Set against the homogenized backdrop of a stifling L.A. suburb, Sam Shepard's True West meticulously scrapes away the psychological grime that binds the personalities of two vastly different cloistered brothers. Austin, in his early 30s, is a peripheral screenwriter who has a suitable wife and family, wears tennis shirts, and lives in an average state of traffic-induced agitation. Lee is in his early 40s, an outsider who has chosen to live in the Mojave rather than contend with the inevitable strain of any standard household appliance; he is menacing, dirty, and has bad teeth. In typical Shepard fashion, everything unravels and the characters stand on their heads -- which may rightly be the only honest way to properly examine blood relations and modern society. Far and away my favorite Shepard play, True West has it all: toast, coyotes, Hollywood producers, redemption, desperation, botanists, dentures, attempted murder, Picasso, beer, double-dealing, telephone operators from Bakersfield, Kirk Douglas, goosenecks, loneliness, blond people, and chase scenes across Tornado Country. While I have yet to see a production that rivals the 1983 pairing of John Malkovich and Gary Sinise, director Aida Jones more than proved her talents earlier this year with Edward Albee's Zoo Story. True West runs Friday through Sunday at 8 p.m. (through Nov. 16) at Arena Interplay. Tickets are $10; call 982-6422.
If you do not thoroughly enjoy every minute of Man or Astro-Man?, I'll eat my stereo. Prove me wrong, send me an irate letter with glum-faced Polaroids shot at Bimbo's 365 Club on Saturday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m. The Delta 72, Measles, and Spoonbender open. Tickets are $10; call 474-0365.
Feel like taking a tiptoe through the Mission at 3 in the morning with a couple hundred whacked-out artists in clown makeup who have been up for days on end creating strange pieces of mobile artwork? I thought so. Here's the skinny: The Community Spacewalk will take place over 24 solid hours (time to load up on Red Bull and espresso) across 63 blocks of the Mission District (from 16th Street and Bryant to 24th Street and Dolores) with over 200 artists (folks from No Limits for Women in the Arts, Defenestration, Food Not Bombs, the Aerial Action Team, the San Francisco Art Institute, Burning Man, and the Cacophony Society). Follow Warrior Girl's 24-hour soap opera of Hollywood fame and failure, segments of which will be enacted every hour on various street corners for the Paparazzi Posse, who will be documenting the tragedy for E! Have a garden tea party with Buddha as Christine Heath creates a 3-foot stained glass sculpture while steeping Earl Grey (12th Street and Bryant). Sign up as a trusty sidekick and help the Superhero Collective save little old ladies and fight evil villains in the streets, on rooftops, and throughout neighborhood bars. Join in a fluid procession of chalk drawing, mural painting, soapbox car building, music making, stilt walking, and puppet farming. Don't forget to contribute a vegetarian ingredient to the Stone Soup cart, which will be collecting food from various restaurants for the Big Feed held at the conclusion of the 24 hours. The Spacewalk convenes at the Melting Point (16th Street and Bryant) on Saturday, Oct. 25, at noon and continues through until noon on Sunday, Oct. 26. Admission is free; all mobile artists and voyeurs welcome; call 621-2820. Location-bound performances will include the Seemen's "Violent Machines Perform Acts of Love" at the Lab (2948 16th St. on Saturday; $7-10); Jo Kreiter's dance piece Sparrow's End at the Intersection for the Arts (446 Valencia on Saturday at 2 and 4 p.m.; free); the creation of a new mural by Precita Eyes Mural Art Center (Fourth Street and Townsend on Saturday and Sunday); "Expression Extravaganza," a benefit for Anything That Moves at ODC Performance Gallery (3153 17th St. on Saturday at 7:15 p.m.; $14 donation requested); and "Scenes," a collection of 15-minute theater pieces at the Marsh Theater (1062 Valencia on Saturday at 9:30 p.m.; free).
You Never Forget Your First Time Join 20 female directors as they share their first excursions into filmmaking at No Nothing Cinema (30 Berry) on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 9 p.m. Admission is free; call 642-5952. If you've never taken in a flick at this progressive space, this may be your last chance before the new stadium puts a parking lot over the whole thing. Come at 7:30 p.m. and bring something for the outdoor barbecue.
-- Silke Tudor