Night + Day

Pee-wee the Great Most people remember selected scenes from Tim Burton's 1985 gem Pee-wee's Big Adventure. There's the frightening, funny moment when big, butch trucker/ghost Large Marge scares the bejesus out of poor Pee-wee. And there's the sequence where our hero bonds with a motorcycle gang, giving new meaning to the song "Tequila" in the process. But the film's plot is about Pee-wee's search for his missing red bike -- perfect material for an S.F. Bicycle Coalition benefit screening at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. at the Red Vic, 1727 Haight, S.F. Tickets are $6; call 668-3994.

Prince for a Day Many presenters at the godawful "VH1 Fashion Music Awards" had sweaty pits. Faux pas or fashion statement? Either way, it wasn't pretty. Thankfully, the Artist Formerly Known As Prince stayed dry during his vigorous performance, a ditty titled "Pussy Control." The diminutive megastar from Minneapolis has his own Bay Area fan club: Power Fantastic. "Dance On" is the latest party hosted by the group; it includes videos and songs by the regal one, his concubines, and other musical associates. Will they play "Pretty Mess" and "Sugar Walls"? And what happened to the awesome Wendy & Lisa? Find out at 9 p.m. at 330 Ritch, S.F. Tickets are $7; call 541-9574.

january 27
Moanin' With Mona Helen Shumaker's lacquer-haired performance in Mona Rogers in Person gives new meaning to the phrase "scenery chewing." As burlesque/grotesque Mona says, "I can walk through a room and shred it." Mona doesn't need to be institutionalized -- she's already an S.F. institution: A prototype of Mona's much-abused "Little Fatty" doll, some broken high heels, and other sentimental raffle prizes will be auctioned off at a gala 500th performance of Mona Rogers in Person. The curtain rises at 8 p.m. at Cable Car Theatre, 430 Mason, S.F. Tickets are $16-18; call 956-8497. Mona continues through Feb. 3.

Takes One to Know One The next time you see Roger Ebert moralizing on TV about an exploitation flick, just remember that Roger himself penned a glorious piece of trash: Russ Meyer's racist, sexist, homophobic, and highly entertaining Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Meyer's parody of soap romances and greedy hippies has the color and clarity of an acid trip, and the characters are pure cartoon. Choice line: "This is my happening and it's freaking me out!" Choice performances: Crazy-eyed Edy Williams as a porn queen, Shakespearean wannabe John LaZar as a hermaphrodite rock promoter, and Erica Gavin -- who really can act -- as a jilted lesbian. The madness starts at 1, 5:10, and 9:20 p.m. at the Castro Theatre, Castro & Market, S.F. Tickets are $6; call 621-6120.

Kings and Queens "I won't die an old maid, I'll die an old bachelor." So says Greta Garbo in perhaps her best role (and film), Queen Christina. The 1933 adventure/romance about a cross-dressing 17th-century monarch is part one of a Garbo double bill: It screens at 7 p.m., followed by Ernst Lubitsch's 1939 Ninotchka at 9 p.m. at the Casting Couch Micro Cinema, 950 Battery, S.F. Tickets are $8.50; call 986-7001.

Songs and Stories Fans of soul and the blues have two legendary female voices to choose from: Gladys Knight and Etta James. Knight appears sans Pips for a special concert including a conversation with Terry Gross of NPR's Fresh Air; the singing and talking start at 8 p.m. at Masonic Auditorium, 1111 California, S.F. Tickets are $15-40 ($150 includes a post-performance party at Hayes Street Grill hosted by Fran Lebowitz); call 392-4400. Etta James & the Roots Band perform -- along with Annie Simpson Band and special guests -- at 9 p.m. at the Family Dog, Maritime Hall, 450 Harrison, S.F. Tickets are $20-25; call 974-0634.

january 28
Measure for Measure In Freaks: Myths and Images of the Secret Self, Leslie Fiedler takes a long, smart look at the relationship between "freaks" and "normal" humans in art and history, noting that children's tales like Alice in Wonderland manipulate kids' confused, ever-changing conceptions of size. If Fiedler were still alive today, he'd surely enjoy "About the Size of It: A Circus of the Big and Small" -- its treasures include a suit belonging to the world's tallest man and gloves once worn by Mrs. Tom Thumb. The exhibition's final day -- featuring a 1-4 p.m. show by Wise Fool Puppet Intervention -- lasts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon, S.F. Admission is $5-9; call 563-7337.

january 29
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Sadly, Blossom Dearie isn't involved, nor Julie Halston. But the first-ever "Mabel Mercer West Coast Cabaret Convention" is a huge success: Performances by Meg Mackay, Julie Wilson, David Staller, Mary Cleere Haran, Michael Feinstein, and Andrea Marcovicci have already sold out. Direct from Bemelman's Bar in New York, the breathy, smoky jazz pianist Barbara Carroll appears from 8 to 11 p.m. (through Feb. 3) at Inn at the Opera, 333 Fulton, S.F. Tickets are $10; call 543-8889.

january 30
Frantastic "There is no such thing as inner peace," writes Fran Lebowitz in Metropolitan Life. "There is only nervousness or death." Advice San Franciscans could learn from: "If you have a burning, restless urge to write or paint, simply eat something sweet and the feeling will pass"; "If your sexual fantasies were truly of interest to others, they would no longer be fantasies." Other words of wisdom: "Sleep is death without the responsibility"; "Breakfast cereals that come in the same colors as polyester leisure suits make oversleeping a virtue"; "If you are of the opinion that contemplation of suicide is sufficient evidence of a poetic nature, do not forget that actions speak louder than words." Author of a wicked Susan Sontag parody ("Notes on Trick"), Lebowitz has been compared to Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker; currently, only David Sedaris matches her wicked wit. City Arts & Lectures presents an evening with her at 8 p.m. at Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness, S.F. Tickets are $15; call 392-4400.

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