Night + Day

Wednesday
April 22
Air Supply National Public Radio's Fresh Air host is expected to provide some answers along with the questions at "Terry Gross and Orville Schell: A Conversation on the Media," when Schell, the dean of UC Berkeley's J-school grad program, takes over the interviewer's chair. Ever since she began hosting the program 25 years ago in Philadelphia, Gross has done homework on celebrity guests like Arthur Miller and Diane Keaton, familiarizing herself with their work so that she can ask them smart questions, which in turn tend to elicit thoughtful answers. Journalists are supposed to do their homework, of course, but too many glossy infotainment programs, too many cringe-inducing queries and packaged replies, are evidence that entertainment news has become particularly susceptible to lazy reporting. Gross and Schell talk technique and other media-related issues beginning at 8 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft & Telegraph, UC Berkeley campus. Admission is $8-16; call (510) 642-9988.

Thursday
April 23
Below the Beltway Poor Bubba just can't get no piece, make that peace, thanks to Gross National Product's Sex, Lies, & Zippergate: or Yet Another Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, which lampoons affairs of state. GNP "Unartistic Director" John Simmons, the Zelig of political satire, has surfaced on the BBC as George Stephanopoulos and on E! as Janet Reno; longtime collaborator Christine Thompson, of Theater of the Deranged, and Chris Pray of the Committee join him in this show's multiple role-playing. The Washington, D.C.-based troupe, not to be confused with the Washington, D.C.-based political satire troupe Capitol Steps, whose show died an ignominious death here last summer, is an 18-year-old D.C. standby and star of five PBS specials. GNP temporarily relocates to the Bay Area with a collection of sketches, political impersonations, and audience-inspired improv drawn from headlines about Monica, Hillary, Kenneth, and the rest of the usual suspects. The show opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through May 2) at the Plush Room Cabaret, 940 Sutter (at Hyde), S.F. Admission is $20; call 885-2800.

Friday
April 24
Waxing Horrific Recognizing the intrinsic freakiness of wax museums, the Network Theater has created Waxworks, a musical comedy mystery set in a wax museum. Grimby, a nighttime janitor with an overactive imagination and a dramatically significant moniker, spooks himself by imagining that the wax figures in the museum's Rogue's Gallery -- Lizzie Borden, the Boston Strangler, et al. -- have come to life. When a thief breaks into the museum, he sets off a comedy of errors and a psychological meltdown among viewers who think celebrities rendered in wax is bad, and wrong. The show opens at 8 p.m. (and continues through May 31) at the Alcazar Theater, 650 Geary (at Jones), S.F. Admission is $32.50-35; call 441-4042.

Stand and Deliver On April 3, Rube Waddell played their last hootenanny at the Mission Leed's; the shoe store went out of business and the band, which had attracted throngs of fans and curious passers-by with semiregular weekend shows out on the sidewalk in front of the display windows, jokingly announced free admission for anyone who arrived bearing spare pairs of shoes. With the end of that nearly 2-year-old era, the group, known for foot-stomping renditions of sea chanteys and wild-eyed blues played on harmonica, ukulele, and found instruments like slabs of metal, is setting its sights on other gigs and the release of its CD-in-a-can, StinkBait, this summer. Tonight they'll reunite with spoken-word artist Beth Lisick, whom they backed up at last summer's Making Waves Festival as she tore into girdles and other suburban concerns with selections from her book Monkey Girl. Granfaloon Bus join in with a set of urban blues; the show begins at 9:45 p.m. at the Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck (at Prince), Berkeley. Admission is $6; call (510) 841-2082.

Saturday
April 25
On Broadway Mum's the word on most of the special surprise guests and performances in the works for the Broadway Studios Second Anniversary Party, but party planners will say that after a VIP wine tasting and hors d'oeuvres session promising celebrity sightings (the mayor has been invited; so has Don Johnson), the doors will open to the public and the show will begin. Confirmed acts include Work That Skirt instructors Rob and Diane in a swing dance exhibition and Jay Alexander's New Swing Circus doing their speak-easy-styled vaudevillian jazz show complete with fire-eaters and trapeze artists. Dueling dance parties, with DJ'd swing in the back and disco in the front to live music by Funkatraz, cap off a busy night in the old art deco ballroom. The reception begins at 7 p.m., followed by the show at 9 p.m. at Broadway Studios, 435 Broadway (at Montgomery), S.F. Admission is $10; call 291-0333.

Solidarity and Free Bagels The goth music stage has been canceled but the rave tent and carnival are still a go as Food Not Bombs celebrates its 18th anniversary with the annual Soupstock festival. Besides providing free vegetarian meals to protest groups and the homeless, the group has declared its support for Chiapas, Mumia, Peltier, and feminism, and its resistance to police brutality and bombing Iraq. With such a broad range of concerns, it follows that FNB would want to attract a broad range of people, and to that end, dozens of activist groups will be staffing information tables on multiple causes at the festival, which also includes free food, poets, valet bike parking, and speakers from the Eviction Defense Network and the Save Ward Valley Coalition. Storm & Her Dirty Mouth, Little White Radio, Culture of Rage, Shelley Doty, and X-Tex play live at the event, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Band Shell, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is free; call (650) 985-7087.

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