Spirits in the Sky Challenging gravity to attain a floating, dreamlike quality, Project Bandaloop's inventive dance performances on cliffs, rooftops, and scaffolding have garnered attention from PBS and Sports Illustrated. Scored by Scott Huckabay, The Floating Ground places the group's aerial acrobatics in a traditional theatrical setting; a short performance by Scott Wells Dance Company rounds out the program. The flying and falling starts at 8 p.m. Fri-Sat at the Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, S.F. Tickets are $12.50-14.50; call 392-4400.
Guffaws a Go-Go Nervous Laughter was formed in 1993 by a group of San Francisco comics desperate for an outlet outside of the suburban mall and bar circuit; combining stand-up skills with sketches and character studies, they've created their very own strange mutation of comedy theater. Of the ensemble's 15 performers, one (Harmon Leon) contributes to SF Weekly; another (Liz White) has been in a Tyson chicken commercial. As for the other 13, you can see them at 10 p.m. at Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia, S.F. For ticket information call 541-5024.
Dances With Gongs This week's installment in the Bay Area Dance Series leaps out of contemporary America to explore cross-cultural ties in the South Pacific. Mahea Uchiyama honors her Nubian cultural heritage with Raks al Balad el-Aman, the Kauatuahine Polynesian Dance Company celebrates Tahitian traditions in Heiva Tahiti, and Likha-Pilipino Folk Ensemble presents dances from the Muslim region of the Philippines, including Singkil, a royal courtship dance involving flashing swords, resounding gongs and bells, and swirling fans. The show starts at 8 p.m. (also July 16 at 3 p.m.) at Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, S.F. Tickets are $5-15; call (510) 889-9550.
Don't Rock the Boat The tall ship Californian isn't just tall, it's big: 149 square feet big. Modeled after an 18th-century schooner, it provides a rare contemporary opportunity to sail aboard a historic vessel. Seasick sailors beware -- a gourmet lunch will be served as the Californian departs (on a four-hour tour) at noon from Pier 40, S.F. Tickets are $75 (money goes to the nonprofit Nautical Heritage Society); call (800) 432-2201.
Polk Street Blues Polk Street will literally sing the blues this weekend. Blues & Art on Polk features nonstop sounds on two stages; arts and crafts by more than 100 creators; Thai, Greek, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and American food booths; and plenty of alcohol to drown one's sorrows, whether they're inspired by music or life. Performers on the festival's first day include the Mark Naftalin R&B Revue, Nitecry, and the Tommy Castro Band. The music plays Sat-Sun from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Polk between California and Jackson, S.F. Free; 346-4561.
Shamrock Rock Pony rides, a petting zoo, clowns and ... indie rock. There's something for almost everyone at the Shamrock Ranch Tunnel Festival, a fund-raising fair for a proposed tunnel that -- unlike the controversial Devil's Slide bypass -- won't encircle the ranch and wreak havoc on nearby natural surroundings. Organized by citizens groups, ranch employees, and ranch boarders, the event features an art and photo exhibit, guided nature walks, a dog obedience exhibition, and a 10-kilometer run. It also features music by S.F. indie queen Barbara Manning, who plays the role of cocktail chanteuse quite nicely on a new LP collaboration with Stuart Moxham. Hear the sounds of guitars and animals from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Shamrock Ranch, Peralta Road, Pacifica. Suggested donations are $3 for children, $7 for adults; call 522-2322.
Strolling for Dollars AIDS Walk San Francisco is Northern California's largest AIDS fund-raising event; last year, 18,000 people helped raise $2.8 million. Money from this year's 10-kilometer walk primarily goes to the S.F. AIDS Foundation, but 28 other support groups and projects will also receive donations. With the seemingly immortal Jesse Helms on another hateful anti-funding rampage, it's more important than ever for citizens to do the right thing. Help out at 9:30 a.m. at Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Call 392-9255 for registration and pledge information.
World Cup Soccer balls flew fast and furious at last year's World Cup celebration, thanks to the tournament's California location and a Brazilian triumph. Regardless of who wins this year, samba, lambada, batacuda, capoeira, and maculele will spill onto the streets, along with food and drinks. Bands performing include Pandemonium, Entre Nós, and Viva Brasil; dancers include Aquarela, Birds of Paradise, Gingarte, Batœ Pitœ, and Fogo Na Roupa. The festivities start at noon (and last until 9 p.m.) in front of Bahia Cabana Restaurant and Club, Page & Franklin, S.F. Free; call 626-3306.
You Gotta Have Art In terms of history and tradition, Eleanore Austerer Gallery is one of the most impressive downtown San Francisco galleries: In addition to a rotating exhibition of contemporary painting and sculpture, it also features a permanent collection of rare graphic work by Braque, Chagall, Cassatt, Kandinsky, Matisse, Miro, Picasso, and Renoir. See for yourself from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 540 Sutter, S.F. Free; call 986-2244.
Join Our Club In one of the nastier, wittier essays within her nasty, witty, wonderful new book, The Snarling Citizen, Barbara Ehren-reich argues that political parties, religions, and wacko/Waco cults are all essentially one and the same. Since she's a clinical psychologist and not a media pundit, Margaret Thaler Singer takes a different view; co-written with former cult member Janja Lalich, Singer's Cults in Our Midst argues that 12-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are not cults. Find out why and see if you agree at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books, 1491 Shattuck, Berkeley. Free; call (510) 486-0698.