september 27
The Sands of Time Architecture and design teams wielding little plastic shovels and sand buckets will race the clock at the Leap Sand Castle Classic, as each group tries to build a better, more structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing creation than the next in the allotted time frame. Firms pay $2,000 each to claim a patch of sand at the contest, a benefit for the art and architecture in schools program Leap ... Imagination in Learning. The event begins at noon at Aquatic Park, Jefferson & Polk, S.F. Admission is free-donation; call 861-1899.

Fit to Be Seen Learn what gymnasts mean by "it's all in the nose" without suffering through the eating disorders, injuries, and pedophilic coaches, at the interactive exhibit "Sport!" Here you can watch yourself in a mirror as you walk a regulation-size balance beam, or look through an arthroscope to see how knee surgery is performed, or exercise armchair-athlete authority when you score events like synchronized swimming, then compare your scores with the freeze-frame replay and marks from actual judges. All manner of sports and sports films are included in the exhibit, which opens at 10 a.m. (and is up through Jan. 4, 1998) at the Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon (at Marina), S.F. Admission is free-$9; call 563-7337.

september 28
Taste the Pain The Man Hand Films spanking booth and Gauntlet's piercing place go up in the morning, and by midafternoon, an international crowd of fairgoers numbering in the hundreds of thousands will have either tested their pain thresholds or will be feeling no pain at the Folsom Street Fair. Elvis Herselvis and Patsy Kline, the Kuntry Kunts, and Tom, Dick, & Harry are among the scheduled performers at the 14th annual fair, which benefits local AIDS service agencies. "Pleasuredome," which puts on the 10th Street Dance Arena, is hosting the official Folsom afterparty, but this year the latex fashion design duo So Hip It Hurts, who present a fashion show at the fair at 1:45, host the post-fair party to beat with "Ouchfest! A Cherry-Poppin' Good Time." Imagery of Japanese cherry blossoms and '40s and '50s pinup girls figures into the cherry theme (uh, did someone say, "Ouch"?), as do performances by Cherry Jubilee, Mz. Cherry Bomb, and DJ Cherrie Bomb, who joins a DJ crew spinning funk, jungle, trip hop, and rock -- the Runaways and Wild Cherry would, of course, be prime suspects here. Power Exchange handles spanking duty in the Ouch! Room, and the evening culminates in a fashion contest. The fair begins at 11 a.m. on Folsom Street between Seventh and 12th streets, S.F. Admission is free-donation; call 861-FAIR. "Ouchfest! A Cherry-Poppin' Good Time" begins at 4 p.m. at the DNA Lounge, 375 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $6.66; call 626-3735.

That's Wacky So what if Birkenstocks, overalls, T-shirts, and Guatemalan-print anything dominate Berkeley's fashion landscape? Fashion police will be handing out citations anyway at this year's How Berkeley Can You Be? Parade and Festival. This nervy little shindig begins with all-age kinetic sculpture races, followed by a grand parade procession by the Gandhi Peace float, a precision lawn chair brigade, art cars (see Friday), electric and ecomotion vehicles, and the gay spirit squad Cheers. The California Cajun Orchestra and the Hui Tama Nui Drummers join the clamor of international music, and a Landfill Cap Contest is part of the afternoon's entertainment. The answer to the question, in other words, is: Not Much More Berkeley. The festival begins at 11 a.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. & University, Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 849-4688.

september 29
It's Luna, See? Galaxie 500 fans got an earful from that band's rhythm section over the summer at the Damon & Naomi show, and with the return of Luna, fronted by former Galaxie singer/guitarist Dean Wareham, they'll hear from the remaining third of the long-lost and lamented trio. Wareham's wasn't the final word on the Galaxie sound, as his former bandmates have proven, but the ethereal, guitar-driven psychedelia he was lauded for spilled over into Luna albums Penthouse, Lunapark, and Bewitched, on which he collaborated with like-minded melancholics Justin Harwood of the Chills and Stanley Demeski of the Feelies. Drummer Lee Wall takes over from Demeski on Luna's most recent release, Pup Tent, a similarly moody creation textured with cello, mandolin, and vibes, and opening with "IHOP," a tribute to the bleary-eyed, wisecracking scenarios common to late-night diners, with lines like, "You stand accused/ Of smoking English cigarettes!" Sixteen Deluxe open for Luna at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore, 1805 Geary (at Fillmore), S.F. Admission is $15; call 346-6000.

september 30
A Handful of Dinner, a Botella of Wine, and Thou Spain's wine boat has come in (take that for the metaphor that it is), and to celebrate the 1994 and 1995 vintages, local chefs will offer their variations on tapas, the small snack plates indigenous to Spanish bars, at "Great Match: Wine and Tapas." Cesar Faedi Gonzalez of Alegrias will be getting in on the act; so will Charles Phan of the Slanted Door. Once the Rioja crianzas are uncorked, guests are invited to toss around wine-related superlatives like "feisty" and "bold" with intoxicated abandon. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Old Federal Reserve Banking Hall, 301 Battery (at Sacramento), S.F. Admission is $40; call (800) 317-WINE for reservations.

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