Night + Day

April 29
Forecast: Sprinkle Beginning with her short stint as an 18-year-old Berkeley masseuse and ending with her new film Teenage Mermaid Fanta-Sea, Annie Sprinkle's solo theater show and film diary Herstory of Porn -- Reel to Real covers the various eras of her 25-year career. It's not an erotic show so much as a funny show about personal change, Sprinkle says, and though it features porn, viewers don't have to like porn to enjoy it. Emilio Cubeiro, who directed Sprinkle's Post-Porn Modernist for the '93 Solo Mio Festival, returns for this very different piece. It includes clips from over 200 Sprinkle films, over which she offers live narration and the occasional simulation of the on-screen activity. She includes what she calls her "lesbian self-help phase," her "tantric, safe-sex education phase," and all the other phases -- sex worker advocate, filmmaker, AIDS educator, prostitute, writer -- that shaped her experience, and in turn the experiences of others, during and after the sexual revolution. The show opens at 8 p.m. (and continues through May 16) at the Bayfront Theater, Building B, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $15-20 and the show is open to viewers 18 and older only; call 392-4400.

April 30
A Tree Grows in Tennessee James Cromwell, the kindly farmer in Babe and the not-so-nice cop in L.A. Confidential, stars in The Education of Little Tree, which screens at a special benefit for the American Indian Film Institute. Cromwell is slated to attend the screening with co-star Tantoo Cardinal, of Dances With Wolves. The two play the grandparents of 8-year-old Little Tree (Joseph Ashton), a recently orphaned part-Cherokee youngster who moves to Tennessee to live with the old folks and learn about nature and his cultural heritage. The film, based on the novel by Forest Carter, shows at 7:30 p.m. at the Regency II Theater, 1268 Sutter (at Van Ness), S.F. Admission is $10; call 554-0525.

Sam He Am The Magic Theater gave playwright Sam Shepard's career a kick-start: It produced his play La Turista back in 1970, and when Shepard took up theatrical residency in 1975, the Magic produced several more of his plays, including Fool for Love, a kind of modern western that Robert Altman adapted into a film, and Suicide in B-Flat, the jazz-inspired musical murder mystery that's been revived twice locally this season. The mutual admiration between Shepard and the Magic culminates in SamFest, a performance and discussion marathon (with Shepard in attendance) that will include the renaming of the Magic's Southside Theater as the Sam Shepard Theater. The festival opens tonight with a marathon reading of Shepard's one-acts and early plays, followed by a staged Magic alumni reading of Fool for Love at 8 p.m. Friday and a panel discussion of his work at 4 p.m. Saturday. Longtime collaborator Joseph Chaikin reads their work War in Heaven and Shepard reads excerpts from Cruising Paradise and other selections at 8 p.m. Saturday. SamFest concludes Sunday at 4 p.m. with a staged reading of Shepard's newest play, Eyes for Consuela, the tale of a traveler and a native adapted from a story by the late Mexican writer Octavio Paz. The fest opens at 5 p.m. in the Magic Theater, Building D, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $10 (admission varies according to event); call 441-8001.

Sight Unseen Skepticism is the first and seemingly inevitable reaction to "Seeing the Unseen," an exhibit of photos shot by blind Czech children. Photographer Daniela Hornickova, a caretaker at Prague's Jaroslav Jezek Boarding School, is used to fielding the unavoidable questions; she wondered too, when she first began loaning her camera to curious kids in her care. But she was amazed by the results, and once she bought the children an automatic camera with sound controls, the youths began to take pictures relying on environmental cues other than sight. As she discovered, the blind kids don't take pictures the way sighted people would; depth of field shifts, and subjects emerge in fluttery close-up or off to one corner of the frame. In some sense, the pictures are free of photographic convention, and offer a truly unusual opportunity for viewers to reflect on perspective and vision. The exhibit opens with a reception at 5 p.m. (and is up through July 18) at the International Children's Art Museum, World Trade Center, Ferry Building, First Floor, Market & Embarcadero, S.F. Admission is 50 cents-$1; call 772-9977.

May 1
Something So Wright As the Reservoir Dogs DJ whom nobody saw but everyone heard, monotoned comedian Steven Wright was a perfect foil to the excesses of the film, from the on-screen violence to the over-the-top '70s rock he announced in a voice completely devoid of emotion. It wasn't a one-time role: Wright's laconic delivery is his distinguishing feature among comics willing to yell, pull goofy faces, haul out the props, or do whatever else it takes to get a laugh. Without inflection, expressions, or gestures as cues, Wright's surreal observations ("It's a good thing there's gravity, or else when birds died they'd stay where they were") can take a few moments to sink in, but the payoff is worth it. Live 105 morning host Johnny Steele opens the show at 8 p.m. at the Masonic Auditorium, 1111 California (at Jones), S.F. Admission is $16-19; call 885-0750.

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