That's Amore Playwright Tennessee Williams still had love on the brain after he wrote A Streetcar Named Desire, but his next play, The Rose Tattoo, cast passion as a liberating, rather than ruinous, force. The American Conservatory Theater stages this comic drama, set in the Italian-American section of a '40s Southern coastal town, and put in motion by Serafina delle Rose, a truck driver's widow who reclaims her dignity and her capacity to love when she meets another truck driver bearing a strange resemblance to her late husband. Williams began writing the play in 1949 while he was visiting Rome with his lover. The Rose Tattoo opens at 8 p.m. (and continues through Nov. 24) at the Geary Theater, 415 Geary, S.F. Admission is $14-47.50; call 749-2228.
In Stitches Roberta, the Jerome Kern/Otto Harbach musical comedy about an American collegiate football player who inherits a Parisian dress salon, generated raves when it opened on Broadway in 1933; its signature tune, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," became a popular hit soon after. The show, which has "high jinks" written all over it, also helped launch Bob Hope's career, and evolved into a film starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. 42nd Street Moon revives this pedigreed show as part of its "Lost Musicals" series -- cabaret singer Meg Mackay joins the local cast. The show opens with a preview at 8 p.m. (and continues through Nov. 17) at the New Conservatory Theater, 25 Van Ness, S.F. Admission is $15-18; call 861-8972.
All in the Family Austin-based dancer/choreographer Jimmy Turner, a former member of the National Theater of the Deaf, melds African dance and ritual with American Sign Language, modern dance, and Native American ceremony; he and guest jazz singer Tina Marsh will join local modern dance company Robert Moses' Kin for a concert of world premieres. Moses' enigmatic blend of ballet, hip hop, and jazz provides the backbone for works like The Supplicant/The Re-Acquisition of Faith, an exploration of spiritual and social pull. In setting up the strength and the solitude of the individual and the universe in his piece Vacuum, Turner will likely find a thematic kinship with Moses. The show begins at 8 p.m. (also 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday) at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida, S.F. Admission is $12.50-18.50; call 621-7797.
Political Art and Artifice Maybe our enthusiasm for the democratic process needs a cultural jump-start, the kind offered by the International Vintage Poster Fair and "The Unofficial, Unconventional Coverage of the 1996 Republican and Democratic Conventions." With over 6,500 posters, many of them vintage American political campaign placards, the poster fair, which also shows and sells old entertainment and product fare from around the world, is an engaging sort of historical collage. It begins at 5 p.m. (also 10 a.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. Sunday) in the Fort Mason Conference Center, S.F. Admission is $10-20; call 546-9608. The "Unconventional" video program finds bikers for Gingrich and a Clinton-Dole pinata bust in Breaking Conventions, and footage of abortion clinic battles in Off the Record. The screening starts at 8 p.m. tonight at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, S.F. ($5, 824-3890), and 7 p.m. Saturday with host Jerry Brown at the We the People Auditorium, Second Street & Harrison, Oakland ($5-10, 510/836-3273).
Equal Time November brings Thanksgiving and KQED's Native American Heritage Month, a series of programs offering varied views of the Native American experience, both past and present. From Saturday's episode of Green Means, a look at Nisqually Indian Billy Frank's lifelong efforts to preserve salmon habitats and Native American fishing rights, to Everything Has a Spirit (Nov. 24 & 26), a collection of historical photographs and interviews with American Indian leaders detailing religious persecution, the series explores cultural, environmental, and legal issues affecting native peoples in the States and Canada. Programming begins with Pomo Basket Weavers: A Tribute to Three Elders at 10:45 p.m. on KQED Channel 9; for program information, check local listings or call 864-2000 for a schedule.
The Big Shift The millennium is coming, bringing major shake-ups with it, according to Margaret Jenkins. The choreographer has based her position, and her new work, Fault, on a series of discussions with geologists, political scientists, physicists, and language and theater scholars at UC Berkeley's Center for Theater Arts, where her company conducted a three-year residency. Jenkins, a former Twyla Tharp dancer and Merce Cunningham Studio faculty member, has expanded on the modern dance vocabulary she was steeped in since she founded her own company over 20 years ago. Fault divides into two parts: "Below," an exploration of the Earth's physical movement through stasis, slippage, elastic tension, and rebound, and "Above," a look at shifts in human interaction. The Paul Dresher Ensemble provides live accompaniment. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and continues through Nov. 9) in Zellerbach Playhouse, Bancroft & Telegraph, Berkeley. Admission is $20-28; call (510) 642-9988.
Life Is a Cabaret, Sort Of Broadway-phobes, beware: Terrence McNally's Love! Valour! Compassion! contains not only nudity and mature themes, but frequent and unashamed references to American musical theater and modern dance choreography as well. Don't say you weren't warned. A circle of eight gay men dives into lingering resentments, abiding loves, and deeply rooted fears over three summer holiday weekends at a friend's country home. McNally won a Tony Award for best play with this mostly funny, often moving, occasionally soap opera-ish glimpse of friends confronting life and death. The play previews at 8 p.m. (opening night is Wednesday, Nov. 6; it continues through Jan. 3, 1997) at Berkeley Repertory Theater, 2025 Addison, Berkeley. Admission is $25-39; call (510) 845-4700.