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.
Rassle-Dazzle Incredibly Strange Wrestling may seem a little surreal after a few drinks in one of the bars where it's usually held, but imagine how it would seem stone-cold sober in a high school gym, surrounded by screaming teen-agers. Better yet, just go and find out at the Incredibly Strange Wrestling Benefit for the Mission High School Wrestling Team. ISW is luche libre, Mexican wrestling, which isn't like the grappling that goes on in American high schools, at least at the official wrestling meets: Competitors wear menacing but colorful masks and have WWF-type names like Homo Loco, Super Burrito, Kung Fu Loo, Inbred Abomination, and Count Dante. A DJ will rev up the crowd, which is encouraged to throw tortillas into the ring, where 12 matches are scheduled to take place. Anyone who buys a ticket is eligible to win T-shirts, CDs, and gift certificates from KUSF and Amoeba in a raffle, which will also feature wrestling dolls and masks donated by wrestler La Chingona. The event begins at 7 p.m. at Mission High School, 3750 18th St. (at Dolores), S.F. Admission is $5-7; call (650) 994-6575.
Color Scheme The record release party for Map of Wyoming ought to feel more like a family reunion to die-hard local popsters and their fans; Map of Wyoming is former Flying Color bandmates Dale Duncan, Chris von Sneidern, and John Stuart, plus Transistor bassist Larry Dekker, and their first CD, Round Trip, makes its public debut with a little help from their friends, guitarist Chuck Prophet and Breeders/Buckets violinist Carrie Bradley. This kind of rallying 'round owes something to the popularity of the late Flying Color, a big mid-'80s Frontier pop band that shared bills with Camper Van and the Replacements, whose Paul Westerberg Map of Wyoming acknowledge as a songwriting influence. Some listeners may discern shades of Westerberg's forebear, the sweetly melancholy Big Star, as well. The show begins at 9 p.m. at the Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St. (at Capp), S.F. Admission is $4; call 647-2888.
Harupin Turn Sound guru Peter Turner sends butoh dance company Harupin Ha off in new directions at a joint concert where the company performs Sketches for Mayura. Company founder Koichi Tamano has long roots in the comparatively new form; he was a disciple of butoh innovator Tatsumi Hijikata, with whom he created the group in Tokyo in 1972. When he moved west to Berkeley in '78, Tamano helped ease local audiences into butoh, a slow and deliberate movement style steeped in the apocalyptic shudders of the atomic age. Tamano and Turner will be joined by visual artist Tomoko Murakami at the show, which begins at 8 p.m. at Noh Space, 2840 Mariposa (at Florida), S.F. Admission is $8; call 621-7978.
Re:Lent Millions of Catholics will be getting their last ya-yas out at the Mardi Gras and Carnaval blowouts preceding Lent and its requisite religious penitence, joined by crowds of nonbelievers whose contrition the morning after will have more to do with hangovers and dim memories of shiny beads and bright feathers. San Francisco isn't exactly the Big Easy or Brazil, where revelry begins days before Lent, but as it does with other holidays, the city will host a smattering of parties with very local variations on the themes. Celebrate Fat Tuesday proper with a dish of spicy jambalaya at the Red Devil Lounge Mardi Gras, where Irene's Cuisine and DJ Motion Potion offer New Orleans rock and back-porch bayou funk, and guests are festooned with glittery metallic bead necklaces (9 p.m. at the Red Devil Lounge, 1695 Polk at Clay, S.F., 242-9940; $5-6). The Berkeley Farmers Market Mardi Gras Celebration features a costume parade with minifloats and live music by the Aux Cajunals (1 p.m.-dusk at Derby & MLK, Berkeley, (510) 548-3333; free). Leather folk top the standard chaps-and-boots ensemble with sequined and feathered masks at the Five-Bar South-of-Market Mardi Gras Party, a pub crawl hosted by the Eagle Tavern, the Hole in the Wall Saloon, the Lone Star Saloon, My Place, and Powerhouse (6-10 p.m., $8, 255-8550). As for pre-Mardi Gras warm-up events: Vivendo de Pao play a samba party at the Great American Music Hall (9 p.m. Friday, 859 O'Farrell, S.F., 885-0750; $9). There's a Mardi Gay Ball, with fancy Carnaval costumes by the Birds of Paradise, Brazilian band Liza Silva, DJ'd Brazilian music from El Rio's D-jay Clay, and a boys' beachwear show (6 p.m. Sunday at Bahia Cabana, 1600 Market, S.F., (650) 802-9491; $10). And finally, Croatians and their friends throw pre-Lenten carnival the Poklada Festival, with Croatian folk dance and live music by the Slavonian Traveling Band and St. Anthony's Tamburitsa Orchestra (3 p.m. Sunday at the Slavonic Cultural Center, 60 Onondaga, S.F., 467-7861; free-$10). For more Mardi Gras festivities, check club listings.