Pagan Invasion As the author of a column on zines for the Village Voice, Pagan Kennedy has trumpeted the joys of superduper homemade publications like the pop-culture-obsessed Teenage Gang Debs. Excerpts from Kennedy's own zine (Pagan's Head) make the transition to book in a new tome titled Zine: How I Spent Six Years of My Life in the Underground and Finally Found Myself ... I Think. The author -- whose Platforms: A Microwaved Cultural Chronicle of the '70s is the only book with a Gen X look worth browsing -- will also read from a new novel, Spinsters, a tale of two road-tripping sisters in the '60s. Hear her at 7:30 p.m. at the Booksmith, 1644 Haight, S.F. Free; call 863-8688.
Something for Nothing The first Wednesday of each month, the Mexican Museum, Museo ItaloAmericano, the S.F. African American Historical and Cultural Society, and the S.F. Craft and Folk Art Museum are open late, and admittance to any or all of these treasure troves costs zilch. An added bonus is the "Latent August: The Legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki" exhibition, currently located at Pier 1. See the free art noon-7 p.m. at Fort Mason Center, S.F. Call 441-3400.
Weirdos on Film No other mass murderer can match the cinematic track record of Ed Gein, the inspiration behind both Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Gein also provides the source material for Deranged, a psychotronic cult fave by Jeff Gillen and Alan Ormsby, directors otherwise best known for starring in a film with a great title: Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things. While Deranged doesn't have the visual flair of Hitchcock or Hooper, it features a kooky performance by Roberts Blossom, who has one-sided conversations with mummified corpses and pieces of fried chicken. See this strange boy at 2, 7:15, and 9:15 p.m. at the Red Vic, 1727 Haight, S.F. Tickets are $3-5; call 668-3994.
Masked Man Sometimes funny, sometimes scary, the people in Ralph Eugene Meatyard's "Vintage Photographs" invariably wear bizarre masks. One can read all sorts of theoretical meaning into Meatyard's mock-family portraits and candid snaps: They're definitely a prime influence on Cindy Sherman's more calculated contemporary experiments with prosthetics and identity. Take a look from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Shapiro Gallery, 250 Sutter, S.F. "Vintage Photographs" continues through Oct. 28. Free; call 398-6655.
Mortal Visions Nina Glaser frequently uses dancers as subjects, and in her most recent work, she collaborates with painters, sculptors, and architects. Theatrical yet "outside of time" (to borrow the title of Glaser's published monograph), the resulting images confirm her status as one of S.F.'s finest artists. Glaser's vision fuses personal history (she grew up in Tel Aviv) with art history (Romantic and symbolist ideas); setting deathly imagery in harsh landscapes, her work is both immediately arresting and haunting. See it from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Morphos Gallery, 49 Geary, S.F. Free; call 399-1439.
Virgin Improv Hinge is a jazz quintet featuring musicians from the Billy Nayer Show, the Fabulous Hedgehogs, Jaws, Dog Slyde, Dewey Redman, and the 50 Foot Hose. The group uses two drummers, two guitarists, and a stand-up bassist to push boundaries set by discordant artists like Bill Laswell, John Zorn, and Captain Beefheart. Hear their improv at 9 p.m. at the Stork Club, 380 12th St, Oakland. Tickets are $4; call (510) 444-6174.
Bigger and Bigger This year's S.F. Fringe Festival features 50 theater companies in a marathon of performance, ranging from movement to multimedia, tragedy to comedy. There will be 160 shows (spread over 10 days at four locations), including two about Samuel Beckett, one about Oscar Wilde, and one about Betty Grable. Cameron Silver will pay tribute to Kurt Weill and Friedrich Hollaender, while New York's Elisa DeCarlo will portray an entire dysfunctional family in I Love Drugs. The lights go up at 7 p.m. at 450 Geary Theatre (450 Geary, S.F.), the Actors Theatre (533 Sutter, S.F.), Exit Theatre (156 Eddy, S.F.), and the Press Club (555 Post, S.F.). Tickets are $7 or less; call 673-3847.
I Hear a Symphony Even people without money can enjoy Michael Tilson Thomas' inaugural season as S.F. Symphony conductor. How? By attending an outdoor concert at the Embarcadero. Part of the Symphony's opening-week festivities, the performance includes selections by Lou Harrison (A Parade for MTT, commissioned by the S.F. Symphony), George Gershwin (An American in Paris), and Benjamin Britten (Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Purcell). The music starts at noon at Justin Herman Plaza, S.F. Free; call 552-8000.
Vaness on Van Ness The S.F. Opera opens its fall season with -- surprise! -- the story of a doomed diva: Gaetano Donizetti's Anna Bolena, a bel canto based on Henry VIII's ill-fated second bride. Soprano Carol Vaness returns to the Bay Area to take on the tragic title role. John Copley directs; Roberto Abbado conducts. Anna Bolena begins at 6:30 p.m. at the War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness, S.F. Tickets are $21-125; call 864-3330.
The Way We Were In keeping with its nostalgic decor, Julie Ring's Heart & Soul supper club is offering two weeks of music from the '20s through the '50s this month. Local artists like the Mort & Connie Show, the Hot Club of San Francisco, and the Jesters are just part of a swing and jazz lineup that offers a different act each night. Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers heat things up at 8:30 p.m. at 1695 Polk, S.F. Cover charge is $5-10; call 673-7100.