Eye on India As the world's second most populated country celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence, the lavish local exhibit "India: A Celebration!" offers five variations on the theme. "The Art of the Sari" features 30 hand-woven and elaborate sheer silk gowns dating back to the late 19th century; "Cooking for the Gods: The Art of Home Ritual in Bengal," a living shrine from New Jersey's Newark Museum, demonstrates women's duties preparing food for families and household deities; "Shiva: Lord of the Dance" portrays the Hindu god in stone and bronze sculptures and paintings. "Pahari Painting: Tales From the Punjab Hills" is a collection of narrative miniature paintings spanning the 17th to 19th centuries, while "India: A Contemporary View" highlights scenes, shot by four established photographers, from modern Indian life. The exhibit, which also presents daily showings of videotapes on Indian culture, opens at 9:30 a.m. (and is up through Sept. 28) at the Asian Art Museum, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is free-$7; call 379-8801.
Booze Hounds for Culture The KQED Beer and Food Festival will be dishing up tasty snacks like jambalaya and barbecue to counter the whirly sensation that comes from sampling over 250 types of beer from scores of international and regional microbreweries. You don't have to try every single brand (and there's probably some pesky rule that forbids it), but at this fund-raiser for the public TV and radio stations, beer does precede food in the title, so come thirsty. Comedians Bruce Cherry, Rick Clay, and Jim Farrell perform, Indigo Swing and the Rhythm Sheiks play, and in a stroke of evil comic genius, the festival will also provide a speed pitching machine and a climbing wall. Ouch. The event, which also provides free shuttle service to public transportation stations, begins at 1 p.m. at the Concourse Exhibition Center, 2 Henry Adams, S.F. Admission is $35-40; call (510) 762-2277.
Paper Chase Amnesty issues come to the fore at the "Papers for All/Papeles Para Todos" campaign rally and festival, where Columbian Ethnic Project folk dancers perform, Caribbean-Brazilian drumming ensemble Loco Bloco plays, Latin American refreshments are served, and Immigrant Rights Movement representative Berta Hernandez, Nuevo Horizonte Editor Miguel Perez, and independent congressional representative Bernie Sanders address the crowd. The event begins at 5 p.m. at Cesar Chavez Elementary School, Folsom between 22nd and 23rd streets, S.F. Admission is free; call 648-5257.
And Whose Little Girl Are You? Dress-up duds will be seeing lots of action this weekend at the American Library Association's Family Festival and the Brazilian party Festa Junina, where kids can let their imaginations run riot. Storytellers Awele Makeba, Lucia Gonzalez, and Clara Yen, along with performers Eth-Noh-Tec and Lakota dancer Kevin Locke, will entertain pint-size Eloises and Cats in the Hat at the ALA festival, where youngsters are encouraged to dress as their favorite storybook characters for a grand parade. Lassie also visits the festival, which begins at 11 a.m. at the New Main Library, 100 Larkin, S.F. Admission is free; call 557-4277. At Festa Junina, a fund-raiser for the Brazilian National Movement of Street Children, kids and adults arrive traditionally garbed as country folk, with patched overalls, straw hats, work boots, and plaid dresses; face painting completes the transformation. A round of wholesome entertainment including races, arts and crafts, picnicking, capoeira and live music performances, and square dancing around a campfire begins at 4 p.m. at Stern Grove's Pine Lake, 19th Avenue & Sloat, S.F. Admission is free-$15; call 863-1100.
Future Bozos of America Jeff Raz is the kind of adult who most kids gotta love, because instead of trying to stifle wriggly, rambunctious, natural ham types, Raz encourages them to channel their energy and charisma into an all-out spectacle. Raz, a writer and local clown, with director Danny Duncan and the Make*A*Circus performers, kicks off a summer of interactive summer circus performances throughout the state with new show "The Great Big Rainbow Tent," a three-act circus that begins with a narrative performance by the troupe's clowns, acrobats, jugglers, and stilt-walkers. The second act is a 45-minute workshop where the performers, experienced instructors all, teach kids circus skills they've just seen in the first act. The grand finale finds the kids performing in the ring with the troupe. The event, which includes face painting, strolling performers, live music, and art activities for kids, begins at 12:30 p.m. in Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is free; call 242-1414.
Eat, Drink, and Throw Money Sangria and a Mediterranean buffet aren't the conventional preludes to Thornton Wilder's high school drama department staple Our Town, but theater company HYPE!, which has planned both for its fund-raising dinner "A Throw Down for Our Town," isn't known for its traditional treatment of dramatic standbys, either. As it did with last year's production of Chekhov's Ivanov, HYPE! will be rearranging Our Town through a series of "composition workouts," which tweak the drama's text and themes. Neo-vaudevillian song/dance/whistling duo the Whistleaires will perform and live flamenco dance and music are slated for the dinner, which begins at 7 p.m. at Torque Dance Studio, 1081 Mission, S.F. Admission is $15-30; call 267-6905.