Cinema Verde My Father's Garden, which won best documentary at the 1996 Sundance Festival, looks at chemical agriculture and organic production through the tale of two farmers and the ongoing debate between farmers, activists, scientists, and community members. Garden inaugurates the 1997 San Francisco Environmental Film Festival, which presents a spectrum of "green" issues in a monthlong international program featuring Hawaii in Transition: Visions for a Sustainable Future (April 9), Trees, Toilets, and Transformations: Inspiration From El Salvador (April 9), Living in Africa: The Survival Age -- Tanzania (April 23), and Deadly Embrace: Nicaragua, the World Bank, and the International Money Fund (April 30). The screenings begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays at New College of California Valencia Theater, 777 Valencia, S.F. Admission is $5-15; call 437-3476.
Merry Olde England If England's still sore about losing the revolution, it hardly shows in "Britain Meets the Bay," a mostly genteel invasion distinguished by exhibits like "British Architecture: Ancient and Modern" (American Institute of Architects, 130 Sutter, through May 30) and the group photo show "Focus on Your World" (Herbst International Exhibition Hall, the Presidio, through May 18), the Tartan Ball (April 12, Hyatt Regency Hotel), various sporting events, and theatrical productions. The only potential for conflict comes from today's debate between Oxford/Cambridge teams and university teams from Berkeley, Stanford, and Santa Clara (held at Stanford in Palo Alto), and lawyer Norman Macleod's lecture "The British Side of the American Revolution" (4:45 p.m. at the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market). Call (800) 915-BMTB for prices and a complete schedule of events.
Bury Olde England And if British rule, or cuisine, isn't your cup of tea (see Wednesday), the Scottish Cultural and Arts Foundation presents "Britain by the Way," a proudly uncivilized series of alternative events that gets under way with Kevin Di Pirro's storytelling monologue Through Shite to Shannon, a comic drama about a young American's exchanges with a slew of colorful characters on his journey through Ireland. The fun continues with a counterpoint to the traditional Tartan Ball, the Tartan Bollox, where Celtic scholar Steve Blamires' slide show sheds some light on the clan system, a new Scottish queen is crowned, Glasgow's DJ Claudio spins discs, and guests encounter nouveau Scottish cuisine like deep-fried pizza and Mars bars (April 12, Edinburgh Castle). Other highlights include a drunken, vitriolic election day kiss-off to the Tories (May 1, Edinburgh Castle); spoken word and play nights in the next two months; and a club night against the U.K. Criminal Justice Act, with Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh (May 3, venue TBA). Through Shite to Shannon opens at 8 p.m. (also Friday and Saturday) at the Edinburgh Castle, 950 Geary, S.F. Admission is $8; call 522-9621 for a complete schedule of events.
A Piece of the Rock The husband-and-wife team of Len and Chrissty Knittle drives experimental power rockers the Knittles, who in turn steer Planet Iris: Space Age Now, a rock opera created in collaboration with the band's Rodent Records labelmates Natural Fonzie, Static Faction, EMJG, and the Burners. A rotating stage, video projections, and a set featuring tropical plants and a waterfall made from recycled materials add to this futurist evening-length tale of an evil preacher who runs amok, cloning mutant life and wreaking intergalactic havoc. The show begins at 10 p.m. (also Friday and Saturday) at the Lab, 2948 16th St., S.F. Admission is $6-10; call 864-8855.
Party LINES Alonzo King's LINES Contemporary Ballet Company is about to celebrate 15 years of success in a notoriously difficult business, and that's due in no small part to King's stellar dancers, whose fearless, rhythmic attack make King's physically punishing, classically based modern choreography take flight. King's first collaboration with jazz great Pharaoh Sanders was 1994's Ocean; his new one is an as-yet-untitled world premiere, to be shown this week with King's 1996 work Klang. The show opens with a gala performance (and continues through April 13) at Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, S.F. Admission is $10-125; call 978-ARTS.
Creature Feature No one knows what Eloise will do at "Pet Talk," a night of performances about pets benefiting the SFSPCA. Author/actor Josh Kornbluth has prepared his first-ever turtle monologue and comedian Marga Gomez will describe life with her Jack Russell terrier; Bob Ernst, Liz White, and Karin Jaffie will also perform. Contraband Artistic Director Sara Shelton Mann will be dancing, naturally, partnered by SPCA adoptee Eloise, a dog with no previous theater credits whose part is still being worked out in rehearsals. Treats, prizes, and surprises that may include pets are also part of the scheduled entertainment. The performance begins at 8:30 p.m. (also Saturday) at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia, S.F. Admission is $15; call 826-5750.
Wild Man Paul Seydor's film about a film The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage was a contender in this year's Academy Award race for best documentary (short subject), and though the film didn't win the coveted statuette, it has generated such interest that the Castro Theater has paired it with its subject, Samuel Peckinpah's famous western The Wild Bunch, on a double bill. SF Weekly's Michael Sragow will speak with Seydor, a Peckinpah scholar and the author of Peckinpah: The Western Films -- A Reconsideration, at a Q&A session following the 8 p.m. showing at the Castro, 429 Castro, S.F. Admission is $4-6.50; call 621-6120. (Seydor will also sign copies of his book this week at area bookstores; see "Readings" under Calendar, Page 31.)