Meet the Beatles ... Again In case you've spent the past month on Pluto, there was another Fab Four revival recently, with TV specials, a new double LP of rare and previously unreleased material, and enough hot air from media pundits to fill a billion balloons. (With her new LP, Rising, 62-year-old Yoko Ono proves she's a better rocktogenarian than the surviving Beatles or the Stones; let's hope she won't get lost in the hoo-ha.) "The Art of the Beatles" chronicles the Liverpool boys' life and times with photographs (by Astrid Kirchherr, Richard Avedon, and others), posters, prints, vintage clothing, and other memorabilia. It's on display from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (through February) at Artrock Gallery, 1153 Mission, S.F. Free; call 255-7390.
MAD About Harvey He created MAD magazine. He mentored Art Spiegelman and R. Crumb. He died in 1993. He's Harvey Kurtzman, and he's the subject of a new exhibit, "Retrospective of a MAD Genius: Harvey Kurtzman." Over the years, Kurtzman's work shifted focus from history (war depictions for EC Comics) to parody (his MAD work), but unlike many in his field, he always preferred reality to fantasy. See his stuff from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (through April 14) at the Cartoon Art Museum, 814 Mission, S.F. Admission is $1.50-3.50; call CAR-TOON.
Hubby From Hell In 1945's Gaslight, director George Cukor trades the million-words-a-minute pace of pictures like The Women for the subtle suspense of Patrick Hamilton's script. Ingrid Bergman is a young woman with a big mansion, big money, lotsa jewels, and a sinister husband. Charles Boyer is the hubby in question: Cukor lights him so his face glows with evil intent. A young Angela Lansbury -- yes, she was young once -- plays an uppity maid. A special '40s-style screening benefits ACT's stage production of Gaslight. Cocktails are served at 8 p.m.; the film begins at 9 p.m. at the Castro Theatre, Castro & Market, S.F. Tickets are $35-45; call 393-9666.
Viva Karen "Talking to myself and feeling old/ Sometimes I'd like to quit/ Nothing ever seems to fit," Karen Carpenter sings in "Rainy Days and Mondays"; saying "Goodbye to Love," she also hit the top of the charts with sentiments like "No one really cares if I should live or die." Though anorexic Karen died of ipecac poisoning, A Karen Carpenter Christmas Concert prefers to focus on the happy side of her life -- it is a holiday show, after all. Set in Las Vegas, with Katie Guthorn as Karen, the show begins its fourth yuletide go-round at 8 p.m. (continuing through Dec. 28) at the Transmission Theatre, 314 11th St., S.F. Tickets are $12-14; call 861-6906.
Bang a Gong Presented by Redwood Cultural Work, "Percussion Party With Carolyn Brandy" lets people ring in the solstice with drums, chants, clave, samba, rock, and more. The racket starts at 7:30 p.m. at Auditorium Theater, City Center (14th St. and Clay), Oakland. Tickets are $12; call (510) 835-1445.
Super Phreaks Who are the hackers of the world? Exactly what do they do, and why do they do it? Are hackers mental masturbation experts, or are they using technology to fight back and take control of bureaucratic systems? Do you care? If so, Annaliza Savage offers the answers to these questions in Unauthorized Access, a filmic look at global hacker culture. Savage will appear in person at the screening, which starts at 8:30 p.m. at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, S.F. Tickets are $5; call 824-3890.
After Apartheid "Eight From South Africa" explores the ongoing political and cultural changes in that country, through sculptures and paintings by a diverse group of contemporary artists. The exhibition springs from (and comments upon) recent controversies surrounding the first Johannesburg Biennale, which commemorated South Africa's democracy and re-entry into the international arena. One of a handful of shows opening at Center for the Arts today, "Eight From South Africa" is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 701 Mission, S.F. Admission is $2.50-5; call 978-2787.
Nice and Naughty Leave it to those krazy Klubstitute kids to come up with a kooky holiday party. This year's "Klubstitute Kristmas" begins with "Ruby's Rated X-Mas"; hosted by Ruby Toosday, it features performances by Tribe 8's Lynn Breedlove, Wolfie, Heklina, and more. The festive fun continues with "Happy Birthday, Jesus," a birthday party for God's son that includes a rousing rendition of "For He's a Jolly Good Messiah," a surrogate holiday spanking booth, and games like "Pin the Christ on the Crucifix." Bring Mom and Dad; the party starts at 10 p.m. at the Embassy Lounge, 600 Polk, S.F. Admission is $3-6; call 331-1500.
Zounds! What Sounds! The Mistletones -- featuring members of Polkacide and Those Darn Accordions -- offer "twisted Christmas music for the forlorn and loveless"; they play at 6:30 p.m. at the rad new Flat Plastic Sound, 24 Clement, S.F. Free; call 386-5095.
Baby You're a Richman Last year, the effervescent, irrepressible Jonathan Richman did some busking out on the streets of San Francisco, but the king of the Modern Lovers has taken his act back indoors. He plays at 9:45 p.m. (Saturday also) at the Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck, Berkeley. Daisy Spot opens. Tickets are $10; call (510) 841-2082.