january 17
Border Crossing Three new exhibits look at immigration from numerous perspectives. "Points of Entry: A Nation of Strangers" examines immigration's history through photos, portraits, and illustrations by Dorothea Lange, Eadweard Muybridge, and others; it's on view 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Ansel Adams Center for Photography, 250 Fourth St., S.F. Free; call 495-7000. David Bacon's photographs of "Mexican Workers" document lives on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border; you can see them from 2 to 9 p.m. at Berkeley Store Gallery, 2230 Shattuck, Berkeley. Free; call (510) 649-0272. Lastly, "Sue–os Prometidos/Promised Dreams" is the first of five immigrant-related exhibitions at Galer’a de la Raza/Studio 24; it's open to the public from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 2857 24th St., S.F. Free; call 826-8009.

Dark Night of the Soul Demon wine, grass, dirty movies, and chest X-rays all play a part in Octavio Solis' new play, Prospect, a look at the soul-searching shenanigans of a trio who meet one night in a Dallas singles bar. Written and directed by Solis, Prospect mixes comedy and mortality. You can see it at 8:30 p.m. at Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Building D, Third Floor, S.F. Tickets are $15-30; call 441-8822. Prospect continues Wednesdays-Sundays through Feb. 18.

Nuclear Nut Cases Amarillo, Texas-based George Ratliff's The Plutonium Circus began as a straight exposŽ on the dangers of storing plutonium. But gloomy environmentalists, a fatalistic Catholic priest, and Charles Johnson III (a millionaire whose mother was a bomb inspector) transformed the documentary film's tone, adding an element of oddball, real-life character humor that recalls Errol Morris' pet cemetery doc Gates of Heaven. See Johnson III show off Charles Manson's fingerprints and a shrunken head mounted on a Christmas tree angel at 2, 7:30, and 9:15 p.m. at the Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight, S.F. Tickets are $3.50-5.50; call 668-3994. The Plutonium Circus continues through Jan. 20.

january 18
Into the Groove "The S.F. Groove Fest" brings together four Bay Area bands who specialize in funk fusion: The Mo'Fessionals (who add R&B and hip hop to the mix); WAMMIE-winners One Nation Underground (who add acid jazz); Los Angelitos (who add Latin salsa); and urban peaceniks Big Brutha Soul. The benefit for S.F. Food Bank and Project Open Hand begins at 9 p.m. at Club 1015, 1015 Folsom, S.F. Tickets are $12-15; call 885-5982. ("A Night in the Soudan" crams even more music into the same address. Featuring the trance-dance Gnawa sounds of Hassan Hakmoun, Brahim Fribgane, Hamid Drake, Adam Rudolf, and DJ Cheb i Sabbah, it starts at 8 p.m. at Medina, 1015 Folsom, S.F. Tickets are $14; call 789-8467.)

Dirk the Magnificent Victim was a landmark at the time of its 1961 release, a feature film with a self-confessed (albeit non-practicing) homo hero. Dirk Bogarde plays the man who risks his marriage and career to track down a ring of blackmailers. Praised and criticized by Pauline Kael, Victim screens at 7 and 9:15 p.m. at the Castro Theatre, Castro & Market, S.F. Tickets are $6 (proceeds benefit the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission); call 621-6120.

Technophile/Technophobe Marque Cornblatt's new sculptures range from high-tech, remote-activated robots to low-tech, crank-operated creatures: all are bizarre-looking. Cornblatt's work incorporates body and technology politics, but his symbolism and execution rise above simplistic preaching or "cyberpunk" clichŽ. See Cornblatt and his "Low Tech/High Tech" exhibit at an opening reception 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Morphos Gallery, 49 Geary, Second Floor, S.F. Free; call 399-1439.

Mental Hopscotch A collection of artists' projects exploring perceptions of mental illness, "Of Sound Mind" looks to the past (Ellen Driscoll's Passionate Attitudes, a sculptural installation based on J.M. Charcot's bizarre, scary 19th-century approach to female "hysteria") and the future (Margaret Crane/Jon Winet's General Hospital, which uses computer technology to investigate current psychiatric issues). An opening reception for the show -- which also includes work by Tony Allard and Kristine Diekman -- spans two hours from 6 to 8 p.m. at New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom, S.F. Free; call 626-5416.

Asta Again Before Gish and Garbo, Asta Nielsen defined the film actor's art as one of minimal gesture for maximum character. A six-installment tribute to the international silent film star (who made over 70 movies between 1911 and 1932), "Asta -- The Tenth Muse" features live accompaniment performed by Jon Mirsalis. See Asta in action at 5:30 p.m. (in Poor Jenny and three other shorts) and 7:30 p.m. (in The Great Moment and The Strange Bird) at Pacific Film Archive, 2625 Durant, Berkeley. Tickets are $3.50-5.50; call (510) 642-1124.

january 19
Second Time Around Dale Peck's 1992 novel Martin and John (published in Britain as Fucking Martin) is one of the most successful -- in critical and popular terms -- "gay novels" of recent years; its intricately braided, grief-stricken narrative won praise from stylists as diverse as Edmund White and Dennis Cooper. His new novel -- The Law of Enclosures -- is a twisted marital drama. He'll read from it at 7:30 p.m. at A Different Light, 489 Castro, S.F. Free; call 431-0891.

Talk, Music, Talk A continuing program of pre- and post-concert discussions with artists and scholars, "Sightlines" brackets the beginning and end of Kronos Quartet's Bay Area premiere of The Book of Alleged Dances, a new composition by John Adams. Adams talks about his music at 7 p.m.; Kronos Quartet performs his music at 8 p.m.; and Kronos Quartet talks about performing his music after the show at Hertz Hall, Bancroft & College, UC Berkeley campus. Tickets are $24; call (510) 642-9988.

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