The Body Never Lies Stripped of the fanciful fool's costumes they wore in last year's Caravan of Dreams -- a deconstruction of Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha -- physical theater troupe the UMO Ensemble must rely more on the language of muscle and bone in its new work Body Inheritance. Based on the idea that people carry deep physical memories of nature and culture, of everything they've ever seen, heard, tasted, and felt, UMO performers created Inheritance using their own stories as a springboard. Like the other shows in the Vashon Island-based company's repertoire, Inheritance combines the physical with the strikingly theatrical, using props like a "circus cloudswing" (a soft rope loop swing suspended horizontally a daunting eight feet above the floor). Poetic text and original music round out the show, which starts at 8 p.m. (and runs through Sunday) at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida (at 17th Street), S.F. Admission is $12.50-18.50; call 621-7797.
Honky-Tonk Tom Johnny Cash and Iris DeMent have sung his songs and his praises; so have Dave Alvin, Nanci Griffith, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Tom Russell is one of the most popular figures you've never heard in American roots music, a cowboy crooner who crafts a rugged landscape from folk blues and honky-tonk. DeMent, Griffith, Gilmore, and Alvin (Russell's HighTone labelmate) join him on The Long Way Around, a collection of his old and new tunes that typically involve societal misfits struggling with crises of conscience or circumstance. Russell goes it alone in support of the record at 9:30 p.m. at the Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck (at Prince), Berkeley. Admission is $7; call (510) 841-2082.
Homeward Bound California will see more of itself than ever before in the exhibit "Richard Diebenkorn." Included among the 150 paintings and drawings in this overview of the artist's career are abstract and figurative works from Diebenkorn's warmly hued Berkeley series and the pieces associated with Bay Area figurative art, as well as the large-scale paintings of his Ocean Park series, inspired by Santa Monica neighborhoods. Representational works capture sun-washed cityscapes and landscapes that ought to resonate locally, and some of the work, from the Diebenkorn family and private collections, has rarely been shown publicly, including the cigar-box lids he painted for friends and family as gifts. The exhibit opens at 11 a.m. (and runs through Jan. 19) at the SFMOMA, 151 Third St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $4-10; call 357-4000.
Find Your Thrill Great physical and thematic stretches separate acts at the Potrero Hill Festival '98: Former Blake Babies frontwoman Juliana Hatfield headlines Bottom of the Hill (midnight, 1235 17th St.), while singing actress Mare Winningham -- the one who played the sensible folk-singing older sister to Jennifer Jason Leigh's bratty punk in Georgia -- serenades listeners in the, uh, cozy confines of the Connecticut Yankee sports bar (with Ed Haynes, 9:30 & 10:30 p.m., 100 Connecticut). Meanwhile, ubiquitous stand-up Supervisor Tom Ammiano cracks wise with Kurt Weitzmann at a Goat Hill Pizza comedy show (9 p.m., 300 Connecticut) and Sol Fire plays Latin funk at the Neighborhood House (10:30 p.m., 953 De Haro). Entertainment begins at 7:30 p.m. as Work That Skirt coaches would-be swingers at the Metronome Ballroom, 1830 17th St., S.F. Admission is varied per venue or $20 for a laminated all-access pass (proceeds benefit the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, a nonprofit community center), and motorized cable cars will transport guests between clubs; call 621-4455 or (510) 601-TWEB.
Freak Show Just for fun, scan the crowd for Oakland rapper MC Hammer at the KISS 98.1 Soul Music Festival. Rick James & the New Stone City Band will be headlining the show, and though James has bounced back from his much-publicized drug addiction and a stint in jail with a brand-new album, the crowd isn't likely to let him go until he plays his signature hit "Super Freak." Of course, that's the song that made Hammer famous too, since he personalized James' funky ode to freaky groupie girls with his "Can't touch this" line and the baggy pants dance. Tony Toni Tone, the polished soul posse that picked up in the late '80s after James trailed off, take the festival's middle slot. Zapp opens the show at 4 p.m. at the Greek Theater, First Street & Bancroft, UC Berkeley campus. Admission is $27.50-35.50; call (510) 762-2277.
Pablo Cruise From Still Life With Blood Sausage, a dark intimation of wartime rationing and violence, through Still Life With Skull, Leeks, and Pitcher, painted after the liberation of Paris by Allied troops, the exhibit "Picasso and the War Years: 1937-1945" explores the artist's response to the tumultuous times in which he lived. This collection of nearly 80 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures from private and museum collections traces a timeline from the historical rumblings that preceded the Spanish Civil War on through the aftermath of the Nazi era; an introductory gallery of posters, photos, and documents provides historical context for the work that follows. Among the highlights: studies for the famous graphic mural Guernica, the anti-Fascist print The Dream and Lie of Franco, and the bronze statue Man With a Lamb. The exhibit opens at 10 a.m. (and runs through Jan. 3) at the Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, The Presidio, 34th Avenue & Clement, S.F. Admission is $12; call 863-3330. On a related note, French photographer and Picasso contemporary Lucien Clergue offers an intimate glimpse of the artist with friends and family in the exhibit "Photographs of Picasso," which opens with Clergue's informal lecture on Picasso at 2 p.m. (and hangs through Nov. 14) at the Scott Nichols Gallery, 49 Geary, Fourth Floor, S.F. Admission is free; call 788-4641.