february 28
Eyes, Knees, Groin, Throat The 1993 rape and murder of Gits singer Mia Zapata sparked the formation of Home Alive, a Seattle-based nonprofit organization that offers free workshops, lectures, and self-defense classes for women. A new major-label two-CD set -- Home Alive: The Art of Self Defense -- benefits the collective; modeled after last year's superb independent compilation Free to Fight, it mixes music by Nirvana, Supersuckers, Joan Jett, and others with spoken word (Jim Carroll, Exene Cervenka) and art (Roberta Gregory) contributions. Seven Year Bitch, Tribe 8, Christdriver, Jello Biafra, Natalie Jacobson, and Alison Murchie perform at an album-release fund-raiser at 8:30 p.m. at Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, S.F. Tickets are $8; call 885-0750.

Mindscape Borrowing the title of an Alfred Hitchcock film, John Sanborn's multimedia installation The 39 Steps connects the life experiences of 60 people; using a touch-screen design, viewers follow story sequences triggered -- like human thoughts -- by words or images. A video experimenter since 1978, Sanborn has collaborated with choreographers (Twyla Tharp, Bill T. Jones) and musicians (Rayuichi Sakamoto, the Residents). He discusses his latest work at 7:30 p.m. at the Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon, S.F. Admission is $2.50-9; call 563-7337.

february 29
Imp of the Perverse David Medalla's autobiography is a nonstop name-dropping fest featuring Marcel Duchamp, James Baldwin, Yoko Ono, Jean Genet, Willem De Kooning, and Salvador Dali, to name just a handful. His art -- discussed in the new book Exploding Galaxies by Guy Brett -- is often deliberately obscure and ephemeral. In one recent Medalla piece, The Flying Mondrians, a squadron of planes projected large, colorful rectangles onto Hawaii's land and sea, transforming the territory into a giant painting. Following an introduction by UC Berkeley art professor Peter Selz, the eccentric "transcendental hedonist" presents a lecture/slide show at 7 p.m. at Banner Arts, 501 Third St., S.F. Free; call 512-7627.

From Queer to Eternity Local writer/director John Fisher is best known for award-winning, critically acclaimed comedies like The Joy of Gay Sex and last year's Medea, the Musical. His latest work, Combat! An American Melodrama, is more serious than silly: The plot follows the struggles of gay soldiers, civilians, and politicians during World War II America. The play premieres at 7:30 p.m. (continuing Thursdays-Sundays through March 10) at Zellerbach Playhouse, Bancroft & Telegraph, UC Berkeley campus. Tickets are $4-8; call (510) 642-9988.

Dancing on the Edge One of a series of environmental, spiritual works inspired by 16th-century Indian leader Mirabai, Contraband's Return to Ordinary Life combines spoken word, movement, and live music; it begins at 8 p.m. (continuing Wednesdays-Sundays through March 10) at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida, S.F. Tickets are $12.50-18.50; call 621-7797. Contraband's Sara Shelton Mann is also one of five female artists -- Anna Halprin, Margaret Jenkins, Rhodessa Jones, and Ruth Zaporah are the others -- honored in "Edge Makers," part of the "1996 Edge Festival"; the program begins with shows dedicated to Halprin (8 p.m., repeating Sunday) and Zaporah (Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.) at Dancers' Group/Footwork, 3221 22nd St., S.F. Tickets are $10-12; call 824-5044.

Giovanni's Room Recently published, The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni chronicles the writer's artistic approach to feminism and civil rights from the '60s to the present. The latest installment of "On Art and Politics" -- a series of programs benefiting the Women's Foundation -- features Giovanni and fellow poet Janice Mirikitani (We the Dangerous); they read at 8 p.m. at Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness, S.F. Tickets are $16; call 392-4400.

Don't Need No Education Not the first and not the last British film to rebel against the country's barbaric public schools, 1982's Pink Floyd -- The Wall also hit pay dirt with American teens who loved pot and hated authority. One reason: Gerald Scarfe's trippy animated sequences, remnants of a time when rock albums generated midnight movies and midnight movies generated box office. The Wall screens at an opening reception for an exhibition of Scarfe's art from the film (and other Pink Floyd memorabilia); the party starts at 5 p.m. at Artrock Gallery, 1153 Mission, S.F. Free; call 255-7390.

march 1
Pornucopia San Francisco Sex Information is the nation's only free sex-information switchboard (sorry, no phone sex or psychotherapy); it caps 55 hours of volunteer training with a multiscreen showing of porn films, affectionately called "Fuckorama." SFSI recently commissioned performance artist Peter Menchini to produce "Fuckorama" as a public fund-raiser: He's created a 3-D onslaught of film, video, and live performance. Dirty little devils can enjoy it from 8 to 10 p.m. at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, S.F. Tickets are $10; call 989-7374.

Science Friction Having written or edited 62 books, 1,700 stories and essays, and a dozen movies, Harlan Ellison certainly qualifies as prolific; he's even turned writing into performance, penning stories in window displays of local bookstores. The science-fiction icon presents a slide show and signs autographs from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Cartoon Art Museum, 814 Mission, S.F. Tickets are $22; call 227-8666.

Super Tramp Charlie Chaplin began City Lights in 1928; thinking that sound pictures would die out after a few years, he wanted to pay tribute to pantomime and pioneer a new wave of silent films. By the time City Lights was finished (1931), it was the only new film without dialogue, but the tale of the Little Tramp and the blind girl was a tremendous critical and box-office success. (The Academy Awards snubbed it, perhaps because Chaplin refused to kowtow to talkies.) City Lights begins a five-night Chaplin program of 35mm prints at 6:15 and 9:35 p.m. (The Gold Rush screens at 8 p.m.) at the Castro Theatre, Castro & Market, S.F. Tickets are $6; call 621-6120.

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