Night + Day

Wednesday
March 18
Blues Jones The woman who first sang "T'ain't Nobody's Biz-ness If I Do" becomes everyone's business in My Castle's Rockin', Larry Parr's musical theater biography of jazz-blues great Alberta Hunter. Medea Project founder Rhodessa Jones, accompanied live by Rudi Mwongozi, stars in this one-woman cabaret show about Hunter's wild life, a natural for the theater. Hunter split from Memphis at age 12 and traveled to Chicago, where she worked her way up through seedy joints to big cabarets and, finally, to Manhattan, to sing with Louis Armstrong and record songs for Paramount like "Down Hearted Blues," a hit for Bessie Smith. Hunter's love affair with another woman, Lottie Taylor, effectively ended her marriage; her long career was capped by tours through Europe and with the USO in Asia, after which she became a nurse until she was pulled out of retirement in the '70s. Adele Prandini directs the show, which previews at 8 p.m. (and continues through April 18) at Theater Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St. (at Van Ness), S.F. Admission is $12-22; call 861-5079.

Thursday
March 19
Remember the Alamo? After all that sordid business with Kurt, Courtney, Courtney's lawyers, and the rest of it, the Roxie celebrates its 22nd birthday with a screening of Pee-wee's Big Adventure, taking us all back to a more innocent time before Pee-wee's alter ego, Paul Reubens, had a big adventure in a Florida porn theater. During the quest for his missing bike, Pee-wee stumbles upon giant dinosaurs, has the bejeezus scared out of him by bug-eyed trucker lady Large Marge, and does the "Tequila" dance on top of the bar. Remember? Heh heh! The film screens with champagne and door prizes at 7:30 p.m. (and without at 10 p.m.) at the Roxie Cinema, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia), S.F. Admission is $3-6.50; call 863-1087.

Friday
March 20
Pin Pals Human bowling, rarely seen outside movies and cartoons, comes to the Bowl for Kids' Sake bowl-athon, and this year's "Extreme Bowling" theme means more than just the Rollerblading team performing great feats of bowling on wheels. It means locking real live people inside 4-foot cages and heaving them down a lane toward 5-foot pins, opening up brand-new avenues for injuries, nausea, and jokes about scoring, bowling people over, etc. The nutty team costumes, lights, fog machine, and DJ'd music make even the regular bowling seem extreme, and the $1 beers and $2 well drinks add an irresistible, dangerous appeal. Take a sick day from work; this qualifies. The games benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of the East Bay and begin at 1:30 p.m. at Japantown Bowl, 1790 Post (at Webster), S.F. Admission is $80-100 in pledges for a three- to five-person team; call (510) 729-5050 for pledge sheets and more information.

Saturday
March 21
Meow Mixer The highly imaginative folks at the Friskies/CFA San Francisco Reveler's Cat Show are intent on educating people about cat behavior (cats that greet you belly-up aren't necessarily dead; they're just trusting) and debunking cat-related myths, like cats being untrainable. To prove it, all four feline members of the Friskies Cat Team will do tricks like rolling over, walking a tightrope, and jumping through hoops. The secret to training cats is to capitalize on what the experts call "conditioned response," the same tiny brain flash that makes cats come running at the sound of a can opener. Since felines seem more interested in eating than in pleasing their owners, trainers suggest drilling cats around mealtime, using food as a reward for good behavior, although they're certainly not suggesting owners withhold food until the cat learns a trick. Trainers will use the cat team to show owners basic cat training techniques; over 500 pedigreed cats and kittens and non-pedigreed household pets will provide the rest of the entertainment at the show, which raises money for animal shelters and opens at 10 a.m. (also Sunday) at the San Mateo Expo Center, 2495 S. Delaware (at El Camino), San Mateo. Admission is $4-8; call (800) 725-4CAT.

Be Vewy Quiet They won't tell you who's buried in Grant's tomb, but the guides leading the Necropolis Tour -- a bike ride in and around the many cemeteries of Colma -- will be wheeling up to the final resting places of famous Bay Area personalities like Wyatt Earp and Levi Strauss and giving riders the lowdown, as well as providing an overview of the town itself. The tour covers five or six cemeteries as well as a look inside the grounds and the stained glass panels of the mausoleum at Cypress Lawn. Nearly 40 people rode in the last Necropolis Tour in '94, which is a lot of activity in a place where the dead outnumber the living. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition leads the ride, which begins at the Daly City BART station entrance, Junipero Serra & John Daly, Daly City. Admission is free-$10 and riders should pack their own lunches; call 431-BIKE.

Snow Scene Photographer James Barker lived through several seasons with Yup'ik Eskimos to research his book Always Getting Ready: Yup'ik Eskimo Subsistence in Southwest Alaska. The 20,000-odd Yup'ik spread out in 52 villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, a mighty cold area about the size of Oregon, are the largest population of Native Americans to live continuously on their traditional lands. Seasons there are not like seasons in the lower 48: Harsh conditions necessitate constant "getting ready" periods in order to live year-round off the land. Forget about spring and autumn and think instead of "Seals Month," when residents take advantage of the partial spring thaw to go seal hunting; "Fish Hitting" season, when families move into fish camps for the smelt, salmon, and herring runs during the true thaw; berry-picking season; and the winter dancing season, "The Time of Going Around," when the frozen tundra makes visits by snowmobile viable. Barker's black-and-white photos, compiled with the assistance of linguists and anthropologists, are arranged by season in the traveling exhibit "Always Getting Ready: Photography of the Yup'ik Eskimo," which documents the lives of the people, and the effect 21st-century concerns have had on traditional language and culture, which the Yup'ik have maintained, despite the management of their school system shifting from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to the state. The show opens at 10 a.m. (and runs through Aug. 2) at the California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is free-$8.50; call 750-7145.

Sunday
March 22
Favorite Haunts A View to a Kill was filmed in part at the Dunsmuir Estate; so was So I Married an Axe Murderer. Now the estate plans to screen another scary film shot on location and starring the intimidating Bette Davis: Burnt Offerings, the story of a young couple who plan to rent a summer home in the country, only to find that the house has some strange and frightening diversions in store. The 40-acre estate has hosted lighthearted revels like Christmas pageants and art deco parties, but something about it seems to invite cinematic horror. Maybe it's because lumber and coal-mining baron Alexander Dunsmuir, who built the estate, died on his honeymoon and never got a chance to live there, or because Dunsmuir's wife expired shortly after he did and the house was sold to Wells Fargo family the Hellmans, or maybe it's because the city carved a few hundred acres out of the original property to build on. Look for clues when the film screens in the carriage house at 1:30 p.m. The mansion is open for self-guided tours at 3 p.m. at the Dunsmuir House and Gardens Historic Estate, 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland. Admission is $10 (includes screening, tour, and refreshments); call (510) 658-3873.

Spill the Wine She was born the illegitimate daughter of a pope, and things just went downhill from there for Italian Renaissance woman Lucrezia Borgia, who married three different men, only to see one marriage annulled, another husband (a fellow bastard) bumped off, and vicious rumors spread about the incestuous relationships she is said to have had with her brothers and father. She was once a significant patron of the arts, but her good intentions were ultimately eclipsed by these and other unsubstantiated but persistent rumors that she aided her family's rise to power by plying her detractors with poisoned wine. The Pocket Opera and Philharmonic stage Donizetti's long-lost opera Lucrezia Borgia, based on the novel by Victor Hugo (and later rewritten as La Rinnegata after Hugo objected), at 3 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El, 2 Lake (at Arguello), S.F. Admission is $10-25; call 575-1102.

Monday
March 23
Oscar Wieners There were reports of noisy disgruntlement at the Roxie's Oscar party the year Braveheart cleaned up, so it'll be fun to see how Titanic goes down at the sixth annual Up the Academy Awards! party. This is a good place for people who favor small, unusual pictures over Hollywood epics, and who don't mind a little public commentary on the emotional speechifying and expensive gowns. Unlike other parties of its ilk, it is also BYO-whatever-you're-having. It begins at 5 p.m. at the Roxie Cinema, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia), S.F. Admission is $6.50; call 863-1087. Oscar Night at the Fringe, meanwhile, provides snacks and a no-host bar, and gives guests a little dose of the stage with the Tinseltown by announcing the lineup for the Fringe Festival theater marathon taking place this fall. The Oscars will be broadcast on two big-screen TVs at the party, which begins at 5 p.m. at the Exit Theater, 156 Eddy (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $10; call 673-3847. The dress code will be a little stiffer at the 18th annual Academy of Friends shindig Epic: A Night Full of Heroes, where the admission charge benefits local AIDS service agencies and covers tables loaded with delicacies from local restaurateurs and wines from local vintners, along with prize drawings and auctions. It begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $125; call 252-0713. The Oscar Night America party, a benefit for the Film Institute of Northern California and the only local event to be licensed by the Academy, provides a four-course dinner and auction, and begins with a champagne toast at 4:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery (at Market), S.F. Admission is $150-250; call 383-5346. And finally, the second annual Fuck the Academy Awards night features dollar beers, snacks, laundry facilities, and singer Rube Waddell and guitarist Henry Kaiser performing at the ongoing "Unscrubbed: Live From the Laundromat" series beginning at 9 p.m. at Brain Wash, 1122 Folsom (at Seventh Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 255-4866.

Tuesday
March 24
Funny Girl It's the Mouth that makes Sandra Bernhard stand out: not so much the ample, lipsticked, gap-toothed grin, but what Bernhard says once she opens up. Since the late '70s when she began as a manicurist/stand-up comic in L.A., Bernhard has based her wry, heavily referential material on the dual cults of personality and pop culture. Her links to celebrities like Madonna and Isaac Mizrahi and her conspicuous movement within exclusive social sets have made her as much a celebrity as the work she's done, which has spanned film (with a role in The King of Comedy), TV (as a regular on Roseanne), music (with her CD Excuses for Bad Behavior), and books (like her fairly premature autobiography Confessions of a Pretty Lady). Bernhard's one-woman show I'm Still Here ... Damn It! traffics in more of the same, and reassures fans who had begun to miss her; it opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through April 4) at the Alcazar Theater, 650 Geary (at Jones), S.F. Admission is $35-38.50; call (510) 762-2277.

AIDS in Stages Latin Hustle explores the cult of Selena and traces the ominous transformation of burritos into "wraps" in Full Frontal Rudity, a three-man show about all things Latino, queer, and funny. Theirs is the first performance in the weeklong Latino/a AIDS Theater Festival, now in its fifth year and slated to run concurrently with the eighth annual AIDS Theater Festival and the 10th National AIDS Update Conference held at the Civic Auditorium. Artistic Director Hank Tavera credits a disproportionate rise in HIV and AIDS among Latinos as a reason for the Mission-Castro offshoot of the downtown festival, as well as the need for a little levity. Safe sex is the theme at the second night's show, "We Will Survive," a bilingual drag spectacle (10:30 p.m. Wednesday at Esta Noche, 3079 16th St. at Mission; $5), while playwright Erin Cressida-Wilson's piece about coming of age in the city, The Changing Face, shares the bill with Sean San Jose's Pieces of the Quilt and Ya Vas, Carnal, a one-man work by Culture Clash's Herbert Siguenza at a two-night performance marathon (8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Theater Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St. at South Van Ness; $5). Juan Roca's comic play El Baul de las Maravillas (The Marvelous Chest) closes the festival (8:30 p.m. Saturday at Theater Rhino). Latin Hustle's performance tonight benefits LLEGO California at 8:30 p.m. at Josie's Cabaret & Juice Joint, 3583 16th St. (at Market), S.F. Admission is a $10-15 donation; call 554-8436.

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