Dying Is Easy; Comedy Is Hard The Twinkie defense meets its match in the one-man comedy So, I Killed a Few People .... David Summers stars as Archie Nunn, a serial killer whose last request on death row is to stage a one-man show about his life. Before anyone can cry, "Haven't we suffered enough?" Nunn reveals the personal details that made him go mental: He spent his childhood in the shadow of Disney World, where his dad controlled the relentlessly cheery animatronic figures, and was so damaged by the experience that he grew up to become an ad copywriter. That's basically it, and that's enough for Summers' theatrical home base, Chicago's Annoyance Theater, which has concocted other irreverent comedies like Ayn Rand Gives Me a Boner and Co-Ed Prison Sluts, the latter of which has been enjoying an extended run in S.F., and in which Summers may be making appearances while he's in town. The show begins at 8:45 p.m. (and runs through March 21) at the Cable Car Theater, 430 Mason (at Geary), S.F. Admission is $15; call 956-8497.
King of the Wild Frontier If we could do it all over again we'd probably be sorry, or at least that's the sense we get from playwright Peter Carlaftes' most recent theatrical vision, Frontier a Go-Go. A man living on the Nebraska plains circa 1872 uses a time machine to summon a hippie drifter and a budding feminist who have just conceived a daughter at a rock concert in 1972, and then summons the daughter, aged 25, from her 1997 date with a cybergeek. The scientific stranger, who may or may not be related to them, brings them together to iron out the wrinkles of the future, but he ends up snarling the past when everyone tries to create revisionist personal histories. Director Carlaftes, who played God in his last show at the Marilyn, Anity, returns to the stage in this comic piece, which opens at 9 p.m. (and runs through March 21) at the Marilyn Monroe Memorial Theater, 96 Lafayette (at 11th Street), S.F. Admission is $15; call 552-3034.
Golden Girls It takes a missionary to ruin a man's sex life in David Henry Hwang's Golden Child, the story of an East-West culture clash inspired by stories Hwang's grandmother told him about his great-grandfather's family. The drama, set in Manhattan and early 20th-century China, unfolds courtesy of daughter Ahn, who describes the tumult after her father converts to Christianity and sets off a power struggle among his three wives. Regular moviegoers may remember Jeremy Irons' turn in the movie version of Hwang's M. Butterfly, and ought to recognize at least two of the three actresses playing the wives in Child: Tsai Chin (First Wife) appeared in Red Corner and The Joy Luck Club; and Ming-Na Wen (Third Wife), who also appeared in The Joy Luck Club, is Wesley Snipes' wronged spouse in Mike Figgis' One Night Stand. The show previews at 8 p.m. (and runs through March 15) at the Geary Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $11-51; call 749-2228.
Urban Trails and Tiger Tails The only treasure hunt happening locally on the American New Year is the exhaustive and often fruitless quest for cabs. The Chinese New Year's Treasure Hunt, on the other hand, is an organized quest with a potluck party and champagne toasts waiting on the other end. Teams race through the streets and alleys of Chinatown, the Financial District, and North Beach, guided by a series of cryptic clues incorporating local lore, penned by private investigator Jayson Wechter. A sample: "On the little street of maidens, look for the sign of the double C, and Frank Lloyd's circle is what you'll see." Easy, right? Double C, maidens ... something near the Chanel store on Maiden Lane. There are three levels of difficulty to this game, though, so if the beginner's category seems too simple, sleuths can try their luck in the regular or master's divisions. What makes this year's race particularly appealing, aside from the pleasure of matching wits with strangers and raising money for the Bay Area Women's and Children's Center, is that it takes place during the Chinese New Year Parade, so the hundreds of participating detectives are forced to think clearly in the midst of festive chaos. The hunt begins at 5 p.m. at Pier 1/2, Market & the Embarcadero, S.F. Admission is $17-20; call 564-9400. The parade begins at 6 p.m. at Steuart & Market, S.F. Admission is free; call 982-3000. For more Chinese New Year events, see our Calendar listings on Page 24.
Whistle-Stop Thousands of toy trains will be chugging and whistling down thousands of miles of track, past petite schools and tiny shops, through dense forests of thumb-high trees, around lakes the size of dinner plates, and alongside green pastures where miniature spotted cows nibble Astroturf. The preciousness index practically shoots through the roof, in other words, at the Great American Train Show, at which model train enthusiasts and collectors have been known to plunk down hundreds of dollars each year to re-create train routes and quaint small-scale towns in exacting detail. The show begins at 11 a.m. (also Sunday) at the Cow Palace, Geneva & Santos, Daly City. Admission is free-$5; call 469-6065.