The Artist Formerly Known as Yo! In How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, the comic, captivating first novel by Julia Alvarez, four sisters take turns describing their coming of age in New York City following their family's exodus from the Dominican Republic. Yo!, the sequel to Garcia Girls, is like a portrait of the artist rewritten by the artist's long-suffering family and friends: A former teacher, a landlady, an ex-husband, a stalker, and the grown Garcia sisters and their parents give Yolanda Garcia's narrative a reality check with frank accounts of her artistic development from their own varied perspectives. Alvarez, whose work also includes the poetry anthologies The Other Side/El Otro Lado and Homecoming and whose second novel, In the Time of the Butterflies, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Award for fiction, is interviewed onstage by Gina Mackintosh, executive director of California Poets in the Schools, at 8 p.m. in the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), S.F. Admission is $16 (and benefits CPS); call 392-4400.
Text-Mex Don't be put off by the Mexican gangsters, the Jewish mothers, the belligerent Irish drunks, the bomb-toting Arabs, and the other assorted characters pooling outside interactive performance piece The Mexterminator Project; viewers who arrive costumed as cultural stereotypes get a discount on the admission charge. Performance artist Guillermo Gomez-Pena and collaborator Roberto Sifuentes -- inspired by reaction to their exhibit "Temple of Confessions" at Washington, D.C.'s Corcoran Gallery and the accompanying Web site, where over 5,000 people anonymously unloaded their feelings about their own heritage and what they fear and admire in people from other cultures -- took their inquiry on race relations a step further with this piece. It's a walk-through exhibit of living dioramas, a sort of natural history museum for stereotypes, where a big cast of characters like Mad Mex speak, move, and interact with the audience. Choreographer Sara Shelton Mann, filmmaker Gustavo Vasquez, and soundscape artist Rona Michele are among the contributors who expand the show's parameters, while interactive computer artist Lucia Grossberg-Morales adds projections and computer stations where viewers can further pursue the ethnographic debate. The show opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through March 7) at Somar Gallery, 934 Brannan (at Ninth Street), S.F. Admission is $10-20; call 621-7797.
Brothers in Arms What can't the Flying Karamazov Brothers juggle? Audiences keep bringing unwieldy items like computers and submarine sandwiches to "The Gamble" segment of the troupe's shows, hoping to find out. If their guy can juggle it, he gets a standing ovation; if he can't, it's pie-in-the-face time. There are limits to the challenge: Items must be lighter than 10 pounds, no bigger than a breadbox, and cannot be living creatures, which rules out cat juggling and the like. When they're not handling slimy chicken livers (yes, someone really brought those), the Brothers do musical juggling, so in addition to the blur of clubs and balls whizzing past, their concert "Sharps, Flats, and Accidentals" promises nonstandard juggling fare like taiko percussion pounded out on cardboard boxes, giant xylophones tickled with juggling mallets, and Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" played on radio-triggered helmets they wear on their very own heads. The nuttiness has been progressing for years -- over 20 of them in fact, back to the time when the Brothers were San Francisco street performers. Their new show begins at 8 p.m. (also 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday) at Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft & Telegraph, UC Berkeley campus. Admission is $22-38; call (510) 642-9988.
Hot Jambes Quebecoise dance came screaming out of the box a decade ago with La La La Human Steps, a company characterized by its death-defying physicality and the rock band that played live onstage as the dancers dove headfirst into one another's arms. Montreal's O Vertigo, a similarly athletic bunch with a pensive streak and a talent for beautiful, disturbing visuals, has blazed its name across the international dance map. Now there is La Compagnie de Danse L'Astragale, a product of Quebec with that region's trademark intensity. The company performs Du Balcon, a timely meditation on loneliness and vulnerability set against a desolate winter landscape, and premieres Liebe, Lust, Frust by director Sonya Delwaide and Gravidez by co-director Jadson Caldeira. The show begins at 8 p.m. (also 8 p.m. Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday) at ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. (at Shotwell), S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 863-9834.
Bad-Mouth Bozos Shakes and Homey did it first, but the Detroit rap duo known as Insane Clown Posse have gotten the most mileage out of that profanity-spewing brawling clown thing. These clowns can put on a show, although the music -- scatological raps bouncing over warped carnival midway noise and bleats of pipe organ -- is the least interesting thing about it. The fans, who arrive in full clown makeup, are drenched with soda that the band's crew sprays into the crowd throughout the performance, causing copious clown makeup bleeding. The Posse could only hope to be so scary, although Disney, which owns the record label that put out the band's first CD, found them just scary enough to recall the CD six short hours after it was publicly released. But the group's brand of "horror rap" found a new label, and the rerelease of its album The Great Milenko features contributions from Alice Cooper (scary), the Sex Pistols' Steve Jones (clown), and Slash (foulmouthed drunk clown). Insane Clown Posse have boasted that they make Marilyn Manson look like Hanson; for comparison purposes, stop by Virgin Megastore (2 Stockton at Market) at 8 p.m. tomorrow night, where Manson will be signing copies of his autobiography. Myzery and Psycho Realm open for ICP at 9 p.m. tonight at the Maritime Hall, 450 Harrison (at First Street), S.F. Admission is $15; call 974-0634.