It's That Thingy You Put in the Whatsis Sample clue, from Dr. Ucalegon's Armchair Scavenger Hunt: "Though clearly just to mollify/ The parents in their zeal/ Our schools claimed it would qualify/ As a vegetable in a meal." If you remember a certain Republican administration's PR gaffe, then you know the answer is ketchup, and you are clearly qualified to play the game. The hunt, which began as part of a software company's Christmas party and has since been opened to the public, is based less on trivia than creative thinking, and unlike most scavenger hunts, contestants don't even have to leave their homes to participate. It's not a computer game, but teams of one to four people must retrieve the clues and registration information from the Web at www.unexpected.com/hunt. Once they've figured out what an item is, teams either have to find the item in their home or call people they know until they find someone who has it. To prove that they've found it, teams must describe a specific part of it (to prove that you'd figured out the ketchup clue, for example, you'd have to state the last ingredient). Teams then feed the answer back into the Web site. The game goes in nine half-hour rounds, and the site will post standings throughout, so people know how they rate. Lots of prizes will be awarded, and entrance fee proceeds benefit Pets Are Wonderful Support, an agency that helps people with AIDS care for their pets. The hunt begins at noon in homes across the Bay Area. Admission is $4-8; call 863-3506.
Hot Reuben Listen closely to A Tribe Called Quest or US3 and you might catch a sample of "Ronnie's Bonnie" or "Were in Love," which were originally written by Hammond B-3 organist Reuben Wilson. The boxer-turned-keyboardist has been tagged as a godfather of the acid-jazz movement for late-'60s albums like Love Bug and Blue Mode, which he recorded for Blue Note and have now been reissued by the label. Wilson also shows his hand on Chess/Cadet and Groove Merchant productions, and the funky jazz combination of organ and tenor sax of his early work carried over into the dance clubs of the '80s, where the title track of his 1974 Gotta Get Your Own album was co-opted by club DJs. Wilson demonstrates how one of the most loved and simultaneously maligned instruments in modern music can propel a soul classic like Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man" at shows beginning at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi's, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland. Admission is $10; call (510) 238-9200.
Happy Apathy Day! With the exception of Civic Day, observed Aug. 3 this year by dutiful former Canadians, Californians have no holidays to celebrate this month. And not having to recognize an occasion is reason enough for a party, say the comedians participating in "The No Holiday Show!" Tonight, Kurt Weitzmann and Howard Stone rejoice in the lack of gift-buying pressure and hollow greeting-card sentiments. Colin Mahan, Dan Rothenburg, and Mike "Indigenous People's Day" Strong (who claims to use his nickname to get laid in Berkeley) celebrate the fact that we don't have to fuss over Admissions Day like Hawaii does. And the host venue, a fine Scottish pub with U.K. roots, encourages guests to laugh while they can, since we'll all be celebrating Labor Day soon enough even though we don't actually have a labor party. The show begins at 8 p.m. at the Edinburgh Castle Pub, 950 Geary (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $5 ($3 if you can name every Jewish holiday); call 885-4074.
Field and Stream Hands-on accessibility is the hallmark of Gregory Gavin's art. For the last few years, the founder of Will Power Arts has been teaching carpentry and design to San Francisco youngsters; 160 of these kids created full-sized, operational soapbox cars under Gavin's tutelage, and starred with their speedsters in Bernaltown, Gavin's comic narrative video about their neighborhood. (The film drew cheers from thousands of local viewers when it debuted last year at a Bernal Heights playground.) Gavin's most recent artistic collaboration is River in the Hood, an installation he created with adult and youth volunteers, in which a 100-foot-long man-made "river" of recycled running water flows from the top of a mountain down a gradually descending bar. Would-be engineers and artists can sit on stools on either side of the river and help build the landscape, including bridges, boats, and creatures, out of sand, wood, and recycled materials. Bottled water, with a "River in the Hood" label, will be for sale at the bar. A group of teen volunteers attended River Camp earlier this month to create "river art" and research California rivers and ecosystems, from the Sierras to the Pacific, which are represented in the exhibit. River opens at 1 p.m. (and is up through Sept. 19) -- an opening party and flotilla with live music will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29. It all happens at Will Power Arts, 2670 San Bruno (at Bacon), S.F. Admission is free; call 656-0119.