Hullabaloo Downhear -- a new experimental lounge series at Cafe Du Nord -- blasts off in style with "Exotica Night," a tribute to surfing summers, swinging bachelor pads, bulletproof beehives, beach blanket bingo, and tiki, tiki, tiki. DJs BPM/O, Glenn, and Beach Boy historian/It's Happening host Dominic Priore will be on hand to spin tropical sounds, and S.F. roots rockers Bone Cootes and Kevin Ansel will perform. Last but not least, fruity drinks will flow freely at the bar. Shimmy and shake 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Cafe Du Nord, 2170 Market, S.F. Admission is $2; call 861-5016.
Litter Into Literature As the founder and guiding force behind the West Coast literary magazine ZYZZYVA, Howard Junker has worked with a number of internationally known California authors. In The Writer's Notebook, he convinces 16 -- from Ethan Canin to Dorothy Allison, from Maxine Hong Kingston to Kathy Acker -- to open their notebooks, scribbles and all, for a look at the first stages of the creative process. See what award-winning novels like Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina and Canin's The Palace Thief looked like in their infancy when Junker (joined by contributors Karen Clark and David Rains Wallace) appears at 7:30 p.m. at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, 601 Van Ness, S.F. Free; call 441-6670.
Frisky in Mongolia In conjunction with the current exhibition "Mongolia: The Legacy of Chinggis Khan," the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco will be showing a series of 12 films focusing on conflict and transformation in Mongolian society. The first, Ulrike Ottinger's Johanna d'Arc of Mongolia, tells the story of seven Western women who meet a tribe of Mongolian female warriors; spectacular visions and frisky song-and-dance routines result. The film screens at 6:30 p.m. at the Trustees' Auditorium of the Asian Art Museum, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Free with museum admission; call 668-6404.
From Page to Stage Rather than presenting adaptations of literature, Word for Word, a performing arts company, stages readings of the works themselves. Eliminating subtext and emphasizing writerly style, the ensemble doesn't merely mouth monologues, though; their shows move along even when the narrative is dialogue-free. This year's Word for Word festival includes portrayals of Edith Wharton's Xingu and Dorothy Parker's The Standard of Living and The Telephone Call, as well as contemporary work by Greg Sarris. Accompanied by a book-signing reception for the author, Sarris' "Slaughterhouse" -- taken from the short story/novel Grand Avenue -- begins the fest's second week. The show starts at 8 p.m. at Bayfront Theater, Fort Mason Center, Bldg B, S.F. Tickets are $12 (reservations required); call 543-9505.
Foxy Dancing Founded in Tokyo in 1972 by Koichi Tamano, Harupin-Ha moved to Berkeley in 1979 to become the Bay Area's premier multiethnic ensemble working in the post-World War II movement style known as ankoku butoh, or "dance of darkness." Equal parts acrobatics and eroticism, Harupin-Ha's newest show, The Fox's Marriage, is inspired by a traditional Japanese story in which the rice god, Inari, manifests himself as a fox to enter the world and communicate with human beings. Musically, the show offers a live performance by Grammy-nominated composer/performer Kitaro, featuring synthesizers and Tibetan horns. The sound and movement starts at 8 p.m. at Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakland, continuing through July 23. Tickets are $5-16; call (510) 889-9550.
Sinister Suburbia Why are the domestic goddesses of Stepford, Conn., so happy? Find out at a rare screening of the 1975 campfest The Stepford Wives. Starring the ever-so-expressive Katherine Ross -- and a pint-size Mary Stuart Masterson in her auspicious screen debut -- Ira Levin's tale is chock-full of acrylic fashion atrocities. And shopping at Safeway will never be the same once you've seen the movie's infamous conclusion. A live fashion show featuring the Sick and Twisted Players rounds out a gay-la benefit for the post-production of Marc Huestis' latest film project, Life Begins at 40. Program yourself to arrive at 8 p.m. at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro, S.F. Tickets are $8; call 863-0611.
Burn Baby Burn The Burning Man Festival is an annual, offbeat pilgrimage to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. After three days of art and celebration, the party closes when a 40-foot wooden man is burned to the ground. Last year, 4,000 people attended: The Burning Man Video Festival documents the event, and it offers live drumming by the Burning Man Drum Collective and ambient sound by Coffee Achievers. Unfortunately, no pyrotechnics will be allowed in the gallery. The incendiary cinema begins at 8:30 p.m. at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, S.F. Admission is $5; call 824-3890.
Gene Genies After years of getting pricked and prodded -- at clinics, of course -- now you can finally find out what happens to your blood when it leaves you and enters the laboratory. How? By scoping out "Measuring and Mending Your Genes," a weekend devoted to revealing the tools and techniques behind low- and high-tech genetic testing. Those who aren't terminally paranoid can have their DNA fingerprinted; the rest of us can learn more about cloning. The live demonstrations and talks take place from noon-5 p.m. (also on Sunday) at the Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon, S.F. Free with museum admission ($2.50-9); call 563-7337.