A Piaf for the Millennium Hear Gershwin, Sondheim, Bernstein and other American favorites sung with an international flair when Russian singer Tamara Gverdtsiteli, described by the French media as "this generation's Edith Piaf," makes her U.S. debut before continuing on a national tour that will end with an appearance at Carnegie Hall. One of Russia's most adored singers, the native Georgian will perform with the seven-piece Russian orchestra Arsenal. The concert starts at 8 pm at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, Bay & Lyon, S.F. Tickets are $12-30; call 392-4400 or BASS.
Tsunami Heroes to a nation of do-it-yourselfers since they published a manual on how to make your own record albums or start your own label, D.C.-based Tsunami sweeps through town with the Mommyheads in tow. Both bands offer the best in melodic guitar-laced cacophony starting 9:30 pm at Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St, S.F. Soak in the sound for only $5; call 621-4455.
Wag Your Tail Feathers Carnaval San Francisco hosts its annual Carnaval King & Queen Contest. Judges will decide which of the most outrageously costumed contestants will preside over Carnaval '95 (parade and all) in May. Dancing to samba and world beat follows the coronation. Bring your dancing shoes to the Caribee Dance Center, 1408 Webster, Oakland. Admission is $5; call 826-1401.
Culture Wars The Pacific Film Archive plays a double feature offering a troubling glimpse of clashing American cultures. Sandra Johnson Osawa's 1994 Lighting the Seventh Fire profiles the Ojibwas (Chippewas) of Northern Wisconsin, who have continued spear fishing, angering the surrounding community. Osawa's documentary offers a disturbing glimpse of the raw hostility roiling just beneath the surface of pastoral America. Director Robert Hillman's Fire on the Water explores the confrontation between Texas fishermen and the Vietnamese refugees who have moved into their fishing territory. The characters he captures -- a shrimp wholesaler who attempts to help out the Vietnamese; a Vietnamese family caught up in the imbroglio; and a Native American who labels himself a "radical racist Christian" -- helped garner Hillman a 1982 Emmy nomination. The films start at 7 pm at the Pacific Film Archive, 2625 Durant, Berkeley; call (510) 642-1412.
World Domination Low Pop Suicide and Latimer both made it intact out of Austin's South by Southwest record-industry, slap-each-other-on-the-back-and-feel-good fest, so maybe both bands will live up to their record label's name and actually achieve world domination. Or maybe they'd settle for widespread recognition. Low Pop Suicide, reincarnated after former Gang of Four member Dave Allen's departure and drummer Jeff Ward's death last year, is back on the road after a long hiatus to support their most recent album, The Death of Excellence. Four-man Philadelphia band Latimer is supporting its debut EP, World's Portable. This is the type of jangly indie guitar music (with a dash of violin thrown in for good measure) that goes down best loud and live. Compulsion adds to the ruckus at the DNA Lounge, 626 11th St, S.F. Doors open at 9 pm. Tickets are $5; call 626-1409.
Women of Vision Last year, fewer than 5 percent of all television programs were directed by women. Women of Vision, a six-week series produced by Joanne Kelly and airing on KCSM-TV (channel 60), showcases 11 Bay Area women who made this year's cut. The series kicks off with the world premiere of Writing Women's Lives. Directed by Santa Cruz' Melissa Sanders-Self, the program examines women and the creative process via interviews with such luminaries as Isabel Allende, Gloria Steinem and Amy Tan. Other series directors include Oscar-nominated Susan Blaustein Munoz, Erica Marcus, Judy Irving, Chris Beaver, Martha Nicoloff, Peg Jordan, Nicole Atkinson and Joyce Lee. The series airs at 8 pm Tues and 10 pm Fri; call 574-6586.