Night+Day

wednesday
january 31
Keep a Goin' Most people agree that the '70s were a golden age for American film and film writing. Robert Altman and Martin Scorsese created challenging works with major studio money; Wes Craven and Tobe Hooper used low-budget horror to launch nasty commentaries on the American family; the cult movie was a new phenomenon; and critics ranging from the witty, maddening Pauline Kael to the brainy, maddening Robin Wood authored great essays and bickered with each other. "Seven From the Seventies" begins a weeklong tribute to the decade with its biggest film: Nashville. As Kael says, Nashville is "a constant discovery of overlapping connections," about a country where politics and entertainment are interchangeable and everyone's a groupie. See Karen Black as a chilly Tammy Wynette-type; Gwen Welles and Barbara Harris as wannabes with a dream; Geraldine Chaplin as the most irritating reporter in cinematic history; and the lovely Ronee Blakley (whose career torpedoed when she married Wim Wenders) as a doomed Loretta Lynn-figure in Altman's epic 8 1/2-in-Opryland. The lights go down at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at the Red Vic, 1727 Haight, S.F. Tickets are $3.50-5.50; call 668-3994.

thursday
february 1
Somebody's Watching Me In Patrick Tierney and Eric Saks' new half-hour documentary Neglectosphere, a real camera watches people's reactions to fake surveillance machines placed in various Los Angeles municipal buildings. Technopranks are Tierney and Saks' forte: A one-minute pseudo-infomercial (called Hide), a six-minute "media virus" short (called NeglectoMIX), and a "video sketchbook" (called Neglectonotebook) round out a program by the dastardly duo; neglect it not at 7:30 p.m. at Refusalon Gallery, 20 Hawthorne, S.F. Admission is $5; call 558-8129.

Hungary Eyes Up until World War II, Hungary's economy was thriving, and the country's arts -- photography in particular -- flourished. Andr Kertesz and Brassai are among the best-known photographers from the period, perhaps because they left the country before reactionary regimes (who forced artists to make propaganda) took over. "Hungarian Photography: 1920s and 1930s" has work by Kertesz and Brassai, and a number of more obscure talents. The show's style ranges from pictorialist to social documentary to modernist; it's open for view from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Robert Koch Gallery, 49 Geary St., S.F. Free; call 421-0122.

She's Onstage An annual showcase of theater by women, "Taking Shape" is 8 years old. In the past, the series has given Anne Galjour, Marga Gomez, and Greta Sanchez a chance to try out new shows. This year's second weekend of works in progress includes Triple Tongues by Sherry Hicks, The Passing by Anita Johnson, Boxes by Barbara Tajima, and Fertile Ground by Carmel Winters. Capped by a post-show discussion, the program starts at 8 p.m. at Brava Studio Theatre, 2180 Bryant, S.F. Tickets are $10; call 487-5401. "Taking Shape" continues Thursdays-Sundays through Feb. 17.

Spontaneous Production A seven-member performance ensemble, True Fiction Magazine has 137 years of collective improvisational experience. In recent months, they've become a staple of Sedge Thompson's weekly West Coast Live radio show, appearing twice a month. The latest show by the spontaneity experts -- "TimeLines" -- begins at 8 p.m. at 450 Geary Studio Theater, 450 Geary St., S.F. Tickets are $10-12; call 824-1559. "TimeLines" continues Thursdays-Saturdays through March 2.

friday
february 2
Art Attack Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Diebenkorn, David Hockney, William Wegman, and Jean Dubuffet are some of the famous names at the "USArt" show -- one of those expos where a bunch of small galleries show their stuff in a big building. Works on display date from 1800 until the present. Have a look-see from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion, S.F. Admission is $10; call 441-3400. "USArt" continues through Feb. 4.

Showtime at the Center Since the '70s, a number of African-American comedians -- Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Redd Foxx, Shirley Hemphill, LaWanda Page, and Eddie Murphy, to name a handful -- have achieved mainstream success. But clubs for "black comedy" (Geoffrey's Inner Circle in Oakland is an exception) are still few and far between. The 10-year-old "Bay Area Black Comedy Competition" gives fresh stand-ups a free forum: The preliminary and semifinal rounds of the competition begin at 8 p.m. (through Feb. 4) at Center for the Arts, 700 Howard, S.F. Tickets are $10; call 978-2787.

Men With Big Guns From the mean daddy/soft son dynamic of Howard Hawks' Red River to Clint Eastwood's recent The Unforgiven, the western has always been dominated by male-bonding themes. Arguably, Sam Peckinpah is king of the genre, and arguably, The Wild Bunch is his greatest film. The cast is filled with grizzly, potbellied codgers like Warren Oates and Ernest Borgnine -- not a single matinee idol sissy in sight! See bridges collapse (hint: symbolism) and guys shoot each other at 8 p.m. at the Castro Theatre, Castro & Market, S.F. Tickets are $6; call 621-6120.

Dance, Drink, and Eat Folk singing, folk dancing, and -- of course -- borscht and caviar are part of the eighth annual "Russian Festival." Some people will sip Russian tea and others will guzzle flavored vodka from 5 to 10 p.m. at the Russian Center, 2450 Sutter, S.F. Admission is $5-7; call 921-7631. The festival continues through Feb. 4.

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