Lens Life Wayne Miller has seen the world change since he first picked up a Kodak box camera to photograph zoo animals for a grade-school project. As a staff photographer for Life magazine, Miller captured lasting images of Hiroshima five days after the atomic bomb hit, and contributed portraits of world leaders Dwight Eisenhower and Nikita Khrushchev, which were included in the world's most attended photo exhibit, "The Family of Man." Miller brought many white Americans face to face with black Americans for the first time with candid photos of Chicago's South Side, but it was in his own suburban back yard in Orinda that he found his personal postwar America. Miller's pictures of his children, taken at home, in classrooms, and at play in the early '50s, were eventually compiled into the book The World Is Young. Miller speaks and shows slides of his work at "From Hiroshima to the Family of Man: The Personal and Photographic Journey of Wayne Miller," a benefit for the San Francisco Photo Documentary Group, at 7:30 p.m. at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida, S.F. Admission is $5-10; call 821-9652.
Blowin' in the Wind Katy, an ex-prisoner of war, tries to cope with a journalist's painful interview questions in Campo Santo's production of Erin Cressida Wilson's Hurricane. Katy serves as a narrative conduit as five initially dissimilar sets of characters reveal themselves. In Utah, Esther tells of her experiences with the A-bomb; in New York, Ray and Judy discuss their relationship, while Linda quizzes Larry, a multiculturalist sexist, about an acting job. And in San Francisco, Maria, a woman with AIDS, is determined that her daughter get into Stanford. Hurricane marks Wilson's return to the local stage since her work My Girl Is in Front played in the Magic Theater's recent production "Pieces of the Quilt." The show opens with a preview at 8 p.m. (and runs through Feb. 16) at New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom, S.F. Admission is $9-12; call 267-3956.
Mr. Mystery Maybe his anthropology training made Tony Hillerman more aware than other authors of the contradictions between modern living and a cultural heritage among Native Americans. Hillerman, in 1991 declared a grand master by the Mystery Writers of America, sets his novels in Native American communities, and has been lauded for his accurate portrayal of the land and the people. His titles include the best sellers Coyote Waits and Talking God, the recently published The Fallen Man, and Dance Hall of the Dead, which won the 1973 Edgar Allan Poe Award for best mystery of the year. Local author Joe Gores interviews Hillerman at 8 p.m. in the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness, S.F. Admission is $16; call 392-4400.
C'mon Mammy, Throw Me That Grammy! Suspense is key and stakes are high during the second annual Grammy Showcase's grueling selection process. More than 6,000 unsigned bands submitted demos for consideration in this national competition. Showcase organizers whittled that number down to 60 participating bands, five in each showcase city (San Francisco is one of 12). Showcases in each city pick one band to compete at one of three regional competitions, and that winner gets to attend the awards show and wins money, equipment, and recording time. That said, the A&R reps, agents, bookers, and radio station directors judging the San Francisco showcase have a complicated task ahead of them, considering the far-flung styles from which they must choose. The Marginal Prophets, featuring K Chronicles cartoonist Keith Knight, spike hip hop with samples of Camper Van Beethoven and The The, while the Buckets provide alternative-type country road music with frequent references to beer. Mumblin' Jim takes Beck's '70s disco cheese and hip-hop sampling route, Action Plus stands the Cocktail Nation on its collective ear, and former members of Romeo Void, American Music Club, and the Club Foot Orchestra meet in Engorged With Blood. The fun begins at 9 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, S.F. Admission is free; call (800) 544-8991.
Brains Aren't Everything Flipper's early punk video Brainwash and Dinky and Rascal, a music video about two dogs' adventures, screen with Boy Frankenstein, a portrait of a guy constructed from the comments of his friends, and A Shawn Story, which uses a model of Haight Street and plastic action figures to tell its tale, in "Pretty But Stupid," a collection of "pretty films by girls, stupid films by boys." This program is the first in a Film Arts Foundation series of short films that continues with theme nights "Lust for Life" (Feb. 27) and "A True History of Crime" (March 27). The series begins at 8 p.m. at the 111 Minna Street Gallery, S.F. Admission is $6-7; call 552-FILM.
Safety Net Because rates of HIV infection continue to grow among women, the information provided by the Women and HIV Conference continues to be crucial and timely. Educators and health care and social work professionals, as well as women with HIV and AIDS, will have access to recent clinical and social research, presented in forums like "Ethical, Legal, and Policy Issues" and "HIV Throughout the Life Cycle." The conference begins with registration at 8 a.m. (also Friday) at the Ramada Hotel Civic Center, 1231 Market, S.F. Admission is $50-100, with scholarships available to people with HIV/AIDS; call 554-9630.