This Budd's for You Moby-Dick is way too long, and then there's that problem of finding a card-carrying Actors' Equity whale, so Louis O. Coxe and Robert Chapman opted instead to adapt Herman Melville's novella Billy Budd to a maritime setting. From the deck to the hold of 1895 schooner the C.A. Thayer, Venture Theater stages this story of young Billy, a sailor on a British man-of-war who becomes embroiled in a life-or-death conflict between law and justice in the late 1800s. Due to harsh content and salty language, the show isn't recommended for youngsters. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and runs through Aug. 31) at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Hyde Street Pier, Fisherman's Wharf (at Hyde), S.F. Admission is $22-25; call 929-0202 ext. 58.
Word Up Los Angeles' punk-rock elder stateswoman, Exene Cervenka, singer/songwriter of the late, great X and the proprietress of an L.A. store specializing in UFO and punk kitsch, headlines "Sundown on the Millennium," a three-way spoken-word bill with a rock 'n' roll bent. Cervenka, whose millennial visions have included apocalyptic X hits like "The Unheard Music" and "Sex and Dying in High Society," will be joined by poetry slammer Beth Lisick, who once opened for Neil Young, and author Don Bajema, whose work has been published through Henry Rollins' 2.13.61 Publications; DJ IJ provides musical interludes. It all begins at 9 p.m. at Cafe Du Nord, 2170 Market (at Sanchez), S.F. Admission is $5; call 861-5016.
Hot Sax and Tasty Licks Percussionist Pete Escovedo, trombonist Wayne Wallace, and Orquesta Charanson will help the Pacific Rim Ensemble hold down the Latin Jazz and Salsa Stage, while over at the Swingin' Thing Stage, Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers prime listeners for blues pianist Charles Brown, and Ann Dyer & the No Good Time Fairies meet Will Bernard on the San Francisco Scene Stage. And that's just opening night at the seventh annual Jazz and Wine Festival, a weekendlong free block party that, with the exception of the St. Stupid's Day Parade, is about as lively (and cheap) as the Financial District gets. This year's festival, a prelude to fall's San Francisco Jazz Festival and the first place to buy tickets to same, features gourmet food and regional wines, and opens the second day with Women in Jazz and Youth in Jazz stages. Latin jazz pianist Rebecca Mauleon and the All-Star Women's Jazz Band are among the guests playing the former; the UC Berkeley Jazz Ensemble and pianist Kito Gamble are featured attractions at the latter. The festival begins at 5:30 p.m. throughout 2, 3, and 4 Embarcadero Center, Promenade Level, S.F. It continues at 2 p.m. Saturday; Sunday's program features brunch with Dulce Maria Arguelles and Bruno Pelletier at 11 a.m. at Hyatt's Equinox in 5 Embarcadero and Marcos Silva 2 to 5 p.m. at the SkyDeck in 1 Embarcadero. Admission is free; call 398-5655.
And Now, Causes Involving Fruit Like peaches? How about strawberries? At the Peach Festival, a fund-raiser for the San Francisco Food Bank and Share Our Strength, guests will be surrounded on all sides by peaches. Boulevard's Patrick Hooker offers cooking demonstrations involving the fruit, and there will be a pie-eating contest. Fresh produce will be sold and dishes incorporating peaches will be available for tasting. Strawberries won't be the main attraction at "Pachanga for the Movimiento," although proceeds from the party will benefit the United Farm Workers strawberry workers campaign. Latin funk band Los Angelitos, Blooz Katz, Los Jappenin Jarochos (featuring members of Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeno Band), and Quetzal will play, Aztec dance troupe Teokali will perform, and an art exhibit will display work by Leonard Peltier and others. The Peach Festival begins at 11 a.m. in the Cannery, 2801 Leavenworth (at Beach), S.F. Admission is free with a donation of nonperishable food items (although tasting tickets are available for purchase); call 771-3112. "Pachanga" begins at 8 p.m. at Brava Theater, 2781 24th St. (at York), S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 826-4127.
Moon Unit Never mind the man in the moon; in Romance Gitano de la Luna Luna, the moon is home to the alluring figure of a woman who woos a Gypsy boy with her expressions of passion and melancholy, conveyed with the sinuous curve of an arm and the rapid-fire barrage of clicking heels. Luna is a world premiere for Rosa Montoya Bailes Flamencos; Montoya, a Madrid-born, locally based performer who helped popularize flamenco in the States, and whose own Gypsy lineage includes her flamenco guitarist uncle Carlos Montoya, built the piece around a piece by Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca. Guest dancers Antonio Alcazar and Victoria Palacios, winners of Spain's Premio Nacional, join Montoya to perform this and other classical Spanish dances to live music by Antonio Flores. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and repeats tomorrow at 2 p.m.) at the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness (at Grove), S.F. Admission is $18-36; call 392-4400. The company also leads workshops for all levels of dancers Wednesday, July 23, at 4:30 p.m. and Thursday, July 24, at 7:15 p.m. at the Rosa Montoya Bailes Flamenco Center for Spanish Dance, 3691 Mission (at Highland), S.F. Admission is $125 overall; call 824-1960 for more information.