The hard work of translating the cool stuff in your head into something you can share with other people (aka the creative process) is often solitary. Artists must sit alone and face the blank canvas in one way or another. But as Bay Area Playwrights Festival Artistic Director Amy L. Mueller points out on the fest's Web site, "There's only so much you can do in your room on your computer. You have to go through a development process that's three-dimensional, that's lifted off the page and into the bodies and voices of actors."
That extra dimension is what she and the rest of the BAPF staff have provided year after year, at what has become a much-anticipated series of script-in-hand performances, workshops, and discussions. It's a haven for theater writers both established and fledgling. Highlights this year include a collaborative effort between Liz Duffy Adams and the Crowded Fire Theater Company, a new Robert Alexander production directed by Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe with visual art by Iris Polos, and a tribute to BAPF alum Naomi Iizuka. The festival begins at 8 p.m. Friday (and performances continue through Aug. 8) at the Magic Theatre, Fort Mason, Building D, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $12-75; call 263-3986 or visit www.playwrightsfoundation.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
On the Move
Dispatches from the downtrodden
By all accounts, Dan Hoyle is an inspired writer and actor who breathes life into his could-be-boring-if-they-weren't-so-entertaining ruminations on political and humanitarian themes. But perhaps his most dazzling talent is writing grants. He's managed to persuade two institutions to fund around-the-world trips, which in turn provide experiences Hoyle distills into one-man shows: He's won a Fulbright scholarship for an upcoming journey to Nigeria to study oil politics and a grant from an outfit called the Circumnavigator Club, which gave him enough scratch to bankroll an international odyssey in search of evidence of economic globalization. That trip reaches the end of its road in Circumnavigator, a bracing solo show in which Hoyle impersonates characters from Kenyan rappers to Vietnamese sweatshop laborers. The play previews at 8 p.m. tonight (and continues through Aug. 28) at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd Street), S.F. Admission is $10-14; call 826-5750 or visit www.themarsh.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
The Shame Game
Musicians reveal all
Most musicians have influences they consider dorky but still love. Find out exactly what those embarrassments are for some talented locals at "Guilty Pleasures: A Benefit for Save the Music." That's right: Around a dozen acts take the stage to humiliate themselves, or at least surprise the audience, for a good cause.
We're sooo curious: Will country-folkster Jesse De Natale admit his love for Whitesnake? Among the riff-ripping rockers in Drunkhorse is there a hidden yearning for the Grateful Dead? Does classy swing sweetheart Lavay Smith think Britney's the bomb? Get the dirt starting at 9 p.m. at Thee Parkside, 1600 17th St. (at Wisconsin), S.F. Admission is $10; call 503-0393 or visit www.theeparkside.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
A Flawless Performance
David Roche was born with a disorder that left his face permanently deformed; he was also born with a ballsy sense of humor. He exhibits both in the stage show that's won him accolades from big shots like Anne Lamott when The Church of 80% Sincerity begins at 8 p.m. at the Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1329 Seventh Ave. (at Irving), S.F. Admission is $5-10; call 664-2543 or visit www.seventhavenuechurch.org.
-- Joyce Slaton