Night+Day

wednesday
may 14
Stars Are Born The Castro may seem extra crowded with funny girls tonight, thanks to the Barbra Streisand Look-Alike Contest sponsored by A Different Light and the Hello Gorgeous Museum. The contest is held in honor of Anne Edwards, co-author of the original draft of Funny Girl, who will be in town signing copies of her new book, Streisand: A Biography, as part of a national tour. A Different Light and the museum, a modest and fabulously surreal two-story Victorian devoted to memorabilia from Streisand's career, encourage Babs fans to come dressed as the diva even if they bear her little or no natural resemblance. The rest of the public is advised to drive carefully and watch for Yentl crossings. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. at A Different Light Bookstore, 489 Castro, S.F. Admission is free; call 431-0891.

thursday
may 15
The Importance of Being Oscar "Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself." Oscar Wilde said it and American Conservatory Theater veteran Ken Ruta adopts it in the one-man show Oscar Wilde: Diversions & Delights, where he holds forth as the Irish scribe. Diversions playwright John Gay sets Wilde's story in Paris, where the author of Salome, The Importance of Being Earnest, and The Picture of Dorian Gray lived in exile following his imprisonment for committing "acts of gross indecency with other male persons." Gay must have had a fairly easy time of it; Wilde, in addition to his genius for literature, was an animated storyteller, an incisive social critic, and a devastating wit, leaving actors and playwrights a wealth of material to work with. The show previews at 8 p.m. (and runs through June 29) at the Stage Door Theater, 420 Mason, S.F. Admission is $18-30; call 788-9453.

Going Mental Insanity pops up in Dan Carbone's puppet piece Their Be Monsters!, in Nena St. Louis' solo performance Do You Want to Buy My Brain?, and in Mark Kenward's historically based whaling tale The Wreck of the Essex. At "The Feast of St. Dymphna," a performance evening dedicated to the Celtic patron saint of the mentally ill -- and the first in an occasional series of themed performance evenings -- these and other works are followed by a free potluck buffet party with door prizes and live music by Running Man. You'd be mad to miss it. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. at Shotwell Studios, 3252-A 19th St., S.F. Admission is $6-10; call 386-6292.

Signs of Strain The enemies are much tinier and smarter than most, and the weapons to fight them are still in development, which is why virologist C.J. Peters and his contemporaries have to be even stealthier and more tenacious than a military officer trying to bed an unwilling cadet. Peters, the chief of viral special pathogens at the CDC, directed the unit that circumvented the Ebola virus outbreak in Virginia (inspiring the best-selling novel The Hot Zone), and has done battle with deadly microscopic agents in various parts of Africa, South America, and the United States. Dr. Paul Volberding of UCSF's Center for AIDS Research interviews Peters onstage at 8 p.m. in the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness, S.F. Admission is $16; call 392-4400.

Super Mario Indecision didn't affect Mario Cuomo until he reached the high-pressure arena of presidential politics. A son of Italian immigrants and the Depression, Cuomo rocketed to the top of his law school class, and went on to become New York's secretary of state, lieutenant governor, and, ultimately, governor, a post he held through two re-elections and 12 years. But his potential presidential run, which generated a protracted "Will he or won't he?" debate, left him with the reputation for not being able to make up his mind. Cuomo, the author of The New York Idea: An Experiment in Democracy, shares experiences and ideas on politics and community in a benefit talk for the S.F. Jewish Community Center at 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake, S.F. Admission is $25-36; call 292-1235.

Silver Scream The Mission is invited to turn out for "Anxiety," a collection of films reflecting, if indirectly, the neighborhood's most recently prevailing mood. The screening begins with event organizer Nathan Lehmann's film Anxiety, which follows one day's emotional ups and downs; Dominic Angerame's In the Course of Human Events, a documentary of the Embarcadero Freeway's demolition, and Danny Plotnick's cartoonish short Pipsqueak Pfollies, a foray into bad behavior and kids' attitude toward adults (set to a live score), are also included on the program. Acoustic jazz ensemble the Sandor Moss Trio plays live at a post-screening reception featuring spirits and snacks from local restaurants, and a post-reception party moves down the block to new Mission nightspot Liquid. "Anxiety" begins at 8 p.m. at the Victoria Theater, 2961 16 St., S.F. Admission is $8; call 554-0406.

friday
may 16
A Hundred Years of Sisterhood Incredible as it may seem, the African-American centenarian siblings of Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters' First 100 Years were real people; Bessie, a dentist, died in 1995, but her 107-year-old sister, Sadie, a former high school teacher, is still kicking. A play based on their lives and adapted from their best-selling book of the same name takes place over dinner preparations, as the sisters filter post-Civil War American history through the memories of their own experiences, from before Jim Crow through the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights movement. Vinie Burrows is Bessie to Delores Mitchell's Sadie; Roberta Levitow directs. The show previews at 8 p.m. (and runs through July 6) at Berkeley Repertory Theater, 2025 Addison, Berkeley. Admission is $25-39; call (510) 845-4700.

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