Calling Madama Butterfly One of Puccini's best-known operas, Madama Butterfly is -- surprise! -- a tale of doomed love. In this case, the tragic romance is cross-cultural, with America's Col. Pinkerton seducing and abandoning Japan's Cio-Cio-San. Though sung in Italian, OpŽra de Lyon's production has been created almost entirely by Japanese artists: Kiju Yoshida directed, Arata Isozaki designed the set, and the one and only Yohji Yamamoto created the costumes. Presented by Cal Performances, the show begins at 8 p.m. (Friday, June 30, at 8 p.m. is the only other performance.) Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley. Tickets are $30-62; call (510) 762-2277.
Coming Out Under Fire Broadcasting by the people for the people? Well, no programs about African-American history were on PBS's national schedule during Black History Month. Now, in June, PBS is offering only one (albeit patriotic) gay and lesbian show: S.F. filmmaker Arthur Dong's Coming Out Under Fire, a probe of sexual-orientation discrimination in the military. Spanning 50 years, Dong's documentary shows how World War II was instrumental in the formation of the gay community and how "don't ask, don't tell" is just the latest in a long series of civil rights violations. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. on KQED; call 864-2000.
The Pirouette Principle How apropos: Britain's Royal Ballet will make its first S.F. appearance in 16 years in the presence of royalty: HRH Princess Margaret will be in the audience. Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov's classic setting of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake begins the famed company's four-day, six-performance engagement, which also includes a mixed program choreographed to music by Chopin (A Month in the Country) and Ravel (La Valse). Dress up and show up at 7 p.m. at the War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness, S.F. Tickets are $20-300; call 565-3241.
Dance Like the Wind An annual festival for independent Bay Area choreographers, "Summerfest" celebrates its fourth birthday this year, and it's getting bigger as it gets older. This year's program spreads works by 37 artists over five weeks; Remy Charlip (whose performing career spans 50 years), Laura Elaine Ellis, Eric Hoisington, Joan Lazarus, Emily Keeler, Frank Shawl, Mercy Sidbery, and Mel Wong are the featured performers at the opening gala. The dancing begins at 8 p.m. at the Cowell Theatre, Fort Mason Center, S.F. Tickets are $20-100 for the premiere, which includes a post-performance reception; call 337-4160.
Hey Batter Batter In keeping with baseball's use of the number (nine innings, nine players), Hitting for the Cycle offers nine short works about America's (supposed) favorite pastime. The show's team of playwrights -- Gary Leon Hill, Arthur Kopit, Howard Korder, Quincy Long, Eduardo Machado, Wendy MacLeod, Heather McDonald, Eric Overmyer, and Y. York -- uses sports to touch on larger issues like labor, media, and race. Presented by Bay Package Productions and the San Francisco Giants, this premiere benefits the Young California Writers Project. The curtains part and the games start at 8:30 p.m. at the Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, S.F., continuing through July 30. Tickets are $50-250 for the premiere, $15-18 for regular performances; call 255-2254.
TV Party Tonight Whoever invented cable public-access television probably didn't think political radicals, sex workers, and drag queens would use it. But cable is currently a prime battle site for issues of censorship and free speech. The sociological and legal aspects of ongoing fights and the relationship between creativity and commerce are just some of the tricky issues addressed by "Off the Wire," a monthly series of free screenings presented by Artists' Television Access. A video program titled Who Gets Easy Access? and a panel discussion featuring Viacom dissident Mike Freeman start things off; the showing and telling begin at 8:30 p.m. at 992 Valencia, S.F. Call 824-3890.
Night of a Thousand Boops Attention boys and girls, tonight's the night to put your spit curls, helium giggles, and flapper gear to the test. The occasion: A "Boop-A-Like" contest, in conjunction with the premiere of Betty Boop Confidential, an evening of surreal short cartoons by the Fleischer brothers. Connie Champagne hosts the competition, which focuses on appearance and "boopability"; the panel of judges includes Joan Jett Blakk (who may appear as Black Betty) and Examiner film critic Barbara Shulgasser. A $500 donation in the winner's name will go to Project Open Hand. Do the Boop at 6:15 p.m. at the Castro Theatre, Castro and Market, S.F. Tickets for the film are $7; call 621-6120.
Unsafe, Unsuited Though the film version of Frisk is -- by most accounts -- a disaster, visual interpretations of Dennis Cooper's writings are possible: New York choreographer Ishmael Houston-Jones has collaborated with Cooper frequently and successfully. Houston-Jones' latest work, however, involves dancers: Keith Hennessey of San Francisco and Patrick Scully of Minneapolis. Unsafe, Unsuited is the piece's title -- that's shorthand for naked gay contact improvisation. One of the more radical offerings of this year's "Bay Area Dance Series," it recently received a full page of praise from the Village Voice. The show starts at 8 p.m. at Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakland. Tickets are $10-15; call (510) 889-9550.
All That Jazz (and Art) A combination jazz festival and street fair honoring 60 years of music in the area, "Jazz and All That Art on Fillmore" offers jewelry, paintings, photographs, crafts, booze, and food. Oh yeah, and it offers jazz, too. Singer and lyricist Joe Hendricks will receive a lifetime achievement award; performers include Hendricks, the Magnolia Jazz Band, the Jazz Iguanas, Kenny Goldberg, the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, the Mike Greensill Trio, the Joyce Cooling Group, and SF Weekly cover boy Mal Sharpe with Big Money in Dixieland. The fun lasts from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on Fillmore between California and Post. Call 346-4561.
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