Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot Cafe Du Nord hosts "Towering Inferno," a costume party and dance to benefit the LAB, an alternative art venue. Latin rhythms and disco funk serve as the soundtrack and fiery film projections provide the backdrop for the '70s disaster-flick theme: Partygoers are encouraged to dress as an entire disaster film or film victim. DJ Otter spins tunes 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at 2170 Market, S.F. Admission is sliding scale, $5 and up; call 864-8855.
Travels With Uri Israeli artist Uri Tzaig's object and video installation What's It Like to Speak a Lot of English resulted in a story of the same name, in which Tzaig described returning to his hometown. Tzaig's work is steeped in Fluxus tradition and often based on his travels. For instance, the video installation juxtaposes a soccer game in Israel with a basketball game in Ireland. Both games, filmed with multiple on-site cameras, are played with two balls instead of one and produce vivid movement patterns. Tzaig's work is at Refusalon, 20 Hawthorne, S.F., through May 25; a reception will be held Thursday, April 18, 5:30 to 9 p.m. Gallery hours are noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Thursday. Free; call 546-0158.
Maceo, What Goes On? He honed his horn-blowing over a 20-year collaboration with James Brown, but saxman Maceo Parker can do more than R&B -- just ask George Clinton, Deee-Lite, Rod Stewart, or De La Soul. Parker's latest solo album, Southern Exposure, was recorded in New Orleans with his friends in the Rebirth Brass Band; it combines elements of the musical styles he has worked in over the years, from the jazzy "The Way You Look Tonight" and the hip hopped-up "Walking Home Together" to the Dixieland flourish on Joe Zawinul's classic "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy." Parker plays at 8 p.m. (and at 8 and 11 p.m. Friday) at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, S.F. Admission is $16; call 885-0750.
Loopy Aptly named for the joyful, dancing immortals of India in Tom Robbins' Jitterbug Perfume, Project Bandaloop blends dance with sport, ritual, and performance. Artistic Director Amelia Rudolph has been both a competitive gymnast and rock climber; from this, and her experience with contact improv, modern, and classical dance, she has taken movement to new heights (including off the walls of Yosemite's El Capitan). The company presents "In Celebration of Nature and the Body," an evening of multidimensional dance beginning on the roof of Theater Artaud and wending its way inside for on- and off-the-ground pieces set to a live original score, at 8 p.m. (through Saturday) at 450 Florida, S.F. Admission is $12.50-16.50; call 621-7797.
Dim Star Matthew Martin parodies much-abused Hollywood icon Bette Davis in Artfull Circle Theatre's drag sendup of The Star. Martin, as Davis, plays aging film diva Margaret Elliot, an Oscar-toting has-been. Between song and dance numbers, Martin/Davis/Elliot loses all her possessions to an auction, confronts her manager and her wretched relatives, drives drunk through Beverly Hills, and is diverted from becoming a department store drudge by a last-minute mercy screen test. The Star opens at 8 p.m. and plays through June 1 at the Cable Car Theatre, 430 Mason, S.F. Tickets are $15; call 956-8497.
Willful and Wicked San Francisco's Contemporary Shakespeare Company and Latin American Theatre Artists reset Measure for Measure, the Bard's "problem play," in late-'50s urban America, a seedy place populated by zealots, junkies, and pimps. Tanya Shaffer plays pious virgin Isabella as director Steven Cosson (Stupid Kids) retains the satirical premise of immoral officials trying to lay down moral law. Measure for Measure plays Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 7 p.m. (through May 5) at 450 Geary Studio Theatre, 450 Geary, S.F. Admission is $10-12; call 241-1511.
You Must Remember Disc Over 20 local DJs band together for "Spin It! DJs Fighting for a Cure." The Box's Mixtress Page Hodel organized the dance party to benefit the Asian AIDS Project and the National Task Force on AIDS Prevention. The DJ roster ranges from Downtown Donna to Pete Avila, Matthew Consola to Ruben Mancias; Jocelyn Enriquez, Heaven, New Dealers, Sherwood, and Opie Bellas Quartette will perform. The party lasts from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. at Pleasuredome, 177 Townsend, S.F. Tickets are $8 in advance (available through A Different Light Bookstore, the Club Universe box office, and the National Task Force on AIDS Prevention office) and $10 at the door; tickets to the catered VIP reception at 7 p.m. are $35. Call 356-8108.
Author! Author! Expect to see scores of literary types hanging around this weekend at the Women's Building, site of A Different Light Bookstore's third annual Readers & Writers Conference. Over 100 local and national gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender writers will participate in panel discussions, performances, workshops, and readings. The conference opens with free performances at 7:30 p.m.: Joan Jett-Blakk and Kris Kovick host, while Mabel Maney's spoof on Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, along with work by youth troupe DramaDIVAS, takes the stage. Workshop titles run from "Switch Hitters" to "Keeping Your Day Job," and readings will be conducted in English and Spanish. This year also marks the conference's first poetry slam and the debut of two new anthologies featuring work by local authors. Conference hours are 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Friday, 1 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Pre- and post-conference readings are held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Sunday at A Different Light, 489 Castro, S.F.; the Women's Building is at 3543 18th St., S.F. Admission is $10 for the entire weekend; call 431-0891.
For Latin Lovers Bobby Matos' first record, My Latin Soul, is so rare and so popular that jazz collectors and DJs are willing to pay huge sums to get their hands on it. Otherwise, Matos -- who's been playing since the '60s -- remains something of an underground hit. His 1995 album, Chango's Dance, is a lyrical, lively selection of mambo and rumba numbers played on new and traditional instruments and sprinkled with Cuban poetry narrated by actor Ismael Carlo. The Bobby Matos Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble plays at 9:30 p.m. at the Elbo Room, Valencia at 18th St., S.F. Admission is $5; call 552-7788.
Dive In The long-awaited final collaboration between modern choreographer Merce Cunningham and composer John Cage, Ocean, makes its U.S. premiere at UC Berkeley. The Merce Cunningham Dance Company is joined by a 112-piece orchestra for this evening-length work, to be performed in the round. Cunningham and Cage upset and inspired decades of dance watchers with their unorthodox creations; since Cage's demise, this is the last unseen product of their partnership. Ocean replaces a previously announced mixed-repertoire program. Show times are 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday at Harmon Arena, Bancroft & Dana, Berkeley. Admission is $12-22; call (510) 642-9988.
Salsational Venezuelan artist Oscar D'Leon is a sonero -- a singer who improvises over a melodic line -- but his reputation as a kind of live musical scale has earned him the nickname "The Lion of Salsa." With his stand-up bass as a dance partner, D'Leon is a first-class showman. He and his 14-piece band fire off Afro-Latin originals from his newest release, Sonero del Mundo, at two salsa dances, 8:30 and 11 p.m., at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, S.F. Admission is $25; call 885-0750.
Sweatin' for Science San Francisco joins 70 other U.S. cities in offering "Workout for Hope," a health and fitness event to benefit L.A.'s City of Hope, a research and treatment center for HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, leukemia, and other life-threatening illnesses. "Workout for Hope" will offer aerobics, circuit training, weights, and a high-energy step class. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and activities run from 9 a.m. to noon at University of San Francisco's Koret Health and Recreation Center, Turk & Parker, S.F. For information and registration forms, call (800) 732-7140.
Scrub Your Mother And you thought spring cleaning meant staying indoors inhaling toxic fumes: San Francisco celebrates Earth Day '96 this weekend with an Earth Day Spring Clean, held 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ocean Beach, Milagra Ridge, Glen Canyon, Golden Gate Park, and the Presidio. Also on the city's Earth Day bill: Sweep 16th, a much-needed cleaning party for 16th Street that lasts all day; People's Earth Day, with an organic farmers market, garden tours, and children's activities 9 a.m. to sunset at Bayview Opera House Plaza, 4701 Third St.; and a March for Parks benefit on Sunday to help finance the preservation of local flora and fauna at Fort Mason's Great Meadow. Join in group gardening projects at Adam Rog-ers Park Community Garden, Ingalls & Oakdale, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; the AIDS Memorial Grove, Golden Gate Park, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and the Life Garden Center, Noe & Beaver, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more detailed information on these or East Bay and South Bay Earth Day events, call 321-1996.
It's a Bloomin' Parade Pretty pink flowers and itchy red noses are sure signs of spring, but the true index is the Cherry Blossom Festival. San Francisco festivities culminate with the Grand Parade, which begins at 1 p.m. at City Hall and weaves its way up Polk Street to Post and across Post to Fillmore. Mayor Willie Brown plays grand marshal, while this year's special parade salute goes to the Honorable Michael Yaki, the city's first Japanese-American supervisor. For more information, call 563-2313.
Like Mike Guitarist Mike Keneally is practically a Zappa -- he played with Frank and is a sometime member of Dweezil and Ahmet's band, Z. A well-rounded guy, he also sings and plays keyboard and has done sessions with Ravi Shankar and Screamin' Jay Hawkins. His own band, Beer for Dolphins, is a technically tight outfit specializing in funky staccato rhythms and goofy lyrics. The Mistakes open at 8 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, S.F. Admission is $11; call 885-0750.
Back in the Saddle Can a whip-wielding Texas cowgirl and a New York Jewish lesbian live together comfortably in the same body? Herein lies the crux of solo performer Grace Walcott's new show, Redressa: Cowgirl of the Open Plains. From the stage of the Blue Moon Bar in provincial Crystal City, Texas, Redressa O'Toole describes how her second personality, LuEllen Bernstein, emerged after Redressa's barhopping aunt and uncle left her locked in the closet. Redressa's comic conclusion is the televised marriage among Redressa, LuEllen, and Redressa's man, Bubba. Redressa opens at 8 p.m. and runs Wednesdays through Sundays (through May 12) at Josie's Cabaret & Juice Joint, 3583 16th St., S.F. Admission is $12; call 861-7933.