Burning Rubber Americans are still unclear on how to negotiate traffic circles (and around these parts, red lights mean nothing so much as full-speed ahead), but we love the open road, damn it, and few cinematic series convey that with so much enthusiasm as the Pacific Film Archive's "Accidents Will Happen." Car culture gets the green-flag go-ahead with films like The Crowd Roars (July 9), starring Jimmy Cagney as a deadly ambitious Indy car driver, and Two-Lane Blacktop (July 23), with folk singer James Taylor and the Beach Boys' Dennis Wilson, circa 1971, roaming the Southwest in their '55 Chevy looking for street races. Heart Like a Wheel (July 30), a documentary on pioneering woman dragster Shirley Muldowney, and teen racing classics Hot Rod (July 16), Favorite Mopar, and Dragstrip Girl, the last two which play Aug. 27 for Gearhead magazine night, are among the other highlights. The series opens tonight with The First Auto, a 1927 early sound film about the conflicts between a man who owns a livery service and his car-loving son; it screens with the Laurel and Hardy short Two Tars at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive, 2625 Durant (at College), Berkeley. Admission is $5.50; call (510) 642-1412.
Osaka It to Me The Japanese city of Osaka celebrates its reputation as a commercial and cultural hub when it marks the opening of a new local governmental and business office with a free public entertainment series organized by the "Osaka: Amazing and Amusing" Committee. Shijaku Katsura, Bill Crowley, Kazutomo Maeda, and others perform in "Rakugo in English," a variation on a 300-year-old Japanese comic storytelling tradition that relies on exaggerated vocals and facial expressions to drive home the narration's punch line. The performance begins at 5 p.m. at the Westin St. Francis Hotel, 335 Powell (at Geary), S.F. Admission is free; call 288-3920 to reserve a space. Events continue with a Japanese kite-making workshop 10 a.m. Thursday at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center, 1840 Sutter, and a flying demonstration of the traditional bamboo-framed, fancifully decorated kites 10 a.m. Friday at the Marina Green, S.F. Call 288-3920 for information about these events.)
Tricky, Dick Equal parts Days of Our Lives and Fun With Dick and Jane, with a hint of The Road to Wellville, the musical romantic comedy Jane Loves Dick is the story of a buxom gal who moves to the city to live as more than a simple sex object. Pay attention, because things get complicated after that: Jane moves in with a gay man, Gare, and his straight roommate, Dick, a biochemist and cereal researcher who immediately falls for Jane, who begins dating health food bar owner Bob, who tries to take advantage of Jane, who is saved by Dick and his new super-hormone-strength cereal recipe. The show, a collaboration between Fort Lauderdale's Public Theater and our Victoria Theater, features Ron Johnson (Into the Woods, Annie Get Your Gun) as Dick, and previews at 8 p.m. (and has an open-ended run) at the Victoria Theater, 2961 16th St. (at South Van Ness), S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 575-0243.
Time's Up An overeducated, underemployed East Coast transplant to San Francisco is the perfectly plausible protagonist in the San Francisco Mime Troupe's new production Killing Time. Young Jacob arrives at his 27th birthday with overdue rent, a college loan in default, a girlfriend on her way out the door, and a rapidly evaporating vision of fame, when he is simultaneously set upon by a ruthless, aging CEO seeking a successor and a bag lady who proclaims herself the angriest woman in the world and who parks herself on his doorstep to reveal the plans she has for him. In its trademark populist style, the troupe sets up dramatic conflict between the pull of wealth and power and the desire to do something socially redeeming. The performance begins at 2 p.m. in Dolores Park, Dolores between 18th and 20th streets, S.F. Admission is free (donations encouraged); call 646-0639. (Killing Time continues in Dolores Park through Sunday; the troupe's next performance is July 9 at Yerba Buena Gardens.)
Free to Be You and Me If Independence Day is supposed to be about apple pie and Mom, the Ol' Fashioned Fourth of July Alternative Family Picnic expands the definition with apple pie and two moms, or two dads, or one mom, an aunt, and a grandma, or the various other configurations families can take. Comedian Marga Gomez guest hosts this potluck picnic and party put on by the Alternative Family Project. Wise Fool Puppet Intervention will organize a holiday procession and Uncle Sam gets his due with a hat-making contest in his honor. The traditional putting-out-of-the-eye with fireworks has been replaced with milder entertainments like hula hoop contests and sack races, and speechifying takes its regular place. The S.F. Lesbian and Gay Freedom Band, the Dixieland Dykes+3, and Azuquita perform at the picnic, which will be MC'd by Chaz Martinez and begins at 11 a.m. at Center for the Arts Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission and Third Street, S.F. Admission is free; call 978-ARTS. For a full schedule of Fourth of July events, see Page 33.
Much Ado About Something The battle of wits between Beatrice and Benedick is reset in 1950s Italy as the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival celebrates the 15th anniversary of its Shakespeare in the Park summer series with perennial comedy favorite Much Ado About Nothing. The performance begins at 1:30 p.m. (also Sunday, continuing through July 20) at Lakeside Park, Lake Merritt, Oakland. Admission is free; call 422-2221. The performance comes to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park Aug. 30-Sept. 28.
Scottish Soccer Hooligan Weekly! So we're not talking Manchester United, but this weekend's football quadruple header between England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales should be a spirited tourney nonetheless. That's football as in soccer, with teams of pub employees (and others) from Edinburgh Castle, Dylan's Pub, the Mad Dog in the Fog, and Martin Mack's representing pieces of the not-very-united United Kingdom. The teams will play each other in half-hour matches round-robin style, followed by an hourlong bout between the winners of those games. Concessions, not including alcohol, will be sold. The tournament begins at noon at Kezar Stadium, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is $5 (kids free); call 522-9621.
Good Clown Fun You could have nightmares for weeks about all the scary boys and girls wearing too much makeup at the "Carmanic Clown Convergence," a benefit for the AIDS Emergency Fund, A Waking Dream, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, whose capacity to indulge is unfortunately dictated by budget constraints. A giant indoor/outdoor party packed with drag queen nuns and freaky-styley clowns sounds surreal enough even before you get to the part about 15 hours of live music by bands ranging from Tee Fee to Blues Fuse. Roving performers will thread their way through the colorful throng and the massive display of art cars. The show begins at 11 a.m. (and ends at 2 a.m. the next morning) at Somar and the adjoining parking lot, 934 Brannan, S.F. Admission is $15-25, with a $5 discount for revelers in clown costumes; call 642-5757.
Damon Seed A long time ago, in a band called Galaxie 500, bassist Naomi Yang and drummer Damon Krukowski played rhythm section to singer/guitarist Dean Wareham's subdued vocals and echoey guitar. But then Rough Trade folded, the band suffered an acrimonious split, Wareham went on to form Luna, and Damon and Naomi were left rudderless in a bitter storm, until Shimmy Disc producer Kramer steered them back into the studio. It was mostly in earnest that the duo called the first release More Sad Hits, a cerebral collection of wistful, pretty tunes marked by the fluid psychedelia that listeners might have expected from former Galaxie-ites. In support of Sub Pop's rerelease of More Sad Hits, Damon and Naomi will be playing songs from that album along with newer work from The Wondrous World of Damon and Naomi at a handful of dates. Half Film and the Sunshine Club open the show at 8 p.m. at the Kilowatt, 3160 16th St., S.F. Admission is $7; call 861-2595.
'Wash Between Your Ears Some of those merry pranksters at the Cacophony Society get serious for just a sec with a "Bikes for Bosnia" drive at their annual movie party (the name of which has been changed from the Cacophony Society Drive-In Film Festival to the Brainwash Movie Festival). Aided by Houston art-car maker Tom Kennedy, who began the drive at Burning Man, donated bikes will be airlifted to Bosnia for Sarajevo's reconciliation parade, then donated to bikeless Bosnians. Silliness resumes once the screening starts: This year's collection of independent short films includes Scott Beale's Portland Santacon documentary, which recaps the Christmas a herd of drunk punks in Santa suits terrorized the City of Roses (Sunday). On the local level, David Gerboe shares the nightmare that is Muni with 38 Geary (Saturday), Joe Winston takes a road trip with Burning Man (Saturday), Peter Silberstein offers a theme song for the Garden State in New Jersey Rap (Saturday), and Bob Smolenski presents a pixel vision of Serbia in Sarajevo Summer '96 (Sunday). Screenings begin at 9 p.m. tonight and tomorrow at Somar (yes the same place as the "Clown Convergence"; Brainwash will be held outside tonight), 934 Brannan, S.F. Admission is $5-8; call 273-1545. Viewers must bring their own chairs.
Groovy Baby, Yeah Muhammad Ali fights cavities with the help of Howard Cosell, Frank Sinatra, Richie Havens, and a pack of city kids in Ali and His Gang vs. Mr. Tooth Decay, one of the many forgettable films with far-out soundtracks profiled in DJ Ratso Russo's Groovie Movie Soundtracks radio show, an hourlong sampler's delight. The first program boasts the Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra's trippy score for the 1974 pseudo-documentary Chariots of the Gods? and composer Peter Umiliani's score for the 1969 sexploitation flick about "meter maids by day, models by night," Sweden -- Heaven and Hell, which yielded the long-since-forgotten hit "Mah Na Mah Na." Ali and His Gang, the Electric Flag's 1967 score for The Trip, and the "fuzz beat-n-funk" theme from nudie film Mondo Candido round out the July 13 program, while the jazz score from Fritz the Cat and the tribal theme from Mondo Cane 2 materialize in the following weeks. The show begins at 7 p.m. (and runs Sundays through July 27) on KUSF-FM 90.3.
A Message From You, Rudy World champion figure skating medalist Rudy Galindo will be describing his harrowing ascent from the working-class San Jose neighborhood of his youth to the expensive, heartbreaking, kneecap-busting arena of world-class competitive skating when he signs and discusses copies of his book Icebreaker at a local in-store promotion. Galindo's familiarity with punishing workouts has evidently served him well on this national book tour, which he wraps up with a few local appearances. Although Icebreaker is essentially an autobiography, Galindo didn't actually write it; he entrusted that job to Eric Marcus, a sort of post-medal scribe-for-hire who did as much for Olympic diver Greg Louganis with Breaking the Surface, which leads one to wonder: Can a Galindo movie-of-the-week be far behind? The signing begins at 6:30 p.m. at A Different Light Bookstore, 489 Castro, S.F. Admission is free; call 431-0891.
Brown Bag Broadway A bunch of actors gather in their favorite pub to swap Broadway experiences in John Guare's The New York Actor, which plays with David Ives' Degas C'est Moi, the story of an unemployed dreamer who decides to kill time by pretending he's the French painter. The double-header kicks off the Center for Theater Arts' "Summer Season of Comedy," a lunchtime series that continues with Woody Allen's Death (July 22-25) and concludes with Christopher Durang's The Actor's Nightmare (Aug. 5-8), about the thespian equivalent to naked public speaking. Degas and Actor open at noon (and continue through Friday) in Zellerbach Playhouse, UC Berkeley campus. Admission is $4-6; call (510) 642-9925.