Hunger Artists Jason Mecier's bean-and-noodle celebrity portraits aren't the only edible artworks on display in this cultured city. "Jewels of Wheat: The History and Tradition of Pasta" includes over 200 starchy and starch-inspired artifacts; an exhibition by Cheryl Meeker at Refusalon uses M&M's as material. "Jewels of Wheat" is on display from noon to 5 p.m. at Museo ItaloAmericano, Building C, Fort Mason Center, S.F. Admission is $1-2; call 673-2200. Meeker's new works are open to the public from 1 to 5 p.m. at 630 Natoma, S.F. Free; call 431-1046.
Back to the Future Bill Graham Presents' inventively titled "San Francisco New Year's Eve" is certainly bigger than any other New Year's event. Spread over seven stages and seven square blocks, the party includes a little vaudeville (at the Barbary Coast Saloon); a little comedy (stand-up by Johnny Steele, Bob Rubin, and Judy Gold); a little blues (Charlie Musselwhite, Sista Monica, and Preacher Boy & the Natural Blues); a little Latin music (Pepe y Su Orquestra, Los Ramblers, and Candela); and -- surprise! -- a little '60s and '60s-derivative rock (Santana, the Gin Blossoms). The monstrosity comes to life at 8 p.m. along the Embarcadero, S.F. Tickets are $72.50; call 974-6726.
Rock and Roll All Nite If heavy metal is the bastard child of glam rock, then Nightbreak is hosting a fire-breathing, blood-spitting, father-and-son New Year's Eve reunion. Panic in Detroit globs on the glitter and pays homage to David Bowie; Detroit Rock City cakes on the makeup and pays platformed tribute to KISS. The noize starts at 9 p.m. at Nightbreak, 1821 Haight, S.F. Tickets are $5 (cheap!); call 221-9008.
Night of the Living Funk Welcoming 1996 with classic mid-'80s funk, KSOL's New Year's Eve Ball features performances by the SOS Band (of "You Dropped a Bomb on Me" fame), Cherrelle (of "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On" semifame), and Con Funk Shun. Jazz (by Know Jazz), food, party favors, confetti, and champagne are also part of the entertainment; comedian A.J. Jamal hosts the event, which lasts from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Concourse Exhibition Center's Showcase Square, Eighth Street & Brannan, S.F. Tickets are $45-49.50; call (510) 762-2277.
Local Boys Make Good Successful Berkeley High alumni Joshua Redman and Benny Green have returned home for some holiday jazz shows in their hometown. Broadcast live on National Public Radio, a champagne celebration featuring the Joshua Redman Quartet and the Benny Green Trio starts at 9 p.m. at Yoshi's, 6000 Claremont, Oakland. Tickets are $50; call (510) 652-9200.
Fire Walk With Me Care to step into the new year on 1,200-degree glowing coals? You can pay for the opportunity at "The Fire Within," a fire-walking workshop led by Jon Cotton. "The Fire Within" lasts from 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Solano County Fairgrounds, Vallejo. Tickets are $149; call (510) 653-5050. People who'd prefer to jog into 1996 can do so at the "Safeway First Run," an alcohol-free celebration featuring a two-mile run/walk, fireworks, and other boozeless, healthy treats; registration and pre-race party and music start at 10 p.m. Registration is $20-25; call the race hot line at (415) 564-0532.
Here Comes the Rain Again The Fabulous Bud E. Luv aspires to be a hotel lounge lizard. Some might say he has met his match (and then some) in the Tonga Room, the legendary tiki-style restaurant/bar featuring a raftlike stage in the middle of a pool and an indoor rain forest that showers every half-hour or so. Eat a four-course Pacific Rim dinner, drink fruity cocktails, and see Luv beginning at 8 p.m. at the Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason, S.F. Tickets are $50-150; call 772-5021. (The Fairmont also hosts performances by Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Joe Louis Walker, Robert Goulet, and the Pete Escovedo Orchestra; tickets range from $135-295.)
Ding Dong, 1995 Is Dead According to Japanese custom, each year should end with the dying reverberations of a temple bell that has been struck 108 times. (Buddhist belief states 108 mortal desires plague mankind; the tolling of the bells dispels these nasty temptations.) Help ring in the new year (ouch) at the Asian Art Museum's "New Year's Bell Ringing Ceremony"; the communal event starts at 11 a.m. at the Asian Art Museum, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Free; call 668-6404.
House Party Latino house's commercial heyday -- the late '80s, when producers like Bobby O dominated the Top 40 -- was a time when dance music still had commercial appeal and verse/chorus song structures. The same sound is still alive and well, but now it's one of many subgenres in an increasingly partitioned pop market. Futura serves Latino house to S.F. on a regular basis; on New Year's Eve, the club also offers a live performance by El Gran Mariachi Continental. DJs Rubin, Raymundo, and Anita spin; the dancing starts at 9 p.m. at the Grand Ballroom, 50 Oak, S.F. Tickets are $18-22 (includes appetizers, party favors, and free champagne at midnight); call 665-6715.
Awesome Audrey It's a new year: time to forget those pesky resolutions and worship at the altar of a dead film star. "Two With Audrey Hepburn" offers a double dose of the bright-eyed pixie. In 1954's Sabrina, directed by Billy Wilder, poor little Hepburn is romanced by a tycoon who looks a lot like Humphrey Bogart. (This year's remake replaces Hepburn with Julia Ormond and Bogey with inescapable Night + Day king Harrison Ford. Talk about diminishing returns.) In 1957's Funny Face, Hepburn discusses existentialism, models the latest fashions, dances with Fred Astaire, and sings Gershwin with Kay Thompson, an actress so arch she makes Rosalind Russell seem natural. Bonjour, Paris! Sabrina screens at 2:40 and 7 p.m.; Funny Face screens at 4:55 and 9:15 p.m. at UC Theatre, University & Shattuck, Berkeley. Tickets are $6.50; call (510) 843-6267.