Vargas Revisited Flamenco is only part of the story in Spanish dance, and Sara de Luis, a San Francisco native who joined Spain's Ximenez-Vargas Ballet Espanol at age 23 and has toured the world as a dancer and choreographer, returns with dance partner Manolo de la Hoz to stage Homenaje (Homage), a tribute to Manolo Vargas and other forerunners of 20th-century Spanish dance. The pair's research turned up all kinds of vintage costumes and recordings, including a rare bit with the poet Federico Garcia Lorca on piano; the performance will incorporate these with photo projections of early stars and live music featuring vocals by Rafael Heredia Heredia in a program combining flamenco with theatrical classical dance, performed by a company of dancers from Spain and the Bay Area. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and runs through June 13) at the Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, S.F. Admission is $22-25; call 392-4400.
Get On Up Katie Hare and Meg Martin have stared into the black hole of temp work and apartment maintenance and lived to tell about it in Various Get-Ups, a comic play about two insomnia-plagued young women who deconstruct their world in a quest for order and meaning. At just over an hour, the piece zips through childhood tales and experiences Martin collected as a touring improv comic, built on monologues and with a bit of Hare's clowning thrown in for good measure. The show opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through June 25) at Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy, S.F. Admission is $8-10; call 437-1827.
Storm Warning As befits a summer of disaster movies like Titanic and Volcano, ODC/San Francisco's first of two programs, "Dancing Up a Storm," features Weird Weather, a world premiere evoking nature's fury from tales of earthly phenomena, set to a percussive score. The company's eclectic brand of modern dance is also exercised in Frank, a men's trio set to Edith Piaf's famous warble, and repertory works Scout, a loose interpretation of To Kill a Mockingbird, and Still Krazy/Kat, a movement suite inspired by the George Herriman comic, brought cheerfully to life by former members of the Turk Murphy Jazz Band in a live performance of Jelly Roll Morton tunes. Program 2 features the evening-length premiere OutaWak, a paean to modern living, with wordplay by the S.F. Mime Troupe's Bruce Barthol and an original score performed live by the Paul Dresher Ensemble. Program 1 begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. (also Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m.; Program 2 runs June 12-15) at the Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard, S.F. Admission is $8.50-28.50; call 978-ARTS.
Mumble Jumbo Andrew Lloyd Webber has nothing on San Jose comedy troupe Mumblypeg, who can concoct a mock rock opera from audience suggestions faster than the beknighted composer can say "Don't cry for me." The six-member outfit does musical comedy, improv, and sketch work, bouncing off of verbal cues and pop-culture detritus in a kind of Second City redux. Mumblypeg celebrate their return from Austin's Big Stinkin' International Improv Festival with a show at 8 p.m. (also Saturday) at the Bayfront Theater, Building B, Fort Mason, S.F. Admission is $10; call 776-8999.
Retracing Steps Omulu Capoeira Group traces a line between the past and the present of capoeira -- a Brazilian martial art with a dancelike, acrobatic flavor -- when it offers a demonstration of the form prior to a screening of the film Quilombo. Using drama, storytelling, and music, this 1984 Brazilian work describes the quilombos, or free slave colonies where 17th-century slaves settled, and from where capoeira is believed to have originated. Afro-Brazilian percussion ensemble Fogo na Roupa will warm up moviegoing crowds, who may recognize capoeira from performances in Carnaval parades past. Show times are 7 and 10:15 p.m. at the Victoria Theater, 2961 16th St., S.F. Admission is $7; call 255-9354.
Esprit de Core A variegated panoply of performers will share the stage at "Culture Core," a kind of intraneighborhood arts festival kicking off with a gala benefit featuring the Latina Theater Lab's musical comedy Immaculate Conception alongside work by lesbian, gay, bi, and questioning youth theater company DramaDivas and Lily Cai Chinese Dance, among others. The second day's activities include cooking with Mesoamerican chef Agustin Gaytan, high-octane drumming by percussion ensemble Loco Bloco, Chinese ribbon dance by Chinese Cultural Productions, and various other work. "Culture Core" begins at 8 p.m. (also Sunday at 3 p.m.) at the ODC Performance Gallery, 3153 17th St., S.F. Admission is $6-12; call 863-9834.
This Thing Has Wings The sad story of Cio-Cio-San, the 15-year-old geisha who gives her all for a cruel American naval officer, continues to inspire long after Puccini and his collaborators adapted John Luther Long's magazine piece to opera and made a disastrous debut at La Scala in 1904. Puccini revised the work and the piece has enjoyed regular outings with opera companies worldwide, due to the dual appeal of heart-wrenching musical passages and the international language of ill-fated romance. Madama Butterfly has also been subject to the attention of, among others, Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, who turned it into an aria-with-a-beat club hit; French director Frederic Mitterand, who filmed the opera; and an ongoing debate about racism fueled in part by David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly, an entirely different story incorporating elements of the opera. The San Francisco Opera presents a "Broadway-style" run of Madame -- as they have it -- Butterfly, sung in Italian with English supertitles by a rotating cast. It opens tonight at 8 p.m. (and runs through June 29) at the Golden Gate Theater, 1 Taylor, S.F. Admission is $25-70; call 864-3330.