Butch Whack Lesbian comedy trio Karla Carmony, Amy Boyd, and Fontana Butterfield sing and interpretive-dance their way through a pastiche of original video-augmented skits, from sketch to spoof, in This Side of Butch, using theatrical staples like funny costumes and wig changes to entertain thoughts on the results of a Broadway musical gone gay and commercials aimed at the dyke demographic. This Side of Butch plays at 8 p.m. (continuing through Aug. 18) at Josie's Cabaret & Juice Joint, 3583 16th St., S.F. Admission is $12; call 861-7933.
Portrait of a Portraitist From the freckled sisters to the Italian wrist-wrestlers, photographer Murray Rockowitz has assembled a colorful array of personages in his exhibit of silver prints "It's Not Just Black and White." Some are people he already knew from his work as a studio portraitist, while others are people he says he "found along the way," but all of them are real people rather than models, and through them he explores the relationships that develop between friends and relatives, lovers and rivals. The exhibit, which continues through Aug. 10, opens with a reception at 5 p.m. at Caffe Centro, 102 South Park, S.F. Admission is free; call (707) 765-1972.
Bureaucratic Heroism One of the lesser-known but vitally important alliances of World War II was the phony-visa-producing team of Jan Zwartendijk and Chiune Sugihara, who helped save thousands of Jewish citizens from Nazi persecution. Zwartendijk, the acting Dutch consul to Lithuania, circumvented the entry laws of other countries by issuing what became known as the "Curacao visa," a bogus pass into the Dutch colony. Sugihara, the Japanese consul to Lithuania, then issued unofficial transit visas so that refugees could travel to Curacao by boat via Japan. Once people were able to get out of the country, they scattered around the globe; some obtained visas in Japan, while others were sent to Shanghai until the war's end -- none actually went to Curacao. The consuls never met, but each knew what the other was doing, and both were aware of the governmental penalties they risked for doing it (Sugihara was dismissed from the diplomatic corps upon his return to Japan). A photo exhibit detailing this slice of history, "Visas for Life," opens on what would have been Zwartendijk's 100th birthday and runs through Sept. 20 at Fort Mason Center's Bayfront Gallery, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is free; call 882-7092.
Jung and a Freud Head games are the norm in the suspense drama Mrs. Klein, as an aging psychoanalyst charged with blurring personal and professional lines becomes the center of debate. Uta Hagen (of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? fame) plays the Austrian-born doctor who used her own children as the subjects of her controversial theories and practices; Laila Robins is Melitta, the grown daughter who bitterly resents the guinea pig treatment, and Amy Wright is Paula, a psychoanalysis student visiting Klein. Mrs. Klein previews at 8 p.m. (continuing through Sept. 1) at the Geary Theater, 415 Geary, S.F. Admission is $19-50; call 749-2228.
Deja Vu Blues Delta bluesman David "Honeyboy" Edwards has lived the kind of life that is mostly written about in books, and would sound mighty fine set to music. The 81-year-old singer/guitarist left his Mississippi home at age 14 to ply his trade on riverboats and street corners and in juke joints and brothels. He kept company with other blues greats like Son House and Robert Johnson before moving north to Chicago, where he picked up electric blues without losing the lean acoustic country slide and throaty delivery that tie him even now with Johnson. Blues harpist Lester "Mad Dog" Davenport and local combo Preacher Boy and Big Bones join Edwards for an evening of Delta by the bay. Doug MacLeod opens the show at 10 p.m. at Boomerang, 1840 Haight, S.F. Admission is $10; call 387-2996.
Crafty Evidently, macrame is no longer the defining medium of craft fairs. With increasing exposure to other cultures and the advent of finer materials and a market for recycled parts, U.S. artisans are making sleeker, more varied products. The American Craft Council Craft Fair shows off the housewares and furniture, jewelry, clothing, and art made by hundreds of participating vendors -- coffee-serving items, organizers say, are particularly popular this year. The fair begins at 10 a.m. (also Saturday and Sunday) at Fort Mason Center's Herbst and Festival pavilions, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is free-$7 ($12 for a two-day pass); call 896-5060.
The XX Perspective Girly issues -- race, religion, hell jobs, capital punishment -- is the stuff of the group performance series "Women's Work." Sarah Ells is a worn-down, fed-up truck stop cafe worker who turns to Jesus for answers in Waitress on P.M.S., while Margot Lynn addresses the perennial query "Are you a boy or a girl?" in Raised Butch and Karen Goldstein delivers the naked truth on exotic dancing in "Why I Take My Clothes Off," an excerpt from her play Just Love Me. The writers/performers take the stage in rotating lineups over two weeks in "Women's Work," which begins at 8 p.m. (continuing Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 10) at Venue Nine, 252 Ninth St., S.F. Admission is $7; call 626-2169 for performance schedule and ticket information.
Begin the Beijing The touring company of the Beijing Dance Academy makes its Bay Area appearance at the fourth annual Chinese Performing Arts Festival, which also presents performances by local dancers, musicians, and martial artists. The high-flying, acrobatic Beijing dancers mix it up with folk story pieces, classical repertory, and contemporary work like their award-winning Yellow River Suite. The show begins at 8 p.m. at the Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon, S.F. Admission is $15-25; call (408) 973-8276.
Browsing and Grazing I Free espresso and gourmet food samples whipped up by author/chefs are part of the draw at Chronicle Books Day, a two-hour literary celebration at which more than two dozen of the house's authors will make an appearance; 10 percent of book sale proceeds benefit Project Open Hand. Chronicle Books Day begins at 1 p.m. at Rizzoli Bookstore, 117 Post, S.F. Admission is free; call 984-0225.
Browsing and Grazing II The pop strains of Here Are the Facts You Requested and the Indian devotional songs of Sequoiah provide some of the mood music for the Festival of First Fruits, a benefit concert for the Institute for Food and Development, the S.F. Food Bank, ILLIMITE Artists' Collective, and local rain forest conservation organizations. Speakers from the institute will discuss the international issues of food production, and local vegan and organic restaurants will provide concessions at the festival, which begins at 11 a.m. at the Music Concourse Band Shell in Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is a suggested donation of $10-20; call 621-5668.
Do the Doo Doo Rag aren't as slick as Jon Spencer, but they're closer to actual blues roots, and just as rockin'. The two-man band unleashes lowdown, teeth-rattling Delta slide guitar with a yowl and a heartbeat thump of percussion on a collection of homemade instruments. Doo Rag, preceded by Zen Guerrilla, headlines the Kilowatt's anniversary party as it celebrates two years of packed houses and parking roulette; Bassholes open at 8 p.m. at 3160 16th St., S.F. Admission is $8; call 861-2595.
Fairy Entertaining Luminarias, a mostly Latino theater company, uses elements of Yerba Buena Gardens to shape its site-specific interpretation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. In this version, directed by Joseph Pacheco-Ponce, the action moves to a tropical Latin American rain forest; Titania and Oberon are indigenous rain forest people who must confront the children of new land developers and their hired laborers. The theater company, a collective of professional and semiprofessional artists aiming for a multicultural perspective, will later take the production to Mexico City on an exchange project with Mexico City's La Compania de Shakespeare. The show begins at 6 p.m. (continuing Saturday and Sundays through Aug. 18) at Yerba Buena Gardens, Third Street & Mission, S.F. Admission is free; call 978-ARTS.
Designing Woman In a kind of reverse maneuver, Angelina DeAntonis has plotted an evening of movement around costumes, rather than using costumes to enhance the dance, as is usually the case. But DeAntonis isn't a choreographer; she's a costumer, whose designs incorporate natural plant and insect dyes and sculptural elements like rubber, metal, and wood, combinations that earned her a City of Oakland Cultural Arts costume design fellowship. DeAntonis has collaborated with members of Fat Chance BellyDance and Fellow Travelers on this home-grown "movement theater," which features Nathaniel Taylor's light sculpture and a sound collage of recorded and live music, played on violin, didgeridoo, and handmade instruments. "Moving in Costume" begins at 7:30 p.m. at Open Arts Circle, 530 E. Eighth St., Oakland. Admission is $10; call (510) 533-2968.
Nobody Knows I'm a Thespian Sports shouldn't be the only form of popular entertainment that fosters healthy competition and drives fans wild, or so reasoned University of Calgary professor Keith Johnstone when he founded Theatresports almost 20 years ago. Like many events in this summer's other games, improv-style theater competition pits team against team; leagues now exist in 23 countries, and performances are tracked by scorekeepers and rated by judges. Local league Bay Area Theatresports introduces would-be dramatic heavyweights to the game with the second annual BATS Summer Improv Festival (which features performances by Johnstone and Fratelli Bologna), and with the help of visiting theater professionals at the weeklong BATS Improv Summer School '96, beginning at 8 a.m. at the Bayfront Theater, Building B, Fort Mason, S.F. Cost varies; call 824-8220.
Domination Cableheads are already acquainted with comedian Dom Irrera, whose career owes much to pay TV. Irrera, host of the stand-up series Full Frontal Comedy, also hosts Comedy Central's football highlights show Offsides and has played himself in the animated psychiatric sitcom Dr. Katz; he ventured into prime time in 1994 as a prop comedian on Seinfeld. The product of an extended Italian family from South Philly, Irrera specializes in character sketches, with an accompanying range of accents, which he uses to conjure up the neighborhood kids and nutty relatives of his past. Irrera headlines at 9 p.m. (continuing through Sunday) at Cobb's Comedy Club, 2801 Leavenworth, S.F. Admission is $10-12; call 928-4320.
The Fat Lady Sings The Instituto Italiano di Cultura brings an Italian passion stateside with its series of opera films, screening Tuesdays in August. The series begins tonight with 1984's Carmen, featuring Placido Domingo and Julia Migenes-Johnson, in French with English subtitles; it also includes director Franco Zeffirelli's La Traviata (1982; Aug. 13), and Il Barbiere di Siviglia (1976; Aug. 27), starring Beverly Sills. North Bay Opera conductor Philip Kuttner dispenses a bit of wisdom before each screening. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Italian Cultural Institute, 425 Bush, Suite 305, S.F. Admission is free; call 788-7142.
They Want to Tour in America Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein gave West Side Story its voice with songs like "Maria" and "America," but choreographer Jerome Robbins really made it fly with dynamic, loose-limbed dance numbers. These were the theatrical superpowers that reset Romeo and Juliet against a 1957 New York gang war, proving that someone will always ask, "What's wrong with these kids today?" and "Can't we all just get along?" The Broadway touring company returns for a two-week run, opening at 8 p.m. at the Golden Gate Theater, 1 Taylor at Golden Gate, S.F. Admission is $25-60; call 776-1999.