Female Trouble One fateful day, local comics Karen Ripley, Suzy Berger, and Annie Larson came together for a creative three-way. The result: Pussy Galore: An Estrogen Explosion, a potent mix of Berger's precise timing, Ripley's deadpan flair, and Larson's numerous voice and character impressions. Duck for cover at 8 p.m. at Josie's Cabaret and Juice Joint, 3583 16th St, S.F. The show continues Wed-Sun at 8 p.m. through Aug. 13. Tickets are $12; call 861-7933.
Fix the Radio The Fire Department is supposed to save buildings, but late in June an errant big red truck smashed through the front of Radio Valencia. Luckily, no humans were hurt, but the space itself is in critical condition. Insurance alone isn't enough to cover the whopping repair bill, so a diverse array of musicians who've played at the Radio -- Trance Mission, Barbara Manning and the S.F. Seals, Virginia Dare, the Dark Hollow Bluegrass Band, the Crooked Jades, Lisle Ellis, Graham Connah, and others -- are coming together for a benefit. Here's the when and where: 8 p.m. at the Paradise Lounge and Transmission Theater (next door), 11th St & Folsom, S.F. Tickets are $10; call 826-1199.
Writing by the Dock of the Bay Q: What do Sam Shepard, Anna Deavere Smith, Claire Chaffee, and David Henry Hwang have in common? A: They're all alumni of the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, an event that frequently springboards local talent to national attention. Since 1976, the festival has helped over 200 authors craft and present their work. This year's crop includes Nilo Cruz, Bonnie Greer, Julie HŽbert, Brighde Mullins, Elena Penga, and Erin Cressida Wilson. Cruz's A Park in Our House opens the festival at 8:30 p.m. at the Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Bldg D, S.F. Shows continue Wed-Sun through Aug. 13. Tickets are $8; call 775-9638.
Instant Theatre Bay Area Theatre-sports' First Annual Summer Improv Festival spans nearly four weeks -- that's a lot of spontaneous activity. Thankfully, the nonstop, unpremeditated thespianics involve many ensembles -- True Fiction Magazine, Fratelli Bologna, Los Angeles Theatresports, and more. A performance by Matt Smith and Ed Sampson's Stark Raving Theatre starts off a series of events (including classes and competitions) at 8 p.m. at Bayfront Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Bldg B, S.F. The festival continues through Aug. 26. Tickets are $8; call 824-8220.
Twinkie Junkies "Chubby but likable" is how one reviewer recently described dancer/playwright Luis Alfaro. "Porcine but talented," another weighed in. (Ouch.) Partly in response to these condescending compliments, the L.A.-based Alfaro (whose past works include Bitter Homes and Gardens) has put together a new program, titled Cuerpo Politizado. In one sequence, Alfaro Rollerblades through a gay ghetto; in another, he literally and metaphorically gorges on American culture in the form of various Hostess treats. As the Bay Area Dance Series draws to a close, Alfaro will be joined by S.F.'s own Nao Bustamante, who shows off her hourglass figure (with a little help from some strapping tape) in America, the Beautiful. Binge and purge at 7:30 p.m. (also Fri, Aug. 4, at 8 p.m.) at Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakland. Tickets are $5-15; call (510) 889-9550.
Lifelong Case of the Blues To dig to the roots of blues, one can pick up Alan Lomax's The Land Where the Blues Began, a mammoth tome and recent National Book Award winner. But quicker and easier ways are available: One can mosey on out of the library and hear the slick licks of Lomax's pal Honeyboy Edwards, who played and traveled with the legendary Robert Johnson and is still around to talk about it. Recently named "one of the top blues performers under forty" by Living Blues magazine, the 80-year-old Edwards just finished his debut recording for Sony, though a six-decade retrospective of his career is available via a smaller label -- Earwig Records. Hear his famed slide-guitar magic at 9:30 p.m. at Ace Cafe, 1539 Folsom, S.F.; Fruteland Jackson and Alvin Youngblood Hart open. Tickets are $9; call 621-4752.
Pusherman Shame it took the freeze-dried irony of Pulp Fiction and Quentin Tarantino to revive it, but 20 years since its heyday, blaxploitation is back. Packaging militant black activism as entertainment, the genre broke ground with male and female African-American cinematic heroes, and (sometimes) feminist and class critiques. One of blaxploitation's holy trinity of flix (the other two are Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song and Shaft), Gordon Parks Jr.'s Superfly celebrates pimping and dealing with big hair, huge guns, humongous polyester collars, and pre-MTV collage sequences set to the sultry funk of Curtis Mayfield's soundtrack. Whereas Shaft (directed by Parks' dad) serves up "a black private dick who's a sex machine with all the chicks," Superfly's protagonist is "a dude with a plan to stick it to the Man." See him in action at 7:15 & 9:15 p.m. at the Red Vic, 1727 Haight, S.F. Part of a blaxploitation series, Superfly screens through Aug. 7. Tickets are $5.50; call 668-3994.
Highly Illogical Prick up your pointy Vulcan ears, the Creation Star Trek Convention is beaming into town. Considering half the original show's cast have written autobiographies to settle the score with William Shatner and his Enterprise-size ego, he probably won't be there. But since Shatner made fun of Trekkies on Saturday Night Live, they probably don't want him around anyway. Avery Brooks, Marina Sirtis, James Doohan, Robert Duncan McNeill, Garrett Wang, and poet/director Leonard Nimoy will be on hand to oversee a variety of highly illogical behavior, including trivia and costume contests, merchandise auctions, and movie previews. The alien communication lasts from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (and continues Sun, Aug. 6) at Nob Hill Masonic Center, 111 California, S.F.. Tickets are $17.50-20; call (818) 409-0960.