Renovation Celebration In 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake demolished the 79-year-old Geary Theater, home to the American Conservatory Theater. But seven years and $27.5 million later, the site is back from the dead, restored and modernized. "A Galaxy on Geary" celebrates the occasion -- and raises money to pay the final half-million of the whopping bill -- with a party featuring stars galore. The theatrical luminaries include Sada Thompson (TV junkies know her as the mom on Family), Michael Learned (TV junkies know her as the mom on The Waltons), and Ren Auberjonois (TV junkies know him as a snot on Benson). Cabaret queen Andrea Marcovicci will be there; so will Academy Award nominees Marsha Mason and Annette Bening. Preceded by cocktail receptions at various locations, the program begins at 9 p.m. at Geary Theater, 415 Geary, S.F. Tickets are $75-10,000 (give till it hurts!); call 834-3349.
Freaky Family Like most Grimms fairy tales, The Juniper Tree is a violent drama about a freaky family. The characters include a woman impregnated by magical berries who dies of joy upon giving birth; her husband, who literally cries his eyes out when he hears of her death; and an evil stepmother who decapitates a boy and turns him into furniture (before he exacts supernatural revenge). Nightletter Theater adds its own special weirdness -- including big masks, small puppets, and live insects -- to a theatrical version of the tale, called The Hungry Tree. The lights dim at 8 p.m. at Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia, S.F. Tickets are $12-15; call 626-2787. The Hungry Tree continues Thursdays-Sundays through Jan. 27.
The Fire This Time Created in 1990 by Rhodessa Jones, the Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women lets women at S.F. County Jail address personal history and increase self-awareness through theater. Conceived and directed by Jones, the group's latest piece, Buried Fire, mixes original and popular music with movement and text. It opens at 8 p.m. at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 620 Sutter, S.F. Tickets are $15-20; call 474-8800. Buried Fire continues through Jan. 21.
Magic Marker Chris Marker's 1962 experimental short La jetee is a staple of introductory film classes; unsurprisingly, its eerie, time-tripping theme has been cannibalized by mainstream works like James Cameron's The Terminator and Terry Gilliam's current 12 Monkeys. Now 73, the reclusive Marker responds to cinema's 100th anniversary with "Silent Movie," an installation that re-creates the allure of early film via video pastiche. Featuring five vertical stacks of monitors enclosed in tall steel constructivist towers, "Silent Movie" is the first video installation by Marker to be presented in the U.S. Mixing text with found and original imagery in random sequences, it addresses -- like much of Marker's work -- time, death, history, and memory. Watch it from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at University Art Museum, 2626 Bancroft, Berkeley. Admission is $4-6; call (510) 642-0808. "Silent Movie" continues through April 14.
Rush Limbaugh's Last Stand In between celebrated runs at the Marsh here in S.F., Charlie Varon's one-man show Rush Limbaugh in Night School journeyed to Washington, D.C., and off-Broadway New York. Spoofing media-mad America, Varon doesn't just stick a pin in Limbaugh's hot-air balloon: He portrays 21 other big-mouthed characters as well, including Garrison Keillor, Jackie Mason, and Spalding Gray. Rush's last Bay Area stand begins at 8 p.m. at CenterStage, Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, 200 North San Pedro, San Rafael. Tickets are $16-18; call 479-2000 for other performance dates and times.
You Can't Do That on Television! Dyke TV is a half-hour magazine-format TV show that airs weekly in over 50 cities across the country, challenging stereotypical lesbian images presented by the mainstream media. The program's producers are based in S.F., and they'll present a one-night retrospective of shows, along with a few other treats -- video clips of the 1995 Dyke March and Folsom Street Fair; music by Dizzy Little Death; a short piece on women in the workplace -- at 8 p.m. at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, S.F. Admission is $5; call 824-3890 for more information.
I Pity the Fool Named after the popular star of The A-Team, the Mr. T Experience are TV junkies: Their 1986 debut LP Everyone's Entitled to Their Own Opinion includes a song called "Danny Partridge Got Busted," about Danny Bonaduce's run-ins with the law. (Perhaps now it should be called "Danny Partridge Got Axed," since Bonaduce's syndicated talk show just bit the dust.) Yes, the Mr. T Experience are from Berkeley, and yes, they sing punky pop songs about love, but they've been doing it a lot longer than Green Day and the groups Green Day spawned. Love Is Dead, the new LP by the MTE, is out now on Lookout!, and two older ones (Night Shift at the Thrill Factory and Big Black Bugs Bleed Blue Blood) will be reissued soon. Hear the three fellows at 10 p.m. at Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F. Wynona Ryders and Scared of Chaka (more TV references!) open. Tickets are $6; call 621-4455.
Naughty Naughty "Fucking, Sucking, and the Ritual Letting of Blood" is the title of the latest spoken-word extravaganza presented by WordFuck. Audience members probably won't witness the above acts, but they'll hear about them. Six hours of aural porn, the show includes performances by M.I. Blue, Scarlot Harlot, Carol Queen, Kris Kovick, Johnna Schmidt, and Hank Hyena. Listen in from 4 to 10 p.m. at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, S.F. Admission is $5; call 824-3890.
Double-Click Clique "Webel Without a Pause" is a benefit for Digital Queers -- an S.F.-based group of 1,000-plus lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activist techies who support their community through computer expertise. It's also a party involving techno-twister trivia, scavenger hunts, and larger-than-life Web surfing. Those interested in direct human interaction can dance to music by DJ Raoul Thomas or laugh at jokes by TV stand-up star Suzanne Westenhoefer. Doors open at 6 p.m.; performances start at 8 p.m. at Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, S.F. Tickets are $35-50 (includes food and drinks); call 864-8523 for more information.
Plenty o' Performance Q: How do performance artists raise money? A: By performing, silly! Example: "Gaining Momentum," a benefit jam organized by Stephanie Maher. Featuring dance, music, and improvisation by individual (Jon Weaver, Brion Oliver, and more) and group (High Risk Group, C.O.R.E., and more) artists, the event benefits the weeklong June 1996 S.F. Festival of Improvisation. The show starts at 8 p.m. at 848 Community Space, 848 Divisadero, S.F. Tickets are $10-15; call 821-2329.
Eternal Boy-Child "A perfect blend of fairy-tale magic with Sir James Barrie's special kind of whimsy and pathos." That's how William K. Everson describes the 1924 film version of Peter Pan, directed by Herbert Brenon. The Pacific Film Archive's tribute to author/historian Everson continues with an archival print of the silent flick. Also part of the PFA's "International Children's Film Festival," the screening includes live piano accompaniment by Jon Mirsalis. The lights dim at 3:30 p.m. at 2625 Durant, Berkeley. Tickets are $3.50; call (510) 642-1124.
Warehouse Music Who's the queen of today's dance diva scene? Deadline for My Memories, the upcoming LP by Billie Ray Martin -- a Marlene Dietrich look-alike with an ambulance-siren voice -- provides the answer for this critic. But currently, Ms. Barbara Tucker has many devotees. Tucker will be joined by guest DJ Mike Duretto at a special Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Pleasuredome; the doors open at 8 p.m. at 177 Townsend, S.F. Free; call 985-5256.
Breach of Confidence The controversy surrounding Diane Wood Middlebrook's 1991 biography of Anne Sexton had more to do with the public unveiling of Sexton's therapy sessions than with her suicidal and sexual behavior. In The New Informants: The Betrayal of Confidentiality in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, author David Sundelson looks at the Sexton case and others, arguing that the erosion of patient-psychiatrist bonds of confidence could destroy analysis and those it attempts to help. Sundelson reads at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books, 1491 Shattuck, Berkeley. Free; call (510) 486-0698.
Martin Party Upon finishing her collegiate "Bald Ambition Tour," stand-up comic Ren Hicks began growing her hair back. She'll probably sport a short cut when she takes the stage at "An Alternative Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration." An evening of cinema, comedy, and community presented by Film Arts Foundation, the show also includes the S.F. premiere of Skin Deep, a documentary on college racial tension by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Frances Reid. Hosted by multiculti maven Ben Fong-Torres, the night begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St., S.F. Tickets are $5-6; call 552-3456.
Whole Lotta Lounge Loungecore continues to sweep the nation: Combustible Edison's second LP is due soon on Sub Pop, and new reissues (a current gem: 20 Loungecore Favorites, on Request) are materializing in stores each week. Frenchy serves up a swing-flavored, S.F. version of the old/new trend at 9 p.m. at Cafe Du Nord, 2170 Market, S.F. Admission is $3; call 861-5016.
Plenty O' Poetry Devoted to new avant-garde and experimental writing, Primary Trouble: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry features many local contributors. Thirteen of them -- including Dodie Bellamy, Norma Cole, and Spencer Selby -- will be on hand at a fund-raiser for the book's publisher, Talisman House. The reading starts at 8 p.m. at Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia, S.F. Tickets are $5; call 626-2787.