AIDS Onstage While the Ninth Annual AIDS Update Conference, held this weekend at the Civic Auditorium, speaks to the science and politics of AIDS, the home-grown, Mission-based Fourth Latino/a AIDS Theater Festival addresses matters of the heart. Over 20 national theater groups will perform at the Civic in the AIDS Theater Festival, which is held in the afternoons as part of the five-day conference. Evenings belong to the local voices of the Latino Fest, which kicks off tonight with the safe-sex show "We Will Survive!" featuring Alexis Miranda, Lola Lust, and friends at 10:30 p.m. at Esta Noche, 3079 16th St. ($5). Thursday Al Lujan performs the monologue Deeper Love, Mario Gonzalez dances Aria in Red Ribbon, loana d.p. valencia performs Untitled, and Paul Timothy Diaz dances Dia de los Vivos and One AIDS Death at 8:30 p.m. at Theater Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St. ($8). Friday the Alma Delfina Group performs selections from Pieces of the Quilt at 8:30 p.m. at Theater Rhino ($10). And the theater piece Del Otro Lado runs at 8 p.m. Saturday at Mission Cultural Center, 2868 Mission ($5-7). All events are held in S.F.; call 861-5079 for tickets, 554-8436 for more information.
Good Night, Vietnam A traveling model of the Vietnam War Memorial is coming to Berkeley, and while organizers who helped arrange the visit (among them anti-war activist and folk singer Country Joe McDonald) acknowledge that the famously pacifist college town may be an odd place to honor dead soldiers, there's hope that it might work for that very reason. A 50-percent-scale replica of Maya Lin's The Wall That Heals will be installed across the street from the Berkeley Veterans Memorial Building, where a bronze plaque honoring the town's 22 Vietnam casualties was installed in 1996. The exhibit is open 24 hours a day through Sunday, during which the names of the 58,212 fallen will be read aloud, at Civic Center Park, 1931 Center, Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 644-6484.
Zapata Rides Again The San Francisco Mime Troupe has won over even the staunchest of mime-haters with theatrical performances that rely on satire rather than classic trapped-in-a-box pantomime. The company extends its reach further still in a collaboration with Borderland Theater of Tucson in 13 Dias/13 Days: How the New Zapatistas Shook the World, a multimedia comic drama about the Chiapas uprising with video scenography and songs inspired by Mexican popular music. Revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata figures into this otherwise fictional account of the actual events in Mexico's history. The show opens at 8 p.m. (also Friday and Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m.) at Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, S.F. Admission is $15-18; call 978-ARTS, or 512-9025 for "Noche Zapatista" reception information and group tickets.
Dances With Clowns Picture a roomful of clowns shaking their padded asses to a good blues groove and you might get a feeling for "Clown of Creation," an unusual little party where guests dress as clowns and Carnaval troupe A Waking Dream performs under multimedia visuals alongside sets by Blues Fuse, the Freddie Hughes Soul Revue, and Ron Thompson & the Resistors. Poet Piri Thomas, tap dancer Preacher, and cabaret singer Cara Vida will also make appearances; KPFA's Audrey Lee emcees the event and Soul Possee plays DJ. Skip the drugs. "Clown of Creation" begins at 7 p.m. at Cesar's Latin Palace, 3140 Mission, S.F. Admission is $15, $10 for revelers in clown costumes; call 642-5757.
Relatively Dramatic The Royal Family is a behind-the-scenes-comedy about the theatrical Cavendish clan, who writers George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber loosely based on the Barrymores (the line that produced Drew, whose exploits exude drama). Led by grande dame Fanny Cavendish (DeAnn Mears), three generations of actors juggle their careers in the theater with the demands of love and life outside of it. If viewers are reminded of Stage Door, it may be because Kaufman and Ferber wrote that, too. The show begins with a preview at 8 p.m. (and runs through April 20) at the Geary Theater, 415 Geary, S.F. Admission is $14-47.50; call 749-2228.
It's Orgasmic! If anyone knows how to mix business with pleasure, it's the good people at Good Vibrations, which celebrates its 20th anniversary at a huge party with performances by Annie Sprinkle and Airmale Trapeze, speeches by Isadora Alman, David Steinberg, and Nina Hartley, and an awards ceremony for sex-positive author/editor Susie Bright and others. Friends of the sex toy, book, and video outlet will discuss the sexual evolution of the last two decades on a commemorative videotape which screens at the event, a benefit for San Francisco Sex Information and the Women's Cancer Resource Center. The fun begins at 8 p.m. at the Trocadero, 520 Fourth St., S.F. Admission is $7; call 974-8985.
Wonders Never Cease Wonder bread may be made mostly of air, but stack packages of it into a 20-foot-high tower and surround it with an 8-foot-high maze of cereal boxes, and the pejorative "white bread" almost takes on an air of respectability. Artists' collective 24-7 Research and Development has created an installation that speaks to the plethora of products and the psychology of presentation within consumer culture (complete with piped-in crunching sounds). The exhibit opens at 9 a.m. (and continues through May 25 at Picture, 524 Third St., S.F. Admission is free; call 543-4124.