Oh, What a Knight Guests wearing their best holiday armor, their most festive corsets, their gayest hoop skirts, or any combination of those, will be gliding around the floor at an event called, after Keats, La Belle Daunce Sans Merci. (Daunce is apparently Old French for "danse.") It's a costume ball that allows for Arthurian garb up through pre-Raphaelite-inspired eveningwear and Victorian frippery. The Divertimento Dance Orchestra will be playing ancient airs and dances arranged by 19th-century composers for Victorian dancing, done to reflect King Arthur's court as seen through Victorian eyes. The ball was organized by the Period Events and Entertainments Re-Creation Society, whose past galas have included the Mostly Mozart Amadeus Ball and the Jane Austen Fete. The revelry begins at 7 p.m. at the Masonic Lodge, 100 N. Ellsworth, San Mateo. Admission is $10-15; call (510) 522-1731.
Quick With the Quickness A group of Oakland kids and a panel of scientific experts will join forces at a double Dutch rope-jumping demonstration to offer an in-depth look at the aesthetics and physics of the sport. While the kids show off their fancy footwork and the accompanying repertoire of rhymes, staff scientists will explain the complex ele-ments of leverage, motion, and force at work. The demos begin at 1 and 3 p.m., with a screening of Pick Up Your Feet: The Double Dutch Show, Skip Blumberg's 1981 documentary on young double Dutch jump-ropers in New York City, at 2 p.m., at the Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon (at Bay), S.F. Admission is free with museum admission (free-$7); call 563-7337.
Groovie, Baby, Yeah! KUSF's "Groovie Movie Soundtracks" weekly radio show spotlights the best soundtrack reissues of 1997, spinning movie music so good (or so bad it's good) that it deserves just one more chance. There's the early disco grooviness of Foxy Brown and The Mack, the swinging grooviness of Henry Mancini's The Party, the go-go grooviness of Russ Meyer movies, the crime-fighting grooviness of 1960s-era Batman, and other ultimately groovy selections. If you don't listen now, you may never hear the theme from Lady in Cement. The show airs at 7 p.m. on KUSF-FM 90.3.
Bang a Drum Master taiko drum player Shonosuke Okura, the headmaster of the Okura School in Otsuzumi, Japan, has a thing for motorcycles; he found a way to combine his love of music and the open road by organizing the Tour of Peace, in which 50 international motorcyclists traveled around Japan and gave concerts for the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. Okura has performed for the Dalai Lama and the pope, and now he'll play for San Francisco in a traditional noh music concert for taiko drum, followed by a demonstration session in which he'll show audience members how to play the drum and then invite them to play along with him. The program begins at 8 p.m. at Noh Space, 2840 Mariposa (at Alabama), S.F. Admission is $8; call 621-7978.
There's No Moon Out Tonight In the immortal words of Steve Martin, a day without sunshine is like ... night. It would follow, then, that a night without moonlight is like ... dark. A No-Moon Walk to Point Bonita reveals the Marin Headlands in a whole new light, or rather, without light, other than the glow of lanterns and the twinkle of the stars. Outdoor adventurers walk a half-mile down a gradual slope, through a pedestrian tunnel, and over a suspension bridge to the Point Bonita Lighthouse, where they are rewarded with views of the city skyline at night. The No-Moon Walk is one of several guided walking tours the National Park Service leads through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Walkers are advised to wear warm clothes and sturdy shoes, and meet docent Mike Heiner at 5 p.m. at the Point Bonita trailhead, Field Road, Marin Headlands. Admission is free but reservations are required; call 331-1540.
Gray Matter In Swimming to Cambodia, theatrical raconteur Spalding Gray told us of his adventures in that country while he was waiting around on the set of The Killing Fields, in which he played a bit part. In Monster in a Box, he described how his travels from L.A. to the former Soviet Union kept interrupting his efforts to write a biographical novel. Now, in It's a Slippery Slope, Gray explains how he stemmed a tide of midlife crises -- like turning 52, the age of his mother when she committed suicide -- by taking up the potentially fatal sport of skiing. This is Gray's 15th monologue, and by rights audiences ought to be tired of hearing him talk about himself by now, but Gray is a master of the sly observation and the memorable anecdote, which must be what keeps us coming back. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and continues through Jan. 4) at the Geary Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $15-35; call 749-2228.