Still the One Some writers would prefer to be poked with sharp sticks than suffer through the public agony of performing their work live. That's one reason they're writers, not actors. Then again, there are writers like Spalding Gray or Eric Bogosian who find that the best way to interpret their material is to step out onstage and do it themselves. Both men have been guests of the Solo Mio Festival, which opens its ninth year of solo performances with the "Best of Writers Who Act." That's where emerging artists, coached by writer/performer Anne Galjour, test their writing and stage craft by performing new work for an audience. Sean San Jose, meanwhile, has had lots of performance experience since he began staging Pieces of the Quilt at libraries, schools, and clinics. The original Pieces was a theatrical patchwork with contributions written by Tony Kushner, Edward Albee, and others. Pieces Part II featured selections by Octavio Solis and Erin Cressida Wilson. In Part III, running this Thursday through Saturday, Digital Underground's DJ Fuze, percussionist Josh Jones, and singer Scheherazade Stone add music to the short AIDS-related works. Scottish performer Diane Torr, coiner of the term "drag king," transforms herself in Drag Kings and Subjects, a piece using text and film to invoke the history of cross-dressing (Sept. 30-Oct. 3), and Brenda Wong Aoki offers a personal take on anti-Asian miscegenation laws, Uncle Gunjiro's Girlfriend (Oct. 10-11). Solo Mio opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. with "Best of Writers Who Act" at the Bayfront Theater, Fort Mason, Building B, Third Floor, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $8-10; call 392-4400 for tickets and schedule information.
Feel the Earth Move Before a lone dancer initiates the chain reaction of slippage, stasis, and resistance in the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company's piece Fault, and even before the work slides from the idea of geologic fault lines into the idea of fault in human relationships, viewers can find rumblings of something at a performance installation where Jenkins herself dances with co-conspirators from seasons past. To celebrate the company's 25th anniversary and the San Francisco premiere of Fault, which debuted in Berkeley to critical and public acclaim, designer Tom Bonauro has created a series of 3- to 12-foot-high platforms. Musician Paul Dresher and performer Rinde Eckert will present excerpts from Shelf Life on one, while later Eckert and Jenkins perform part of And So They on another. A video clip of a speaking and gesturing Olympia Dukakis, with whom Jenkins worked on the ACT piece Hecuba, rounds out the installation, as Jenkins performs part of Time After, a forthcoming piece created in collaboration with Dukakis. The evening begins with the performance installation at 7:15 p.m. (also Friday) in the Yerba Buena Center Forum, followed by the show at 8 p.m. (also Friday and Saturday) in the Yerba Buena Center Theater, 700 Howard (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $12.50-25 (Fault ticket-holders get free admission to the installation); call 978-ARTS.
First Tapes From a Nov. 29, 1963, phone conversation between President Lyndon Johnson and then-Congressman Gerald Ford: LBJ: "Happy Thanksgiving! Where are you?" Ford: "I'm home, sir." LBJ: "You mean Michigan?" Ford: "No, no I'm here in Washington." LBJ: "Thank God there's somebody in town!" That's one of the lighter exchanges detailed in Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes, 1963-1964, an exhaustive but engaging transcript of Johnson's administrative phone calls, compiled and annotated by historian Michael Beschloss. Johnson was the first president to have his own calls taped so extensively, and Beschloss, a contributing writer to the Washington Post, has capitalized on the material, offering an insider's look at the day-to-day machinations of presidential politics. Between Beschloss' contextual notes and the actual conversations -- with the Kennedys, J. Edgar Hoover, Martin Luther King, and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, to name a few -- we see Johnson wheedling favors, mulling over the idea that Castro had a hand in JFK's assassination, and fretting that the war in Vietnam couldn't be won. Former Oakland A's manager Roy Eisenhardt interviews Beschloss about his books and the role of certain other taped phone calls in modern politics beginning at 8 p.m. at the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), S.F. Admission is $17; call 392-4400.
Lone Stars A short-lived but significant Texan invasion begins tonight with El Diablo's appearance at "Stinky's Peepshow," and continues tomorrow night with Reverend Horton Heat's Fillmore show. El Diablo members have been instrumental in helping Heat spread the rockabilly gospel: ED's Taz, of the now-defunct Tenderloin, was Heat's drummer once, and the guitar- and bass-playing Blair brothers Toby and Doni toured with Heat as part of the Dallas-based foursome Hagfish. But unlike Heat, whose half-dozen albums get their kick from stand-up slap-bass and the searing Gibson/Gretsch guitars of rockabilly and country swing, El Diablo is the kind of outfit that crams three short, fast, rowdy punk songs onto a 45, and then they're out. Seattle's Bell, followed by the local punk quartet Ain't, open for El Diablo at 10 p.m. tonight at the CW Saloon, 917 Folsom (at Fifth Street), S.F. Admission is $5; call 974-1585. REO Speedealer (who, thanks to REO Speedwagon's legal counsel, are about to shorten their name to just plain Speedealer -- see House of Tudor for more, Page 60), open for Reverend Horton Heat at 9 p.m. Friday at the Fillmore, 1805 Geary (at Fillmore), S.F. Admission is $15; call 346-6000.