april 26
Grow Your Own Eden Now that spring has officially sprung, a handful of the country's best gardeners are in town showing off what a deep green thumb can coax out of the mud. In addition to 18 gardens like "Coastal Prairie Walk" and "Swing -- New Year's Eve 1937," the San Francisco Garden Show includes 65 shops hawking everything from insect-eating plants and Chinese tree peonies to metal and fiberglass garden sculptures, greenhouses and tools like composters and pruners. A garden technology exhibit addresses physics, chemistry, botany and computers. Also scheduled are workshops on horticulture and flower-arranging; lectures ranging from topiary to composting; and special activities for kids. The Bay Area's major fundraiser for Golden Gate Park, the show runs through Sunday, April 30. Hours are 10 am-6 pm, except for Friday, when events continue until 10 pm at Fort Mason Center's pavilions. Admission is $8-10, children accompanied by adults are free; call 750-5108.

Faggot With a Gun Born the seventh kid of an undertaker on a Friday the 13th back in 1963, Mark Davis may have been destined to come out with both barrels blazing. In his one-man show about coming of age as a gay man up to his ass in rednecks, the comedian ricochets from one eccentric character to the next: a high school jock; a television evangelist; Davis' mortician father; and his mother, Mavis Davis. On the road, Davis has received critical acclaim for both Industrial Strength Queer and Faggot With a Gun; this is his last San Francisco performance before he takes up residence in Los Angeles this summer. Shoot out the laughs Wed-Sun at 8 pm (through May 7) at Josie's Cabaret & Juice Joint, 3583 16th St, S.F. Tickets are $12; call 861-7933.

McLuhanesque Is the medium the message? In her robotic ballet The Medium, avant-garde theater artist Anne Bogart re-examines Marshall McLuhan's communication theories. Perhaps appropriately in an age when the information highway threatens to flatten us all, Bogart does not focus on McLuhan's hope that technology would knit a fragmented world into a "global village," but instead seizes on his darker fears that once let out of the bottle, the technological genie would necessarily "generate great pain and identity loss." Modus Ensemble presents Bogart and Saratoga International Theater Institute in a performance that follows a stroke-afflicted McLuhan into the world on the other side of the television screen. According to the New York Times, his encounter with the whirling mass of human dysfunction in the electronic era makes for "a vivid ... piece of expressionistic theater." Bogart will lead a series of lectures and workshops in conjunction with the production (see Calendar for details); The Medium plays Wed-Sun at 8:30 pm (through May 7) at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida, S.F. Tickets are $13.50-19.50; call 621-7797 or 346-6456.

april 27
Greek Chorus With strong contemporary female roles hard to come by, many actors are returning to the classics. That's the route Oscar-winner Olympia Dukakis has taken in the American Conservatory Theater production of Euripides' tragedy, Hecuba. Set in the aftermath of the Trojan War, Hecuba follows the widow of the slain ruler of Troy into exile as she plans her vengeance. While the play's overarching themes are the brutality of war and abuse of power, it also addresses the relationship of women to military culture and the terror of becoming a refugee. The premiere of Timberlake Wertenbaker's contemporary translation is directed by Carey Perloff; choreographer Margaret Jenkins, a member of Twyla Tharp's original dance company, coached the cast (including Dukakis, Ken Ruta, Gerry Hiken, James Carpenter, Elisabeth Imboden and Stephen Markle) on movement. Hecuba previews Thurs-Tues, April 27-May 2, then continues through June 4 at the Center for the Arts Theatre, Howard & Third St, S.F. Tickets are $11-39; call 749-2228 or BASS.

april 28
Tune In, Turn On and Drop Out ... when '60s icon Dr. Timothy Leary tours bookstores and record shops throughout the Bay Area. Leary's legendary rise to prominence began with the 1950 publication of The Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality, named book of the year by the American Psychological Association. His radical transformation was complete by 1970, when his Harvard research with psychedelic drugs landed him a six-year prison sentence. In recent years, Leary has appeared with such mainstream alternative road attractions as 1994's Lollapalooza festival. While in town, the doctor will be signing copies of his most recent book, Chaos and Culture, and of his video, How to Operate Your Brain. Leary will be at Tower Records, 2510 Durant, Berkeley, 4:30-5:30 pm; Gaia Bookstore, 1400 Shattuck, Berkeley, 7:30-9:30 pm; Leary appears Sat 1-2:30 pm & 5-7 pm at the Whole Life Expo at the Fashion Center, Eighth St & Townsend, S.F. The Tower and Gaia appearances are free; Whole Life Expo admission is $5-25. Call (510) 540-6278.

Cross Your Heart and Hope to Die Can't come up with your own great words of love? Try cribbing notes when Armenian-born actress Marie-Rose reads from the secret missives of passionate and tormented souls like Victor Hugo, Napoleon, Liszt and Byron. Over the years, Marie-Rose has collected letters traversing the stages of love, from falling in to desperately hanging on. In Rendezvous With Love, the letters are incorporated into a single script and set to the strains of Schumann, Brahms and Chopin. Proceeds from the performance benefit the Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. Start smoldering at 8 pm at the Herbst Theatre, Van Ness & McAllister, S.F. Tickets are $15-25; call 392-4400.

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