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.
Tres Bon Like Dia de los Muertos, the Japanese Buddhist Bon Festival, or "Festival of Souls," honors the spirit of the dead with live entertainment and good food. In a related event, sushi, potstickers, and udon noodles will be dished up at the Ginza Bazaar, where the kimono-clad Hanayagi and Fujima Rokushige Odori dance groups guide guests through celebratory bon odori dances; in a slightly less traditional vein, the bazaar will also celebrate the dearly departed with bingo and carnival games. Costumed bon odori dancers will also congregate at the Bon Festival in Japantown, where viewers will be handed fans and other props, and encouraged to join in. The bazaar begins at noon (also Sunday, the day that includes dancing, which begins at 1 p.m.) at the Buddhist Church of San Francisco, 1881 Pine (at Octavia), S.F. Admission is free; call 776-3158. The Bon Dance begins at 3 p.m. (also Sunday) at the Japan Center Peace Plaza, Post & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is free; call 421-4373.
Sweat for Less Rhythm and Motion celebrates its new, seismically sound studios with a day of free torture disguised as aerobic exercise. Brazilian, Afro-Haitian, and hip-hop dance classes will be taught along with the regular workouts, in which a professional dancer leads an hourlong class designed to build coordination and cardiovascular endurance; just getting through one without hyperventilating and passing out is worth celebrating with a cigarette and a beer. In all fairness, Rhythm and Motion classes are more dancelike than dance aerobics, the teachers are less like cheerleaders, and the music (which ranged from the Rolling Stones to C&C Music Factory on one visit) is frequently better. Classes begin at 9 a.m. (and continue until 7 p.m.) at Knights of the Red Branch Hall, 1133 Mission (at Seventh Street), S.F. Admission is free (first 500 attendees receive a free poster); call 621-0643.
This Is Your Life Drama belongs in the theater, of course, but enough of it happens in real life that actors can take their cues from actual incidents. Remember when your old flame from the West Coast boarded the cross-town bus you were riding on the East Coast? How about that time you and a friend drove to Texas to see a rock show? Pacific Playback Theater invites the audience to share anecdotes like these in its world-premiere performance. The evening begins with short warm-up exercises conveying moods or feelings, based on an audience's answers to questions like "How was the drive here?" Later, viewers volunteer to share their stories with an MC, who acts as a conduit between the teller and the ensemble. The tales -- whether scary, romantic, or hilarious -- may be re-created in straightforward fashion, says Artistic Director Nan Crawford, or may take on new dimensions, considering the music, the movement, and the unpredictable nature of improv. The show, a benefit for Youth Chance High School, begins at 8 p.m. at the Magic Theater, Building D, Fort Mason, Marina & Laguna, S.F. Admission is $15; call 282-8558.
Where Every Day Is Ash Wednesday! It's wall-to-wall people on any given day at the Columbarium, but groundskeeper Emmitt Watson is the only one making any noise, since everyone else is dead. The Victorian at 1 Loraine Court is home to some of California's most historically prominent families, or what's left of them, and Watson is a walking repository of information about their lives. Look for urns shaped like silver martini shakers or tree stumps as Wilson leads the tour from the inlaid mosaic ground floor to the rotunda, ticking off the accomplishments and peculiarities of Kaisers, Folgers, and Magnins as he passes through four floors of vaults containing their remains. The renovated Columbarium is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and is located between Geary, Anza, Stanyan, and Arguello, S.F. Admission is free; call 221-1611.