december 4
Under Construction Built around a metaphor that would make Bill Clinton proud, the exhibit "Bridges: A Collaborative Project" attempts to span the chasms between culture, class, ethnicity, and ideology through contemporary art. The gaps between humanity and technology are also acknowledged, sometimes through technology itself, by the five artists' teams and two panel-discussion teams involved. From Genetic Fingerprint, which springs from artist Anne Chamberlain's experiences with cancer, to 50 Stars, a voice mail system that culls opinions about social issues in an election year, "Bridges" links the present to the future. The exhibit opens with a reception at 5:30 p.m. (and continues through Jan. 12) in the Walter/McBean Gallery of the San Francisco Art Institute, 800 Chestnut, S.F. Admission is free; call 749-4545.

december 5
Scouting Trip Photographers, illustrators, and graphic designers, some working outside their standard media, contribute their works of art to "Hidden Talents," an auction benefiting the college scholarship fund and the professional programs of the American Institute of Graphic Arts/S.F. Participating Bay Area-based artists include Jock McDonald, Michael Schwab, Mark Fox, and John Hersey. The evening begins with a viewing of auction works and a vendor forum at 6 p.m., followed by the auction and refreshments at 8 p.m. in the Green Room of the War Memorial Performing Arts Center, 401 Van Ness, S.F. Admission is $10; call 626-6008.

Fashion Victim First Aid In the chill of winter, fashion's fickle fancy warms to spring things like tube tops and cha-cha heels; with that in mind, Fashion Group International's local chapter will be showing spring 1997 collections. European and American designers will be represented and Chron Fashion Editor Trish Donnally will serve as commentator at the event, which begins with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at 6 p.m. in the Levi Strauss Auditorium, 1155 Battery. Admission is $10-30; call 383-5944. And on Saturday, the San Francisco Fashion Forum holds "Evolution '96," which unveils new haute couture and day, evening, and casual wear by local designers like Eduardo Criado and Svetlana Pedan. This is the fifth annual show by the Forum, a collective of Bay Area design students and professionals. "Evolution '96" begins at 8 p.m. at the SOMAR Gallery, 934 Brannan, S.F. Admission is $15; call 437-6489.

Sin, 15th-Century Style It can't have been easy to follow Shakespeare's act, but the playwrights of the Jacobean Period, which came right after the Bard's, didn't really have a choice. John Ford, like fellow Johns Donne and Webster, is considered one the era's most notable writers; SFSU's theater arts department will stage his 'Tis a Pity She's a Whore. Amorous, amoral chaos erupts in this tale of an Italian man who impregnates his sister during the course of their incestuous affair -- she marries her suitor to mask her shame, but he vows revenge once he uncovers her secret. Mohammad Kowsar directs. The show opens with a preview at 8 p.m. (and runs through Dec. 15) at the Little Theater, Creative Arts Building, SFSU campus, 1600 Holloway, S.F. Admission is $7-9; call 338-2467.

Poking Fun The fine art of tattooing is fleshed out in slides, spoken word, skin, movement, and music at "Pins and Needles," a multimedia exhibit and performance gallery. In a two-night opening reception featuring butoh dancers and skin models, writer/artist Al Luhan and performance artists Justin Chin and Harriet Dodge join Artistic Director Sarah Franko in guiding viewers through issues of identity, process, permanence, and pain historically associated with tattooing. Photographer Mari Kono, who began documenting the form in the early '90s after meeting celebrated tattooist Don Hardy in Japan, has created a slide and photography show for "Pins," and sound engineers GX Jupiter-Larsen and Maria Moran contribute a sound collage. Artists from Spirits in the Flesh, Black and Blue, Picture Machine, and Tattoo City will also participate. A gallery featuring antique machines, historic artwork, and contemporary photography will be on display through Dec. 15. The reception is held at 8 p.m. (also on Friday) at Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia, S.F. Admission is $9-12; call 626-2787.

Dynamic Duo Newspaper headlines and snatches of conversations bump into dreams and obsessions in Now What?, an improvisational theatrical performance by collaborators Corey Fischer and Nina Wise. Fischer, a film and TV veteran whose credits include stints on M*A*S*H and Barney Miller, has worked with Wise, an avant-garde theater artist, for six years, which may account for the pair's fearless foray into scriptless territory. The show opens with a preview at 8 p.m. (and runs through Dec. 21) at A Traveling Jewish Theater, 2800 Mariposa, S.F. Admission is $15; call 399-1809.

december 6
Just the Fax, Ma'am If you've ever handed someone your e-mail address instead of your phone number, then you're ready for Digitally Yours, a series of original comic sketches satirizing life and love in the age of technology. Margery Kreitman, director of the HIV-positive women's theater group Visible Proof, and Karen Hirst, a local acting teacher and Second City Improvisational Theater alum, wrote and will perform in Digitally Yours at 8:30 p.m. (through Dec. 15) at Theater Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St., S.F. Admission is $10; call 861-5079.

december 7
Picture This New and vintage black-and-white photos, and modern photos using old techniques like hand-coloring and photo etchings, will be sold at S.F. Camerawork's 1996 Annual Photography Auction. The sale features work from over 200 locally and nationally known photographers, as well as galleries, dealers, and collectors. Registration begins at 11 a.m., followed by the auction at 1 p.m. at S.F. Camerawork, 115 Natoma, S.F. Admission is $10; call 764-1001.

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