My Eyes A computer graphics pioneer, John Whitney invented the Slit-Scan and Motion Control techniques used in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and George Lucas' Star Wars; he also worked with Saul Bass on Vertigo's credit sequence. In "A Personal Search: For the Complementarity of Music and Visual Art," two of Whitney's sons -- Michael and John Jr. -- pay tribute to their recently deceased father, screening both old and new works. The program starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon, S.F. Tickets are $5-9; call 563-7337.
Distortion = Emotion Berkeley's Slumberland label keeps churning out classic pop/rock noisebursts. The latest gems are Rocketship's A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness -- a melancholy teen-crush soundtrack with Stereolab-style keyboard tones and early-My Bloody Valentine boy/girl harmonies -- and bust 'em green by S.F.'s own (by way of New Mexico) Henry's Dress. bust 'em green is faster than the trio's first long release, its affectless vocals mixed more to the fore. Garage rock recorded in a garage, the LP's 12 songs have way more flair (and originality) than any of the countless bands currently working the '60s mod sound in the Bay Area (or England). Hear Henry's Dress and buy their music at a 10 p.m. record-release show at "Popscene," Cat's Grill & Alley Club, 1190 Folsom, S.F. Tickets are $5; call 431-3332.
Room With Many Views One of the founders of Britain's pop art movement, Richard Hamilton continually experiments with new media and technologies. In "New Work: Richard Hamilton, Site Referential Paintings," he uses a Quantel Paintbox to superimpose images of houses and other sites onto gallery walls. The resulting layered interiors play with reality and memory -- one work utilizes vintage film stills to create ghost effects. Hamilton's first U.S. show since 1973 is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at SFMOMA, 151 Third St., S.F. Admission is $7; call 357-4000. "New Work" continues through May 5.
Zounds! What Sounds! The "Edge Festival 1996" continues with a three-night showcase of unconventional local musicians. Curated by Peter Whitehead, "Spirit of Invention: Bay Area Instrument Makers" features Whitehead (who utilizes found sound); Miguel Frasconi (who has worked with John Zorn, John Cage, and Jon Hassell); Mobius Operandi (who compose/perform on "instrument sculptures"); Mark Growden (who teaches music and movement locally); and the Dactyls of Phrygia (a quartet who aim to provide "ponderfodder for the most tensely corrugated of noggins"). Evening 1 -- featuring Frasconi, Whitehead, and the Dactyls -- begins at 8 p.m. at Dancers' Group/Footwork, 3221 22nd St., S.F. Tickets are $8-10; call 824-5044.
Surfer Girl The Source is the title of a new docudrama about women surfers of the Bay Area who relentlessly pursue that perfect curl. A benefit for the film -- featuring a raffle, music (by DJ Kat), mermaids, and rad footage of girls on waves -- lasts from 7 to 10 p.m. at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, S.F. Tickets are $5; call 824-3890.
Dance Against Death Written, directed, and choreographed by David Rousseve, The Whispers of Angels renders the dreams and desires of a young African-American man dying of AIDS. A follow-up to Rousseve's Pop Dreams, Whispers includes original music by Me'Shell NdegeOcello, film images by Ayoka Chenzira, and a 25-member gospel chorus headed by Lynette Dupree. Performed by Rousseve and his dance company, REALITY, the show starts at 8 p.m. (also Saturday) at Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft & Telegraph, UC Berkeley campus. Tickets are $12-22; call (510) 642-9988.
Call the Doctor People with firsthand knowledge of surgery or mortality probably won't be entertained, but pseudo-physicians and ambulance-chasers can gawk without shame at "Scalpel Fetish: Bizarre Medical Films, 1950-75." Curated by David Naylor, the program includes lovely images of colon treatments, pelvic exams, and more. Scope it out at 8 p.m. at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, S.F. Tickets are $5; call 824-3890.
Testimonials Presented by Brothers Network and City of Refuge Community Church, "Our Eyes Are Still on the Prize" unites some of the Bay Area's best African-American lesbian and gay poets and performance artists: Cedric Brown, Wayne Corbitt, Deja Dior, Ntombi Howell, Carl Stokes, Laurens Van Slytman, and Marvin K. White. The program starts at 7:30 p.m. at City of Refuge Community Church, Post & Mason, S.F. Free; call 788-1171. "African Ourstory Celebration" features the African Liberation Movement's Dr. Marimba Ani (who was involved in mid-'60s civil rights struggles in Mississippi) and Oakland author Aliona L. Gibson (Nappy: Growing Up Black and Female in America). It begins at 7 p.m. at the Center for Afrikan & Afrikan-American Art & Culture, 762 Fulton, S.F. Admission is $5-8; call 563-3519.
Everlasting Gibe David Foster Wallace made a splash with the short-story collection The Girl With the Curious Hair. (The titular tale is a brain-damaged conservative's account of a night on acid with a bunch of homicidal punks.) Wallace's second novel, Infinite Jest, offers over 1,000 pages of drug abuse, advertising, tennis, philosophy, math, slapstick, and drama. He'll read from it at 7:30 p.m. at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, 601 Van Ness, S.F. Free; call 441-6670.
Touchy-Feely Interactive dance and music amid industrial wastelands and warehouses. That's the core of the latest show by CORE, a collaboration between performance artists Jules Beckman, Stephanie Maher, Stanya Kahn, Jess Curtis, and Keith Hennessy. The spectacle starts at 9 p.m. at Cyclone, Illinois & Marin, S.F. Tickets are $5-10 (dress warmly and wear practical shoes); call 922-2385.
Mindless Destruction! Big! (Big! Big!) Super! (Super! Super!) Two-ton action! (Action! Action!) Godzilla-size vehicles will destroy small things and each other for your viewing pleasure at "USA Motor Spectacular." Gasp at the Smoke Craft Monster Truck Challenge, ooh and aah at the Tough Truck Competition, and cheer for your favorite inanimate object at the Battle of the Transformers. The good, clean all-American fun commences at 7:30 p.m. (through Sunday) at the Cow Palace, Geneva & Santos, S.F. Tickets are $10-16; call 541-0800.
Virgins on the Verge Formed in 1994 by a bunch of actresses fed up with stereotypical stage and film bit parts, the Latina Theatre Lab brings a boundary-crossing irreverence to its productions. Past shows by the company include Jane Bowles' '50s melodrama In the Summer House and a spoof of the fascist-tyke nightmare Village of the Damned. LTL's latest -- AAQue Nuevas!? -- What's New!?: The Immaculate Conception -- is a multimedia cabaret exploration of virgin/mother/whore mythology; it promises "talented beautiful seoritas in your face!" The lights go down at 8 p.m. (through March 17) at Brava! Studio Theatre, 2180 Bryant, S.F. Tickets are $10-15; call (510) 658-4543.
Everything's Coming up Orchids Fifty-five international exhibitors will display more than 100,000 orchids of all species at the "Pacific Orchid Exposition." The flower-power powwow spans 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (continuing Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion, S.F. Admission is $5-8; call 665-2468.
X Marks the Spot One of the worst ironies of Spike Lee's Malcolm X was Lee's transformation of "X" from a mark of absence, denial, and resistance into a Calvin Klein-style fashion label on baseball caps. The 1968 documentary Malcolm X gives far better insight into the thoughts, life, and death of the great political activist. Muhjah Shakir and William Hankston will speak at a 7:30 p.m. screening at Capp Street Center, 362 Capp, S.F. Tickets are $5-25 (proceeds benefit friends and family of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Aaron Williams, and William Hankston Jr.); call 567-9699.
Distant Voices, Still Lives Edward Albee, Sandra Bernhard, David Henry Hwang, Tony Kushner, Terrence McNally, Ntozake Shange, and Lanford Wilson are some of the contributors to Pieces of the Quilt, an upcoming collection of short plays about HIV/AIDS. Sean San Jos Blackman and Julia Sweeney present a preview reading of the project before the final performance of Sweeney's one-woman show, God Said, "Ha"; it all starts at 7:30 p.m. at Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Bldg. D, S.F. Tickets are $35 (proceeds benefit Magic's production of Pieces of the Quilt); call 441-8822.
Schlock Rock Ten years ago, Ozzy Osbourne waddled back and forth across an enormous stage, makeup streaming down his sweaty face, his belly hanging down over the front of his tight spandex pants. Today, a healthier, lighter Ozzy brings his heavy metal antics to a new generation of headbangers; young schlock-rockers Korn open, along with the Deftones. The fire-breathing fun starts at 7:30 p.m. at Oakland Coliseum, I-880 & Hegenberger, Oakland. Tickets are $25; call (510) 762-2277.
Kids vs. Creeps Gay teens battle fundamentalist cretins in Jack Walsh's The Second Coming. A coming-of-age homo love story set against a right-wing takeover of the U.S. government, Walsh's short feature references Hollywood B-flicks like Vincent Sherman's Underground; local talents like Desi del Valle and Craig Baldwin contribute narration. Walsh will attend the premiere; presented by S.F. Cinematheque and Film Arts Foundation, the screening begins at 7:30 p.m. at S.F. Art Institute, 800 Chestnut, S.F. Tickets are $3-6; call 558-8129.
Afternoon Arias The Asian Art Museum's series of celebrations continues with a Cantonese opera for the Chinese New Year. The local Liang Jing Cantonese Opera Troupe will perform highlights from two historical operas: A Ten Year Dream of Chui Palace and The Unfinished Love Affair in the Phoenix Chamber. The arias start at 2 p.m. at Asian Art Museum, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is $3-6; call 668-7855.
Crasy Crips A film about a Long Beach Samoan gang, Jean-Pierre Gorin's My Crasy Life works like a collaboration with its subjects; the camera functions as stage and mirror. Though the main narrative follows a beat cop's attempts to "save" one youth, gang notions of family and culture are underlying themes. My Crasy Life screens at 7 p.m. at Pacific Film Archive, 2625 Durant, Berkeley. Tickets are $3.50-5.50; call (510) 642-1124.
New Tales to Tell "Tuezzday Stories" is a monthly program matching literature and theater: Programs feature Magic Theatre artists and actors reading/performing short stories from Tex-Mex, Cuban, and Welsh cultures. West Coast fiction from ZYZZYVA dominates this month's installment: Isabel Allende, Jess Mowry, devorah major, and John L'Heureux are the featured authors. The verbiage starts at 7 p.m. at Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Bldg. D, S.F. Free; call 441-8822.