march 29
Prodigal Daughter Violinist and child prodigy Sarah Chang performs Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Opus 64 with the S.F. Symphony and guest conductor Leonard Slatkin. Chang, a guest soloist with the New York Philharmonic when she was only eight, made her SFS debut in 1993. At 14, she now returns to the Bay Area, having performed with orchestras in Berlin, Philadelphia and France. Slatkin provides the evening's second perk as he conducts Remo Mazetti's version of Mahler's Symphony No. 10 in F-sharp major. Chang and Slatkin appear with the symphony five nights, starting with an 8 pm performance at Cupertino's Flint Center, 21250 Stevens. Most of the S.F. shows are sold out, so the Cupertino concert may be your only chance. Tickets are $19-36; call (408) 864-8816.

march 30
Sick & Twisted We all knew suburbia wasn't as clean, neat and cheery as our parents cracked it up to be -- that's why we live here, right? With their presentation of The Stepford Wives, a chilling comedy-thriller based loosely on the novel by Ira Levin, Sick and Twisted Players are back to reconfirm the worst nightmares about the white-bread past you keep buried in your closet. Discover Stepford's evil secret and let director Tony Vaguely and the cast make you feel good about the choices you've made. The Stepford Wives previews Thurs-Fri 8 pm, opens Sat and plays Thurs-Sat 8 pm through April 29 at the New Conservatory Theatre, 25 Van Ness, S.F. Tickets are $8-15; call 861-4914.

Dancing for Health Take a few hours out of your weekend to battle breast cancer while watching Bay Area dancers, writers and musicians whirl, spin, intone and strum their hearts out in a benefit for two grassroots groups committed to halting the disease's spread. Dancers include members of the Medea Project along with Anna Halprin, Naomi Newman, Shakiri, Liz Ozol and others. Spoken word and music takes place at Luna Sea and features Rashida Oji, Katia Noyes, Jo Kreiter, Jules Mann, Eva Festa and 32B or Not 2B. The event benefits Breast Cancer Action and the Women's Cancer Resource Center and starts with a dance performance Thurs 8:30 pm at the New Performance Gallery, 3153 17th St, S.F. Spoken-word and music performances take place Sat 2 pm at Luna Sea, 2940 16th St, S.F.; the dance performance will be reprised Sat at 8:30 pm at the New Performance Gallery. Tickets are $10-100; call New Performance at 863-9834 or Luna Sea at 863-2989.

Expand Your Mind With the opening of the Yerba Buena Center, San Francisco became a powerful magnet for multicultural art and music from around the world. With Other Minds Festival II, the center displays the power of its pull with a roster of international composers and performers who are descending on Yerba Buena's grassy knoll for a series of lectures, performances and demonstrations. Kicking off the festival are the Kronos Quartet, performing Alvin Singleton's Secret Desire to Be Black, guitarist David Tanenbaum playing Terry Riley's Ascension and the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio in Lou Harrison's Varied Trio. Also appearing are violinist Mari Kimura and pianist Muhal Richard Abrams in the world premieres of their own compositions. Performances start at 8 pm at the Center for the Arts Theatre, 700 Howard, S.F. Tickets are $16-18; call 978-2787. The festival continues at different locations throughout the city through Sat; see Calendar for details.

march 31
Midday Mozart To cure the workday blues, head over to Hayes Valley and check out Star Classics' lunchtime presentation by the Piano Quintet featuring musicians from the Pacific Conservatory of Music. The free concert starts at 12:15 pm at Star Classics Recital Hall, 425 Hayes. All donations go to performers; call 552-1110.

Rough Hewn Ever wondered how a finished performance got so polished? With Taking Shape '95 you can sneak a glimpse of a series of works still being fashioned by a diverse group of female theater artists. This year's series, now in the second of three weeks, offers performances, as well as an opportunity to share criticism, praise and insight with participants. Over the last seven years, moderators of post-show discussions have included such luminaries as Anna Deavere Smith and Ellen Sebastian. Taking Shape is presented by BRAVA! for Women in the Arts, a S.F. theater group with a strong reputation as a cutting-edge producer and presenter of new works by women: In 1992, BRAVA!'s world premiere of Cherr’e Moraga's Heroes and Saints won the Will Glickman, PEN West, L.A. Dramalogue and S.F. Critic's Circle awards for best original play. Don't miss your chance to be there at the beginning of something big. This week's performances include Bridgitt Antoinette Evans' The Moonshot Tape and Helen Stoltzfus' The Woman Who Married a Bear. Next week's highlights include the Asian Pacific Islander Women Writers Group. Shows start at 8 pm Fri-Sat, 2 & 7 pm Sun at Brava! Studio, 2180 Bryant, S.F. Tickets are $8-12; call 487-5401.

Take Back the Streets Up for a little Friday evening rabble-rousing? Peddle down to Market and Embarcadero for some assertive cycling with Critical Mass. Don't forget your helmet -- riding starts at 5:30 pm.

april 1
Devil's Tunnel With all the controversy over Devil's Slide, here's a chance to check out the damage firsthand by hiking along the proposed site of the Devil's Slide bypass and tunnel with members of the Devil's Slide Campaign. Organized in association with the Sierra Club, the Montara Mountain hike includes an examination of the environmental impact the contested bypass may have on McNee Ranch State Park. Meet at 10:30 am at McNee Ranch State Park, just north of Montara State Beach on Highway 1 (take 280 to 92, then take 92 toward Half Moon Bay, head eight miles north on Highway 1 and park at the barricades). Call 728-0468.

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