Great Scott! Monty Python's BBC radio play on the death of Mary Queen of Scots began with a man inquiring in a heavy Scottish burr, "Yoo arrrr Mary, Queen of Scots?" A woman replied, "I am!" and the play abruptly concluded with the sound of violent blows. It's true that Mary came to a brutal end, but the events leading to the fatal head injury ordered by her cousin Elizabeth I are as dramatic as Mary's death itself, and ACT gives us a more thorough, likely picture of what happened with German playwright Friedrich Schiller's romantic-era thriller Mary Stuart. Parallels emerge between Tudor England and Clinton America as both queens deal with the sex scandals and espionage that come with running a country; back then, though, the personal and the political were even more densely tangled. Mary was made queen as a baby, married multiple times, caused an insurrection, and eventually lost her crown to her son; Elizabeth entertained Catholic suitors to ward off an invasion of Protestant England by Catholic Rome and France, and imprisoned Mary for scheming with Euro-Catholic pals. The intrigue begins at 8 p.m. (and runs through April 26) at the Geary Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), S.F. Tonight is "Bring what you can/pay what you wish" night; audiences who donate canned tuna in water or boxes of cold cereal for Project Open Hand can pay any amount for tickets, which go on sale at 6 p.m.; call 749-2228.
Dear Old Dead Dad A father's funeral inspires some familial spleen-venting in Joseph O'Connor's Red Roses and Petrol, which makes its West Coast premiere courtesy of the Shotgun Players. The Dublin author of True Believers and Cowboys and Indians wrote this, his first play, around an already messed-up family undone by tragedy, as an alcoholic son, a disillusioned daughter, and the others get liquored up and wage war over Dad's philandering and some videotapes he made of himself at work. The show, featuring Owen Murphy, Esther Mulligan, and American Trainspotting production cast member Johnny McMorrough, begins at 8 p.m. (and runs through April 26) at the 450 Geary Studio Theater, 450 Geary (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $12-15; call (510) 655-0813.
Somebody Say Aloha! Who knew hula could be so wild? Ethnic Dance Festival watchers did; they've seen the hula taken way beyond the wavelike arms and swaying hips by groups like Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu and O Kui'uleinani, whose dancers perform at the ninth annual Kapalakiko Hawaiian Music Get-Together: Two Families of Pauoa. Esteemed family members at this musical reunion include "the First Lady of Hawaiian song," chang-a-lang singer Aunty Genoa Keawe, a veteran of Honolulu's traditional hula music scene who accompanies herself on the ukulele. She and co-headliner Kaiponohea Hale, a fellow Honoluluan revered for his originals, will be joined onstage by the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band, who gravitate toward the old Hawaiian songs, although they have some fusion pieces in their repertoire. Small-plate snacks will be served, arts and crafts shown, and musical recordings sold at the show, which begins at 6 p.m. at the Riordan High School Gymnasium, 175 Phelan (at Judson), S.F. Admission is free-$15; call 468-7125. As a warm-up, swing by and see master chanter Charles Ka'upu and modern Hawaiian band Kapena perform with the Na Mele Hula 'Ohana dancers as part of Macy's Hawaiian flower show. The concert begins at 1 p.m. in Union Square, Powell & O'Farrell, S.F. Admission is free; call 393-3724.
But First, a Little "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" The belated answer, for the guy who asked where to find bluegrass locally, is not many places other than Berkeley's Freight & Salvage, Marin's Sweetwater, and San Francisco's Radio Valencia, where local bluegrass bands play every Sunday night. Twice monthly, amid the comfortable kitsch of old album covers, family photos, toys, and hanging instruments, The Dark Hollow Bluegrass Band take the floor, led by singer/guitarist John Kornhauser. He and a core group playing guitar, stand-up bass, violin, and banjo run through the traditional bluegrass catalog, pulling out standards like Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky" or the Stanley Brothers' "Little Maggie." On any given night, however, Kornhauser invites guests from the bluegrass community to stand in, so if Marlene the waitress puts down her beer tray and steps up to the mike for a sweet rendition of "You Are My Sunshine," don't be surprised. The show begins at 7 p.m. at Radio Valencia, 1199 Valencia (at 23rd Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 826-1199.
All That She Wants There's something you should know about Veronica Klaus, something about the leggy blond glamour gal that may surprise you: She plays the tuba. Klaus, the smoky voice of swinging 12-piece outfit the Veronica Klaus Heart and Soul Revue, has recorded a debut album titled All I Want. She'll perform original songs like the funk-inflected "Dirty Little Secret" and covers including the Shangri-Las/Aerosmith vehicle "(Remember) Walking in the Sand," redone as torch, at a CD release party, where she'll be joined onstage by Eric McFadden of Liar, Ledisi of Anibade, and the backup singers and dancers of Hot Pursuit. The show begins at 9 p.m. at Cafe Du Nord, 2170 Market (at Sanchez), S.F. Admission is $7; call 861-5016.
Hopped Up When he isn't playing alienated bikers or nitrous-huffing sadists, actor Dennis Hopper likes to tool around with his camera. He's compiled a large body of work over his long career, too, from mixed-media pieces and installations to stark photos chronicling human events like Kennedy's assassination, and as far as the curators who've hung his work in galleries and museums internationally are concerned, his is not a dilettante's art. Just after closing its exhibit of actor Richard Gere's photos, the Ansel Adams Center opens a show of Hopper photographs of '60s icons like Andy Warhol, along with large-scale paintings incorporating photography and graffitilike accents. That brings the number of local exhibits by famous actor/artists to three in the last month: Actor Martin Mull's paintings and drawings opened Thursday at the Rena Bransten Gallery. The Hopper show opens at 11 a.m. (and is up through July 12) at the Ansel Adams Center for Photography, 250 Fourth St. (at Howard), S.F. Admission is $2-5; call 495-7000.