january 15
Neapolitan Flavor Naples Mayor Antonio Bassolino wants to lure tourists back to the Italian city by the bay, where the history, views, museums, and proximity to Pompeii have long been overshadowed by bad postwar publicity about the city's pollution and crime stats. But Naples is enjoying a revival; it began in 1994, when Bassolino convened a summit of world leaders in the city, and continues with "1925-1995 Naples Napoli Photographs," a collection of prints taken by three native photographers. Renato Carbone has taken news and human interest photos in Naples since 1925, while Luciano Ferrara, a documentarian of political struggles in Europe and the Far East, has captured panoramic views and lesser-known pockets of the city. Naples Academy of Fine Arts photography teacher Fabio Donato has represented Naples through exhibits in foreign museums. Bassolino and a number of Italian and Italian-American organizations had a hand in bringing the exhibit here. "Naples Napoli Photographs" opens with a reception at 5:30 p.m. (and is up through March 16) at the Museo ItaloAmericano, Building C, Fort Mason, S.F. Admission is free-$3; call 673-2200.

That's the Spirit A 16-foot bronze monument titled Mother of the Spirit-Fire, Cheemah will soon be erected downtown. Sculptor Osprey Orielle Lake describes her work, which mainly features the figures of an eagle and a woman peacefully coexisting, as dedicated to harmony between world cultures and a healing of the abuse humans have heaped on Mother Earth. In the spirit of global unity, Lake is producing eight Cheemahs, to be placed in locations worldwide. City dwellers get their chance to be moved by the spirit at a public reception: The unveiling begins at 6 p.m., and Lake will speak about the ancient and modern symbolism that informs her creation at 7 p.m. in the Rincon Center, 101 Spear, S.F. Admission is free; call 995-2652.

To Be Real Pop culture and technology are key components to "Real World," an exhibit of sculpture, installation, and video by nine young local and national artists. Varying degrees of abstraction shape these real and imagined landscapes, which toy with viewers' perceptions of physical space. From the kitsch of Erika Olsen Hannes to the nearly photographic look at a riverside parking lot by Michael Ashkin, this world is several shades closer to real than MTV's vision. "Real World" opens at noon (a reception is held Thursday at 6 p.m. for the show, which is up through March 1) at New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom, S.F. Admission is free. Two programs will be held in conjunction with the exhibit: "Scale and Structure," a panel discussion about microtechnology, space, and architecture with artists and engineers (Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m.) and "Shadow Land," a film and video screening of shorts (Thursday, Feb. 13, at 8 p.m.). Call 626-5416 for more information.

january 16
Chek Up The Cherry Orchard and Uncle Vanya stand as prime examples of Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov's finest work, which ended abruptly when Chekhov died from tuberculosis at age 44. Desolation threads through his soap opera-ish Ivanov!, which local theater company Hype! has loosely adapted. In this melodrama, a middle-aged man finds temporary solace in the company of a young, blond neighbor; in the background there's a languishing wife, her passionate doctor, and an impending burst of violence. The show opens with a preview at 8 p.m. (and runs through Feb. 9) at the Grasshopper Palace, 333 Valencia, Fourth Floor, S.F. Admission is $6-15; call 267-6905.

Family Feud True to Joe Orton form, the family in Entertaining Mr. Sloane has, uh, problems: Here, a brother and sister engaged in an intense battle for a young man's affections are unaware that their father is concealing secrets about the man's past. Orton, the British playwright who also penned Loot and What the Butler Saw, specialized in cynical social farce, played out in wickedly funny exchanges between screwed-up characters. His brilliant career was cut short in suitably dramatic fashion in 1967 at the hands of a homicidal lover who was jealous of Orton's success. Entertaining Mr. Sloane opens at 8 p.m. (and continues through Feb. 23) at the Phoenix Theater, 301 Eighth St., S.F. Admission is $14-16; call 621-4423.

Eastern Lights Egypt, once known as "Hollywood on the Nile," contributes 11 films to the 40-film series "Arab Cinema," including Cairo Station, Youssef Chahine's portrait of poor folk living in a train depot. Films from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria will also screen. A young Omar Sharif appears in The Beginning and the End, an adaptation of a novel about declining middle-class families (Jan. 24); The Citadel, a tale of doomed romance, addresses patriarchal polygamy (Feb. 14); and a love affair between a Shiite and a Christian dissolves in urban warfare in Beirut, the Encounter (Jan. 30). The series also presents music documentaries like A Little for My Heart, A Little for My God: A Muslim Women's Orchestra (Feb. 22). "Arab Cinema" begins tonight with Determination at 7 p.m. (and continues through Feb. 28) at the George Gund Theater in the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2621 Durant, Berkeley. Admission is $3.50-7; call (510) 642-1412 for program information, (510) 642-5249 for tickets.

january 17
Bob Has Left the Building Pundits and political cartoonists had a field day when over a dozen women came forward and accused former Oregon Sen. Bob Packwood of "unwanted advances" -- aggressive tongue assaults, hair pulling -- made over his long tenure. Packwood subsequently blundered his way through public denials, alterations to his subpoenaed diary, and admissions that he had a penchant for white wine by the bottleful and that he "just didn't get it." John Warren's comic drama Groping for Justice: The Bob Packwood Story, which makes smart use of real testimony from both sides, enjoyed a sold-out run and a "Best of the San Francisco Fringe Festival" award when it played here last fall. That the ensemble still finds fodder here a few years after the fact reminds us that real life can be scarier (Packwood is now a lobbyist) and more engaging than fiction: When the Washington Post beat Packwood's home-state paper to the story, a bumper sticker emerged in Portland revising the Oregonian's slogan to read: "If it matters to Oregonians, it's in the Washington Post." The show opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through Feb. 8) at Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy, S.F. Admission is $10; call 285-9776.

Worker Be-In The union of labor and art inspires the 11th annual Western Workers Labor Heritage Festival. This is the place to get tips from political satirist Will Durst, try political songwriting with the S.F. Mime Troupe's Bruce Barthol and theater for social change with Simon Greer, or immerse yourself in an arts and organizing workshop with muralist Juana Alicia. If union organizing provides the bread, the festival provides the roses: Poet Piri Thomas, South African choir Vukani Mawethu, a cappella quintet the Irrationals, and rapper Chill E.B. will perform labor and labor-inspired songs and spoken word. The doors open at 6 p.m. and events begin at 7 p.m. (also Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m.) at the South of Market Cultural Center, 934 Brannan, S.F. Admission is $20 for Saturday only, $35 for the weekend; call 572-8848.

january 18
Going It Alone Existentialism can reduce even an ambitious man to dust in the yawning chasm of eternity; typically, that man is Joseph Chaikin, who performs Samuel Beckett's drama Texts for Nothing solo during a limited local run. Chaikin, who founded the experimental drama collective Open Theater in 1963, revived this piece at Beckett's own suggestion, and has taken it around the world to such exclusive venues as the New York Shakespeare Festival and the Edinburgh Festival. The New Yorker described his expert rendering of a man who veers from wonder to despair as "at once humorous and grave and compassionate." The performance begins at 8:30 p.m. (and continues through Jan. 27) at the Magic Theater, Building D, Fort Mason, S.F. Admission is $25; call 441-8822.

Clooney Tunes Though she could be eclipsed eventually by her increasingly famous nephew (ER star George, with whom she appeared in one episode), singer Rosemary Clooney has logged far more years in the business than he has. A contralto with a lively stage presence, Clooney's strong suit is American musical standards, jazz, and pop tunes. Her career has included collaboration with esteemed lyricists and much-lauded interpretations of songs like "Love Is Here to Stay," "But Not for Me," and her signature song, "Come On-a My House." National Public Radio's Fresh Air host Terry Gross will interview Clooney onstage about the history of her career, and Clooney will perform the music of Gershwin, Berlin, Porter, Kern, and others in this City Arts & Lectures event, beginning at 8 p.m. in the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness, S.F. Admission is $35-100 ($100 tickets include a post-performance supper at the Hayes Street Grill); call 392-4400.

january 19
Music for Munchkins Local kids are treated to an earful of world music when Los Palomitos present a bilingual program of folk, popular, and original children's songs from Central and South America. The musicians play a variety of traditional Latin American instruments, from the Venezuelan cuatro to the Bolivian charango. Meanwhile, the Bay Area Filipino community hosts the Loboc Children's Choir, an award-winning ensemble from the Philippines that has embarked on its first international tour. The 30 youngsters, who hail from the island of Bohol, perform traditional, classical, and contemporary Filipino songs, Western classical music, folk airs, and children's tunes to grand piano accompaniment. Los Palomitos play at 1 p.m. in the California Academy of Sciences Auditorium, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Free with museum admission (free-$7); call 750-7145. The Loboc Children's Choir performs at 3 & 7 p.m. in the Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 436-9711.

A Striking Display The two days in which Oakland came to a grinding halt provide a dramatic climax to "Who Shut Down Oakland?," a panel discussion on the 1946 Oakland General Strike. Historian Dr. Charles Wollenberg moderates the talk, which features input from Al Kidder, a picket captain in the Kahn's Department Store strike that led to the general strike; labor historian and former ship scaler Archie Green; labor activist Stan Wier; and Evelyn and Val Schaaf, members of the Technical Engineers, Architects, and Draftsmen Local 89-AFL. Participants will describe events leading up to the strike, the experiences of the 100,000 striking workers from 142 AFL unions, and the strike's overall impact. A documentary on the event, Smashing the Tower, will also be screened. It all begins at 2 p.m. in the James Moore Theater of the Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak, Oakland. Free with museum admission ($3-5); call (510) 238-2200. The event is being held in conjunction with the exhibit "We Called It a Work Holiday: The 1946 Oakland General Strike," on view through Feb. 23 in the museum's Breuner Gallery.

january 20
The Short Form Writer Lorrie Moore, whose short stories have been published in the Paris Review, the New Yorker, and the anthology The Best American Short Stories, can give readers the long and the short of it with some authority -- she's also the author of the novel Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? Moore, an English prof at the University of Wisconsin, tackles the deceptively easy form that is the short story in her lecture "Some Remarks on the Short Story," which begins at 8 p.m. in the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness, S.F. Admission is $16; call 392-4400.

january 21
The Madding Crowd Embarking on a 12-state killing spree is one way of expressing anger, but counselor Genevieve Howe has a better plan. Howe teaches a free, open-enrollment, eight-week course called "Anger and Conflict in Relationships" through San Francisco Community College. Learning to recognize hidden anger and blocks to expressing it are part of the curriculum, as are anger vs. assertiveness, fair fighting rules, and dealing with anger in relationships. The idea is to resolve clashes in a reasonable fashion, before doing something rash like smashing up lover boy's record collection. The course begins at 6:30 p.m. at Everett Middle School, 450 Church, S.F. Call 585-5150 for more information.

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