Motion and Emotion New York choreographer Donald Byrd combines classical ballet, modern dance, and the vernacular of African-American dance. In Bristle, Byrd examines gender's effect on male-female relationships; costumed in black, his company -- The Group -- moves to African, Brazilian, and Eastern European rhythms, as well as the swoony, string-laden compositions of Maurice Ravel. Bristle begins at 8 p.m. (continuing through March 31) at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida, S.F. Tickets are $12.50-20.50; call 621-7797.
Scar Tissue Presented in conjunction with the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FUND), "Amor Propio" addresses the physical and emotional effects of domestic abuse. The program includes a video be Melissa Cruz, a presentation by Zina Bursey, a performance by Gina Espejo, and testimonials by Gayle Nicolson and Spanish-speaking members of FUND's leadership training program. The program starts at 7 p.m. at Southern Exposure, 401 Alabama, S.F. Admission is $3-5; call 863-2141.
Smuin Operator In a new version of the established romance Frankie and Johnny, S.F. choreographer Michael Smuin sets ballet to Cuban mambo music for the first time. Frankie plays -- along with an assortment of shorter works -- at 7:30 p.m. (continuing through March 31) at Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, S.F. Tickets are $22-27; call 978-2787.
Insider's Eyes The second installment of the "Discontent and Its Document" documentary series offers independent journalists' views of war in the Balkans. The program features Ecce Homo by Vesna Ljubic and Truth Under Siege by Leslie Asako Gladsjo and Nathalie Borgers. Gladsjo will discuss her film after the screening, which starts at 7:30 p.m. at Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, S.F. Tickets are $3-6; call 978-2787.
Wig Out From galleries to album covers to MTV videos, Barbie art offers increasingly predictable feminist commentary. But Lucy Puls' new show -- "Plaything" -- presents America's doll in new ways, revealing how her body has become an accessory to her hair. Some of Puls' Barbie sculptures are bald; others sport Rapunzel-like flowing locks, recalling the artist's earlier, crazy wig works. "Plaything" is accompanied by "To Keep Her Countenance," a photo exhibit featuring female images by Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Jim Goldberg, Nan Goldin, and Cindy Sherman, among others; an opening reception, with a panel discussion mediated by Jeff Kelley and Marcia Tanner, lasts 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (both exhibits continue through April 27) at Stephen Wirtz Gallery, 49 Geary, S.F. Free; call 433-6879.
Secret Formula Care to learn about the effects of lead nitrate, manganese chloride, and other substances? Ever wonder what happens to the fuel of spacecrafts falling freely in space? If you answered yes to either of these questions, check out the S.F. Bay Area Science Fair. The event -- which showcases over 350 projects by junior and senior high school students -- is on display from 3 to 5 p.m. (continuing through Monday) at California Academy of Sciences and County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is $1.50-7; call 750-7145.
Double Vision Blurry photography has become a minimovement in the past year, with portrait artists like Bill Jacobson utilizing haze to create emotional works on memory and loss. Todd Gray's out-of-focus varnish-covered images evoke creepiness more than sadness, emphasizing the colonial underside of seemingly benign American pop icons. "Todd Gray" is on view from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (through April 27) at Robert Koch Gallery, 49 Geary, S.F. Free; call 421-0122.
April in March Ain't Gonna Be the Same Fool Twice, Oakland-based author April Sinclair's second novel, is getting the same high praise her first effort (Coffee Will Make You Black) attracted two years ago. Sinclair and a special guest give a special readers theater presentation of scenes from both books at 8 p.m. at Spuntino, 524 Van Ness, S.F. Tickets are $6.50 (includes one nonalcoholic bevvie); call 584-8505.
It's a Mad Magda World Located in the heart of Hayes Valley, Mad Magda's Russian Tea Room showcases and caffeinates kooky artists. Mad Magda's "The Mysterium" -- a 10-day festival of visual and performance art; workshops (on topics ranging from rubber stamps to tea leaves); and psychic shenanigans -- continues with "Triple Trouble!" featuring comedy by Joanne Green, lip-sync dramatics by David A. MoR (aka Glamamore), and vocal acrobatics by Robbeena Diet Biscuit (aka Robbie D.). The show starts at 8 p.m. at 579 Hayes, S.F. By donation; call 864-1441.
Fancy Feet A 40-member troupe, the Cuban National Folkloric Dance Ensemble performs works dedicated to the Orishas (deities), as well as earthly moves like the cha-cha and mambo. Founded in 1962, the crew of musicians and dancers is visiting the U.S. for the first time in 15 years; they sing and dance at 8 p.m. (also Saturday) at Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft & Telegraph, UC Berkeley campus. Tickets are $14-24; call 776-1999.
On the Streets While S.F. takes pride in its open-minded approach to sex work, local alternative media discussions of prostitution rarely step outside of gender to address race and class issues. "African-American Women and Prostitution: From Oppression to Recovery and Empowerment" aims to do just that. The program --- featuring presentations by Venita Wilson, Bertha Raye, and Merlenet Riley -- is a benefit for PROMISE and lasts from 1 to 3 p.m. at Tenderloin Network Ministries Community Room, 559 Ellis, S.F. Admission is $10; call 522-6659.
His Boy Ellroy In 1958, when he was still a young boy, James Ellroy's mother was strangled. (A kind adult even took a picture of young Ellroy after hearing of her death; it graces the cover of a recent issue of Granta.) Today, Ellroy is one of the leading lights of contemporary hard-boiled crime fiction. Reinhard Jud's James Ellroy: Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction studies the author of The Black Dahlia and the city -- L.A. -- that helped fuel his lurid imagination. The film screens at 7:30 p.m. at Pacific Film Archive, 2625 Durant, Berkeley. Tickets are $3-6; call (510) 642-1124.
Kill Scrappy Doo Though Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Tobe Hooper helmed The Funhouse, the most memorable thing about the movie is Sylvia Miles' face, an amazing vision that surpasses any prosthetic mask. Still, the film's carnival setting makes it perfect fodder for the Sick and Twisted Players' latest horror/comedy hybrid, The Funhouse: Starring Scooby Doo. A hint: The murderer probably would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for those meddling kids. The show -- a benefit for the company's next production, the humongous rabbit thriller Night of the Lepus -- plays at 9 p.m. (9 and 11 p.m. on Saturday) at Bernice Street Playhouse, 21 Bernice, S.F. Admission is $10; call 826-5358.
Oh Pedro! Here's Night + Day's special mini-minicapsule review of the new Pedro Almodóvar movie: fantabulous. The second day of Lark Theatre's weeklong "A Tribute to Pedro Almodóvar" features two of the Spanish director's early works (Dark Habits at 1 p.m.; Pepi Luci Bom at 3:30 p.m.); two of his Carmen Maura vehicles (What Have I Done to Deserve This? at 5:15 p.m.; Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at 7:15 p.m.) and the recent, misunderstood media critique Kika (at 9:30 p.m.) at 549 Magnolia, Larkspur. Tickets are $4-6; call 924-3311.
Who Loves Ya, Baby? Take a chrome-domed crooner, pair him up with a 16-piece big band, and you have Vise Grip and the Ambassadors of Swing. Mr. Grip has been described as "Cab Calloway meets Jimmy Durante and the Penguin." He pays tribute to the first of those three characters at 8 p.m. at Bimbo's 365 Club (where his first show was introduced by Paul from the Diamond Center), 1025 Columbus, S.F. Tickets are $15 (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy opens); call 474-0365.
More Indie Rockers With the Blues The Grifters are four guys from Memphis, Tenn. As their Sub Pop press kit boasts, their average age is about twice that of Silverchair's. Their new album -- Ain't My Lookout -- is their most immediate to date, and it features lots of that call-and-response vocal and guitar dynamic that's taking the indie rock world by storm. Rex and Portashrine open for the Grifters at 10 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F. Tickets are $8; call 621-4455.
Jeepers Creepers In Michael Powell's Peeping Tom, a psychiatrist with a cartoon German accent defines scopophilia as "the morbid urge to gaze." Other Cinema's six-part "O Scopophilia!" series begins with "Gays Gaze," a program of shorts about the ravenously hungry homosexual male eye. The screening includes the Bay Area premiere of Isabel Hegner's Eye to Eye, a 20-minute essay on Robert Mapplethorpe's fetishization of black males; it also includes Black Sheep Boy by local luminary Michael Wallin. The lights go down at 8:30 p.m. at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, S.F. Admission is $5; call 824-3890.
Mr. Mike During his 12-year stint as the leader of the Waterboys, Mike Scott made epic, anthemic music with a class that Irish contemporaries like U2 lacked. Now, Scott is on his own; he plays all the instruments on his first solo LP, 1995's Bring 'Em All In. The guy who wrote "The Whole of the Moon" performs (along with Jane Brody) at 8 p.m. at the Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon, S.F. Tickets are $22.50; call 541-0800.
Press Release of the Week "Troubled Vixens TV Show" bills itself as an "ambient television-studio-cum-mental-clinic" that offers "emotional support, counseling, and unspeakable acts of debauchery for those who find the rites of passage to happy and responsible adulthood a long (sometimes lasting into their 30s), tortuous road to emotional hell and destruction, littered with chronic indecision, shoplifting, wrecked cars, lip gloss, alcoholism, and rampant acne." Enrique will perform scenes from their new play, The Possession of Mrs. Jones, at the show; Robbie D., Omewenne, and Marzipan will also grace the stage. The fun begins at 9 p.m. at Somar Theater, 934 Brannan, S.F. Admission and therapy is $5-10; call 824-8844.
Father of the Underground Along with James Broughton, Sidney Peterson initiated the S.F. avant-garde film movement in 1946 with The Potted Psalm. Over five decades, the now-90-year-old artist has developed his own witty style of surrealism while maintaining ties with his initial creative home, the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute). Peterson shows The Lead Shoes and other films and discusses his career at 7:30 p.m. at S.F. Art Institute, 800 Chestnut, S.F. Admission is $3-6; call 558-8129.
She's the One Music, zines, spoken word, and video are all part of "Punk Women," a benefit for S.F. Women Against Rape. The event -- featuring video by Lucy Thane and music by Cinnamon Imperials, Dirt Bike Gang, and Instant Girl -- starts at 6 p.m. at New College Cultural Center, 766 Valencia, S.F. Admission is $3; call 241-1302.
Oscar (or Just Oscar Mayer?) Will the talking pig take home a statuette? Will there be any Rob Lowe musical debacles or Sally Field acceptance-speech disasters? Find out at "Oscar Night at the EXIT," a big-screen-TV Academy Awards shindig. Complete with food and drinks, the event raises funds for the 1996 S.F. Fringe Festival, which hopes to present 220 performances by 50 theater groups this September, making your beloved calendar editor's life a living hell. The party lasts 5 to 10 p.m. at EXIT Theatre, 156 Eddy, S.F. Tickets are $5; call 931-1094.
Grandmaster Swell Mel They call him the Velvet Fog. He's Mel Torme, and he brings his dulcet tones and suave style to Coconut Grove's "First Anniversary Gala." Cami Thompson is the opening act at the swank affair; there are two performances at 7 and 10 p.m. at 1415 Van Ness, S.F. Tickets are a mere $175 (includes chow); call 776-1616.