Get on the Bus Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eudora Welty parodies small-town small-mindedness in her short story "Lily Daw and the Three Ladies," in which three Southern dowagers try to ship a slow-witted young girl off to a Mississippi mental institute to prevent her from marrying. In "The Halfway Diner," author/filmmaker John Sayles (known for The Secret of Roan Inish and his multiple short stories) lays out the tensions and connections among a busload of wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, and girlfriends bound for the state prison where their menfolk are locked up. Word for Word, the theatrical company that stages short works verbatim, offers original productions of both stories at its fifth-anniversary festival. The show previews at 8:30 p.m. (and runs through Aug. 16) at the Magic Theater, Building D, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $18; call 441-3687.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Frisco Hippie Folk Emos! Getting kicked out of a club is a rock 'n' roll badge of honor for some bands, but with the exception of Austin's Fuckemos, most don't name themselves after the experience. The four-piece Fuckemos began as a trio called Warthog 2001, until singer/drummer Rockstar Russell exchanged drunken words one night with employees of a punk dive called Emos and was forcibly removed. He went home and painted "Fuck Emos" on his bass drum and the band was rechristened; Emos didn't take it personally and actually invited them back to play the club. The Fuckemos (who suggest alternate spellings like Frisco Hippie Folk Emos to publications that can't print the f-word) hooked up with former fellow Texan Frank Kozik, the local rock poster artist and Man's Ruin record label guru, to rerelease their first three albums and release a new 10-inch/CD combination on his label. Fans of vintage Butthole Surfers should feel at home with the group's warped and heavy rock noise, which they tweak with trombone and keyboards. They'll headline a rafter-shaking lineup that also includes Ain't, Magnolia Thunderfinger, and Count Dante & the Black Dragon Fighting Society. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. at the Paradise Lounge, 11th Street & Folsom, S.F. Admission is $5; call 861-6906.
The Great Beyond Berkeley's Blake Street Hawkeyes, the '70s theater group that helped launch the careers of performers like Whoopi Goldberg, George Coates, and Shimmer playwright John O'Keefe, was also a jumping-off point for founding member Bob Ernst, who honed his improvisational technique there. He and longtime collaborator Ruth Zaporah, the improv veteran with whom he's worked for the last 20 years, have created Beyond Begin, a dance-theater show that features a different musical guest each week. Bassist/percussionist Norman Rutherford, of the late performance group Contraband, is the first week's guest -- he'll be woven into the physical theater antics and narrative text that Ernst and Zaporah create on the spot (the three will agree on a general progression before the show). SoVoSo singer Rhiannon, former Sun Ra jazz cellist Kash Killion, and drummer Barbara Borden join the duo in subsequent weeks. The show begins at 8:30 p.m. (and continues Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 22) at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd Street), S.F. Admission is $12-15; call 826-5750.
My Kingdom for a Lawn Chair! If Ian McKellen can reframe Shakespeare's epic drama Richard III against the internal strife of Nazi-era England, the Shotgun Players can surely manage fight scenes in a '90s-era outdoor parking lot. In the time-honored tradition of putting Shakespeare into contemporary contexts, the Shotgun Players will stage free performances of Richard in two Berkeley parking lots throughout August and early September, with the idea that treachery, gore, and grief are more keenly felt on hard concrete than soft green grass or comfy theater seats. Costumer Christine Cilley outfits the cast of 10 in scruffy biker togs, and the players do battle with weapons ranging from battle axes to modified shotguns against a post-apocalyptic backdrop. Director Patrick Dooley taps the long fascination audiences have had with the rolling cadences that malevolence inspires, and the nightmares that haunt Shakespeare's schemers and dreamers long after the conclusion of "Grim-visaged War." The show opens with a benefit performance at 7 p.m. at King Middle School, Rose & Grant, Berkeley. Admission is $15, which includes a post-show barbecue, but all future performances are free; call (510) 271-8090 for a complete schedule.
Kilroy Was Here The art of personalizing every available open space and surface with imagery, otherwise known as customizing, links the artists exhibiting at "Acme Custom II," a group show of what participants cheerfully describe as lowbrow art: tattoos, customized cars and bikes, graffiti, rock posters, and performance. Tricked-out hot rods emblazoned with portraits of curvy B-movie gals (like the work of L.A.'s Von Franco) will be parked at the opening reception for the show alongside a customized hearse from Vinnie's Funeral and Pizza Delivery in Oakland. Japanese painter Norio "The Sugi-Saku" Sugimoto leaves his mark by pinstriping toilet seats and mailboxes, while illustrator Mark Ryden combines surrealism with kitsch to create beautiful but frightening portraits of icons like the pious, wide-eyed blonde Saint Barbie. Meanwhile, ringmaster Chicken John will put performers from his very customized Circus Redickuless through their paces. Clothing-designing party planners the Space Cowgirls host the reception, which is expected to attract a crowd of living, breathing customized works of art, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (the show is up through Aug. 9) at Somar Gallery, 934 Brannan (at Ninth Street), S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 777-ACME.