Osaka It to Me The Japanese city of Osaka celebrates its reputation as a commercial and cultural hub when it marks the opening of a new local governmental and business office with a free public entertainment series organized by the "Osaka: Amazing and Amusing" Committee. Shijaku Katsura, Bill Crowley, Kazutomo Maeda, and others perform in "Rakugo in English," a variation on a 300-year-old Japanese comic storytelling tradition that relies on exaggerated vocals and facial expressions to drive home the narration's punch line. The performance begins at 5 p.m. at the Westin St. Francis Hotel, 335 Powell (at Geary), S.F. Admission is free; call 288-3920 to reserve a space. Events continue with a Japanese kite-making workshop 10 a.m. Thursday at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center, 1840 Sutter, and a flying demonstration of the traditional bamboo-framed, fancifully decorated kites 10 a.m. Friday at the Marina Green, S.F. Call 288-3920 for information about these events.)
Tricky, Dick Equal parts Days of Our Lives and Fun With Dick and Jane, with a hint of The Road to Wellville, the musical romantic comedy Jane Loves Dick is the story of a buxom gal who moves to the city to live as more than a simple sex object. Pay attention, because things get complicated after that: Jane moves in with a gay man, Gare, and his straight roommate, Dick, a biochemist and cereal researcher who immediately falls for Jane, who begins dating health food bar owner Bob, who tries to take advantage of Jane, who is saved by Dick and his new super-hormone-strength cereal recipe. The show, a collaboration between Fort Lauderdale's Public Theater and our Victoria Theater, features Ron Johnson (Into the Woods, Annie Get Your Gun) as Dick, and previews at 8 p.m. (and has an open-ended run) at the Victoria Theater, 2961 16th St. (at South Van Ness), S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 575-0243.
Time's Up An overeducated, underemployed East Coast transplant to San Francisco is the perfectly plausible protagonist in the San Francisco Mime Troupe's new production Killing Time. Young Jacob arrives at his 27th birthday with overdue rent, a college loan in default, a girlfriend on her way out the door, and a rapidly evaporating vision of fame, when he is simultaneously set upon by a ruthless, aging CEO seeking a successor and a bag lady who proclaims herself the angriest woman in the world and who parks herself on his doorstep to reveal the plans she has for him. In its trademark populist style, the troupe sets up dramatic conflict between the pull of wealth and power and the desire to do something socially redeeming. The performance begins at 2 p.m. in Dolores Park, Dolores between 18th and 20th streets, S.F. Admission is free (donations encouraged); call 646-0639. (Killing Time continues in Dolores Park through Sunday; the troupe's next performance is July 9 at Yerba Buena Gardens.)
Free to Be You and Me If Independence Day is supposed to be about apple pie and Mom, the Ol' Fashioned Fourth of July Alternative Family Picnic expands the definition with apple pie and two moms, or two dads, or one mom, an aunt, and a grandma, or the various other configurations families can take. Comedian Marga Gomez guest hosts this potluck picnic and party put on by the Alternative Family Project. Wise Fool Puppet Intervention will organize a holiday procession and Uncle Sam gets his due with a hat-making contest in his honor. The traditional putting-out-of-the-eye with fireworks has been replaced with milder entertainments like hula hoop contests and sack races, and speechifying takes its regular place. The S.F. Lesbian and Gay Freedom Band, the Dixieland Dykes+3, and Azuquita perform at the picnic, which will be MC'd by Chaz Martinez and begins at 11 a.m. at Center for the Arts Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission and Third Street, S.F. Admission is free; call 978-ARTS. For a full schedule of Fourth of July events, see Page 33.
Much Ado About Something The battle of wits between Beatrice and Benedick is reset in 1950s Italy as the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival celebrates the 15th anniversary of its Shakespeare in the Park summer series with perennial comedy favorite Much Ado About Nothing. The performance begins at 1:30 p.m. (also Sunday, continuing through July 20) at Lakeside Park, Lake Merritt, Oakland. Admission is free; call 422-2221. The performance comes to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park Aug. 30-Sept. 28.
Scottish Soccer Hooligan Weekly! So we're not talking Manchester United, but this weekend's football quadruple header between England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales should be a spirited tourney nonetheless. That's football as in soccer, with teams of pub employees (and others) from Edinburgh Castle, Dylan's Pub, the Mad Dog in the Fog, and Martin Mack's representing pieces of the not-very-united United Kingdom. The teams will play each other in half-hour matches round-robin style, followed by an hourlong bout between the winners of those games. Concessions, not including alcohol, will be sold. The tournament begins at noon at Kezar Stadium, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is $5 (kids free); call 522-9621.