january 1
Barbie Hits the Road Stranded holiday travelers, take heart! Killing time at San Francisco International Airport just became slightly less dull, thanks to the new exhibit "Barbie Takes a Vacation," which aims to alleviate the boredom and frustration brought on by flight delays and overbookings. Barbie collector Steven Pim has designed a series of vignettes featuring dozens of vintage Barbies in action: leather-clad Biker Barbie revving her engine, Malibu Barbie dipping her perfect little plastic toesies in the pool, and regular Barbie disco dancing and yachting (although scenes with Cranky Barbie missing her airport shuttle or being run repeatedly through the metal detector are sadly lacking). Since Holiday Barbie was 1995's biggest-selling toy, and because many of our local artists have shown and sold work based on various permutations of the girlie icon -- Big Dyke Barbie and White Trash Barbie come to mind -- this exhibit seems like a fitting diversion. The Barbie exhibit is up round-the-clock through March 31 at the South Terminal. The airport also features an aquarium display (South Terminal) and exhibits on the tango (South Terminal), I Love Lucy (South Terminal), carousel animals (North Terminal), airport photographs with vintage toy airplanes and play sets by David Levinthal (North Terminal), and historic clocks (International Terminal). Admission is free; call 876-7883.

january 2
Fisher's Fast Times Reading and writing take a back seat to romping in playwright John Fisher's new work, U.C., a Farce. Fisher knows from farce, after all: His previous works have included A History of Homosexuality in Six Scenes as well as the wickedly funny hit Medea, the Musical. And as an instructor and doctoral candidate in UC Berkeley's dramatic arts department, Fisher is in a prime position to observe the sexual shenanigans and PC debates that play out among students and faculty under the guise of higher learning. U.C., the first of Fisher's plays to preview off the Berkeley campus, features players from Medea's Sassymouth cast (many of whom are or were UC students themselves) and Fisher himself, playing ... a graduate student and instructor. The show runs for one night only at 8 p.m. at the Stage Door Theater, 420 Mason, S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 433-9500.

Dancing Days The first screening in the New Main Library's monthlong spotlight on dance features the Paris Opera Ballet in Paris Dances Diaghilev, a 1992 video capturing the French company's performances of Ballet Russe repertory works Afternoon of a Faun and Les Noces. The timing is nice: The French company itself is coming to the States next weekend for a two-night gig in Berkeley. It's been said more than once that dance is too ephemeral an art to capture on film, but attempts are still worthwhile, particularly when the artists are no longer with us. Such is the case in the second screening on Jan. 9, Martha Graham in Performance, which showcases the modern dance classic Appalachian Spring. Other films subjects include the Aboriginal dancers who inspired Czech choreographer Jiri Kylian in Road to Stomping Ground (Jan. 16), works by contemporary companies Momix and Lar Lubovich (Jan. 23), and Bill T. Jones' Dancing to the Promised Land (Jan. 30). Screenings are held Thursdays at noon at the New Main Library's Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin, S.F. Admission is free; call 557-4515.

Solo Duo Italy comes to us, channeled by Ugo Baldassari, who directs his daughter, Julia Baldassari-Litchman, in the one-act plays A Woman Alone and Love Duet for a Solo Voice. The Italian playwriting team of Franca Rama and Dario Fo, whose 40-year collaboration has yielded such productions as Accidental Death of an Anarchist, wrote a series of one-woman plays under the title "All Home, Bed, and Church" during the '70s feminist movement in Italy; the one-acts staged here are part of that series. Woman is a comic monologue by a lower-middle-class Milanese housewife who tells her neighbor of her unhappy life trapped in a well-appointed apartment with an abusive husband. Duet is an updated take on a ribald Renaissance romance, as told from the woman's perspective. The show opens at 8 p.m. (and runs for two weekends, through Jan. 12) at the Next Stage, 1648 Bush, S.F. Admission is $12-15; call 648-6467.

january 3
Wanderlust While thousands of American kids are itching for that day of autonomy when they can kiss their high schools and hometowns goodbye, Aboriginal boys are expected to strike out on their own for a full six months in the deserts of the Australian Outback. This rite of passage propels Nicolas Roeg's 1971 film Walkabout, a tale of two cultures in which a boy on his walkabout befriends a pair of deserted urban youngsters. This screening is notable for two reasons -- it marks the first time Roeg's 100-minute, uncut version of the film has played locally, and the film itself has never been available on home video in the United States. But the best reason to go see it is to marvel at the stark beauty of the landscape and the width and breadth of the world. Walkabout plays at 2, 4:30, 7, and 9:25 p.m. (through Jan. 9) at the Castro Theater, 429 Castro, S.F. Admission is $4-6.50; call 621-6120.

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