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.
It's a Trip Peer into the retablos of Peruvian artist Nicario Jimenez or at the dance costumes of Sha Sha Higby and whole other worlds emerge. Higby's costumes are crazily intricate creations made from bells, feathers, dried flowers, painted and dyed silks and skins, tiny wooden animals, and other minutiae, inspired by Higby's theater arts research in Indonesia, Korea, and Japan. Jimenez, meanwhile, creates retablos, brightly painted boxed dioramas originally meant as portable altars, which he has altered to reflect the plight of the poor and conflicts between church, state, and the people. His work complements the Peruvian art and artifact exhibit now at the de Young, and the Mexican Museum's upcoming exhibit of photos from the Peruvian Andes. The Higby and Jimenez exhibits open at 10 a.m. (and are up through Aug. 10) at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Building A, Fort Mason, S.F. Admission is free-$3; call 775-0990.
Street Sweep The everyday theatrics of urban living will be temporarily superseded by the In the Street Festival, a two-day outdoor performance marathon and public workshop series open to anyone and everyone. Performers include the wall-climbing dancers of Project Bandaloop, theater troupes the Medea Project and Teatro de la Esperanza, Mr. Lu Yi's Chinese Acrobats, and scores more. The fest begins at noon (also Sunday at 12:30 p.m.) on Ellis Street between Leavenworth and Hyde, S.F. Related events include a sculpture garden today at noon in Cohen Alley, off Ellis, and "In the Street @ NITE," WITH PERFORMANCES BY STEAMROLLER, WISE FOOL PUPPET INTERVENTION, AND URO SUNDAY AT 8 P.M. ALONG CAPP STREET, BETWEEN 15TH AND 16TH STREETS. ADMISSION TO ALL EVENTS IS FREE; CALL 905-5958.
WHAT DO YOU WANT ON YOUR TOMBSTONE? FRED AND TOODY COLE, ONE OF THE LONGEST-LIVED HUSBAND-AND-WIFE TEAMS IN ROCK, HAVE PLAYED TOGETHER GOING ON TWO DECADES, FIRST AS THE RATS AND NOW AS DEAD MOON. BACKED BY DRUMMER ANDREW LOOMIS, THE COLES SPECIALIZE IN GRITTY, FULL-THROTTLE ODES TO REBELLION AND THE TEEN-AGE HEART, DESPITE HAVING PASSED THROUGH THEIR OWN YOUTH SO LONG AGO THEY NOW HAVE GRANDCHILDREN. THE COUPLE, WHO APPEAR IN THE DOCUMENTARY HYPE!, HAVE EXPERIENCED THE LATTER-DAY EVOLUTION OF NORTHWEST PUNK-ROCK HISTORY, RELEASING ALBUMS AND SINGLES IN MONO THROUGH SUB POP, FRED'S OWN TOMBSTONE LABEL, AND MUSIC MANIAC, A LABEL IN GERMANY, WHERE THE BAND ENJOYS AN ENDURING CELEBRITY. THE LOUDMOUTHS AND DURA DELINQUENT OPEN FOR DEAD MOON AT 8 P.M. AT KILOWATT, 3160 16TH ST., S.F. ADMISSION IS $7; CALL 861-2595.
Heavy Petting, Major Slobbering Flying dogs and costumed pigs are more rule than exception at the S.F./SPCA Animal Wingding, a daylong celebration for people and their pets. Jumpy pups can join in the Soccer Dogs and Frisbee Dogs events or test their pads on the agility course obstacles and the "Waltzes With Dogs" and musical chairs events in the Puppydog Allstars K-9 Games. House cats without pedigrees still qualify for prize ribbons at the Housecat Fanciers show, and the Exotic Animal Encounter offers variations on the standard house pet theme with an array of owls, llamas, chickens, snakes, and blue-tongued skinks (reptiles that look sort of like lizards). Pet owners and animal fans are all invited to visit the Wingding, which includes an 11 a.m. parade with hundreds of creatively groomed, fancifully dressed pets. Events begin at 9 a.m. on Alabama Street, between 15th and 16th streets, S.F. Admission is free; call 554-3046.
Keeping the Peace A trio of Nobel Peace Prize winners highlights the three-day conference "Peacemaking: The Power of Nonviolence," a series of lectures and workshops on violence and social change. Besides the prize recipients -- Guatemalan activist/author Rigoberta Menchu, East Timor activist Jose Ramos-Horta, and His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet will give keynote speeches -- there'll also be talks by notable figures like author Alice Walker, Chinese dissident Harry Wu, and Omega Boys Club leader/author Joe Marshall Jr. on working for, and thinking about, peace beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove, S.F. Admission is $15; call (510) 762-2277. For information on the conference, which begins at 8:30 a.m. daily June 9-11 at the auditorium and costs $95-275, call (800) 937-8728.
The Last Word The chance to ask authors what was on their minds when they wrote is rare enough, and in the case of reclusive authors, rarer still. At "A Night With Barbara Kingsolver," the publicity-shy author of The Bean Trees and Animal Dreams, and a contributor to the New York Times Magazine, discusses her work and participates in a Q&A session following theater company Word for Word's performance of Rose-Johnny, Kingsolver's short story about a young girl's encounters with hypocritical moralists as she comes of age in a small Southern town. Kingsolver's various and sundry experiences -- she has trained as a classical pianist and an archaeologist, and holds a master's degree in biology -- emerge in her evocative use of language, making her a good fit for Word for Word, which retains the nuances of the printed page by leaving the text intact. The performance begins at 8 p.m. at the Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, S.F. Admission is $25; call 543-9505.
Author! Author! The truth, in some of its most painful and messy permutations, still emerges triumphant in the works of Dorothy Allison and Bernard Cooper. Allison's portrait of poverty and abuse in America's rural South in her novel Bastard Out of Carolina gripped readers across the country, while her memoir, One or Two Things I Know for Sure, spun stories from Allison's own complicated family life. Cooper described a bit of his own personal hell in Truth Serum, a collection of autobiographic essays on family, AIDS, and growing up gay. Greg Riley interviews both about truth and memory within the creative process at 8 p.m. in the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness, S.F. Admission is $16; call 392-4400.