A Piece of the Rock Tourists and actors comprise most of the traffic on Alcatraz these days, but not so long ago the Rock was home to infamous cons like Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly, and to regular folk on the penitentiary's payroll, like the family in Tara Ison's first novel, A Child Out of Alcatraz. To create this work of historical fiction, Ison spent five years researching life on the island and the people who came of age there before Attorney General Robert Kennedy shut down the prison in 1963. The narrator of Ison's novel is Olivia, a young girl who grows up on the island in the '50s. The fates of Alcatraz and Olivia's family are inextricably linked: Her father, a law student who takes a job as a prison guard to support his family, becomes trapped in a brutal career, while Olivia's mother, who suffers from a steady mental decline, is stuck in an unhappy marriage and an isolated community. Ison will autograph and discuss the book, including why the National Park Service won't stock it, at 6:30 p.m. in the Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room of the New Main Library, 100 Larkin (at Market), S.F. Admission is free; call 557-4355.
The Pharmacist's Favorite Dead Men We Love playwright Monika Monika spoofs politics, biomedical and otherwise, in her new satire The Pharmacist's Daughter, the twisted comic tale of Becky, a pharmacist's lovely daughter who wants to evade her unusual contract with a biotech company. John, a pharmaceutical rep who has fallen in love with Becky, helps her run away to Brooklyn, but their abrupt departure attracts the attention of a motley cast of characters, including President Clinton, the FBI, and an angry dwarf. Jonathan Moscone directs the world premiere of The Pharmacist's Daughter, which previews at 8:30 p.m. (and runs through Dec. 14) at the Magic Theater, Building D, Northside, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $15-21; call 441-8822.
A Little Latin and Less Greek Long-dead Athenian playwright Aristophanes is revived in Carlos Baron's Liz Estrada, a comic, bilingual adaptation of the ancient political play Lysistrata. The action moves from the pillars of the Acropolis to the barrios of Anglopolis in this modern revision, as a group of women, led by protagonist Liz Estrada, organize a sex strike to protest sexism, violence, and other social ills. Eventually their male acquaintances see the light, and join in the effort to improve their community. Teatro Latino first performed the work, which Baron, an SFSU theater arts department faculty member, wrote in 1981 and will direct here. Music Director Carlos Araiza has contributed original salsa-based compositions to the show, which previews at 8 p.m. (and runs through Nov. 23) at the McKenna Theater, Creative Arts Building, 1600 Holloway, SFSU campus. Admission is $7-9; call 338-2467.
In Bloom The worldwide party celebrating India's 50th year of independence rolls on with "Naya India/(New India)," two new dance works mixing tradition with pop culture. In Full Blown Lotus, the Kate Foley Company combines the big, splashy dance numbers of Indian musical cinema with yoga, ballet, and modern dance, set to the club music beat of Ricky Fataar's original score, an amalgam of Indian film melodies and hip hop. Guest dancers clad in simple saris perform the South Indian classical dance bharat natyam in the California Contemporary Dancers piece Mala/(Garland), alongside company dancers decorated in flower garlands, which celebrate the presence of ancestors. Mongolian Tuva (throat) singers provide the aural backdrop to this collaborative modern treatment of old themes. The show opens at 8 p.m. (and continues through Nov. 23) at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida (at 17th Street), S.F. Admission is $12.50-16.50; call 621-7797.
Dodge-Podge Harriet Dodge, whose musically inclined solo performance Muddy Little River won converts and sold out houses during an extended outing at the Lab, tests the solo performance waters again with a work in progress, From Where I'm Sitting (I can only reach your ass). This time Dodge is Frank, a too-patient young fellow whose main talent, if it may be called that, is sitting around waiting for just the right moment to act on his spiritual hunger and conflicting desires. Dodge, the co-founder of coffee shop/performance space the Bearded Lady and a member of country-glam cover band the Dodge Brothers, goes on at 8 p.m. (also Saturday) at New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom (at Ninth Street), S.F. Admission is $6-8; call 626-5416.
Tinseltown Trauma Alienated and amoral adults stumble through a boozy, druggy haze searching for identity and meaning -- and sex -- in David Rabe's drama Hurlyburly, which isn't about slackers or Gen-Xers, the Me Generation, or even the Lost Generation. It's about seven characters sharing an apartment in Hollywood in 1984. Pour Boys Productions revives the work, which was originally directed by Mike Nichols at Chicago's Goodman Theater, and featured William Hurt, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, and Sigourney Weaver. The show opens at 8 p.m. (and continues through Dec. 22) at the Actors Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), S.F. Admission is $18; call 567-6088.
As the Millennium ... Oh, Forget It Before there was Smarter Feller!, there was Smart Feller, the SF Weekly strip written by Dave Eggers and Harmon Leon. While Eggers is off in New York trying to whip Esquire into some kind of shape, Leon is at the "Pre-Millennium Comedy Show," where he'll be joined by Comedy Central alum Kurt Weitzmann, Charles Ezell of "Nervous Laughter," and other funny guys in a performance involving video, music, and dancing bears. The "Pre-Millennium Comedy Show" begins at 8:30 p.m. (and runs through Nov. 22) at the Jewel Theater, 655 Geary (at Leavenworth), S.F. Admission is $6-12; call 567-3005. Ezell and Weitzmann also play the one-night comedy stand "Sex, Drugs, and Shitty Jobs" at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Edinburgh Castle, 950 Geary (at Larkin), S.F. Admission is $5 ($3 for guests who bring in a welfare check stub or a pay stub from a shitty job); call 486-1698.