Burning Bright Courage and passion are two of your strongest traits if you were born in the Year of the Tiger, according to the Chinese zodiac, which runs in a 12-year cycle with each year named for a different animal. The Year of the Tiger officially begins today with the exchange of red money envelopes and zodiacal information, the consumption of extravagant meals, and the lighting of firecrackers, but public Chinese New Year celebrations will continue through mid-February, culminating in San Francisco's Chinese New Year Parade, which begins at 6 p.m. Valentine's Day at Steuart and Market, whether the weather cooperates or not (and typically, it does not). The Chinese New Year Carnival Street Fair, a small but cheerfully noisy event featuring midway games and tasty snacks, runs from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily through Feb. 12 at Walter U. Lum Place, Washington & Clay, S.F. Admission is free; call 982-3071. Docents from the Chinese Culture Center will elaborate on the customs and beliefs associated with the Chinese New Year when they lead tours through Chinatown Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. ($8-20; call 986-1822 for mandatory reservations). And later this week, little kids dressed in tiger suits will try not to trip over their tails when they march down the street with Chinese lion dancers and percussionists, Korean folk dancers and drummers, Japanese taiko drummers, the New Orleans Mardi Gras Marching Band, the Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps, and Aztec dancers and drummers in the Oakland Lunar New Year Parade, which begins Sunday at noon, preceded at 11 a.m. by a percussion performance by Chinese lion dancers and Caribbean steel drummers, in Jack London Square, Broadway & Embarcadero, Oakland. Admission is free; call (510) 208-6080. Check upcoming calendar listings for more Chinese New Year events.
Expose Yourself to Art Exposure and risk are the unofficial themes of this year's S.F. Art Institute Salon Series, although the official theme, "Dangerous Element," echoes the uproar provoked by last year's Salon performance by the Satanic Apache Front, of Jack Daniel's bottle-blood ritual fame. It is only in the context of this illustrious heritage that this year's series seems downright tame in comparison, despite guests including Jordy Jones and Susan Stryker in Injectable Man and Testicle Hackey-Sack (March 5) and Scott McLeod in the roving, daylong, blindfolded ritual performance A Violin in the Dark (Feb. 26). Contraband alum Jess Curtis, Keith Hennessy, and Jules Beckman stage Ice/Car/Cage, a movement piece involving a car and a 300-pound block of ice, off-site in the Brady Street Dance Center parking lot (Feb. 19). The series runs Thursdays at 8 p.m. through March 5, beginning tonight with Nao Bustamante in text-performance-video work The Hustle in the Lecture Hall of the San Francisco Art Institute, 800 Chestnut (at Jones), S.F. Admission is free; call 749-4545.
Street Wise If the title of Greg Sarris' novel Grand Avenue sounds familiar, it could be due to Sarris' collaboration with Robert Redford, who produced an HBO miniseries based on three stories Sarris, a UCLA English professor and Miwok tribal chief, adapted from his own book; the miniseries screened locally at last year's Native American Film Festival. Now Intersection for the Arts' resident theater collective Campo Santo presents the world premiere of Joy Ride, which is also taken from Grand Avenue. This story, like the rest of the book, is set in the cross-cultural hub of Sarris' native Santa Rosa Grand Avenue neighborhood, and spans three generations of family, beginning with Albert, a mixed-race Portuguese farm worker whose joy ride with a local Native American girl has far-flung, long-term consequences. The show previews at 8 p.m. (and runs through March 1) at Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia (at 15th Street), S.F. Admission is $9-14; call 626-3311. "An Evening With Greg Sarris," which features a preview performance, champagne reception, and autograph session with the author, is held 8 p.m. Saturday at Intersection. Admission is $15-25; call 626-3311.
Putting the "Wow" in Powwow With "Cokata Upo!" the Midwest-based Lakota Sioux Indian Dance Theater invites audiences to "come to the center": This evening-length concert offers the grass, jingle dress, fancy, traditional, round, and intertribal dances central to Lakota culture. The 15-member company, founded in 1978 on South Dakota's Rosebud Reservation, weaves a vibrant performance from Lakota history, legends, and myths, augmenting the dancing with narration. Musicians perform sacred and courting songs as the dancers, wearing exquisitely feathered and fringed garments and headdresses, stamp out a rhythmic homage to the Earth and its inhabitants. The company's only local appearance begins at 8 p.m. at the Marin Center, Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Admission is $9-22; call 472-3500. Back in the city, Native American companies and dancers representing dozens of other ethnic groups will perform in 10-minute segments at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival Auditions, which are open to the public and begin at 8 p.m. tonight (and 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday) at the McKenna Theater, 1600 Holloway, SFSU campus. Admission is free-$5; call 474-3914.
Parlor Games Don't fear the bizarre Mary Poppins-like MC hosting off-kilter cabaret "Aunt Lucy's Parlour Tricks"; Aunt Lucy is really performance artist Beth Mann, and she probably won't hurt you, although she might disturb you a little. The cabaret, created by folks calling themselves 3 Trollops, debuts with a set of jazz oldies spun by DJ Romanowski, followed by performances from cancan dancers the Cantankerous Lollies, whose old-timey specialties include the chair dance and the sheet dance, in which a sheet is held up as a screen and a flashlight casts a shadow on the (gasp!) nude dancers behind it. (There may also be a trapeze involved in this set, but don't get your hopes up.) Latino drag queen Ineeda Richman, aka Alex Gutierez, sings of love and revenge with a collection of heart-rending rancheras, and contortionist Suzy Ming will turn herself inside out, a nice complement to vaudevillian performer Scott Malone, the physical-comedy guru who completes the guest roster. Romanowski closes out the show with a set of dance tunes. This is the first of several projected monthly cabarets; look for the "White-Trash Carmen" and "Southern Gothic" cabarets in the months to come. "Parlour Tricks" begins at 10 p.m. at the 111 Minna Street Gallery (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is $10, $5 for guests wearing extravagant costumes ("Although we'd be happy with a damn hat," says Trollop Linda Chavez); call 831-7681.
Pups Tent A great personality only goes so far at the Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show, the Miss California pageant of the dog world, where carefully coiffed, painstakingly pedicured beauties must demonstrate poise and grace under pressure if they expect to take home any kind of prize. Between the walking and posing segments of the show, contestants will be tested for good citizenship twice daily, at 1 and 3 p.m.; the nail-biting final judging portion begins at 2 p.m. Sunday. Over 2,200 pedigreed contestants representing 135 breeds have entered, from the Labs- and Rottweilers-next-door to slightly more exotic breeds like wirehaired pointing griffons and Irish water spaniels. The show begins at 8:30 a.m. (also Sunday) at the Cow Palace, Geneva & Santos, Daly City. Admission is $5-10; call 469-6000.
Deep in the Heart of Texas America's uneasy relationship with Mexico has had plenty to do with people living in close proximity fighting over land. Among the incidents in the countries' shared history was the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which brought an end to the U.S. war with Mexico, but started an ongoing debate about human rights and territorial borders. In observance of the 150th anniversary of the treaty signing, the National Chicano Human Rights Council is instituting Chicanan Human Rights Day, where the group's representatives, along with members of the Irish-Mexican Association, the Association of Descendants of Joaquin Murrieta, and other organizations, will discuss the human rights they say the treaty grants to Chicanos -- the first Americans of Mexican descent -- and the violation of those rights. The event, which begins with a ceremonial prayer and dance, and concludes with musical performances, begins at 2 p.m. on the Esplanade of Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission & Third Street, S.F. Admission is free; call (510) 893-3181. The observance is sandwiched in between two related art exhibits: "When Borders Migrate: Reflections on the 150th Anniversary of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo," a group show in which "Mickey Mouse meets Quetzacoatl" in work by Enrique Chagoya, Guillermo Gómez Pena, and others, running through March 7 at the San Francisco Art Commission Gallery, 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), S.F. Free; call 252-2568. And "Imaging Aztlan: Posters of the Chicano Movement," a group show featuring old and new work opening Feb. 3 and running through March 14 at Galeria de la Raza, 2857 24th St. (at Bryant), S.F. Free; call 826-8009. A "Border Cabaret" with Victor Martinez, Rebecca Solnit, and others will also be held 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, at Modern Times, 888 Valencia (at 20th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 282-9246.
Permanent Fixtures See how the other half lives, and where they find lifestyle accessories, at "Idea House at San Francisco Design Center," an interior-design showcase styled by designer Joe Ruggiero, whose work has been noted in House and Garden. There are three different "residences" in the showcase, each created with painstaking attention to detail, from the plush couches all the way down to the bathroom sink fixtures, but don't expect to see your kind represented unless Berkeley Hills Road, Napa Valley Lane, or Silicon Valley Drive are streets you frequent. For a really surreal afternoon, visit as many of the Design Center's 150 showrooms as you can after strolling through these mock homes, and muse on how many dwellings you could design, or destroy, by mixing all the different decorative fabrics and accessories, lighting supplies, flooring, and furniture. The show opens at 10 a.m. (and is up through September) at the San Francisco Design Center, 101 Henry Adams (at Townsend), S.F. Admission is free; call 490-5800.
Woo Hah! With a shake of his dreadlocked head, Busta Rhymes can transform himself from an R&B smoothie backing up Mary J. Blige to the sly, high-stepping hip-hopper who grabbed our attention with the manic "Woo-Hah! (Got You All in Check)." The latter came from his 1996 debut solo album The Coming, which came out after Rhymes' first group, Long Island's Leaders of the New School, went bust. Rhymes has bounced back with a second record, When Disaster Strikes, which shows off the effects of his raspy delivery on a fluid hip-hop groove. Mystik Journeymen open for Busta Rhymes at 9 p.m. at the Maritime Hall, 450 Harrison (at First Street), S.F. Admission is $20-22; call 974-0634.