Night + Day

Wednesday
February 25
Oh, the Humanity! Titanic's 14 Oscar nominations probably sent a few Hollywood directors scrambling for another historic disaster to salvage, but local director Greg MacKellan is the man to beat. His new musical Lusitania tells the dramatic true story of the submarine fire that sank the RMS Lusitania luxury liner during World War I. MacKellan paces the shrieking and flailing with lovely original melodies and a couple of snappy dance numbers. Lusitania-the-sinking-ship is a true story, but Lusitania-the-musical is a spoof of the Broadway musical Titanic, and will play at "Keep Your Under-shirt On," a fund-raiser for 42nd Street Moon's Delicious Dames of Broadway! series. The fund-raiser's theme is "Flops, Flops Aplenty," and besides performing the Lusitania passage, which boasts bad dialogue and overproduced songs, 42nd Street Moon regulars will read actual reviews and perform actual songs from real Broadway productions that sunk faster than a palatial cruise ship, including the 1968 Brenda Vaccaro vehicle How Now, Dow Jones and the Harold Prince bomb It's Superman. Never heard of 'em? MacKellan rests his case. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. at the New Conservatory Theater Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), S.F. Admission is $30; call 861-8972.

Thursday
February 26
Style Counsl As Vogue's then-editor, Diana Vreeland delivered the aftershocks of the 1960s "youthquake" with spreads on Twiggy, Edie, and other mop-haired, fringe-lashed, underfed, overindulged beauties. By that late date, Vreeland was an institutional taste-maker who'd been trend-spotting for the social set for nearly 30 years; in the '40s, as editor of Harper's Bazaar, she'd extolled the joys of a jaunty scarf and champagne cocktails after tennis in her column "Why don't you ... " The road from Babe Paley to Andy Warhol ended abruptly, however, when Vreeland was fired from Vogue in 1971, and that's where Full Gallop, a comic one-woman show about her life, begins. Writers Mary Louise Wilson and Mark Hampton took their cues from Vreeland's memoirs, but Vreeland, whose eyebrow-raising non sequiturs made for plenty of funny stories, got the last laugh; after her dismissal, the Met's Costume Institute hired her as a consultant and devoted an exhibit to her legacy, while Vogue, helmed by Grace Mirabella right after Vreeland's departure, has since gone to hell under the editorship of Anna Wintour. Elizabeth Ashley, a Broadway veteran with a couple of Tony nominations under her belt, plays Vreeland. This unannounced offering in the '97-98 "Best of Broadway" series opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through April 5) at the Stage Door Theater, 420 Mason (at Geary), S.F. Admission is $20-55; call 776-1999.

Friday
February 27
Give In to Resistance Los Cenzontles and a dance combo in nearby Building A at Fort Mason will provide the mood music at the opening of the Mexican Museum's "In the Spirit of Resistance: African-American Modernists and the Mexican Muralist School," an 85-piece collection of sketches, sculpture, easel paintings, and prints by African-American artists like Sargent Claude Johnson, Hale Woodruff, and Elizabeth Catlett, who were influenced by Mexican muralists like David Alfaro Siqueiros and Diego Rivera. In addition to the obvious art-history lesson the show provides, tracing the arc of artistic influence over time and borders, the exhibit complements the "Art of the Harlem Renaissance" at the Legion of Honor, which is also showing some of these artists. The opening celebration, at which food and drink will be served, begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Mexican Museum, Building D, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is free-$10; call 441-0404.

Still Life With Mickey's A sense of urgency distinguishes the "Four-Hour Art Show" from typical art openings; danger lurks in certain installations here, and rather than having a month to consider potential purchases, art lovers have but an evening, which robs them of valuable wine- and cheese-scarfing time. Former Filth magazine editor Seth Maxwell Malice has curated the exhibit, which includes his own prints along with work by Hate comics cover illustrator Jim Blanchard; photos by Christine Ryan; Dawn "Giant Lady" Thomas' indoor golf range installation, rumored to involve flying 40-ouncers and golf balls and a guest injury waiver at the door; and body sculpture by Chaos Kitty, who, according to Lab Administrative Director Elisabeth Beaird, comes from the "Karen Finley yam-and-chocolate-pudding school of art." Cliff Haus spins ambient sound and noise designed to enhance perusal and purchase, and prices will be so reasonable, says Beaird, that viewers who walk in with just 10 clams in their pockets will be able to walk out with a piece of certified art. The show, a precursor to the "Raw: Emerging Performance at the Lab" event on Sunday, begins at 7 p.m. at the Lab, 2948 16th St. (at Capp), S.F. Admission is free (donations accepted); call 864-8855.

The Agony, Et Cetera Filmmaker Mike Leigh has a genius for characters who are unequivocally losing it: Witness the angry anorexic adolescent who wreaks havoc in the lives of her parents and her twin sister in Life Is Sweet, or the woman whose sudden appearance in her biological mother's sorry life causes familial upheaval in Secrets & Lies. In both those films, the families work themselves into guardedly peaceful resolutions, but not until after the smoldering personal resentments have been exorcised and the screaming accusations have subsided. Thankfully, Leigh punctuates the trauma with bittersweet comedy, and his play Ecstasy, which treads on familiar working-class British territory, is no exception. Ecstasy follows four young North Londoners through one long night in 1979, when the drinking, carousing, and sleeping around are tempered with soul-baring and reminiscing about better times in the players' not-so-distant pasts. A six-member cast including British-born actors William Waghorn (Dog Boy of MTV's Liquid Television) and Sandie Armstrong (of the local production of Trainspotting) stages the Obie Award-winning show, which opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through March 21) at the Speakeasy Theater, 2016 Seventh St. (at University), Berkeley. Admission is $10-12; call (510) 798-1300.

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