july 26
Rock to Power Modeled after '70s educational programs like Free to Be You and Me, the new CD/booklet Free to Fight works as entertainment and activism: It mixes music, comics, and essays with spoken and written self-defense ideas and instruction by and for women. Live rock (the spontaneously witty, always wonderful Lois), hip hop (Mizzery and 151, both from the Northwest), and female self-defense demonstrations are on the agenda as the Free to Fight tour hits town; smart, strong women kick out the jams and kick ass at 9 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St, S.F. Tickets are $6; call 621-4455.

july 27
Coochie-Coochie Her acting talents have been showcased in theaters and on The Love Boat. Guitar Player magazine voted her "The Best Flamenco Guitarist in the World." She sings, she dances, and -- according to Daily Variety -- she "works like a trouper every minute she's on stage." She's the one and only Charo, ageless as ever and still a "succex," and she's taking a break from neon Vegas to spread a little sunshine in the less glittery Bay Area. See this total role model sing, strum, and coochie-coochie at 7 and 10 p.m. at Coconut Grove, 1415 Van Ness, S.F. Tickets are $45; call 776-1616.

Mississippi Blues "Scenes that I thought had long vanished from the American land were revealed. ... Few outsiders would believe what I have seen if not for my camera." So writes Ken Light in the introduction to his new book, Delta Time. A product of four-and-a-half years spent traveling the Mississippi Delta, Light's newest photographs show that the civil rights movement scarcely reached field workers in the area. Whether documenting tumbledown homes and churches or paying tribute to religious rituals and celebrations, Light updates the social-documentary style of Depression-era photographers like Dorothea Lange. See his work Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Vision North Gallery, 2300 Polk, S.F. The show runs through Sept. 9. Free; call 474-4581.

july 28
Dancing Queen Born in France, raised in Spain, La Tania learned to flamenco dance practically before she crawled out of the crib; studying under Paco Pe–a and Maria Maya, she's toured the world for 25 years, establishing herself as one of today's premier young flamenco artists. Dramatic and declarative, a mix of improvisation, interpretation, and innovation, La Tania's performances usually involve an international troupe of artists. Dancers Virginia Iglesias and Fibi Vernier, singers Antonio de Jerez and Robert Zamora, and guitarists Don Fontowitz and Guillermo Rios join her for two world premieres and an assortment of traditional dances at 8 p.m. at Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakland; the show continues through July 30. Tickets are $5-18; call (510) 889-9550.

Attack of the Red Hot Skillet Lickers Q: What gets bigger and bigger as it gets older? A: The Jazz & Wine at Embarcadero Center festival, amongst other things. Last year's event drew 20,000 people -- this year's features more performers (16) and more wineries (30), so more listeners and drinkers are likely to attend. The Josh Jones Quintet, Conjunto Cespedes, Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, David Hardiman's S.F. All-Star Big Band, and acid-jazz Trekkies T.J. Kirk (whose Warner Bros. debut just hit the stores) kick off a three-day celebration that also features gallery exhibits (including one devoted to Duke Ellington) and food from nearby restaurants; the sounds and sipping start at 5:30 p.m. at 2, 3, and 4 Embarcadero Center, S.F. Free; call (800) 733-6318.

july 29
(Don't) Stand-Up You could see it as an alternative to the stand-up comedy-club scene. You could see it as a home for laugh merchants who've done their time and then escaped from that sinking, stinking ship known as Saturday Night Live. Regardless, the people behind "Un-Cabaret" want you to see it. Born at Los Angeles' Luna Park, the revue has grown up enough to take to the road, with a cast that includes Terry Sweeney (best-known for his Nancy Reagan spoofery on SNL), Julia Sweeney (whose nearly straight-to-video It's Pat! film is actually a weird gem, complete with cameos by Camille Paglia and Ween), Taylor Negron, and others. The chuckles commence at 8 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, S.F. Tickets are $15; call 885-0750.

Mighty Morphin Petting Anchors Power Rangers, petting zoos, and TV news anchors are just some of the attractions at this year's KTVU/Fox Family Kids Fair. Fifty activity centers will house over 110 hands-on activities, and Angel Grove's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers will take a brief break from school and crime-fighting to visit San Jose. Kids can enjoy entertainment from clowns, magicians, storytellers, comedians, gymnasts, and dance troupes; adults can marvel at the great hairdos of Elaine Corral and Leslie Griffith, who -- in terms of style and smarts -- put the Bay Area's other newscasters to shame. The mania spans from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (and continues July 30) at San Jose Convention Center, 150 West San Carlos, San Jose. Admission is free-$5; call (510) 874-0422.

Oxymoronic Antics The seven members of True Fiction Magazine have been performing together for six years: Collectively, they've clocked 137 years of improvisation experience. Can one's spontaneity improve over time? Find out for yourself when the TFM ensemble performs A Spontaneous Spectacle, its largest show to date. Guest musicians (led by TFM regular J. Raoult Brody) and movable set pieces (for instant scene changes) will be on hand for maximum silliness. The curtain rises at 8 p.m. at Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, S.F. Tickets are $13-15; call 824-1559.

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