Odes to Billy The leader of a live/studio jazz ensemble in the '50s, Billy Tipton was known as a married man until his death, when doctors discovered he was physically a woman. Written about by Marjorie Garber (in the cold academic book Vested Interests) and Phranc (in the sweet song "Tipton"), he is also honored by the Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet, an all-female sax quartet with a drummer. Their repertoire ranges from New Orleans jump groove to hip hop, punk, and East European klezmer; they play at 8 p.m. at La Pe–a Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck, Berkeley. Tickets are $8; call (510) 849-2568.

Telekinetic Terror Mean schoolmates, crazy Christian parents, monstrous fashion faux pas: Nothing brings back those awful high school memories like Carrie, Brian De Palma's best film. The Sick and Twisted Players' stage version of the 1976 shocker adds a few scenes from Stephen King's original novel, including a telekinetic shower of stones and Carrie White's fiery destruction of her hometown. Piper Laurie, hat connoisseur P.J. Soles, and Sissy Spacek won't be there, but audiences will receive a "Carrie Kit" filled with mystery souvenirs. Relive high school hell at 8 p.m. at New Conservatory Theatre, 25 Van Ness, S.F. Carrie continues through Feb. 3. Tickets are $8-15; call 861-8972.

january 6
Give Me Your Money Taking the notion of cheap theater to new extremes, for one night only Thick Description is paying people to attend its production of Erik Ehn's Wieland. Regular performances of Wieland are $12.50-16.50, but audience members at the first "We Pay You" preview get one buck each. They'll earn that dollar by watching the stage adaptation of a 1798 story involving spontaneous combustion, religious mania, and murder in a small town (hmmm ... sounds suspiciously like Carrie); obsessed with Christian faith in the modern world, Ehn has also written 50 Saint Plays, with 316 more planned. The show starts at 8 p.m. at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida, S.F. Tickets are -$1; call 621-7797 for more information. Wieland continues Thursdays-Sundays through Jan. 21.

Dumplings a Go Go Mochi is a sweet rice paste made in Japan on special occasions and the New Year. Since most people now eat store-bought mochi, the celebratory pounding ceremony known as mochi-tsuki is a rare occurrence, but S.F.'s Kagami Kai -- founded 20 years ago by Tetsu Takatani -- keeps the ritual alive through demonstrations. Accompanied by taiko drumming, Kagami Kai's "Mochi Pounding Party" gives participants a chance to pound and then consume sweet rice cakes; eat to the beat at 11 a.m. at Gruhn Court, Asian Art Museum, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is $2-5; call 668-6404.

Death, Failure, and Other Knee-Slappers Julia Sweeney is best known for her androgynous Saturday Night Live character Pat, who spawned a film, It's Pat (a surprisingly funny feature with cameos by Camille Paglia and Ween that belly-flopped at the box office). Sweeney's new one-woman show, God Said, "Ha!", chronicles a nine-month period in 1994 when three members of Sweeney's family -- her ailing brother and distraught parents -- set up camp in her tiny Hollywood bungalow. The show previews at 7:30 and 10 p.m. at Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, S.F., and continues Thursdays-Sundays through Feb. 4. Tickets are $10-15; call 441-8822.

january 7
Postmod Motion Founded at Ohio's Oberlin College in 1971 by Brenda Way, the Oberlin Dance Collective (ODC) relocated to S.F. in 1976. Fusing narrative structures to postmodern choreography, the company has national fame. Led by S.F. Ballet principal dancer Joanna Berman, ODC/San Francisco performs four dances -- including three choreographed by Way -- at 5 p.m. at Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, 200 N. San Pedro, San Rafael. Tickets are $20-22; call 479-2000.

Itchy Antics After months of rigorous training, the microscopic members of the Cardoso Flea Circus are entertaining the public. The troupe includes clowns Pepita y Pepón, juggling master Foo Chow, escape artist Harry Fleadini, tightrope walker Mr. Magœ, trapeze duo Sarindar and Igor, Bounce the Flea Cannonball, and Tarzan the Strong Flea. Other treats: a flea wedding, a flea costume competition, a flea sword fight, a flea chariot race, flea high diving by Fearless Alfredo, and dancing by the Mambo Fleas. The squinting starts at 1 p.m. at the Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon, S.F. Admission is $2.50-7; call 563-7337.

january 8
Bite-Size Treats A collection of lesbian and gay shorts by Bay Area media-makers, "Girls and Boys Briefs" runs the gamut from narrative to experimental and includes the world's first lesbian infomercial -- Lizzie Donahue's I Became a Lesbian and So Can You. In RX Rubio's Playing Poseidon, Ronald Neame's The Poseidon Adventure jump-starts a young boy's unusual fantasy life; Dennis Conroy charts pop romance in 45 RPM Love. The lights go down at 7:15 and 9:20 p.m. at the Red Vic, 1727 Haight, S.F. Tickets are $3-5.50; call 668-3994.

Mad Libs An eight-week tournament featuring two hand-picked teams of improvisers in a King of the Hill-style competition, "Winter Games '96" kicks off Bay Area TheatreSports' winter season. Improvisers from groups like Fratelli Bologna and True Fiction Magazine will act out scenes based on audience suggestions, competing for points awarded by Olympic-style judges. Opening with a warm-up scrimmage, the show/contest starts at 8 p.m. at Bayfront Theater, Fort Mason Center, Bldg. B, Third Floor, S.F. "Winter Games '96" continues Mondays through Feb. 26. Tickets are $6-8; call 824-8220.

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