Acts of Cruelty Writer/performer Sten Rudstr¯m celebrates the 100th birthday of late theater maverick Antonin Artaud with Theater of Cruelty, a dance-theater ensemble piece based on Artaud's life, as well as his poetry, plays, letters, and essays. Artaud spent a good deal of time checking in and out of asylums, but his essay "Theater and Its Double" is still regarded as remarkably prescient, as is his belief that art -- as presented through sound, light, and composition rather than language -- might transcend cultural and political barriers. Balinese, Native American, and Tibetan music provide an international soundscape to this work, to which performers like Contraband Dance Theater's Jess Curtis lend their forward-thinking expertise. The show opens at 8:30 p.m. (and continues through Sept. 15) at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida, S.F. Admission is $12.50-16.50; call 621-7797.
Aerobic Art Tour Sandwiched between the symphony and opera season openers is a visual arts season opener of sorts, the second annual Gardens Gallery Walk. This neighborhood tour covers over two dozen galleries and museums in the Yerba Buena area, and admission is free to all. Performance and sidewalk artists do their thing inside or outside local venues, and refreshments will be served. Highlights include three new exhibits at the Center for the Arts galleries: Tim Hawkinson's found-material sculpture show "Humongolous"; "Bright Red Mysteries," an installation by famed sci-fi film art director Syd Mead; and "Low Brow Gods: The Art of Boxing," an artistic and archival celebration of fisticuffs, with an accompanying film series. The California Historical Society features two photo exhibits that capture local color and culture: "The San Francisco Art Association: 1871-1906" and "Bearing Witness to Manifest Destiny: Early California Through the Lens of Western Photographers." One lesser-known attraction is the venerable St. Patrick's Church, which boasts Celtic-themed Tiffany windows and hand-carved works in Irish marble. The Gallery Walk begins at 4 p.m. at the map pickup site at Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission & Third St., S.F. Admission is free; call 541-0312.
Gnarly, Bra Punk veterans Dirty Rotten Imbeciles cross over at the $1 Mega Metal Fest, an eight-band blowout offering more bang for the buck than most gigs. (As one club employee pointed out, "If there were only four bands, it would just be a metal fest.") The raucous all-ages fun begins with Plush Furry Room and escalates with other local acts like Tribal Disco Noise, Bonecrusher, Fueled, and Level. Headliners D.R.I., who actually released an album called Crossover, have added hardcore and thrash to the string of terms describing their sonic assault, which they've been honing since 1983. With shows like this, who needs a dollar for a cup of coffee? Doors open at 8 p.m.; the show begins at 9 p.m. at the Trocadero, 520 Fourth St., S.F. Admission is $1; call 995-4600.
Pages From History Rare books briefly become less rare, or at least less to difficult to find, at the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers Book Fair. Merchants from 20 countries will be showing and selling illustrated and children's works; tomes on law, architecture, food, and wine; fine-bound and first-edition literature; and early printed books and manuscripts dating as far back as the 15th century. Medieval manuscripts and maps will also be displayed. Guest speakers will be on hand, and the public can bring in up to three books for a free oral appraisal. The fair begins with a public preview at 3 p.m. (and continues at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday) at the Concourse Exhibition Center, Brannan & Eighth St., S.F. Admission is $5-10; call 695-1449.
All the King's Men Elvis maintains his hold on eternal life with Michael & Blue Suede, a 10-piece outfit that brings back the King with covers from the '50s, '60s, and '70s. Unlike that agonizing postage stamp dilemma, which pitted the older, more experienced Elvis against the younger, less toxic Elvis, an evening with Michael & Blue Suede revels in every last bit of the old boy, from "Hound Dog" to "Suspicious Minds." The backup singers and costume changes add an element of professional showmanship that would do Elvis proud. The show begins at 9:30 p.m. at Max & Sam's Hi-Ball Lounge, 473 Broadway, S.F. Admission is $7; call 39-SWING.
The Sound of Music The San Francisco Opera opens its 74th season with a local premiere of Borodin's Prince Igor, first performed in St. Petersburg in 1890 and revived here in Russian with English supertitles, with tenor Sergei Leiferkus singing the lead. The opening night Opera Ball is a glamorous (and pricey) tradition, but tickets to regular performances may be had for less than one might think, and members of the company will present repertoire from the upcoming season at Opera in the Park, a free concert at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in Golden Gate Park's Sharon Meadow. This season's highlights also include a holiday production of Die Fledermaus and the long-awaited Harvey Milk, the operatic tale of the slain S.F. supervisor and gay rights activist, which the San Francisco Opera co-commissioned with the Houston Grand Opera and the New York City Opera. Prince Igor opens at 6:30 p.m. (and continues through Sept. 25) at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove, S.F. Admission is $8-125; call 864-3330.