Huck vs. the Thought Police
I saw New Conservatory Theatre's production of Huck Finn's Story, an adaptation of Twain for third- through fifth-graders. The piece is part of NCT's Young Audience Matinee series. The production is lovely, with a moving emphasis on friendship and freedom, courage and compassion. I can't imagine a more appropriate and entertaining field-trip opportunity. Unfortunately, NCT is having trouble booking school groups because the cancer in San Jose has spread to San Francisco: Teachers find it easier to skip the play than to deal with a possible controversy. People! Huck Finn is about much more than the N-word (which, by the way, is not used in this production). Show a little of Huck's courage and insist that your school take its students to the play. Or take them yourself to one of the public matinees. Call 861-4914 for information.
Give Till It Doesn't Hurt
Thanksgiving means the Christmas/Hanukkah/winter solstice shopping season is upon us. But instead of spending a lot of money in standing-room-only stores, get the maximum bang for your holiday buck by supporting theater (and other good causes) at the same time.
What would the holiday season be, for instance, without Nutcracker? Remember when you were a little kid and it was magical? Remember when you went again as an adult and thought you would die from the cuteness, or least get diabetes from those damnable sugarplum fairies? Well, now you can give Nutcracker to children who would not be able to see it without your help -- and you don't even have to attend. For the fourth year, the San Francisco Ballet asks for donations to its Children's Enchantment Fund. The fund enables 1,500 to 3,000 children in need to see a special performance of the ballet (which includes a pre-performance discussion with one of the dancers). And if someone asks you to go to Nutcracker, you can say with perfect honesty, "I've already bought tickets." For information, call 865-2000.
Of course, for the 4-year-old on your list (or in your heart), you'll want to set aside time for a trip to the New Pickle Circus store at 1 Embarcadero Center. If you need a rubber nose or clown paraphernalia like ruffs, hats, and makeup, you'll be able to find it, and much more. You can also try your hand at juggling, and thus be immortalized on the "Juggling Wall of Fame." After you've indulged yourself, give a donation at the store for a special "Make 'Em Laugh" package of books, toys, and Pickle Circus items that will be delivered (by clown carrier) to a needy child hospitalized during the holidays. Call 544-9343 for information. But hurry -- the store is only open until Dec. 27.